Picture this – You’ve just received a fantastic introduction to a potentially huge new client for your small business marketing company. As you and your team work tirelessly to create the perfect pitch, what do you imagine that potential new client is doing?
Researching you, obviously. And where is the client most likely to go when trying to learn about your experience, background and personality? LinkedIn.
What’s the client going to see when they pull up your profiles? An amateurish photo? Outdated information? Outspoken political beliefs? No listed references?
In business, it’s critical to develop a quality LinkedIn profile and avoid making a poor first impression. Here are a few ways to ensure you don’t embarrass yourself on one of the fastest growing and most influential social media platforms.
Start Looking Your Best
Your LinkedIn profile is not the same as your profiles on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram. Your LinkedIn profile is a place to display your professional side, and that starts with your photo. Don’t post a picture of you at football game or on the beach; one of you hanging out with the family won’t do either. You need a clean, professional headshot that features a neutral or white background. If you don’t already have one, hire a photographer to snap a few of you right away.
Update Your Profile
If your potential new client looks at your LinkedIn profile and sees the name of your last company listed, you’ve already started off making a poor first impression. Treat your profile like a real time resume that needs to be regularly updated to reflect the current reality. Your LinkedIn profile needs to mirror your other public bios, especially the one displayed on your company’s website. So whenever you pick up a new certification, get a promotion, change job titles or companies, make sure you update your profile.
No Place for Opinion
While Facebook or Twitter may be great places to let your intensely passionate opinions about the latest episode of Game of Thrones be known, talk of Winterfell has absolutely no place on LinkedIn. Neither do your opinions on the latest political debate, same sex marriage or any other hot button topic that can cause intense personal disagreements.
You don’t need to limit or censor who you are on LinkedIn. Just remember that posting political or personal opinions could turn offer potential vendors, clients and employers. So keep your posts strictly professional and leave the water cooler talk to other less formal social sites.
Boast but Don’t Brag
Too many people on LinkedIn confuse highlighting their professional accomplishments with acting like self-promotional peacocks. They tend to post a constant stream of updates and group comments that promote their business, product or an upcoming event or blog they just wrote. No one wants to connect with someone they can expect to receive an endless barrage of self-promotional content from. Employers might also be reluctant to hire someone who seems intent on forcing the ‘i’ in team.
Focus on staying constructive and genuine when posting to your LinkedIn profile. Always consider how you can add value to your industry and your connections. Try linking to articles and quotes that represent your values and your brand. You can even repurpose content from others who you draw inspiration from.
Don’t Ignore LinkedIn
Despite what you might think, LinkedIn isn’t just a site for those looking for employment. The site can actually serves as a near limitless network of successfully employed individuals, and it’s a venue where you can establish yourself as a thought leader in your field.
To get started, try posting one image or quote a week that reflects your personal and professional values. Also, take a look at LinkedIn Pulse, a fantastic resource that can help you establish an expertise in performance marketing, online customer acquisition and affiliate marketing.
The time has come to start treating LinkedIn like the incredibly useful and powerful tool that it is. Your profiles needs to make you look successful, polished, professional and well-connected. Master how to use LinkedIn and you’ll be well on your way to success.