By Marc W. Halpert
Your Best Interest LLC
Over 120 million business professionals use LinkedIn. To make the most of this social media powerhouse, you must put your best foot forward to define who you really are, not what you do. Designed as a follow-up to "The proper care and feeding of LinkedIn," published in The Green Sheet Aug. 23, 2010, issue 10:08:02, this article contains 10 tips to help you, as ISOs and merchant level salespeople, rethink your LinkedIn profiles and, hopefully, spur you to make improvements.
These tips can help you enhance your current profile to generate incremental business.
Overall, your LinkedIn profile shows your experience, present efforts and future aspirations. It does more than just recount the past as resumes do. Describe your rich experience and how it contributes to your current and future aspirations. Use short blocks of copy with keywords and rich textual images - in easily digestible bites.
2. Write a dynamic personal tagline
That 120-character line of text under your name is the first impression you make in your profile. It brands you all over LinkedIn. Make it intriguing. Succinctly tell others who you really are and why they should choose you over the competition; do not merely list your title and company name.
3. Put your polished elevator pitch to even better use
Your elevator speech, practiced and refined, is your self-description, the essence of who you are and the vehicle that pitches what you do. Hone it, and place it in your LinkedIn profile Summary section. Engage potential connections in the 15 seconds they will spend reading this; capture their attention.
4. Point out your skills, certifications, languages, publications and more
The Experience and Specialties fields can display the unique professional abilities, personal skills, interests and values you bring to the proverbial table that round out your professional background and show you as a whole person. Cite an excerpt from one of your publications; express your skills, attributes and passion.
5. Post a good photo
A clear picture of what you look like, showing a friendly, approachable professional is one basic, yet underutilized, tool that will reinforce your brand. Your photo should make it easy for someone to spot you in a coffee shop for an initial meeting.
6. Differentiate yourself from the crowd
Use the free LinkedIn applications to showcase your singular ideas and voice. With these, you can provide easy downloads of your multimedia marketing materials, which will add even more depth to your profile. These include SlideShare, Box.net and Portfolio Display to name a few.
7. Make your profile 100 percent complete
By completing your profile, you will look your very best and provide a well-rounded view of who you really are. Showing your current position, two past positions, education, profile summary, photo, specialties and three recommendations helps search engine optimization on Google, too.
8. Obtain a personalized LinkedIn URL
Personalize your LinkedIn URL, instead of using the default. Use that URL on business cards, email signatures and all marketing materials so you can be found on LinkedIn. See instructions at https://help.linkedin.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/87/kw/personalized%20URL.
9. Recommend and get recommended
Using LinkedIn, you can easily give worthy people recommendations they were not expecting (nice surprise) or ask someone to recommend you for a specific aspect of your work. The 2 percent rule applies: 98 percent people in your network like you; 2 percent so greatly admire you they are willing to recommend you.
10. This is just a start
Continuously "work" LinkedIn as a power tool in your marketing toolbox. Social media, and LinkedIn in particular, are not spectator sports; they are actively changing marketplaces in which you have to continuously contribute and participate.
Marc W. Halpert owns Your Best Interest LLC, which offers businesses specialized, paperless electronic payment services to optimize cash flow; e-giving, which helps professional organizations and not-for-profits optimize online payments and donations; and Connect2Collaborate (www.connect2collaborate.com), a division of Your Best Interest that offers businesspeople training and coaching in the best uses of LinkedIn. He serves as Lead Instructor at the local University of Phoenix campus and is a SCORE counselor. Contact him at 203-373-0875 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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