Building a Bikini-less Profile: How to Do LinkedIn Right

It seems that maybe LinkedIn has finally arrived. I know. I know that’s not the case, but I have had four people ask me how to optimize their profile just this week alone. Even at a business resource committee meeting we devoted a good 10 minutes discussing Bikini-clad LinkedIn profile pictures. So, I guess it’s time to put together a primer on how to fix your profile so you look like a superstar instead of a washed-up supermodel.

I guess the first advice I would give anyone is that social media tells people who you are. As any performer or good sales person knows, crafting a proper persona is vital to the success of your persona brand, and by proxy, the success of your role at your company.

#1 Use Your LinkedIN  Real Estate Right

There are options on how to construct your title.  Now most people will do this exactly as I did and put my title as President and Owner of ACTWD/Vertical Web, but if I were a sales person I might opt for a value proposition as opposed to a title.  It’s the same mistake website owners make, which is not telling people what they do.

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#2 Pick the Proper Profile Picture

I know that just sounds so easy, right? Yeah, not so much. Well first we have the group that put no profile picture. People who put profile pictures have about a 50% higher rate of engagement. It makes sense really. How many times do you recognize a face you met at a networking event without remembering their name? Or if your name is a little more common you may suffer from mistaken identity. When you contact someone at least let them know who you are, even if you don’t recognize their name.

Next, quit it with the vanity pictures. Unless you’re a bikini model, pro golfer or an honest to goodness Sith Lord, your picture needs to be professional and instill confidence in you, your ability and your company. For millennials, duck-faced selfies in a bathroom do not make people want to do business with you or hire you. In fact, it might just disqualify you altogether.

#3 Fill in Contact Info

Make sure you fill in ALL the recommended methods you can be reached. It should go without saying to include your phone number, preferably one that is answered. For me, I never give out my cell because I don’t answer people I don’t know, so putting my cell is counterproductive because sometimes people don’t leave a voice mail or maybe like me, don’t listen to it much either.  It’s just one more pile that has to be sifted through for nuggets.

I would encourage Twitter too, especially if you are actively participating in the platform. Now again, it’s a public forum so don’t engage in anything you don’t want others to judge you on. For me, I love SEO and I love the Texans, past that there is very little to glean about me.

#4 Your Connections

Be picky on who you connect with. Although it’s always advisable to make connections with people you don’t know, be picky and choose quality relationships. This is not a game of quantity. Also, when you don’t know the person you’re trying to connect with, make sure you explain why you’re a fit and do not just send the generic message.  For sales guys, this is your opportunity to shine.

#5 Your Summary and Background

Write a summary about you and what you bring to the table. Let potential clients know you are the real deal. Highlight what you do well. Don’t be shy or think you’re being too aggressive. This also should restate your value proposition from your headline if you changed that. It’s a neat way to tie it all together. You may also choose to put your contact info here too, along with a phone number.

Don’t put more than a few well written paragraphs here. It’s not an autobiography or a large expansive prose.  Focus on your accomplishments and what you do well.

#6 Content

This may be hard for some, but as you read this know that this is a great example of what will appear in the content section on my profile. Now I get that am a better writer than some and that many folks struggle, but in as much as you can talk and explain something you should be able to write it out as well.

If you are an expert, it should not be hard to demonstrate that. I would highly recommend going down this road. If you can write an email and explain something to a customer, you can write a content piece for LinkedIn. In fact, there is no shame in sprucing that email up and using that.  Oddly, this is exactly what this is, a reply to an email from a client.

#7 Experience, Awards, etal

This is the part where the profile can wow perspective clients. There is of course experience and qualifications. But there are now places to post awards and accomplishments. To disclaim, if the award is Coney Island Hot Dog Eating Champ, that might need to be reconsidered.

#8 Publications

So not everyone can have placement in newspapers, but blog contributions sure do count. Strive to find those places and garner those credentials. They are very impactful on future clients.

#9 Education

Don’t just think university. Microsoft Certifications, online classes and continuing education count also and should be included. This shows commitment to staying current.

#10 Groups and Recommendations

Getting involved is important and LinkedIn provides multiple group and interest types to join. Join them. This will allow different pathways to network, but also a venue to dazzle folks with brilliance.

For recommendations, don’t be afraid to ask long and established clients to write one. This gives credibility to the cause.

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