While the LinkedIn Profile change has impacted the design and user experience, it hasn’t necessarily impacted how you’re found on LinkedIn. For those of you who are new to LinkedIn, the importance of getting found by your target audience on LinkedIn is equally as important as it is to engage that person once they find your profile.
With more than 175 million users (many of whom are executives and decision makers), you would be hard-pressed to get their attention without actively doing something to get found and then engaged.
Here are the steps you need to take to make your profile visible and engaging so that qualified leads start flying into your LinkedIn Messages Box.
1. Define Your Personal Branding Goal
The first and most crucial step to driving qualified leads via LinkedIn marketing is for you to assess, define, and build out your market differentiators and value of you as a personal brand. To do so requires introspection on several levels.
You need to define your goals for being there:
What are you trying to accomplish by being present and active on LinkedIn?
Are you truly interested in being a business resource?
Is your goal to become a thought-leader in your industry and captivate the inquisitive minds of business professionals who use LinkedIn as their main news source?
Are you simply looking to use the social networking tool to augment and complement your other online marketing efforts in your sales efforts?
Defining your personal branding goal is the first action you need to take. Do it now. Write it out because this will set the tone for your new LinkedIn Profile.
2. Determine Your Personal Branding Keywords
Before you start to create or enhance your LinkedIn profile, you need to then determine, what I call, your personal branding keywords. These are the keyword phrases that brand you. They define:
What you do.
Who you do it for.
Where you deliver your service (location).
Where you add value.
In what area you have a focused expertise.
You will want to come up with initially your top 10-20 personal keywords phrases. Then drill down to a solid 2-3 that line up with what you state in your headline, your summary, and what you substantiate throughout your work history and skills.
Primarily, the LinkedIn search engine is looking for these keywords in your title/headline, custom URL, your skills, and your work titles.
3. Highlight Your Experience, Skills and Expertise
At this point, you can then review what your current LinkedIn profile looks like and determine changes in your URL, headline, summary, work experience, and skills.
Custom URL: Your LinkedIn custom URL is your brand statement.
Headline: Your Headline reflects what it is you want to be known for (going back to Step 1 and defining your personal branding goals).
Summary: Your Summary is important. It says hello to your audience in such a way that engages, but doesn't sell and provides direct examples of credentials, awards, experience. This is a great place to provide link addresses of supportive and contact information, such as your website, your blog (if hosted off-site), your e-mail address, reports/articles/whitepapers/books you have published, and links to video content.
Skills & Expertise: Your Skills are truly areas where you have confirmed experience, and better yet, expertise. Your Skills should match the work experience you deliver throughout the profile, so that skill keywords are found in job titles and descriptions.
4. Develop a Written Target Market Definition and Strategy
Remember that your profile reads top to bottom and is your story of your personal brand – where you excel, how you add value – and addresses your specific target audience. It's important, then, in the exercise of making your LinkedIn profile more engaging, to develop a written target market definition and strategy.
List out what you will provide to said target (products/services/types/way of delivery) and create some real user paths, like we would say in web design user experience. Take it a step further and then relate customer/client needs/pain points to your solutions. The more you deliver a path of credibility in direct relation to your target’s specific needs, the more chance for qualified lead generation success.
Win LinkedIn Engagement
It isn't enough for you to drive visibility in the LinkedIn search engine. What about engaging your target when they aren’t necessarily looking for someone like you, but when they may be active in their Groups or looking for Answers?
These “personal brand impressions” (or so I call them) make all the difference between a cold and warm lead. You must be active in these areas for people to find your profile and find out all about you (and then Message you).
My next Search Engine Watch article later this month will provide an actionable way for you to win in LinkedIn engagement off the Profile. Happy New Year!