Joe Gannon x Pragya from Shield
We often get asked how to optimize LinkedIn profiles to generate more interest. The first step we recommend is to know clearly what you are optimizing your profile for. Without this, you simply cannot evaluate if any changes made to your profile are a success.
Traditionally, optimizing your profile on LinkedIn would be optimizing your profile so recruiters and businesses can find you. You would use relevant keywords on your profile in the hope of appearing in searches related to jobs you would be interested in applying for.
Yes, LinkedIn is still a professional network providing opportunities for work, but it’s now also being used as a content marketing platform ever since Microsoft acquired LinkedIn in 2016. Nowadays, we should also look to set-up profiles to maximize the attention your content receives and to get more people onto your profile. You can then direct this traffic elsewhere, and with new features like the Featured Section on profiles, we have more ways to do this than ever before.
Your profile needs to be optimized on LinkedIn regardless of your purpose for being more active on the platform (to get more leads, to get a new job, or to become a content creator).
The majority of people on LinkedIn don’t use a custom cover photo, but this is a great opportunity to capture somebody’s attention when they are on your profile. It is the first thing they see, so have information here that you want profile visitors to know about.
Cover photos look slightly different across devices, so you need to optimize your cover photo with the space available in mind. If you don’t have an image to hand, we recommend using Canva and creating a custom design of dimensions: 1536 x 768, and then when designing your cover photo, keep important information to the right so your profile photo does not hide the text.
Include in your cover photo information such as your company’s slogan, website URL, your job title, or a list of some of the services you provide. Imagine somebody coming on to your profile cold. You want to quickly get them up to speed about what you do and to show the information you want them to see. Keep in mind here that adding personality will allow you to be more memorable in your industry.
See it this way. On social media, you are your profile image. When you direct message people, they only have your profile photo to go by alongside your headline.
If you need a new photo, simple stand behind a plain background and smile. People want to meet smiley people and our smartphones have great cameras that are good enough to do the job. Spot opportunities where you could have a professional photo taken for LinkedIn, for example on team training days or team photoshoots.
LinkedIn isn’t really about suits and ties anymore, but do opt for a photo that looks presentable. A lot of people like to remove the background of their videos to add a colour background. This is great if you have a personal brand or if you want to incorporate subtly your business colours. You can do this with editing software but a free and fast way is to use Remove.bg. After removing the background of your image, simply create a new design on Canva into a 1080×1080 grid, then, set the background colour to your desired colour and upload the image into your design.
Your profile image and headline follow you around LinkedIn. So when you are wondering how to optimize your LinkedIn profile, this is a major one! Your headline will look slightly different across devices, as looking at LinkedIn on a laptop or phone obviously impacts the spacing.
You should also be mindful of where else you appear on the platform. For example, when direct messaging someone and commenting on posts, your headline is visible. It is also visible when you are sending a connection request, where your profile photo and headline are really the only two things someone considers when deciding to accept your request or not. This highlights the importance of writing personalized notes with connection requests.
To optimize your LinkedIn headline, consider how you can concisely allow new profile visitors to know more about you. LinkedIn recently increased the amount of characters we have to write our headlines from 120 characters to 220 characters. Make sure your most important messaging is visible early on in your headline, as around the platform not all of the headline will be visible. Your headline should include keywords, as these allow your profile to appear in searches. This makes it important to ensure that you use the terminology that somebody would search for, for example using ‘content marketing’ instead of ‘content marketer’.
This is a very quick fix but an important step to take for optimizing your LinkedIn profile. LinkedIn is still great to use in business as an online CV and to show people the recommendations you have on your profile. For this reason, you want an easy-to-remember, easy-to-send URL. Make sure you edit your custom URL – you can do this by going onto your profile and on the top right-hand side of your screen and selecting “Edit public profile & URL”. Not many people do this, but LinkedIn’s URL for your profile originally includes numbers after your name which isn’t ideal.
With your About Section, you have limited space available before someone can read more by pressing “See More”. Here, your objective should be to capture a profile visitor’s attention so that they do click to learn more about what you do and to learn more about your company.
If you don’t really say anything in this short space available then there’s no indication to click. Do not leave it up to chance, make somebody want to learn more! The about section is the largest block of space where we can really educate our audience about what we do. We can also provide resources here to set new relationships off on the right foot.
Tell a story of your career so far, talk about accomplishments, discuss your personal interests, and who you are as a person. This is your chance to stand out and to differentiate yourself from other people in your industry Everyone has a story to tell. What is yours and what is your businesses’ competitive advantage? Again, keywords are essential here and the words you use work towards optimizing your LinkedIn profile for the searches you want to appear in.
This is a huge sign of intent from LinkedIn to add this new feature. We can now maximize our profile traffic by directing people onto your best performing content, our articles, media or to include any external link like your company’s website, blog or other social media profiles.
The Featured Section takes up a large space on your profile, particularly in mobile, which means it’s essential to make the most of this opportunity. For example, if you are using LinkedIn to get a job, it’s more powerful to include a link to your CV here which can be clicked on and downloaded, instead of having a link to your CV hidden away at the bottom of your About section.
Alternatively, add your best-performing content here to impress new profile visitors – this is great for positioning! There are so many possibilities for you to really maximise your profile’s attention. This new feature also works as a strong incentive to create more content, as posting more content leads to more profile views, where visitors can watch the video testimonials you’ve displayed on your profile, or they can directly click onto your businesses’ website, or download a free resource.
If you are using LinkedIn to display your career history, then this is where you can include your experience to date. However, you can also get creative here. You do not have to include only job experience in this section, you can write anything you want. If you are selling a product or service, you could actually list product benefits here, which combined with your Featured Section, you could quickly educate someone about what you offer before they click on your website link.
Whatever you use this section for, remember that people have short attention spans. Be concise to make sure profile visitors leave with a takeaway message. You can also add media to every experience you list. Make the most of this and add videos and other media assets to provide more information.
Your skills and endorsements can mainly be used as ‘signposts’ to tell people clearly what your strengths are, what your industry experience is and how you stand out. List here the skills you want someone to know about you at a glance.
If you do want more endorsements on your profile, endorse people in your network sincerely like the people you have worked for or with. They will likely reciprocate this action and endorse you back, so make sure the top 3 skills you have listed are the skills you want people to endorse.
LinkedIn recommendations are perfect for including references. Use this section based on your intention with your profile. If you are the CEO of your business, use this to show testimonials from clients. This will be far more powerful than you yourself talking about the product or service you are offering. It’s great for a prospect to be able to see a recommendation from a real person where they can click on the writer’s profile showing the review is genuine.
If you are reading this article to optimize your LinkedIn profile for getting a job, have recommendations here from past colleagues and direct reports. Alternatively, if you are a content creator looking to drive awareness to a service you offer, include testimonials here from people who have taken your course or worked with you.
We really hope you found this article on how optimize your LinkedIn profile useful. If you have any further questions please get in touch.