When you search for someone online, most often the first thing that appears in the results is your LinkedIn Profile. At the click of a button the very person who’s looking to build a relationship with you can be reading about you and deciding whether or not they want to connect or do business with you.
Because right now, we are living in the H2H economy. People buy into people, then they buy into the company and then the products and service they offer. So your profile is the centerpiece to everything you do on and off LinkedIn.
Whether you’re sending out a connection invitation, private follow up message, or posting up content, all your activity leads back to your profile. So it’s important you get this part right.
The purpose of a profile is to provide a snapshot of who you are that helps you connect with the reader before they’ve even had a conversation with you. It’s all about highlighting your personal journey in a story-based format that engages your target market and builds a connection between your story and their journey, needs, desires and challenges.
Remember, writing your profile like a resume or cover letter is NOT going to establish a connection with your target market. So, in this article we break down exactly how to transform your profile to start building your influence and winning new business on LinkedIn.
The first step to creating a compelling profile is positioning. An easy way to tackle this is using what we like to call the outside / inside approach.
Essentially, this ensures your profile is written based on what the prospect wants to see and hear, not what you think works best. So start by asking yourself these 6 questions:
1) How are you unique?
For example, here you may talk about yourself, the company as a whole, or a particular methodology you’ve developed that is unique in the market.
2) Common objections you face when selling your product or service?
Think about why people object and how you handle these objections throughout your sales process, marketing campaigns or overall communication.
3) How do you want to be perceived in the market?
It’s important that the language used within your profile best reflects how you want to be viewed by your target market and the wider business community.
4) Challenges you solve through your products and services?
Think about what challenges your target market face, how your products/services solve them and then weave this into your copy to help make your profile relatable and targeted.
5) Common generalisations about your industry and how you defy these?
Every industry or profession has a set of global beliefs or generalisations, for example, a common generalisation for accountants is that they are often perceived as being antisocial, dry and unapproachable. Find out what those generalisations are around your industry, come up with answers to showcase why you or your company is different, then weave that into your profile copy.
6) What are some of your key achievements?
And last but not least, you need to make a list of key things you’ve achieved throughout your journey so that you can highlight them within the copy of your profile. This could include places you’ve been featured in the media, notable companies you’ve worked with, awards you’ve won and anything else that will raise your credibility in the marketplace.
Now that you’ve flushed out all the key information you’re needing, it’s time to go ahead and update your profile.
Given this is the very first thing people see when they visit your profile, this is your best chance to make a great first impression. To do this you need to choose an image that showcases your work in some way, shape or form. This could be a picture of you working with a client, speaking on stage, a team photo or you with someone who is influential.
If there’s one thing that’s going to make or break your success on LinkedIn it’s your profile photo. There’s nothing worse than coming across an outdated low res photo from 20 years ago with a terrible backdrop. Remember, if your profile is off brand there goes your opportunity to connect with a new prospect, partner or media contact.
This is the area just below your name. You want to keep this short and convey your message as professionally as possible.
Next is your profile summary, this section is by far the largest, and most important part of your profile. It is your summary that will drive your message home and truly connect with your target market.
It needs to be written in a story format and in 3rd person with the goal to make it as compelling, engaging and emotional as possible whilst still positioning yourself in the best light. When writing your summary make sure that you share where your journey started, what led you to where you are today and what you’re working towards going forward.
Once you’ve written your summary, the next section to focus on is writing up all the experiences that are relevant and targeted to both your story and summary. To make sure you capture everything there is to know about each experience ask yourself these 6 questions below as a bit of a guide:
1) Why did you start/join the company?
2) What problem is this addressing in the market?
3) How are the products and services you’ve developed addressing these problems?
4) Key achievements and milestones to date?
5) Role in the company and key responsibilities?
6) What makes you, your products or the company unique?
Another great way to really build up your personal brand and profile on LinkedIn is to showcase any social causes you’ve been involved with in the past or currently involved with. Doing this will highlight to those you’re looking to connect and build a relationship that you are conscious about giving back and supporting your community.
Even if you have a perfectly written profile, there’s nothing more valuable than having this supported by other people’s recommendation or testimonial. In this section you should aim to have around 10-15 recommendations from clients you’ve worked with or currently working with.
The recommendations need to be targeted so look back at the top 3 objections you face, challenges you solve for your target market, what makes you unique in the market place and how you want to be positioned in the industry, then reach out to your contacts to get specific recommendations around these areas. Doing this will definitely build credibility and trust with your network if they can see you have a great reputation in the market.
Skills, Endorsements & Interests
In these areas you need to place skills or endorsements that are relevant to your target market but also those that align to your overall personal brand and what you want to be known for. And in terms of interests, in this section you want to follow people you look up to, join groups or follow up companies that are relevant to your target market. This shows potential prospects that you are quite active within the industry and gives them a glimpse into certain interest you follow so they get to know more of your personal side.
Now that you know how to best position yourself and you’ve made those updates, you have successfully built a profile that should convert more profile views into conversations, so moving forward it’s important to keep on top of opportunities that open up. Make sure to get back to people within 24-48 hours and do not pitch your services. No matter how good your profile is, no one will want to do business with you if you try to hard sell them.
Go through your sales process to find out where LinkedIn fits into it. For this to be successful make sure that either a phone call or face to face meeting is incorporated at some stage within the process so that you can tie this into your conversations on LinkedIn and take them offline.
And finally, update your profile every 6-12 months. This isn’t a set and forget process so do a bi-annual review to ensure only the most up to date information is presented.
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