By Kahl Orr, the founder of Rise, a digital agency that builds high-performing custom websites and apps for some of the fastest-growing brands.
As a digital agency founder, I believe small business owners are innovators, searching for tools to build trust and generate more leads. While many social media sites exist to support digital marketing and networking, one platform stands out.
A survey of marketers by LinkedIn found the platform to be the No. 1 platform for business-to-business (B2B) lead generation. That same research shows that four out of five LinkedIn members are decision-makers, making this a powerful tool for anyone wanting to scale their business and increase sales.
Your first step is to design your LinkedIn profile to attract high-quality leads, creating a profitable, inbound lead channel. Let's dive into the five major areas you can improve today to optimize your chances of success.
1. Use a High-Quality Headshot
In remote work, individuals and companies are limited to digital-only interactions. To ensure a powerful first impression, use a quality headshot. Those with a profile picture are 14 times more likely to be viewed by other LinkedIn members. Without a headshot, you may give the impression that there's something to hide, you are unprofessional or that your business relationships don't hold value. Here are actionable tips for a winning profile picture:
• Use a high-resolution image.
• Fill at least 60 percent of the frame with your face.
• Show an expression that matches your brand.
• Wear clothing you'd wear at work.
• Use natural light and a neutral background.
While a professional headshot isn't necessary, a high-quality photo will go far in presenting yourself as trustworthy and professional.
2. Think About What Keywords are Relevant and Use Them
Keywords make your profile more searchable, creating more opportunities for people to connect with you directly. With the right keywords, your digital profile positions you as knowledgeable and approachable.
Your Headline, Summary and Experience sections are the best places to include information relevant to your industry and role. Mention industry-specific and expertise-related terminology that highlights your specific experience and skills to increase your visibility to leads.
If you have difficulty choosing relevant keywords, search online and on LinkedIn for terms used in your ideal role.
3. Show Value and Contact Info Immediately
Face-to-face conversations with leads may not always be possible in today's world, so having a clear value proposition sets the stage for a powerful introduction.
Leave a lasting impact by highlighting expertise and relevant skills in your Summary. Consistently update your profile, including recent courses or training, new skills and successes as your role evolves and you take on new projects.
Include your contact information like your phone number and email on your profile to make it easy for leads to contact you. Make people excited about you; then remove barriers once they're convinced they want to work with you.
4. Be Active in the LinkedIn Community
Companies are turning their eyes to candidates who have a proven history of creating value in the digital ecosystem of professional development. According to LinkedIn's research, people are seven times more likely to react and 24 times more likely to comment on a LinkedIn Live than on regular video content. Try the following to build your community presence:
• Share recent research and unique insights via LinkedIn Live.
• Connect with colleagues and clients to build your network.
• Actively comment and react to relevant content from your industry.
• Follow and comment on content from industry leaders you admire.
• Regularly commit to creating your own content (daily, weekly, monthly).
5. Fill Out Your Experience Section in Great Detail
Inadequate information in your Experience section is one of the most overlooked aspects of LinkedIn profiles. When building a reputable online presence, your experience supports your value and backs up your claims of progress and success.
Add key data about your past projects -- this can be the difference between someone leaving or contacting you. Include facts that tell how you achieved success in your role (e.g., your client base increased from X to Y in Z time).
Your LinkedIn profile is a dynamic, active record of your career -- it's consistently evolving alongside you, highlighting the value you add to your network.
By designing a persuasive profile, you showcase your value and build trust with your professional community. Harness LinkedIn's networking and lead-generation features to flourish in our digital-first age of business.