A better LinkedIn Profile for 2020 MCH
Your LinkedIn Profile is your digital calling card. Here are tips and resources to help it work as effectively as you do.
A better LinkedIn Profile for 2020
Top tips & resources to be more visible, legible and credible on LinkedIn in 2020...
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Specially created for you as a Delegate to the Improve your Profile Event held on 21st January 2020, Manchester
Download the presentation given on 21st January 2020 by Doctor LinkedIn David Petherick.
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Results of the interactive quiz that kicked off the event. (639Kb PDF)
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Tip #1: Don't bury the lead!
Get to the point with your LinkedIn headline. Don't just add your job title and employer name.
Use your headline to tell a story.
Your headline may be all that people notice on your profile.
You have a headline below your name on LinkedIn. The reason it's called a headline is because it comes at the top, and it's what people see and read first.
It also appears every time you make a comment or share something on LinkedIn. As a default, LinkedIn suggests that it's your current job title and company you use here.
Bad advice. Don't use that information in your headline.
Make it count. Write a good headline. Tell us what's in the story to follow.
Use your headline effectively
You have 120 characters to use in your headline. So there's plenty of room to add a few descriptive words that will interest people.
- Tip: You can currently add up to 220 characters in your headline. Used to be just 120. More room to tell stories.
Don't use the default that LinkedIn suggests; your job title and company. This information already appears on your profile - so you're just repeating yourself.
Use your headline to describe what you're good at, what value you deliver, and why it's worth reading your profile and connecting with you. Here's a simple formula: "[Job title]: helping X do Y."
Imagine it as a short introduction so that people want to know more. Don't include your email, phone or web address - this just makes you look pushy or plain desperate.
Don't fill it with hype
Avoid hyperbole, such as describing yourself as a Acknowledged Expert or being Results-Driven. Nobody believes that manure. You'll just come across as being arrogant, insecure, and self-involved.
Your headline is also important because it's heavily weighted relative to other information in any LinkedIn search - so why not use keywords that potential customers will search for, and find you with?
Add geography if it's relevant
You can include geographical indicators so that people can locate you in the areas you operate. 'Plumber in Edinburgh' is going to work better than just 'Plumber'.
- Tip: The text in your headline is also effective for searches in Google, Bing and other search engines. You can get quite spectacular first page search results on competitive search phrases from careful work here.
You can also include #hashtags that you use for your updates in your headline, for better visibility for all of your content across LinkedIn.
Remember your headline will still be truncated in different places in LinkedIn
There are at least two forms of your headline - one short version people see when they view your content, and the full version when they 'mouse over' your contributions on LinkedIn or view your profile.
Headline truncated. But it still 'scans' OK.
Mouseover a name to see full headline
Here are some examples where the headline does not work because of a cutoff:
- Business Development Consultant,...
- Development Team Lead / Project Manager at...
- EMEA Senior asset/procurement management...
- Director - Resources, Energy and...
- General Manager, Direct Channels at...
None of these headlines sells, tells or really says anything memorable, other than perhaps rather negatively implying that the subject of the headline has not really thought about how they present themselves to the world on LinkedIn.
The issue with these, and many examples on LinkedIn are that people are concentrating on getting their current job title in there as the first part of the headline.
Your job title is not your headline.
It's not the lead!
So wake up - use your headline to sell yourself to your readers!
Lead with the main story, and test it to make sure your headline makes sense (or at least intrigues) when it breaks at (currently) around 68 characters, and also works at its full length of up to 120.
And please use simple language. "Homo sapiens engages with canine" is not as good as "Man bites dog" when it comes down to getting attention!
The classic questions people want to know in the lead of a news story are who, what, where, why, when, and very often - how much? So make your headline do the same: introduce an interesting story.
Use your LinkedIn headline to introduce a story - and make the reader want to read the full story. And remember to check the spelling!
Fun fact: There are over 630,000 people with the job title 'Manger' on LinkedIn!
Tip #2: It's all about your 'About'
The 'about' section might just be the only part of your profile that gets read. <strong>Make it count...</strong>
First person, first item: Write an 'about' section.
Use your About section to include the essentials
The pivotal part of your LinkedIn Profile is the summary or 'about' section. It needs to be there. It may be the only part of your profile visitors read.
