It’s no secret LinkedIn is the place to be if you want to keep up to date with industry news, peers, and research.
It’s been dubbed the ‘professional social media platform’ and while it doesn’t have the dizzying numbers of Facebook or the pop of Instagram, LinkedIn really punches above its weight in regards to return on effort and in results it can generate for not for profits and social enterprises.
LinkedIn’s focus is on networking, learning and creating relationships and referrals based on shared interests.
It’s the digital version of in-person networking. Thanks to LinkedIn finding the right people to connect with has become exponentially faster, easier, and more laser-focused.
There are more than 690 million LinkedIn users around the world and 11 million Australians using the platform.
There are loads of articles, tutorials, and how-to’s online about ways to boost your LinkedIn prowess, but to get you started LinkedIn marketing strategist Jo Saunders has some great advice for anyone wanting to plump up their profile.
How to create an effective LinkedIn profile
Jo says if you want to up your LinkedIn game, there are seven areas of your LinkedIn profile to polish.
- Background Image
- Feature Block
Lead with a strong headline
The headline is the bit of text that sits directly under your name and is attached to your profile when people search you or hover over your image. Jo says it’s important because it’s used in-platform keyword searches and shows up in Google search results. Remember, you only have 120 characters so make it good! Jo’s formula for success = expertise + outcome + organisation name.
Add a background image
By default, LinkedIn adds a blue abstract design here but that’s just a placeholder! You can use this space to tell people more about you. Add an image that reflects your brand or use Canva to create a custom design that shares your personal values.
Share your story
Use the About section of your profile to tell your story and connect people to your ‘why’. Jo says the best profile’s share information about them while showcasing how their passion intersects with the organisation where they work. Jo suggests using the three Vs here – Values, Vision and Voice. And her top tip is to dump the corporate ‘safe’ speak. “Find your voice and use it. Yes, you should be professional but make it personal,” she says. “Tell people why you are credible. Celebrate your wins and invite others to engage with you.”
New Section – Features
LinkedIn recently rolled out ‘Features’ which sits at the top of your profile. Here you can highlight articles, posts and links to make it easier for people to find out more about you. So, if you’ve featured in media – link to the article. If you’ve written a great value-add post in-platform – link to it!
Make sure you’re contactable
Make it easy for people to get in touch by filling out this section with your mobile number and email address. “Don’t restrict how someone can reach you,” Jo says. “But if you’re someone who doesn’t like talking on the phone, leave off your number but make sure you add your email.”
Experience over resume
Jo says this section is a great place tell your back story but it needs to be more than a resume. “Focus on the difference you made in your roles – flesh out those transferable skills, detail the metrics and the impact you’ve had.” Jo also suggests expanding job titles to add context. “Don’t be restricted to your job description – share what you do and where you’ve had impact.”
Ask for recommendations
Jo says two or three recommendations will round out your profile – but update these regularly. Jo’s top tip when asking for recommendations is to include a framework with the ask. “Don’t just send a generic request for a recommendation – get specific for example, how did our organisation make an impact; what did you like about our service delivery?”
Jo says LinkedIn offers a great opportunity for not-for-profits and cause-based organisations to share their impact stories and connect with people. “Remember, LinkedIn is not just a place to add your resume, it’s an online network, it’s a publishing platform, it’s a place to get your company out there.”
Once you’ve dusted off your LinkedIn profile and re-jigged it using Jo’s top tips make sure you start using LinkedIn to grow your networks!
“Engage with other people,” Jo says. “Raise the visibility of your profile by adding comments and reacting to other people’s content.”
Want to listen to the full interview with LinkedIn expert Jo Saunders? Download the episode on our Change the World podcast!