This entry is part 1 of 2 in the series Build LinkedIn Influence

LinkedIn provides an incredible opportunity to build your personal influence in a business environment. Your LinkedIn influence begins and ends with your LinkedIn profile. However, completing your LinkedIn profile is critical. Only 50% of LinkedIn users have profiles that are 100% complete! By simply completing yours, you will be ahead of most!

According to LinkedIn:

Members with a complete profile are 40 times more likely to attract opportunities

Your LinkedIn profile is your professional identity today. LinkedIn owns the professional social networking market, and they are building the world's only economic graph! That means connecting people to opportunities based on their knowledge, skills, experiences, and networks.

If you leave your LinkedIn profile to chance you will never get results. That's why I advocate that you take control of this valuable professional asset and leverage it for all that it's worth!

A completed LinkedIn profile achieves the status of ‘All-Star'. I want to help you achieve that status. Why? Because you will attract more opportunities. However, not all opportunities are created equal.

If you want to attract the right people and opportunities to your LinkedIn profile…

Design your LinkedIn profile with your ideal client or customer in mind

The information you put into your LinkedIn profile should be relevant to exactly who it is that you want to work with. That means some of your knowledge, skills, and experience may not be as important to showcase!

The more precise you are with your LinkedIn profile language and content, the more likely you are to attract your ideal clients or customers.

Before I share my 10 steps to a more profitable LinkedIn profile with you, remember this:

Don't expect to create a robust LinkedIn profile in an hour, or even a day. Spend quality time on this. Research other people's profiles that you admire and respect. Read my #1 Amazon Best Seller, LinkedIn Influence, where I dedicate an entire chapter to building your profile.

Do your homework! LinkedIn is consistently updating its profile capabilities and I can tell you that it pays to keep up.

Below are 10 important steps you can take in order to create a more profitable LinkedIn profile.

10 Steps to a More Profitable LinkedIn Profile

1. Put Your Best Face Forward

When you show your smiling face on LinkedIn through your profile image, will can receive 14 times more profile views! Your LinkedIn profile image should be a current, professional, and friendly headshot. Put your best face forward for that potential client or customer you have yet to meet.

Hire a professional photographer who won’t charge you an arm and a leg, but will deliver a professional image of you.

Smile! There was a time when I had a very serious, intense picture of myself on my profile until I realized this made me seem less approachable. What a difference a smile can make!

Look straight ahead. Show your eyes as if you are looking at your visitor. Just as you would make eye contact meeting somebody in person, the same applies here. This builds trust from the get-go.

Update your image. I recommend updating your profile picture every couple of years so you will be recognizable when you meet your connection in person.

Add a banner image. Did you know you can add a custom image to serve as the background at the top of your LinkedIn profile? This is a great way to differentiate your profile make it more memorable (image dimensions are 1400 x 425)

2. Craft a Compelling Headline Statement

Your headline statement can serve as a very important client attraction tool as well. You have 120 characters to work with and every word you use can have an impact on how you are found on LinkedIn. 

Optimize your LinkedIn headline statement by describing what you are known for (or what you do) and whom you serve. Remember, when you serve everyone, you serve no one. 

Consider adding a personal tidbit if you have the space. When you include a personal tidbit in your headline statement, you become more personable

Hint: (Set the “Notify Your Network” setting to No so that others will not be alerted every time you modify your profile).

3. Use Keywords in Your Profile Where They Count

Keywords can help you get found in LinkedIn searches. Always choose keywords that your clients and customers would use to describe you. Stay away from industry jargon.

Consider 3 sections of your profile for keywordsyour headline, your LinkedIn summary, and your current and past work experience. Always use keywords your customers and clients would use to describe you and stay away from industry jargon.

As soon as I published my new book, I added the keyword ‘author' to these areas of my LinkedIn profile. Within a day my profile was generating views from media publishers and professionals!

Keywords can help give you that added boost for attracting the right people to your profile.

4. Customize Your LinkedIn Profile URL

If possible, you will want to use your full name for your profile URL. Grab your name on LinkedIn so your profile URL matches your personal brand (for example, my URL is http://www.linkedin.com/in/StephanieSammons, where the “Stephanie Sammons” part has been customized).

If you change your LinkedIn profile URL, make sure you update this link anywhere else it might be listed online! The old link will no longer work once it’s updated.

Want more profile views? Insert your profile link in your email signature and encourage people you communicate with there to connect with you on LinkedIn!

