If you are looking to generate leads through social networking, having a killer LinkedIn profile is the way to go. Studies prove that LinkedIn gathers 277% more leads than Facebook. But in order to be successful, you need to be found. Here is how to build a LinkedIn profile that Google, and your potential leads, will love.
When I am browsing through profiles on LinkedIn, I am always amazed at the number of incomplete LinkedIn profiles, by users who are clearly there because they want new leads. But their profiles are screaming “ignore me”.
LinkedIn is a business social network, so you need to treat the time you spend there as a business. That means stay away from the pictures of puppies surfing, or photo's of you surrounded by empty bottles of beer and passed out party goers. But I digress, let’s get down to business.
Add a LinkedIn Profile Photo
Speaking of photo's, I think it is important to have a LinkedIn Profile photo. When I see that generic outline image, my first thought is incomplete profile, or someone who is trying to hide. I get the need for privacy, but if you want to be private, maybe social networks are not the place for you. You need to be found in order to gather leads. Now, just because LinkedIn is a business social network doesn't mean you need to stick with a boring head-shot like everyone else. Feel free to stand out from the crowd, just don't present an image that will turn off your potential clients or show you in an unprofessional light.
Craft a Powerful Keyword Rich Headline.
Which headline would be more likely to catch your eye?
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You want your headline to tell readers exactly what you do in a catchy and / or unique way. Feel free to be witty or funny, just keep in mind you want to portray a professional image, so how witty you can be definitely depends on your business.
I am not sure how successful a lawyer would be with a headline like “Ambulance Chaser Extraordinaire” But then again, who knows.
You also want to make sure your headline contains keywords that people searching for you would be looking for. This could be your title, or what it is that you do.
Be Complete in Your Personal Information
First of all, a warning. This information is publicly available, so you don't want anything there that you wouldn't want your neighbor knowing about you. Only you can decide what you do, and do not want to be available and public. But the more information you have, the more likely you are to be found.
Be Keyword Focused in About and Other LinkedIn Profile “Free Form Boxes”
LinkedIn is full of text boxes that you can type anything into. These include About You, Summary, Job Descriptions and More. Use these text boxes to focus on keyword that people looking for your product or service are typing into the search bar of Google and other search engines, including LinkedIn's own search.
But, don't overdo it here. Google does not like keyword stuffing, so make the profile sound natural and easy to read. It’s more important that your write these information boxes for readers, not the search engines.
Put in Links to Your Website, Blog and Social Profiles
On your personal profile, you are going to notice there are 3 spots where you can add links. By default these are labeled as Company Website, Blog and Other.
First of all, you want to take the opportunity to use all of these. It gives link love back to your website, blog and / or social media profile. In addition though, many people don't realize that you can change what these are called. You want to change them to be keyword focused and descriptive.
By changing these, you get 2 benefits. First, the link love you give to your website tells Google what those websites are about, which makes that love more powerful. Next, Google considers link text on your page as a factor in what your LinkedIn profile page is about, so once again, it makes you easier to find.
Recommendations from other LinkedIn users act as social proof for readers of your profile and for the search engines. You should aim to have at least a few recommendations. And a few more won't hurt.
The 2 easiest ways to get recommendations are:
- Give recommendations. People who you give a recommendation to are more likely to give you one back due to the power of reciprocity (people are more willing or even compelled to do something for you, if you have done something for them)
- Ask For Them. LinkedIn has a feature that allows you to ask for recommendations, so go for it.
Shoot for LinkedIn Profile Completeness
I have mentioned it before, but the more complete your profile, the easier it will be for people to find you. This includes education and work experience. Each company or school you add gives you more opportunities to find old connections. The more people that find you, the more connections you can build. The more connections you build, the more people can find you, so it builds on itself
Make Your LinkedIn Profile Public with a Vanity URL
By this point you have probably realized that privacy and lead generation do not go hand in hand. So make your LinkedIn profile public. If it is not public, all of your keyword focused information is not available to the search engines, has been a waste of time, and you won't get found. That’s fine if you are looking to stay private. But you can forget lead generation, so what’s the point?
Also, you should get a LinkedIn Vanity URL. It is best to use your name here. If your name is already taken, use your name and an initial. Or, you can use your name and Title: GlenKowalskiInboundMarketing or JoeSmithElephantWrestler.
Search engines like Google will take those into account, so if your name is there, it makes you easier to find.
The most important steps to building your killer LinkedIn profile are completeness, keyword focus, uniqueness and professionalism. If you have those in place, you are well on your way to using LinkedIn as a top notch lead generation machine.
In future blog posts, I will discuss more detail on using your LinkedIn account to actually generate more leads.
If you don't already have a LinkedIn profile, what’s stopping you? Remember, it produces 277% more leads than Facebook, so go out there and do it. It’s free.
And then make sure your profile is complete and follows the steps above. Also, why not view our free Social Media for Small Business Webinar, to learn more about using Social media networks like LinkedIn for lead generation for your small business.
LinkedIn is the grand daddy of business social networks, with over 170 million profiles. If you own a business, but you are not on LinkedIn, you are leaving serious lead generation opportunities un-tapped. Build your Killer LinkedIn Profile that Google will love starting today.