Most people who are on LinkedIn have profiles that mirror their resumes. Their profiles might include some kind of photo of them, a headline that contains their current title and company, and content that’s focused on their accomplishments.
For most people… that’s fine. In fact, it’s encouraged and even necessary for them to move ahead in their careers.
If you’re reading this article, though, I’m guessing you’re not that kind of person. You’re likely a sales professional who wants to use LinkedIn to acquire new leads into your funnel that are likely to want to do business with you. This is where a LinkedIn profile designed for social selling goes a long way in helping you achieve that goal.
LinkedIn Profile = Your Brand’s “House”
Think of your LinkedIn profile as the foundation for a house. Any new house needs a sound foundation before anything is built on top of it. If the foundation isn’t sound, the house will have lots of problems in its lifetime.
The same thought process exists with your LinkedIn and social-selling efforts. If your LinkedIn profile isn’t the starting point of not only communicating your brand but showing the value that you (and conversely, your company) deliver to clients, you’re going to have a tough time using social selling.
For your LinkedIn profile to become that brand- and value-based asset, you need to refocus it from a resume to a resource. After this re-focusing, you’ll pull people to your profile more easily and will be able to start sales-based conversations as a result.
To begin the process, you need to focus on four significant areas, all of which exist in the area we call “above the fold” (from the old days when people read newspapers):
1. Background banner. LinkedIn gives everyone the ability to brand themselves in a big way. The background banner is the first element that people see when they click into your Profile. Yet, this valuable real estate is criminally underused. So, spend some time getting this right. Ideally, you should include your logo and branding. You might want to insert your company’s Website address, your email address and maybe even a phone number.
If you have a marketing department, ask them for one or have them develop one for you. You can create one yourself in PowerPoint or Canva, too. If you’d rather have a graphics professional develop a “wow factor” banner for you, then hire someone from Fiverr.
Also check how your banner looks on LinkedIn’s mobile app, too. Make sure the information in your banner is large enough to be seen on mobile.
2. A profile photograph. Two schools of thought exist when it comes to a profile photo. One is to have a professional photograph taken of you in a studio environment. A quick Google search of local professional photographers will go a long way in helping you here. The other is to have a photo taken of you in a more “natural” setting. Just make sure that you look professional, you have a light background, and that you can see your face in the photo.
No matter which route you take, though, ensure that you post a professional-looking profile photo. Make sure your photo reflects how you are seen every day by your clients, colleagues and future customers, and presents you as someone with whom they want to do business. Statistics show that adding a professional photo to your will give you 21 times more profile views and nine times more connection requests.
3. An effective, “what’s in it for me” headline. You want to “attract” people to your Profile by phrasing your Headline to provide your value proposition, or what you bring to your customers or clients when you sell your product or service to them. You need to build that “what’s in it for me” (WIIFM) factor; in other words, what’s in it for a viewer of your headline.
An effective social selling headline contains three things: Who you help, how you help them, and an invitation to click through to your profile. As you can see in the graphic above, my headline is a good example of what that looks like in practice. It demonstrates the value I bring to those who click through to it. Design yours to have that same focus.
Keep this in mind, too: Few things scare a LinkedIn user away from connecting with someone else than seeing the phrase “sales rep,” “sales manager,” etc., in someone’s headline. Another reason to re-focus your headline to a values-based one.
4. A values-based Summary. Your Summary is huge. Think of it as more of a marketing and educational section than what a typical summary looks like on a resume. Consider offering insights and advice in your industry. Give them vendor-agnostic tips they can use in their businesses right away, without having to contact you. When you bring value to your target audience in your profile, they will get excited to have a conversation when you ask for one.
Your LinkedIn Shadow
There’s another important reason you want to refocus your profile from a resume to a resource. Your name, photo and the first 80 or so characters of your headline “follow” you everywhere on LinkedIn:
I call this your LinkedIn “Shadow” because like a real shadow, you can’t get rid of it. Unlike your real shadow, though, you can use it to attract people to your profile. All they need to do to get to your profile is click “See more.” When they get there, they’ll learn all about you and your company, and how valuable you can be to them. At that point, they’ll hopefully either want to reach out to you directly or will be willing to accept a connection request from you.
When you re-do your profile in that “from resume to resource” way, a side benefit is that you greatly improve your Shadow so that people will want to click over to your profile to learn about you. You can then see who’s visited you via LinkedIn’s “Who’s Viewed Your Profile” feature and reach out to them.
The best way to think of the profile is a lead generator. So take a look at your profile right now, evaluate what your Shadow says about you, and put yourself in the mindset of a prospect. After viewing your profile and/or Shadow, would you want to talk to you?
Do you need help with converting your profile from a resume to a resource? We’re here to help! Just go to MyProfileReportCard.com and I’ll “score” your card. Just be sure to select my name in the appropriate drop-down. I’m sure you’ll get a lot out of it.