5. Update and Customize Your Profile Website Link Descriptions

This seems like a no-brainer, yet I'm surprised by how many people either don't have these links filled in, have outdated links, or don't customize their links.

LinkedIn gives you three customizable links for your profile where you can point people to more resources and information about you outside of LinkedIn!

If someone views your profile and becomes interested in learning more about you, they may click on the link to your website. Customize these link descriptions by using a short few words to describe the web links such as the name of your company or blog, or even a valuable giveaway such as a free guide or checklist.

For example, I use my top LinkedIn profile website link to point people to a free giveaway on my website.

6. Craft a Compelling LinkedIn Summary

Your LinkedIn summary is the centerpiece of your profile, where you get to share your message and tell your story. This is one of the most important sections of your profile. You have complete control over what you share in this space, and you have plenty of room to work with (2000 characters).

Sharing your core message in your LinkedIn profile summary is vital. But just as important is sharing your story and purpose. Write it in the first person and write it as if you are speaking directly to the viewer. This is how you make a personal connection.

Remember this: people don't care about what you have to offer until you make a connection with them first.

Revealing your personality, passion, and perspective in your LinkedIn summary is super important. This is how you make a connection!

Here are three additional questions to answer in LinkedIn profile summary: 

  1. What is the specific problem or challenge you help your ideal clients and customers solve?
  2. What is your solution? (otherwise known as your value)
  3. Who else have you helped in the same situation and how are they better off? 

Break up the paragraphs and sentences in your profile to make it easier to scan.

Be sure to insert the URL to your website at least once in your summary. Finally, don’t be afraid to continually make changes to your summary. Your message will likely evolve over time.

7. Showcase Your Work Experience

For your LinkedIn profile to be considered ‘complete', you need at least one current work position and two past positions listed.

The goal with the work experience section is to provide the roadmap and story of how you got to where you are today.

Showcase your most important and most relevant work as it pertains to what you are doing today in your current role. 

If you currently have more than one business, list them both! (The most recent will be featured more prominently)

8. List Your Educational Background to Expand Your Network

Listing your educational background on LinkedIn opens up a new connection opportunity. Most people don't think about this avenue and therefore they don't both listing all of their educational background.

You likely have the alumni datapoint in common with hundreds, or thousands of people on LinkedIn. It's a common connection point which makes it an easy way to cement a new 1st degree connection!

Spend some time using LinkedIn's alumni search. You can find people that you attended school with by city, company, job function, and skills. I've discovered all kinds of valuable people I went to school with using the ‘Find Alumni' search feature who live right here in my city of Dallas, Texas!

9. Collect and Showcase Your Endorsements

Online social proof can be very powerful in establishing your credibility these days. LinkedIn endorsements enhance your credibility. They serve as a visual display of your competency for specific skills.

You can choose up to fifty skills to be endorsed for, and your 1st degree connections can endorse you for any of these skills.

Earn LinkedIn endorsements by endorsing your 1st-degree connections liberally. It takes no time at all to go through and endorse a few of your 1st degree connections daily. 

99 endorsements for a single skill is the most that you can display. Stack each of your skills that have 99+ endorsements at the top of this section and showcase them prominently!

Make sure to select the skills that accurately reflect your experience and specialties. These are the ones you will earn endorsements for.

The skills that you choose to be endorsed for are also incorporated into LinkedIn’s search data, giving you the ability to get found in relevant search results for those skills. Simply listing your skills can increase your profile views by an average of 13 times.

10. Make a Human Connection through Rich Media Content

Rich media content (video, audio podcasts, images, presentations, e-books) can bring your LinkedIn profile to life. Use rich media to demonstrate your expertise more effectively and to deepen the connection with those who view your profile.

You can include rich media content in your LinkedIn “Summary” section and “Work Experience” sections of your profile. LinkedIn’s supported providers are:
  • Videos: YouTube or Vimeo
  • Slide presentations: SlideShare
  • Podcast episodes: SoundCloud

Certain media formats aren't compatible with LinkedIn's rich media embed tool. If you upload something that looks funny, this is likely the reason why.

If you want to showcase a pdf, for example, your best bet is to first upload to to your SlideShare account and add it to your LinkedIn profile from there. (SlideShare is owned by LinkedIn.)

If you are diligent about completing and optimizing your profile for that specific ideal client or customer you want to attract, it will become a magnet for your business.

Your LinkedIn profile truly is the gateway to attracting your ideal clients, building a powerful referral network, driving quality website traffic, and growing your personal influence. Improving your LinkedIn profile will improve your profits!

Build LinkedIn Influence! 9 Quick Tips

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