Don't omit it: You are more than just the summary of your job experience, so tell us your story here, above everything else on your profile. Give us your elevator pitch.
Use the first 220-230 characters or so creatively, because that's what people will see BEFORE they trouble to click on 'See more'.
A snappy summary opening can also make the difference as to whether visitors even bother to click, or read any further. If you don't grab their attention, they may simply not bother.
Your profile summary needs to tell the reader a concise story of you.
Who, what, why, when, and how much?
- What is your core area of expertise?
- What's your big passion outside of work?
- When did you make a major change in your career?
- Why do you specialise in that particular niche area of the market?
- What useful free information do you have to offer people?
- How can you solve my problems?
- Who have you solved problems for before?
- How can you save me money?
- Show me numbers!
- Who can vouch for this - who's recommended or published you?
Write in the first person singular - "I". Don't use the third person "David Petherick makes you visible, legible..." - it's anachronistic and pompous.
You are having a virtual conversation with someone one to one. Talk normally, and don't stuff your about section with cliches and jargon.
And remember you can also add media - slideshare presentations, PDF Documents, SoundCloud files, links to websites, landing pages or downloadable web resources. Use it.
Tip #3: <br/>Look good!
Your LinkedIn Profile photo should not be an afterthought. Invest in a professional headshot to show your best face to the world.
Look your best
The human brain processes images 42,000 times faster than text.
So your profile photo literally makes an instant impression, and it's processed by the lizard brain. That part of the brain is full of cognitive bias, primitive instincts and emotions.
Invest in a good profile photo - and find out how to choose the best photo to use on LinkedIn...
People connect with other people. So please don't be tempted to use your logo instead of your face. Apart from looking dumb, it's against LinkedIn's terms & conditions.
If your photograph is seen just 21 times a day online, you have 7,665 opportunities a year to make no impression, a bad impression, or a good impression, before you have even opened your mouth or anyone has read a word of what you have to say for yourself.
- That's 7,665 potential contacts.
- Or 7,665 potential customers.
- Or 7,665 potential advocates.
- Or 7,665 people ignoring you completely.
Which photo should I use on LinkedIn?
Aside from the many aesthetic considerations like the quality and size of the image, the lighting, way you dress, the background focus and colour, and the way it's cropped, there's still usually a crucial decision to be made - which photo portrays me best?
Which image conveys my personality and character most effectively to the outside world? Asking friends, family and work colleagues to select the 'best' image of you may throw up all kinds of contradictory signals - and those that know you best are often not the most objective critics.
So, crowdsource it...
Step 1: Choose two or three headshots you feel best portray you, and have them loaded onto your computer ready to upload.
Step 2: Sign up for a free account at PhotoFeeler.com where you can choose either to buy credits with a fast-track paid option, or, by voting on other people's photos, you gain credits to use the free service.
Step 3: Upload your photos and submit them for human beings to vote on, and to appraise your photos.
Then, just listen to the wisdom of the crowd.
The photo on the right says I'm only 11% likable.
I found that my preferred photo (also preferred by my wife) was not the one best rated on Photofeeler.
So the photo I chose for my profile (before I grew a beard) was the one that the crowd liked best - not my choice. I'll take 39% more lik(e)able over a 3% increase in influence any day.
Check your photo's visibility
Once you've uploaded your photo, it's important to remember that you can set options to control who can see your image. Click the visibility icon as shown below.
Check settings (Click to zoom)
Nobody feels confident connecting to an anonymous image, so it's worth remembering that for making new connections, it's considerably more effective to have your profile photo show - so make it at least visible to LinkedIn Members.
I choose to have my photo visible also to search engines and other services.
Remember that you can also adjust your photo to zoom in and crop it, and to adjust contrast, saturation and colour if needed.
I am not a big fan of LinkedIn's filters, but you can use these to enhance an image that perhaps lacks impact otherwise. You can even straighten photos where the horizon is off kilter, or see if you can get more profile hits with your face upside down.
Tip #4: Show me the benefits
Don't tell me you sell shoe polish. Tell me you'll save me 26% more, and make my shoes last 3 months longer.
What's in it for me to do business with you?
Don't say that you sell great shoe polish.
Tell me “I can save you 22.6% on your shoe polish costs, and make your shoes last 3 months longer.”
