Lacey Abbachi is a LinkedIn Coach that teaches professionals how to use LinkedIn to achieve the results that matter most to them.
Whether you’re trying to grow your business, find a job, or strengthen your personal brand, you’ll likely use LinkedIn to achieve this goal. The first step to success is making sure the foundation is laid correctly, and in this case your profile is the foundation.
Studies have shown that complete profiles are: 40 times more likely to get opportunities through LinkedIn. That’s why you should use every part of your profile as an opportunity to grab and hold your audience’s attention.
Here are four easy ways to optimize your LinkedIn profile.
1. Update your profile picture.
Studies tell us that we are about seven seconds to make a first impression; some researchers say it only takes a tenth of a second to determine reliability. So see your profile picture as your handshake on LinkedIn. If you have a high quality photo, it will look warm and welcoming. Moreover, research from LinkedIn tells us that just having a photo makes your profile 14 times more likely to be viewed by others.
It’s important to remember that standing out should always be top of mind. Humans are visual creatures, and things that have a strong visual aesthetic and appeal to our senses will stand out the most. Keep these things in mind when choosing your profile picture.
• Use a high-resolution image.
• Choose an up-to-date photo that reflects how you look every day.
• Make sure no one else is in the photo.
• Smile like you mean it.
2. Add a background photo.
Your background photo is the second image on your profile and it’s a great way to get someone’s attention. Having a great background photo helps your profile stand out and be memorable. Take a thoughtful photo that you believe encompasses your personal brand well. A good background photo should be an image that reinforces who you are and what your brand stands for, such as a photo of yourself with accompanying text that includes your name, title, and mission statement. Another option is to use a high-quality image of the people you serve, as showing yourself in your element is always a great way to bond with your audience. For example, if you are a sales consultant, you can upload a photo of you coaching a sales team; if you are a public speaker, you can upload a photo of you speaking on stage.
There are a number of resources to help you create your background photo, and LinkedIn even offers the option to upload one of their templates as well.
3. Create a catchy headline.
Your LinkedIn headline is one of the most important parts of your profile. By default, LinkedIn fills this in as your current position. However, you are so much more than just a job title, and your headline should reflect that. Since this is one of the first things people see when your name appears, it’s critical to make sure your headline is descriptive, engaging, and persuasive.
In a noisy world, being compelling sometimes means being easy to understand. Use your headline to make it clear what you’re doing and who you’re doing it for. If you leave people with questions, they will pass you by for someone who presents themselves more palatable.
For example, instead of calling your title simply “Leadership Consultant,” you could say, “Leadership development consultant focused on helping C-level executives harness emotional intelligence to improve culture and profits.” Writing your LinkedIn headline this way leaves no questions for the reader.
4. Use your summary to tell your story.
Your LinkedIn Summary is a crucial part of your profile because it is your chance for people to get to know you, both professionally and personally.
In my opinion, some of the best LinkedIn summaries tell a story. Doing this will give context and meaning to your craft. That’s not to say it isn’t important to share your skills and how you help others. However, people are much more likely to hear what you have to say if they feel they can identify with you on a personal level. Try to answer these questions.
• Why should people do business with you?
• What makes you recognizable and real?
• Who are you as a person?
Contrary to popular belief on LinkedIn, people do want to get to know you. It’s not just about doing business and what you can do for them. It is also what makes you human and recognizable.
In my opinion LinkedIn is a gold mine of opportunity, and having a complete profile can build trust and interest in you and your brand. It gives people real reasons to want to connect and discover who you are, what you do and what you have to offer. LinkedIn is so much more than just an online resume. It is a place to learn, grow and support others.