Here's a professional new year's resolution for you: elevate your LinkedIn profile.
Trust me, it's worth your time. One of my biggest referral sources is my LinkedIn profile, and I have clients who would say the same. I post updates to my profile or otherwise engage on the professional social media platform several times a week. If you want to stand out on LinkedIn, add some polish to your profile and attract more business in the process, here are six quick tips and easy lifts.
1. Add your business info to the top of your profile.
LinkedIn recently added an area at the bottom of the introduction card -- the spot that includes your name, title, location and profile photo -- to add high level business information. You can select your business focus (marketing, finance, law, consulting, to name a few) and services offered. You can also check a box if you are able to work remotely.
2. Reorder your skills and endorsements.
I recently was looking at the bottom of my profile, where skills and endorsements are listed and noticed that they weren't in the order I would put them in. Then I noticed you can actually reorder your skills (the areas you lists as your strengths) and endorsements (what others say you are good at).
My list reflected my days as a journalist more so than my expertise in public relations. I made sure to put PR, media relations and content development at the top of my list, because they correspond with the core services my company offers.
It's rare that I spot something new to do on my own LinkedIn profile. It pays to stay current on LinkedIn.
3. Get a new headshot.
Business owners are the face of their company, so it astounds me when I run across LinkedIn profiles with old headshots -- or worse, no headshots.
I recommend hiring a professioal. For a couple hundred bucks or less you get a high-quality image that is sized especially for LinkedIn. Or, you can tap a friend who is good with the camera phone and knows to find a neutral background and good (preferably natural) lighting.
4. Make sure your profile is current.
This sounds like a no-brainer. But if you sit down and think about your accomplishments and all that you have done in the last year -- or more -- you might be surprised by all the updates you have to make. Maybe you forgot to add a promotion. Maybe you should mention the big project you managed and the business results it achieved. Maybe you won an award or earned a certification. Maybe you wrote and article or were quoted in the news and forgot to add the appropriate media links.
When I do LinkedIn makeovers for clients, I often find the 'Volunteer Experience' section is out of date or non-existent. Clients will tell me they really don't have time to volunteer, and then will say, "Well, I did this one thing..." and "Oh yeah, I served on that board," or "I was PTA President."
5. Add a piece of cover art.
Now that you have a new headshot, make it pop against that banner behind it by adding cover art. You could choose your city skyline or something that speaks to your business like produce bins if you are a nutritionist or bookshelves for a librarian. Or, you can pick a piece of abstract art that matches your company colors. Or, perhaps your company hires a graphic artist to make a piece of art especially for your page and others in your company.
Remember not to use photos pulled off the internet; there are copyright laws. To find photos that are free of copyright -- and often free of charge -- go to a site like Pexels.com, Pixabay.com or Unsplash.com.
6. Set yourself a LinkedIn reminder.
Put reminders on your calendar to regularly check in on LinkedIn. Of course, you want to ask yourself if there are updates to be made to your profle.
But you also should be checking messages, congratulating connections on new jobs or promtions, sharing articles and commenting on updates. This is the 'social' part of social media for business. And it's a way to remind people to look at your profile now and then, so that you stay top of mind for referrals, new business, professional introductions and all the things that will help you and your business thrive in 2020 and beyond.