Ok, so you may not be in the shoe polish business, but my point here is that you need to sell people on the specific benefits you offer - and the more specific you can be, the better.
People want to hear about benefits, not features. Show me why it makes life better for me.
I can save you 22.6% on your shoe polish costs, and make your shoes last 3 months longer.
Talk about benefits on LinkedIn
- 85mm x 55mm x 2mm
- Pink or Green
- USB Docking
- Smaller than a credit card to allow you to take it anywhere
- Pink or Green colour to match your style and complement your outfit
- Rechargeable battery - good for the environment, and good for your pocket, with fast 'drop and forget' recharging by just connecting to any USB port
You need to tune in to
Radio WII FM
There's a radio station everyone listens to: Radio WII FM. That's Radio 'What's in it for me?'.
That's a station everyone tunes into. I want to know what you can do that will help me solve the problem I have right now. So - what's in it for me?
And do remember, you are selling to me, one person, not “people like me.” Address me as an individual.
Get to the point about the benefits quickly
I want to hear how a LinkedIn profile surgery will power visibility and business development, make me look better, connect better, and bring me more business or get me a new job with 40% more money.
I want to know exactly how much money I can keep in my pocket every month if I save 22.6% on my shoe polish.
Poll: Do you show benefits on your LinkedIn Profile?
- Yes, I do.
- No, it's mainly features
I want specifics.
Stories always work well
Tell me a story about an instance where you really did your stuff. Or even better than that, have a customer tell the story of how you helped them.
Where you can't readily come up with a list of benefits, link them to features with the magic phrase “which means”.
For example: “24 hour service - which means the last-minute inclusions for your conference pack can still arrive up to 8pm, but we can deliver packs to you at 6am the next morning for distribution to delegates on arrival.”
Tell me why it will benefit me to do business with you - precisely, exactly, measurably, and specifically.
If possible, add an example, testimonial or a recommendation from a real person who is also on LinkedIn.
“David wants his clients to be the best they can be, and to be seen as such. He is thorough and incredibly knowledgeable about LinkedIn. He is creative and acutely focused on finding his client's unique descriptors that have relevance for the intended audience. Since David made over my profile, not only have I been noticed more, but I have been commended on its appropriateness.” - Marc Dhalluin
Tell me why it will benefit me to do business with you - precisely, exactly, measurably, and specifically.
Tip #5: <br/>Talk to me!
Use video or audio on your profile to tell your story and convince & convert
Use sound or video in your profile
It's good to talk. And good to listen.
I am lazy and prone to distraction. My eyes get tired looking at computer screens, and my attention span is shorter than a goldfish.
I'll give your profile only partial attention - a text message may distract me, or twitter might pop up with something that mentions me, skype rings... it's easy to get distracted.
So why not tell me a little story - literally?
Talk to me. Use video or sound.
Record a short message that tells me what you offer, and how I can benefit from it, and what I need to do to get it.
Some people do not “get it” when they read something - they need to hear a voice or see your face to understand how you can help them.
And humans connect at a primal level with the sound of another human voice. That's why they like using the phone, zoom, or skype.
So if you don't ever speak to them… they won't ever really know about you.
Start with SoundCloud
Setting up a Soundcloud account is a two minute task. Adding the app to your phone is about as complicated - which is to say, simple. Then you can record your personal statement.
You may need to edit any recording, and for PC or Mac owners, an excellent free resource for recording and editing your sound files is Audacity - or with a Mac, you can also use Garageband. On my iPhone, I use AudioCopy, which is simple, flexible and free, and uploads files straight to SoundCloud.
How do I get sound onto my profile?
To embed the media into your profile, add it as a link to your 'About' section or the relevant job in your Experience section. Simply copy the URL from SoundCloud, and then paste it in as a Link. Done.
Visitors to your profile can then just click on the image produced on your profile, and can then listen to your recording without ever leaving your LinkedIn profile page.
What about video?
You can use video in the same way: Upload it in the same way with a link to the YouTube or Vimeo URL.
You can also now upload video as an update into your timeline, and there's a native LinkedIn Video option in their app for your smartphone.
LinkedIn are currently rolling out the option to 'Go Live' and stream live video.
I still think amateur video is dangerous for your image.
