How to optimise your LinkedIn profile for search and discovery
LinkedIn is a platform for building professional relationships. Here’s how to create a profile.
20 years ago executive profiling meant targeting features in the broadsheet and trade media Today’s modern executive is more likely to seek support in optimising their social networks and content.
There’s a growing recognition of the opportunity to use the social web as a means of engaging directly with a variety of stakeholders including customers, employees, prospects and suppliers. It's a burgeoning area of consultancy for our corporate teams at Ketchum.
LinkedIn is a good starting point. It's a professional social media network of more than 500 million people each showcasing their experience and skills, and sharing content and information related to their professions expertise.
A LinkedIn profile is a great basis for new professional relationships. People can seek out your expertise via the platform’s search functions or newsfeed. You can also use these functions to find other people.
It’s important that you complete your profile to maximise the opportunity for search and discovery. Rich profiles are visually engaging and enable prospects and to seek you out. They are also optimised for search.
Here’s a ten point workplan to get you started.
#1 Housekeeping: optimise your profile for discovery
There some basics that you need to get in place to make your profile discoverable. The first job is to make sure that your account isn’t set to anonymous.
Log into your account and head to the settings and privacy section. Select Edit your public profile and ensure that the visibility is set to public.
You can customise your URL on the same page. Include your first and last name to optimise for search. This will improve the search ranking of your profile on both LinkedIn and Google.
#2 Professional photo (400 x 400 pixels)
According to LinkedIn a professional photo will make visitors seven times more likely to visit your profile than a profile without a photo.
It’s important to use a photo that leaves visitors with a favourable impression. Avoid using a personal photo. Children, friends and animals are not recommended unless that’s part of your personal brand.
Use a close cropped photo of your face with a neutral background. LinkedIn recommends a high resolution image with a neutral background cropped to 400 by 400 pixels.
#3 Background photo (1,584 x 396 pixels)
Aside from your profile photo, your background photo is the thing that people notice first on your profile. A carefully chosen image relating to your professional experience will inform prospects who you are and what you do.
#4 Headline (120 characters)
The default headline is automatically pulled from your work experience and lists your current role and organisation. This isn’t particularly useful as the information already exists in your profile.
A well-crafted, attention grabbing headline makes the difference between someone checking out your profile or clicking away.
Write your profile headline to appeal to your target audience. Consider including what you do and who you do it for and what differentiates you from other people on LinkedIn.
To boost search rankings on Google include words that your audience is likely to use when searching.
#5 Personal summary (2,000 characters)
A common error on profile summaries is to target it towards your next role, rather than prospects, talent or partners with whom you might want to engage with in your current role.
Use this space to differentiate yourself from other individuals and organisations in your sphere and showcase the skills that appeal to your target audience. Include examples of the organisations that you’ve worked for and the outcomes that you have delivered.
This is the elevator pitch for your LinkedIn profile. The copy should be professional but your talent and passion should shine through.
#6 Work experience (title 100 characters and description 2,000 characters)
Use this area to record your previous roles and achievements. Focus on the organisations that you have helped and the outcomes that you have delivered.
Focus on what you’ve done, and what you’ve achieved that relates to stakeholders for your current role. Ditch experience that doesn’t fit with your career narrative.
#7 Rich media
Links to relevant content, Slideshare presentations and videos are a way of grabbing attention for a project or piece of work. Embed these in in your summary or work experience.
Third party endorsement from other LinkedIn users is a powerful means of collaborating what you say about yourself in your LinkedIn profile.
Request a recommendation whenever you complete a piece of work or help someone out. LinkedIn provides a tool that pre-populates a request.
There are two ways of sharing content with your network on LinkedIn either by posting an update or an articles. Content is shared with your network and the newsfeed. It a way of building a curating and sharing content and will help build your personal reputation.
Updates are short posts that enable you to share and link, photo or video in the same way that you would on Facebook or Twitter. They’re a good way to start conversation about what you’re reading, ask for ideas and to share industry news.
Use articles to share your insights, perspectives and expertise. The best way to drive conversation and attention is to write on industry trends or share commentary about the day’s news. Aim for 500 to 1,000 words.