What do your customers and prospects see when they Google your name and city (i.e. John Smith Richmond)? Do the search results portray you in a good light or do they fall flat? If your online presence doesn’t accurately reflect your in-person presence, this post is for you. Since LinkedIn profiles are typically the first result on Google searches for names, I have 4 easy steps to beef yours up and improve your online first impression.
1. Spruce up your professional headline
Your professional headline tells your profile visitors and Google searchers who you are and why they should trust you. To enhance your credibility, consider adding more than your job title. One way to do this is to say what you are, who you help and how you help them. Here’s an example: “Payments Consultant helping small businesses accept card payments and optimize their cashflow”
2. Customize your public profile URL
Sure, your LinkedIn profile URL is a small detail, but it signals to onlookers that you’re detail-oriented. A URL that reads linkedin.com/in/firstnamelastname is more personable than a randomly generated URL from LinkedIn with letters and numbers.
3. Add a summary
This is your elevator pitch to prospects. It’s a great opportunity to sell yourself without making it seem like you’re selling yourself. The summary section is also a good place to add your personal achievements or goals. No need to get fancy here because you want it to sound genuine and natural. Just write like you’re talking to a merchant and be sure to spell check.
4. Add a professional-looking photo
This is an obvious one, yet it’s often overlooked because so many of us hate having our picture taken. But your profile is 14 times more likely to be viewed if you have a professional photo. “Professional” as in what you (just you!) look like at your best when you meet with a potential merchant or referral partner. Therefore, a $50 or so investment at your local portrait studio is well worth it. If that’s not possible though, ask a friend to take your picture on a solid background where there’s good natural light.
One last tip. LinkedIn allows you to pick whether it notifies your connections of your profile updates. It will get you more profile views, but can potentially bombard your connections with notifications if you’re making piecemeal edits to your profile over the course of a few days. Therefore, I recommend turning it off while you’re making most of the edits. When you have one or two final edits to make such as adding a new photo or editing your headline, turn the notification option back on.