With 106 million unique visits to LinkedIn each month, it’s more important than ever to optimize your profile and learn how to build your personal brand organically. While Versique, a $17M executive search and consulting firm I launched in 2013, has over 20K followers on LinkedIn and has been awarded as one of the top 25 recruiting company pages, today I want to focus on the valuable real estate of individual profiles.
Not only does an optimized profile showcase your personal skills well, it also boosts the company image as all their employees use their profiles in the best way possible. Spend time today completing these five best practices to rank higher in search engines, grow your network and ultimately drive valuable leads and revenue to your company.
- First Things First: Optimize Your Profile
It’s incredibly important for people viewing your profile to see the following in place to fully understand who you are, what you do, and how to contact you if they decide to network with you. In order to accomplish this, you’ll need to carve out 30 - 60 minutes to complete our quick and easy profile optimization checklist.
- Do I have a professional quality, current and industry specific profile and banner image?
- Are my image headers and visuals branded?
- Does my job title and summary communicate my area of focus and expertise?
- Is my bio and summary written in active voice, in first person and specific to key insights about me?
- Is my entire profile, including headlines, SEO optimized with a keyword density of 3% or greater to rank me atop of LinkedIn, Google and Bing?
Once you’ve completed the checklist and fixed any errors you found, it’s time to build your network so that more people can view your optimized profile and see what you have to offer.
- Targeted Connections vs. LinkedIn Open Networker
It doesn’t take long, while scrolling through your connection requests, to find someone with LION next to their name. This stands for LinkedIn Open Networker. So, what’s the deal with that? Is it best to open your network to anyone who wants to connect? Or to be selective?
The answer comes down to deciding why you want to network. If your purpose is to connect with the most people possible – connect. But, if you want to optimize your profile, generate quality leads, and nurture a healthy network – it’s time to decline. Use the following checklist to decide if those requesting to connect with you and those you’ll request to connect with are what’s best for your goals.
- Are they located in an area, city, state, country, that you work or recruit in?
- Is there profile optimized – showing they are serious about how they used LinkedIn?
- Is there job title relevant to you in some way?
- Have they sent you an InMail that makes it clear they intend to sell you on something the moment you accept?
- Are they actively publishing and interacting with their network – which would indicate they’ll likely be an active part of yours as well?
All these qualities show that they are someone who will help spread your posts through likes, comments, and shares as well as help build your SSI score through connecting with the right people.
After you have a fully optimized profile and a thriving network, it’s time to post and publish. Get the word out to your targeted connections that you are a thought leader and have valuable insights in your related field.
- Quality over Quantity: Don’t Just Post to Post
LinkedIn is unique in that the vast majority of its users are incredibly busy people. They aren’t scrolling through their feed to keep up with the latest gossip or trending tweet. So, if your strategy is to post multiple times per day for the sake of posting, you’ll turn your network off very quickly.
Instead, qualify each post with these questions:
- Is it valuable to my network?
- Is it insightful in some way?
- Does it praise or affirm someone else?
- If it’s company related, does it showcase the company in an excellent way without selling anything?
- If it’s personal, is it still professional?
- Is it important industry related news?
If your posts pass the qualifying questions, the next thing you need to consider are the best times to publish. In general, I recommend Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday between 7-8am, 12-1pm, or 5-6pm. By tracking your analytics – identifying who is interacting with you at what times – you can create your own windows of times that help you reach your target.
- Set a Goal: It’s Time to Use LinkedIn Publisher
When used well, LinkedIn Publisher is invaluable to your personal profile and company page. Set a goal of publishing one blog each month and do everything you can to stick to that goal.
A recent poll showed that 82% of LinkedIn users feel more positive about a company after reading custom content through LinkedIn Publisher and 3-5 pieces of content on average are reviewed before engaging with a recruiter. If you’re not using this free tool – you’re missing massive opportunities.
I know you may be thinking, it’s not as easy as it sounds to sit down to a blank document and create content that your network wants to read. I get it – it’s daunting. That’s why I’ve created a reference list for you. Simply choose a topic and begin to write.
- Share Hiring Trends. Distribute industry articles, blogs and insight though your own account.
- Drive Traffic to your postings. Write about a topic that will bring leads to a landing page associated directly to you and your firm’s brand.
- Piggy back off trending news. If your industry has a breaking news story published throughout the internet, write an article giving your unique perspective on the matter.
- Easy how-to’s. Use your expertise to teach someone else how to do it.
- Create a list. Lists are great for readers to easily scan your article and pull out valuable nuggets in a short amount of time.
Once you’ve published your article, be sure to use tracking and analytics to know who’s watching and reading it.
- Know Where You Rank and Why it Matters
Are you familiar with the term SSI score? Surprisingly, most LinkedIn users aren’t. Your LinkedIn Social Selling Index or score is simply how you rank within your industry and network. The score itself is out of 100 points and breaks down into 4, 25-point pillars.
- Establishing your professional brand.
- How well you publish valuable and industry relevant posts as well as how well your profile is optimized for your professional brand.
- Finding the right people.
- Are you connecting with a strong, like-minded network or are you a LION?
- Engaging with key insights.
- How well are you nurturing your network? Likes, comments and shares?
- Building relationships.
- Are you engaging with people when they have a birthday or work anniversary? Are you involved in what your connections are doing on a daily basis?
Each one of these four pillars are incredibly important factors in building your personal brand and credibility. As you increase your score within each faction, your percentage ranking within your industry and network will go up as well. The ultimate goal is to become the top 1% in your Network, top 1% in your industry and maintain a score in the high 90’s. When you’ve accomplished that – you know you’ve completed all prior 4 points. You have an optimized profile. You’re connecting with the right people. You’re publishing professional and branded content. And you’re nurturing your network.
It does take some doing – but anything worth doing is worth doing well. Right?
Still have questions you’d like answered? Want to discuss your SSI?
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