If you're going to use video, get the lighting, background, sound quality and editing done to the highest standard - otherwise you just let yourself down.
I'm never convinced by someone telling me how to make a six figure income when they are sitting parked up in their car. Don't do this.
Best of all, get a professional videographer to work with you to create a truly accomplished video, in an appropriate setting, lit well, with quality sound and professionally produced captions.
Tip 5: Use recommendations effectively
Tip #6: Use recommendations effectively
You are biased. Other people saying you are good is more convincing than you saying it...
The power of recommendations:
How to give them, and how to ask for them:
What you say on your LinkedIn Profile is biased.
You always praise yourself. I can't really believe your claims, because I simply don't know you yet. All the same, I know you are going to be biased. After all, you're talking about your favourite subject - yourself!
However, when I see a photo of your customer telling me how your service or skills specifically benefited them, and I see what they do, where they are, what their name and job title is, and can follow a link to their profile, THEN I can really believe it.
Recommendations for David Petherick
How do you get recommendations?
Well, they don't often come out of the blue in LinkedIn.
Try this - ask for them from your customers. Say “I want to add a credible recommendation to my online profile so that people can see the real benefits that I deliver. Would you please add your recommendation?”
The worse that might happen is someone might say no, or just ignore you. So you can ask someone else.
Of course, the way to get recommendations is to give them first.
1: Here's how to give a recommendation:
Visit the profile of the connection to whom you want to give a recommendation. (You have to be connected on LinkedIn to give or receive a recommendation.)
Click the little three-dots menu to the right of their profile picture, and select 'Recommend (name)' - it's self explanatory after that.
2: How to ask for a recommendation:
The step above also leads you to where you can ask for a recommendation.
The steps to give, or ask for a recommendation, are very clear and self-explanatory, and you can keep a record of people you have asked for recommendations and send them reminders if needed.
You can visit their profile, or click on 'Ask for a recommendation' when managing your recommendations.
If you don't ask, you don't get.
Why are recommendations important?
The power of recommendations is that it's not you talking about yourself - it's what other people are saying. In a word, it's credibility, because it's some else's opinion.
It's worth asking people to be very specific and precise in their recommendation, and to do the same when you give recommendations.
Remind them of the project you worked on and see if you can get them to focus on the results - the benefits.
"David is a great guy to work with"
That's pretty vague. It's not as impressive as -
"David is super friendly and efficient, and explains the technical stuff effectively. He delivers on what he promises. His PPC strategy allowed us to lift our click-through-rate by 129% in a month, reduce spend by 39%, but still increase website traffic by 8.7%"
So be specific about the impact working with someone has, and include measurable facts and figures in a recommendation if you can.
Ask them to do the same when requesting a recommendation.
How do I get started?
It's easy to start - go and recommend someone who impressed you today. What goes around, comes around.
“92% of respondents reported that a positive recommendation from a friend, family member, or someone they trust is the biggest influence on whether they buy a product or service.”
Paul M Rand
Tip #7: Be human...
Don't tell me you are a results-focused professional. Tell me stories and use natural language...
Be human in your profile.
Tell me about yourself. And talk to me as an individual.
I may be interested in the fact that you like scuba diving and cricket. Then again I may not.
I may have a lifetime of loathing for Arsenal FC, but at least I can start a conversation with you a little more easily now that I know you support them, or send you an appropriate message when your team wins (or loses) the league.
Your love of horses, funk music or fine wines is something I may not share - but it can certainly be the starting point for a conversation.
When I read your profile, I don't want to just learn about your business, and how ace you are at that thing you do.
I want to feel I have had the equivalent of a chat over a cup of coffee with you, or perhaps a drink or two, and have got to know you a little.
An important part of the job your LinkedIn profile has to do is to act as the starting point for a conversation. The more you give people to talk about, the more chance there is of sparking a conversation.
I'm interested in, for example:
- French, Spanish, Italian and Indian Cooking.
- 20th Century & contemporary literature.
- Catalan history.
- Scottish history.
- Formula 1.
Plenty of topics there to spark a conversation, aren't there?
People buy people - don't disappoint them
People buy people, whatever their business is. And if you're not a person people want to buy into, you are making things difficult for yourself. So talk about yourself, and let people know about your enthusiasms and passions.
