LinkedIn is the professional social media platform and it’s critically important for people who are transitioning to a new kind of work, starting a business, or returning to work following a career pause to be on it. It has been said, that if you’re not on LinkedIn, you do not exist from a professional POV. Harsh? Maybe, yet it’s the CEO platform of choice and 93% of recruiters are utilizing it, so harness this super tool through which you can:
- Reposition yourself for today’s marketplace and job opportunities
- Proactively build, manage and promote your renewed professional brand
- Tap into and expand fruitful professional networks with your revised goals in mind
- Identify partnership synergies and business opportunities to prospect, and
- Learn from thought leaders, members, groups, and companies
Maximizing the value of LinkedIn requires commitment; and contributing to conversations relevant to your sector, engaging with current and new connections, and revising your profile to reflect added skills, achievements and other newsworthy information meaningful to your audiences. By doing this, you will better ensure you will attract and hold the positive attention of the right people who can contribute to your future success, and provide real value to the community.
- Profile Headshot
- Background Banner
- Intro Info
- Contact and Personal Info
In this Part 2 post, I finish off our “Above the Fold” audit and growth hack by exploring the professional branding potential in the remaining three sections:
- Highlights (mutual connections and mutual groups)
- Articles and Activity
- Summary: the first two lines
When I scan LinkedIn profiles, this section, dotted with a few friendly faces, is one I frequently overlook as I habitually head toward basic info, headlines, and summaries. That’s a mistake. The “Highlights” section is a networking goldmine worth my while.
LinkedIn does the hard work of uncovering mutual connections I already have with the people I’m reviewing, making it easier to ask my closest connections for help with an introduction.
Or, with the additional context of shared groups, I can invite the person to cold connect in a more informed, respectful, and human way.
Articles and Activity
During the intensive ReBoot Accel Career Accelerators
, one of the first assignments we give participants is to start reading their LinkedIn newsfeed every day. This is helpful for many reasons:
- It familiarizes you to the language and current conversations going on in your industry
- It helps you identify thought leaders and other individuals you can ‘follow’ to learn more from, with the possibility of connecting and engaging in the future
- It can provide a steady stream of valuable content you can curate and share through other channels, providing your customers and followers value and reinforcing your personal brand
- And it helps you locate where your voice and unique contributions may fit into today’s marketplace and your chosen industry
When in job search, professional transition or business building modes, it is important to demonstrate subject expertise and build current professional credibility. Cultivating an active engaged presence on LinkedIn is one way to do this.
If a recruiter or prospective customer finds you regularly contributing valuable ideas and original content in conversations important to them, they will be more likely to form a positive impression about how you might add value to their company and be a solution to their business problems.
How does engagement work? There are at least five levels of engagement available to you and I’ve listed them in order of least to most effort, and from least personal endorsement to most.
- ‘Like’: indicates you’ve read and positively responded to the headline and some or all of the content of someone else’s post.
- ‘Comment’: you’ve read and thought about someone else’s post and you would like to contribute your expertise and perspective to the conversation.
- ‘Share’: you’ve ‘liked’, have ‘commented’, and think this post would be valuable to your connections so you share it with them, adding a quality comment about why.
- ‘Post’: you’ve discovered (and read thoroughly) an article elsewhere and want to share it with your connections by posting it to your timeline; with a value-add comment to help start a conversation on LinkedIn.
- ‘Publish’: You’ve authored an article (original content) reflecting your expertise and unique perspective on a particular subject. This is the highest form of engagement and contribution and requires the most amount of effort. If it gets traction, you’ve reached the holy grail in personal branding on LinkedIn. Congrats!
Last, remember your engagement is tracked, categorized and posted “above the fold” in the Articles and Activity section. If you are trying to move ahead in your career or business, you want viewers to see that you are a regular and quality contributor.
Summary: The First Two Lines
Only two lines of your (up to) 2000 character “Summary” are revealed above the fold on a laptop view of your LinkedIn profile. Less on mobile devices. Therefore, you’ll need to grab the attention of your target audience with a bold, distinct, benefit-oriented statement that uses keywords from their business language.
- Laptop: “Jen McClure is one of the original authorities on digital and social media. More than a decade ago, she anticipated the significant impact that these technologies would have on business, media, culture, and…see more”
- Mobile: “Jen McClure is one of the original authorities on digital and social media. More than a decade a…”
Note the drama, unique personal positioning, and SEO keywords Jen uses: “original” “authority/ies” “digital and social media” “more than a decade ago she anticipated…”. Combine that with her headline (below in screenshot) and there is no doubt in my mind that she is a deep subject expert that I want and need to know.
Take Note: Jen chose to write her summary in 3rd person, 2017 best business practice on LinkedIn is writing your summary in the first person. As with many things, change is a constant, and personal style and choice factor in.
Crafting lines that will get attention and impel a click through to “see more”, will take research, soul searching, feedback from others, many revisions, and some courage. But remember, everyone struggles with this and you can revise any part of your LinkedIn profile when inspiration strikes or as you evolve.
Good luck and get LinkedIn!
is VP of Marketing at ReBoot Accel
and teaches social media, personal branding, and how to develop an elevator pitch that delivers desired results. She recently taught an “Above the Fold” LinkedIn Growth Hack session for ReBoot Connect Silicon Valley
. Here is Installment #2 (of two) of Beth’s top tips for how to audit and growth hack your way to a great first LinkedIn impression, including “Take Note”s: special advice for those returning to their career or pivoting to a new kind of work. For PART ONE of this two-part series, click HERE