Risk & Business Magazine Cooke Insurance Risk & Business Magazine Fall 2017 | Page 7

YOUR LINKEDIN PROFILE L inkedIn is Facebook for professionals. It’s a great way to not only attract people to—and expand—your network, it is also a way to expand your brand and engage with your clients. Unfortunately, being so much like Facebook has a downside: many users treat LinkedIn as though it is Facebook, which leads to missed opportunities. Here, you will find ten of the most common mistakes professionals are making in their profiles. Rectifying these will dramatically increase your potential for new networking opportunities and expanding your business. 1. LACKING A PROFESSIONAL PHOTO A bad photo will paint even the best person in the wrong light. And often the first thing that someone is going to stumble upon will be your photo. If it’s old, outdated, or just doesn’t look much like you, then you are going to leave the door open for people who you already know to miss you due to poor recognition. Even worse, you could leave a bad impression on those who don’t already know you. A professional photo is just that: professional. 2. YOUR PROFESSIONAL SUMMARY ISN’T APPEALING Due to the way the consensus in business has shifted, the trendy thing to do now is to talk about “missions” and “passions.” This usually manifests itself in profiles in the professional summary section. Here’s the problem: people don’t care. Having a passion and a mission statement is great, but people want to know what you are going to do for them. How can you help the person reading your summary? Why do they need to know you? A passion is a personal driving force. A solution to a problem is what you should offer with your summary. An appealing solution. 3. LACKING VISUAL ENGAGEMENT LinkedIn has a robust set of features for customization. Two of these are the potential inclusion of a banner and a background for your profile page. According to Kissmetrics, a leading website about analytics and marketing, around 90 percent of the information going to the brain is visual. To ignore that on your profile is to invite people to leave who would otherwise engage with your content. 4. LISTING THE WRONG SKILLS LinkedIn has a powerful search function. One of the main drivers of that functionality is the ability to filter and search by skills. Unfortunately, a lot of people don’t include enough skills or list the wrong skills in their profile and bury themselves in searches. Include all relevant keywords and phrases your prospects or the people you want to meet would use when they search for you or your business 5. LACKING CASE STUDIES Anyone who has ever done sales or marketing knows the value of case studies. If you are leaving out your case studies, or worse, haven’t created any yet, then you are missing a powerful opportunity to show potential clients what you can do for them. Success stories are what keep people interested. Create some in a document, brand it, and upload them to your profile. 6. LACKING INTERNAL LINKS Your company has a page on LinkedIn. You have a page on LinkedIn. You probably have a website. All of these things should be linked together. Link your company page to the experience section of your profile. Have your website and company page listed under your contact information as well. Building internal links makes you more visible and allows you to be reached from more locations. 7. YOU ARE USING YOUR TITLE AND COMPANY NAME AS YOUR HEADLINE The headline can be considered the “waterfront estate” of your profile page. It’s going to be there anytime you make a post and anytime someone looks you up. It’s an opportunity to throw a value proposition out there. A headline is often more important than the content that falls under it. Your profile headline is no different. 8. YOU LACK RECOMMENDATIONS One of the best things about LinkedIn is that the professionals in your network can help vet you and recommend you. Clients who have enjoyed your services would likely be more than happy to share that with prospects, and the recommendation system lets you do that. Build your credibility by asking your clients and people in your network for their recommendation, but make sure you get approval from them before sending the request. 9. LACKING “PROOF” There’s ample room to include your past work, case studies, white papers, PDF documents, and other content which can be connected to both your summary and your job description. Leaving this out is a huge mistake. It’s an opportunity to be concise while still including all the background detail should people want to review it. 10. LEAVING OUT CONTACT INFORMATION Let’s be honest: LinkedIn is a great tool but it isn’t the driver behind meetings or networking. You are. Your email and phone number needs to be highly visible and listed multiple times so people can get in touch with you if they need to. Add this not only to the contact information section but also to the job summary and job experience sections as well for added visibility. CONCLUSION Often, simply having knowledge of what the problems and mistakes are is enough to fix them. With that being said, nothing will ever be perfect. As the old adage goes, “Perfect is the enemy of good.” Aim to make a good, solid, profile offering and avoid making the common mistakes listed here and you will be on the right track. + 7