Optimize Your LinkedIn Profile for Business Growth and Professional Networking
by Jaemi Allen
ARTICLE | September 21, 2023
As the business landscape grows increasingly digital, mastering social media, specifically LinkedIn, is no longer a matter of choice but a strategic imperative. A solid LinkedIn profile can serve as your professional ambassador, allowing you to connect with prospective clients and business partners, even when you’re not actively working.
LinkedIn is more than just a career hub – it’s a platform where you can cultivate your personal brand, promote your business, and engage with a diverse audience. By sharing content that underscores your expertise, you can attract followers and establish yourself as a thought leader in your field.
Establish your goals and develop a strategy
Success begins with clarity. Identifying your professional objectives – such as advancing your current business or breaking into a new market – and understanding key stakeholders, such as potential clients, partners, or mentors, will guide your LinkedIn strategy. For instance, if you aim to venture into the fintech space, your strategy could involve connecting with fintech professionals, following prominent fintech firms, and sharing content related to fintech trends and solutions.
Perfect your headline and summary
Your LinkedIn profile headline is your digital first impression. This snapshot of who you are professionally appears in the LinkedIn search results and on Google. It’s the hook that can inspire viewers to delve deeper into your profile, opening the gateway to networking opportunities, prospective clients, and more.
Optimize your headline
With a 220-character limit, your headline is the ideal space to encapsulate your unique value proposition. This is your opportunity to tell potential viewers why they should click on your profile.
Consider your target audience. Are you primarily speaking to fellow professionals in your field? Prospective clients? Determine who needs to understand your headline and tailor your messaging to them.
Your headline should reflect a blend of your job title, expertise, significant achievements, and the value you bring to the table. For example, a possible headline for a marketing professional could be: “Seasoned Marketing Director | Specialist in Digital Transformation & CRM | Proven Record in B2B & B2C Customer Experience.”
Remember to strategically incorporate industry and role-specific keywords, as this enhances your visibility when users conduct searches. If you’re unsure which keywords to include, review profiles of similar professionals. This will help you identify and rank the most relevant keywords for your industry and expertise.
Craft your summary
Beyond the headline, your LinkedIn summary enables you to share your professional story in a more comprehensive, engaging manner. Here, your aim is to share your experiences, skills, and aspirations while still making strategic use of relevant industry keywords.
As you write, consider the following guiding questions:
- What industries or roles do I serve?
- What problems do I excel at solving?
- What unique value can I offer?
- What accomplishments demonstrate my competence?
Remember, your LinkedIn headline and summary aren’t just digital introductions; they’re your online elevator pitch. They offer a peek into your professional persona and should be crafted in a way that showcases your skills, reflects your goals, and resonates with your target audience.
Regularly update your work experience
Think of your work experience section as the chronicle of your professional journey. Regularly updating this section with recent positions, projects, or accomplishments keeps your profile relevant and engaging.
Adding and updating your work experience on LinkedIn leads to an eightfold increase in profile views, a fivefold increase in connection requests, and a tenfold boost in messages. A meticulously curated work experience section enhances your visibility and appeal, attracting opportunities right to your profile.
When writing about your roles, weave in relevant keywords, as this amplifies your visibility. Check out the profiles of popular professionals to gain insights into trending keywords in your field.
When adding a role to your experience section, make sure to include key details such as:
- your official title,
- employment type (e.g., full-time, contract, self-employed, internship),
- the company’s name and location,
- a brief description of your role, and
- your top skills relevant to that position.
LinkedIn also allows you to enrich your work experience section with external media like documents, photos, websites, videos, and presentations.
Each role’s description should detail your responsibilities and major achievements. Use dynamic action verbs like “led,” “orchestrated,” “implemented,” or “managed” paired with measurable results to convey your professional impact. You have 2,000 characters to describe your work, so make them count.
Highlight your accomplishments
When detailing your achievements, don’t be shy about showcasing your highest-quality results. Reflect on contributions to project launches, your speed in meeting targets, or your role in increasing sales, customer satisfaction, or retention rates. Did you manage to reduce costs or eliminate bottlenecks? Did you receive any awards or titles during your tenure?
