Are you using LinkedIn to promote yourself and your business? LinkedIn is a business-oriented social networking website that currently has more than 414 million members worldwide. For many people, it’s an invaluable tool for researching and connecting with prospective clients, referral partners and vendors. Even if you don’t use LinkedIn on a daily basis, your profile should be up-to-date so that people who are searching for you know what you do, and know how to contact you.
Here are five ways you can improve your LinkedIn profile so it’s an effective marketing tool for you and your agency.
1) Complete the experience section of your profile. You don’t need to input your entire career history, but you should list your current position and describe what you do so that the people who are searching for you will want to work with you. If you have past positions that demonstrate your experience with a particular skill or industry, you may want to include those, too. For example, I was with a national insurance agency for two years before I started my own agency. I also worked with a high-profile voluntary benefits company for ten years prior to becoming an employee benefits broker. Those positions show that I have experience in the health insurance industry, so I included them in my profile.
2) Use a professional photo. Just having a photo in your Profile increases your number of views (and potential connections) ten-fold over a profile with no photo. But the photo should also be professional, and represent what potential clients, vendors and business partners would see if you were to meet them in person. I’m not suggesting that you have to have a professional photographer take your profile photo (although many people do), but select a photo that represents you as a professional. You want to look like someone that people want to do business with. Photos from the beach or a night out with friends probably don’t project the professional image that you want other people to have if you.
3) Use the professional headline to grab attention. The professional headline is the field in your profile that appears immediately after your name. When someone searches for you on LinkedIn, the search results will show your name, your professional headline, and the name of the company for which you currently work. It’s important to note that your professional headline is not the same as your title in the experience section of your profile. People typically enter the title of their current position (for example, President, COO, IT Manager) in this field, but it can be used for so much more. It’s your opportunity to grab people’s attention in 140 characters. For example, I had the honor of being named one of EBA’s Benefit Industry Trendsetters to Watch in 2016, so that’s the first thing people see in my professional headline. Note, too, that you can change this headline any time. It’s a great space for highlighting new accomplishments.
4) Include organizations, certifications and honors and awards. If you want to add more depth to your profile, consider adding information to some of the other sections. Organizations can include industry groups to which you belong. Certifications can include professional licenses and designations. Honors & awards can include outside recognition that validates your experience and leadership in your industry and community.
5) Make sure your contact information is current. Since LinkedIn is a tool for connecting, it’s important to include your current contact information so people know how to reach you. In your profile, there is a contact info section below your photo. Make sure that the information there is correct, and includes not only your professional email address, but your office and mobile phone numbers. I also highly recommend setting LinkedIn to email you when you get invitations, messages and other notifications from LinkedIn members. This will ensure that you know when someone is trying to connect with you. (You can update your communication settings by going to the Account & Settings > Privacy & Settings > Manage > Communications > Email Frequency.)
Even if you don’t use LinkedIn on a daily basis, it’s likely that some of the people you are doing business with are using LinkedIn to learn about you. Use these five easy tips to update your profile so that LinkedIn becomes another marketing tool for you and your agency.
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