Be you. Be interesting, and interested.
Be human. Then people will want to connect.
Tip #8: <br/>Be surprising
Do you want to do business with the dullest person in the world? <strong>Nope, me either...</strong>
Add something a little unexpected in your profile.
Are you the dullest person in the world?
No, didn't think so.
Do you want to do business with the dullest people on the planet?
No. Neither do I.
So - add the odd twist, touch of humour, a small diversion or excursion to somewhere we didn't expect to go in your LinkedIn Profile.
- Tell us that you learned Russian when you were 12, and once opened the fuselage door of a TU-154 in Saint Petersburg when the ground crew could not.
- You travelled at the age of 16 with an orchestra of teenagers as the orchestra manager and made a photo documentary with over 500 slides and sound recordings of them doing gigs in front of ecstatic audiences in the Salone dei Cinquecento in the Palazzo Vecchio in Florence, and rounding off the Redentore Festival in Venice.
- Tell us that you once put in the two fastest laps of the day when racing against a professional go-kart driver - and that was with a brutal hangover.
- You once drove to Biarritz to "run-in" a Mazda MX-5, and played Chemical Brothers very loudly as you drove around the Arc d' Triomphe several times at midnight after dining with Samuel Beckett's publisher.
- That in 1994 you sold a painting for £1800 by a then largely unknown Russian artist to Peter Ustinov after an hour's swapping stories...
LuLu and I at the Robert the Bruce film world premiere after-party
These are all things you might not expect, but they are all true, and they are all true of me, David Petherick.
Add something unexpected to your profile. Add something that's not necessarily anything to do with business, but more to do with fun, a story, a wink and a smile.
Don't be plain vanilla.
Tip #9: Talk to Strangers
Ask peers or connections for feedback when you update your profile...
Talk to strangers.
Don't ever be tempted to write your profile in the third person. It makes you sound pompous and distant.
Say "I am David Petherick", not "David Petherick is..." and talk to the individual who is reading your page, someone who is just your kind of customer.
Imagine you are speaking to a friend - write as if you are talking to that friend, one to one.
Ask for advice when you update your profile
Once you've written a draft of your profile, try asking someone who does not really know your "business persona" to assess it - perhaps a family member - or ask a connection on LinkedIn by emailing it to them.
The objective feedback they give will help you to improve your profile, and you will also pick up on areas where you have not explained things clearly. They also may spot some typos or grammar errors!
Other people, if asked to give an honest assessment, will quickly spot gaps and pick up on unclear, cliched or redundant phrases. They will spot when you are faking it or talking in ManagementSpeak Gobbledygook BS.
If nobody else wants to give you feedback, I will!
Just follow me, David Petherick or connect on LinkedIn and ping me a message there or via Twitter @petherick.
My email is email@example.com - I'll give you a free 10-minute assessment of your profile's strengths and weaknesses and send them to you.
Get someone whose judgement you value to check over things for you on your profile, because if it does not make sense to them at one reading, it needs more work.
Tip #10: Call to Action
Tell people what action you want them to take next. Or they won't take any action...
Ask people to do something specific on your profile.
Ask them to take action.
If you do not have a call to action, then people will not take that action, will not contact you, and you can't make friends or do business.
Tell people what you want them to do next - and not just in text at the end of your about section. You can repeat yourself for emphasis.
- BOOK A CALL with David Petherick now for a FREE 10-minute analysis of your Profile at mzs.es/free
Book a free call now...
- THANK ME for providing these Ten Top Tips by buying me a drink for a few pounds at mzs.es/bar
- Visit doc.scot for details of my professional services.
You get the idea. Call for the action.
If you do not have a call to action, then people do not take action. On LinkedIn, you can't make friends or do business if people don't take action.
Tell people what you want them to do next.
Explain why it is a good idea. Then, they just might take that action.
But make sure you make it easy - don't say 'email me' without providing the address right there, or 'call me' without putting the number or the skype link right there.
Don't make people search for the next step, make them click away, or take them elsewhere on the page. Get on with it right away.
- Tip: Add links that have specific end results such as a free download or booking to your profile Featured or Experience sections.
Add links as Calls to Action
<strong>Bonus Tip</strong>: Your 5-a-Day Diet
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