Quantifying your results using numbers and percentages can add more weight to your accomplishments. For instance, instead of saying “increased sales,” you might say, “increased sales by 25% in Q1 2023.” This level of detail demonstrates your value as a professional and adds concrete proof to support your claims of expertise.
Showcase your skills and endorsements
A well-rounded LinkedIn profile goes beyond job titles. LinkedIn allows you to list your skills and receive endorsements from your network. Regularly update your skills section to reflect your current expertise and prioritize those most relevant to your growth goals. Encourage colleagues or collaborators to endorse you for these skills, as this helps validate your abilities and strengthens your profile.
LinkedIn lets you list up to 50 skills to showcase your professional competencies. Regularly updating this section ensures that it accurately reflects your current expertise, making it easier for others to endorse you for the right skills. Remember to prioritize the skills most pertinent to your professional goals and strategy.
Endorsements are digital thumbs-ups from your professional network, affirming your claimed skills. These quick, one-click endorsements from colleagues and contacts validate your abilities and add authenticity to your profile. While not as detailed as written recommendations, endorsements offer a quick and easy way for your network to support your professional qualifications.
To maximize the impact of your endorsements, be selective about who you approach. It’s better to request endorsements from those who have seen your skills in action rather than from strangers or acquaintances. This increases the chances of receiving meaningful endorsements and ensures the credibility of the endorsements you receive.
Refresh your profile and cover photos
Your profile photo acts as your online business card. It’s the face you present to the digital world and should thus be a high-quality, recent image that reflects your current appearance. Remember, this image isn’t just about how you look – it represents your professional identity.
Choosing a professional, business-appropriate headshot is generally recommended. That being said, your headshot should only feature you and not other friends and colleagues (as this can lead to confusion). While you can use a professional photographer, other AI-driven resources have emerged that can be used to capture a professional image quickly and affordably.
Beyond your profile photo, your cover photo offers an additional opportunity to showcase your personal brand or underscore your professional achievements or projects. It serves as a visual extension of your professional story, allowing you to communicate what text alone cannot. For instance, if you’re a marketing professional, your cover photo could depict an event you orchestrated.
Maintain active engagement with your network
Consistent and meaningful interactions enhance your visibility on the platform and foster relationships, demonstrating your commitment to your professional community.
Aim to share content at least once a week during working hours, when LinkedIn activity is typically at its peak. This could include insightful articles, industry updates, thought leadership pieces, or achievements. Ensure the content you share resonates with your network and aligns with your expertise.
Consider using relevant hashtags to extend your content reach, enabling others interested in these topics to discover your posts. Stimulate engagement by posting thought-provoking questions that prompt your followers to interact with your content.
Attention-grabbing imagery can also increase your post’s engagement. Posts with images typically receive twice the engagement compared to text-only content. LinkedIn recommends high-resolution images of 1200×627 pixels for optimum visual impact. Video and live-stream content drive even more engagement than other types of content (up to 24 times more engagement). These mediums offer an immersive way to share your insights and experiences, making your content more personal and engaging.
Participate in LinkedIn Groups
Participation in LinkedIn groups relevant to your industry or interests can help broaden your network and expose you to fresh perspectives. Engage in meaningful discussions, share valuable insights, and connect with like-minded professionals to further enhance your presence on the platform.
Optimizing and maintaining your LinkedIn profile is essential in today’s digital business landscape. By following these tips and best practices, you can effectively cultivate your personal brand, attract followers, and establish yourself as a thought leader in your field. Remember, your LinkedIn profile is more than just a career hub – it’s a powerful tool for connecting with prospective clients, vendors and business partners.
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Jaemi joined Larson Gross as their Marketing Manager in the spring of 2022. While new to accounting marketing, she came from a rich background in product marketing and is a web designer-turned-marketing leader with 12+ years of experience designing, implementing, and managing customer experiences.
Jaemi also leads our outsourced Marketing Services team, so if your organization could use a dynamic marketing boost, whether that be a new website or social media support, be sure to get in touch!