Unlike other social media type sites, LinkedIn’s sole mission is to connect the world’s professionals to make them more productive and successful. With a user base of 467 million professional from 200 countries across the global, LinkedIn is the world’s largest professional network. And if you create the optimal LinkedIn profile, you can tap into this vast network of professionals to expand your real estate business.
Donna Serdula, the owner of LinkedIn-Makeover.com, leads a team of 40 writers who help thousands of LinkedIn users strategically write their profile to grow their brand. In our recent conversation, she outlined the top six ways you can immediately improve your LinkedIn profile to grow your business.
1 – Know your why
First, know the reason why you are on LinkedIn in the first place. This may seem like commonsense, but when creating a profile, most people will mechanically fill out the different fields with generic answers and that’s it.
“Why are you on LinkedIn? What are you really trying to achieve? What’s your goal?,” Donna said. “Some people are on LinkedIn for a job; others are on LinkedIn for prospecting and sales, and there’s others who are on it for reputation management, to be found and be seen as expects.”
Only once you know what you want to accomplish with your LinkedIn profile can you create a profile that directly pertains to that goal.
2 – Define a target audience
Next, you need to figure out who your target audience is. “Who is going to be reading that LinkedIn profile?,” Donna said. “Once you know who’s going to be reading it, who we need to target for, … we know what we need to say, because it’s not just what we want to say about ourselves, it’s what does our target audience need to know about us?”
Your why and target audience are used in tandem to optimize and streamline your LinkedIn profile so that you are attracting the results and professionals that you desire.
If you don’t know who your target audience is, here is a blog post I wrote about how I defined my primary target audience to help you get started.
3 – Understand your top keywords
LinkedIn is more than just a social network. It is a search engine. People use LinkedIn for a specific purpose, which is usually to either find someone who provides a service they need or to provide that service. That means that out there somewhere, someone is using LinkedIn to fulfill a need that your business is capable of solving. However, since they don’t know your name or the name of someone like you, they search for keywords instead. Therefore, you need to determine which keywords your target audience is searching for and make sure you’ve included those keywords in your profile. Additionally, these keywords need to describe what you actually do.
Donna said, “I want people to find me if they’re searching for ‘LinkedIn,’ ‘LinkedIn profile writer,’ ‘branding,’ ‘social media,’ – those are the types of phrases that describe what I do, so those are the words that I sprinkled throughout my profile.”
You want to always think in terms of your target audience, because sometimes your target audience describes you differently than how you would describe yourself. For example, Donna had a CPA client who thought her top keyword was CPA. However, they realized that her target audience (people in need of a CPA) were searching for bookkeeper, accountant and tax advisor more frequently than CPA. Therefore, you want to be smart and strategic when describing what you do, while always keeping your target audience in mind.
4 – Headline and Profile Picture
Now that you’ve determined the top keywords for which your target audience searches, you want to optimize your profile’s SEO by including these keywords throughout. Specifically, Donna said, “you want to make sure that you have a great headline – that’s like your tagline; it’s 120 characters and it really should contain more than what the default LinkedIn gives you, which is just your title and your current job, which is boring. So, you want to infuse it with your keywords, you really want to give a benefit statement.”
Additionally, since the first thing people will see is your profile picture, you want to use a great-looking picture too. Please no selfies people!
5 – Your profile isn’t a resume
When writing the rest of your LinkedIn profile, besides the best practice of including the top keywords, avoid reproducing your resume. Donna said, “What most people do … is they look at their LinkedIn profile and they say ‘Well, it kind of looks like my resume. Let me get out that old resume of mind, let me just copy and paste all those fields in there and I’ll be done with it.’” However, if you are on LinkedIn for more reasons than just a job, your resume won’t help much. And if you are using LinkedIn to find a job, a recruiter or prospective employer will be disappointed when they ask for your resume and see that it is the exact same as your LinkedIn profile.
“Really look at your profile not as an online resume,” Donna said. “Look at it as your career future. Look at it as a digital introduction. Look at it as a first impression and really write it like a narrative and just give that audience information that makes them respect you, that makes them feel impressed and makes them feel confident in who you are and what you bring to the table.”
To get the most out of your LinkedIn profile, optimize it in these five ways:
- Know why you are on LinkedIn
- Defined your target audience
- Understand the keywords searched by your target audience
- Input those top keywords into your profile, especially your headline
- Don’t use LinkedIn as a resume, but as your career future
What is it that you are trying to accomplish with your LinkedIn profile?
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Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this blog post are provided for informational purposes only, and should not be construed as an offer to buy or sell any securities or to make or consider any investment or course of action.