If your LinkedIn profile still reads like a resume, well, you’re doing it
wrong. At least if you’re trying to sell anything except yourself to a new employer. Your potential customers don’t care what awards you’ve won or how much you’ve increased your organization’s sales pipeline.
Instead, you want to optimize your profile for your potential customers. Remember your marketing and sales fundamentals: your messaging should always be about your customer and how you can help them, never about you. Of course, this is your profile so there’s some wiggle room there. Let’s break it down by section.
Establish Your Personal Brand
Even when optimizing your Linkedin profile for sales, there is some room to inject your own personality. Here is where you should take what you know about improving your personal Linked page and apply it, with a few tweaks.
- Choose an authentic profile photo. More people are moving away from the sterile professional headshot to something that represents them a little bit better. If you’re a very serious person, go ahead and use a serious photo. But if you’re a little more relaxed, let that shine through. Keep in mind that you are also representing your professional brand here, so make sure your photo is appropriately representing your organization as well.
- Skip the jargon. This might be copywriting 101, but it’s important. Industry-speak is a big turn-off. Even if people outside of your industry can understand it, it comes across as inauthentic and salesy. Instead, write the way you speak, and don’t be afraid to add a little personal flair. Social selling is all about building relationships. People buy from people, not from robots.
- Optimize (and personalize) your experience section. Here’s where you can do a bit of humble bragging, but remember to keep your reader in mind. If you’ve helped a lot of people in your day, shout it out here. Showcase how you’ve helped before as a way to prove you can do it again. But we repeat, humble brag.
Create a Consistent Experience
- Create a custom cover photo. After your profile picture, your LinkedIn cover is the first thing that people see. That makes it the perfect place for a well-designed, branded photo to create awareness. Better yet, make this imagery compliment your business’ LinkedIn company page or website. When you start building relationships and generating interest in your product or service, your shiny new warm leads will have a consistent experience when navigating from your profile to your company’s. Another piece of advice? Don’t just set it and forget it. Did your marketing team just release a sweet new piece of content? Are you promoting a webinar or live event? Ask your marketing team to create custom social covers that not only build awareness but also generate leads. Win-win.
- Take your title out of your headline. Chances are, people are not navigating to your LinkedIn profile to buy from you. But hopefully, they are there because they think you can help them. Let them know they’re in the right place by showcasing your company’s tagline – or value proposition – in your headline.
- Optimize your position description. Like your tagline, everyone in your organization should be on the same page about the company description you include in your Experience section. This will help to build a consistent brand for your potential customers, regardless of who they connect with. Keep it short, and even throw in a call to action. Add a punchy CTA to lead prospects to a conversion page on your website. After all, you just told them how good you are at your job, and they might want a piece of that action.
- Showcase your personality with Education and Volunteer Experience. You have a life outside of work, and the Education and Volunteer Experience sections of your profile are the perfect places to highlight that. Use these sections to humanize and personalize yourself. However, if you wouldn’t include it on a professional resume, skip it on your LinkedIn profile. Leave out your high school experience altogether, and use your judgment when it comes to sorority or fraternity volunteer experience.
Nail Your LinkedIn Summary
Ok, here’s the real money-maker. Not only does LinkedIn use the content in this section to serve up your profile to potential customers in search, but it’s also basically your first impression. So it needs to be optimized, persuasive, and clear.
- Start with your prospect’s problem. Every bit of marketing and sales writing you do should have one primary focus: helping your prospect solve a problem. What keeps them up at night? What do you offer that can make their lives easier? Help them reach their goals quicker? That’s sales gold baby, and you want to put it out there right away.
- Include social proof. Have a great review or testimonial to share? Do it. Remember, your prospect is there to see how you can help them, not to read about all your accolades or get a rundown of every moment of your career. We cautioned you against bragging about yourself, but you can definitely brag about your company.
- Add keywords. The skills section of your profile is basically a keyword-stuffing mechanism that LinkedIn has given its blessing. So it’s not a bad idea to repeat some of those keywords and phrases here. It’s also important to include the terms your prospects are likely searching for. Much like Google, LinkedIn is going to serve up the profiles that seem most relevant to its user’s searches.
- Tell them how to reach you. You should already have your contact information in the first section of your profile but include it again. Think of this as your call to action. All good sales and marketing writing tells the reader exactly what it wants them to do. In this case, you want them to connect with you. So make it easy.
- Include Skills and Endorsements. You have the ability to select skills and to subsequently be endorsed for those skills. This section is a great tool for highlighting your strengths, building relationships, and keyword optimizing your profile, so you definitely want to complete it. But keep the list short, and revisit it often. Don’t have any endorsements for a skill? If you’re unable to get one or two, it’s best to remove it. A best practice is to seek endorsements from experts and leaders in your field, not just your coworkers and friends (and definitely not from your parents or siblings, eek.)
- Get recommendations. Recommendations are like testimonials about you. Many people make the mistake of thinking recommendations are only important when seeking new employment, but nothing could be further from the truth. Your LinkedIn page is as much about building trust in you as it is your company, and social proof can go a long way. This is a give and take – start by writing recommendations for others. A little quid pro quo can go a long way in beefing up this section.
- Highlight your accomplishments. Tread lightly in the Honors & Awards, Projects, Publications, and Language sections of LinkedIn. If you don’t have anything relevant to include, it’s okay to leave these off your profile. But if you have achieved something that can benefit your prospects, then you want to include it here. Forego the little achievement awards and your personal blog posts here – save the space for the accomplishments that showcase just how well you can move the needle for your customers.
Optimizing your LinkedIn profile is only the first step to a successful social selling campaign. It’s a great tool, but it’s not going to do all the work for you. And while this isn’t an article about social selling or how to engage on social media, we have one final tip. On behalf of all professionals on LinkedIn who are being inundated by DM sales pitches: don’t be that person. Social selling is, by definition, the process of developing relationships on social media as part of the sales process. A direct message sales pitch, without any relationship-building first, is the equivalent of a skeezy one-liner. It only succeeds at alienating your potential customers.
Could your messaging be turning people off? We got you. Contact us today for a free marketing health report. We’ll show you exactly how your brand is showing up online. (Yep, we said free.)