Properly setting up your social networking tools for business is essential to effectively attracting new customers online. Before you can use LinkedIn as a business referral networking and referral marketing tool you need to master the basics and ensure your individual user profile is set up correctly. This is an important step because search engines and Linkedin’s own search function use the information you provide on your profile to return results on search results pages. For this reason having an incomplete profile is almost as bad as not having one at all.
Basic Steps for Completing Your LinkedIn Profile
There are seven basic steps to completing your LinkedIn profile. To start the process you must create an account if you don’t have one already. Once you have created your account go to the “Profile” menu at the top of your LinkedIn home page. Click on “Edit Profile” to begin:
Full Name and Picture.
This sounds simple enough, but endless LinkedIn users fail to provide their full name and picture. Your first and last name help people find you. Research confirms that profiles (not just on LinkedIn, but everywhere) without a picture are viewed far less than profiles with a picture. Pictures help people connect, build relationships and develop trust.
Customize your “Professional Headline”. This is where you tell people what you do. Keep this section short and simple. Think of this section as the place to put all the keywords that descried what you do and people would use to search for your products and services online.
It is important to understand that LinkedIn not only has its own search function, but has parts that are also indexed by the major search engines. As a result the “keywords” you use in your “Professional Headline” should be used repeatedly throughout your profile. This will help ensure you are found when people search for those terms.
Work History. In this section you add more detail about your work history and experience. It is important to add your current position at the very least and fill in the information about that position. Don’t add educational history here, your educational history is placed in a different section.
Customize your “Public Profile” URL. From the “Edit Profile” page scroll down to the bottom of the shaded box until you see “Public Profile” with a link next to it. Click on the “edit” button to customize this URL. Customizing this link with a keyword that describes you or your business helps people find you.
Customize Your Website URL. From the “Edit Profile” page click “edit” next to “Websites”. Here you can not only edit your website information but you
can include your interests, groups and associations, and any honors and
awards. The drop down menu for adding a website lists options to describe the type of website it is. We recommend selecting “Other”. This will allow you to insert your own Title, so instead of a hyperlinked word that says “Blog,” it will be more specific, such as “How to Grow Your Business”.
Write a Summary. In this section you can further describe what you do. It is very important to use the same keywords in your summary as you have listed in your profile. At the bottom of the summary section is a section labeled “Specialties”. In this section list your specialties; again keep in mind your keywords.
Recommendations – You’ll notice a hyperlink under each position that
says, “Ask for recommendations.” Honest recommendations build credibility and trust. It is our philosophy that you should not request recommendations from people who are not really in a position to give you a recommendation. Give honest recommendations and ask for honest recommendations. Keep in mind here the old adage – what you do for others will come back to you ten fold in the future. Write recommendations for people you truly feel deserve your recommendation. Others will follow your example.
Add Applications – From the “More” menu on the top navigation bar select “Get More Applications”. From here you can add applications that connect your profile to your WordPress blog, polls and many other tools that will help attract and interact with visitors to your profile.
Using Groups – LinkedIn groups are very powerful for making contact and finding new people to invite into your personal network. This is an important feature to remember for two reasons: LinkedIn only permits any one individual to send out a certain number invitations to personally connect (currently I believe this number is 2000) and in order to personally connect you must have some prior connection IE as members of the same group or the email address of the person you want to invite to connect with you. Once you have reached your invitation limit you can’t invite anyone else to connect with you.
For learn more about using LinkedIn and more in-depth training.