Consider this: LinkedIn now boasts more than 70 million members. Unfortunately, many advisers still believe that LinkedIn is just a site for posting a resume and looking for a job. While this may be true, it is also a powerful networking tool that can have a significant impact your bottom line.
So why should you get active on LinkedIn? Because the average LinkedIn user may be your ideal client. According to LinkedStrategies.com, LinkedIn users are 64% male; 80% are college graduates or have a graduate degree. They have an average income of $109,703, and 24% have a portfolio in excess of $250,000.
Getting active on LinkedIn starts with building your profile. Here are nine ways to build a solid LinkedIn profile.
1. Fill out your profile completely
This might sound obvious, but not completing your profile is a common oversight. A partially completed profile can cause viewers to lose interest and chip away at your credibility. Incomplete profiles lead to incomplete networking. To complete your profile, explain your complete expertise, specialties and experience; proofread; add a picture; and make and solicit at least four recommendations.
2. Create a vanity URL
Claim your own LinkedIn vanity URL, (www.linkedin.com/yourname) to enhance your name recognition. This can be done from within your profile settings.
3. Speak in your own voice
Your LinkedIn profile is often one of the first ways new contacts and potential clients learn about you. Many LinkedIn profiles are as exciting to read as resumes. Use the Summary area to explain, beyond a resume-style list, your professional mission, background and experience in your own words. The Specialties area is a great place to highlight special skills, areas of expertise and offerings like workshops.
4. Implement keywords
People often find your LinkedIn profile in the top results of Google searches. Adding keywords to five areas of your profile will help you come up in LinkedIn industry and expert searches as well as broader web searches: your Profile headline, Current Experience; Past Experience; Summary, and Specialties.
5. Allow incoming ‘InMail’
Make sure you choose to accept incoming communication from fellow LinkedIn users. Go to the settings section of your profile to update your contact settings and ensure others can reach out to you.
6. Make your profile public
Make sure your profile is public, which means it is searchable by non-LinkedIn users. Your public profile displays your name, title, location, and industry. On your profile page, click Public Profile Settings on the right hand side. Click “Make my public profile visible to everyone,” which will boost your search engine visibility and help people find you online.
7. Add descriptive website links
Customize the links to your website and blogs on your profile page. Initially, they will come up as generic links to My Blog and My Company. By using descriptive words, such as naming your blog “Financial Advice and Tips,” you will attract more clicks. To create custom headlines for your website or blog, click on the “edit” button next to one of the websites, then choose “Other” to describe the URL.
8. Make connections
The more connections you have, the more people will have access to your profile. Look for current and past colleagues, clients and classmates as a start. Then see who they know that you might know or be introduced to and build your connections from there.
9. Social media icon
Include a LinkedIn social media icon on your website that connects directly to your LinkedIn profile. This will allow visitors to your website to quickly and easily connect with you on LinkedIn.
LinkedIn is a fast-growing social media resource that shouldn’t be overlooked. But there is no point in setting up a profile if it’s not done right.
TJ Gilsenan is the president and founder of The Interactive Advisor website.
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