How to Turn Your LinkedIn Profile into a Customer Magnet

October 11, 2018 / admin  / 
Attract new customers

 PART 1  LinkedIn and SEO

To attract customers you need two things (a) visibility and (b) credibility with your target audience. LinkedIn is unique in giving you the tools to do both on one platform. 

When I was researching this article I read numerous articles about LinkedIn and SEO and had several conversations with SEO expert Nick Brown of the Accelerate-Agency. Nick explained to me that the top three ranking factors are: backlinks, brand, and speed. But it was what he said next that made me think again about LinkedIn and SEO. He told me how by focusing on BRAND his agency had significantly accelerated their visibility and their SEO site-wide, simply by connecting with people on LinkedIn and posting regularly. In only 4 months he had grown his network from 300 to 18,500 connections.

Building a strong presence on LinkedIn is one of the best things that small and mid-sized businesses can do to boost their SEO.  Arguably, even more important than your visibility on Google, is the ability to create visibility with your own LinkedIn network. After all, these are people you have chosen to connect with because they have direct or indirect relevance to your business – a custom audience. For many businesses creating visibility with this audience is just as important, sometimes more so,  than getting to page one on Google. For example, one of my construction industry clients with a 10 person sales team had 1.000 connections collectively when I started working with them, after 9 months that had increased to 30,000 and their LinkedIn posts were generating tens of thousands of pounds of orders every month.

Your LinkedIn profile is the shop window for both your business and your personal brand. If you get it right it will help you to stand out from the competition, achieve maximum visibility with your target audience and become a lead magnet. In PART 2 I will share with you my top tips on how to fine-tune your profile for maximum visibility. 

PART 2  Optimising your Profile for search

Here are my top 12 practical tips for boosting your profile visibility on Google and on LinkedIn. 

1. Complete your profile fully

LinkedIn gives your profile a ranking from Beginner to All-Star. You can see your ranking on the privacy dashboard of your profile. The LinkedIn algorithm treats profiles that aren’t All-Star as lower quality and is, therefore, less likely to surface them in a search. It should be a priority, therefore, to make sure to get an All-Star ranking. It’s not difficult. If you have added these items then LinkedIn will rank you All-Star:

  • Photo
  • Education
  • Skills
  • Industry
  • Summary
  • Location
  • Current position
But don’t stop there, make sure you have filled out the profile fully, including the experience sections and added any extra sections that are relevant such as projects or courses completed.

2. Customise your URL 

Your LinkedIn URL is your unique LinkedIn address. You can personalise this and make it easier for Google to find you. If you have a common name you may have to be a little creative e.g. use a middle initial or reverse your first and surname for example. Add this URL to your email signature and on all your social media profiles possible. Create backlinks to your profile e.g. by including it on guest articles you write. 

3. Use a professional, friendly photo with anchor text

People underestimate the importance of the photo. It is a visual handshake. It helps to build trust. An unprofessional or unfriendly photo is a big turn off. Why fall at the first hurdle? To give your photo some extra SEO power use a description when you name it. For example, my photo is called: “Greg Cooper, LinkedIn Coach, LinkedIn Training, LinkedIn Expert.jpeg”

The same applies to naming your background image.

4. Adding anchor text to your weblinks in contact information

It’s a peculiarity of the contact information section design that if you choose “other” in the drop-down menu then LinkedIn gives you an extra line of description. This can be used for adding keywords or anchor text.


Fig 1: Adding descriptions to weblinks

5. Make full use of your headline

The line immediately under your photo is known as the professional headline and it defaults to your job title and company, but this is prime real estate. It’s one of the first things people see when they look at your profile or receive an invitation from you.

You can use a strapline approach as in Fig 2 below or adopt a simple keyword approach. I have done both. I currently use a keyword approach* (*link at bottom of the article). The headline is 120 characters, which is roughly twenty words.



Fig 2: Making good use of the professional headline

6. Make your Summary sizzle

Getting found is only the first step, your summary is the means by which you build trust and credibility in the reader’s mind and persuade them to take the next step. A compelling and relevant summary is essential. It should be written with your ideal customer in mind. For more help check out this article “How to Write a Business Winning LinkedIn Summary” ( *see links at end of article).

7. Add a keyword paragraph to your summary and experience sections

Keywords are super important on LinkedIn however if you try to stuff your text with keywords it becomes very hard to read. Adding a keyword paragraph titled “Specialities” at the end of these sections is an elegant way of including them without putting the reader off. 

Specialities:LinkedIn training|LinkedIn Trainer|LinkedIn strategy|Lead generation|LinkedIn Coaching|LinkedIn Profile Optimisation|LinkedIn Search|LinkedIn Blog|LinkedIn Tips|LinkedIn In-house Training|Online training|LinkedIn for business|LinkedIn marketing|LinkedIn training courses|LinkedIn profile tips|How to use LinkedIn|LinkedIn company page|LinkedIn Sales Navigator|LinkedIn Expert

8. Expand your experience section

The experience section is often underused but it provides valuable extra space to showcase your expertise and build credibility. Just like the summary field, this section has a 2,000 character maximum and you can add documents, slideshows, video, pdf etc to add more depth. You can also add multiple current entries – for the same or different positions. In my own profile, I use separate entries for my public courses, my bespoke courses and the LinkedIn Local networking events I host. Each entry gives you an extra 2,000 characters of space!

Check out John Courtney’s profile* he has 17 separate current roles in the experience section.

9. Keyword optimise your job title 

No-one says you have to use your formal job title on LinkedIn. Instead of listing myself simply as “Business Owner” I have used the title field to add extra keywords. You will notice also that the experience section, allows you to enter multiple locations. 

Fig 3: Adding keywords to the title field

9. Add skills and gather endorsements and recommendations

It’s unclear whether adding skills has an SEO benefit or not. Let’s assume it does and make sure that we add relevant skills to our profile. From a jobs perspective, a relevant list of skills definitely does help because LinkedIn’s Recruiter package allows recruiters to search for people by skills; also skills is one of the targeting option available to advertisers.

The endorsements feature is often dismissed as being unimportant. Whether or not you feel that endorsements are important I can tell you that many buyers and potential customers WILL consider they are important. You are more likely to convert a profile visit into an enquiry if you have plenty of relevant endorsements.

Recommendations are your silent salespeople and are an extremely valuable way to build credibility and trust. Endorsements are useful but recommendations carry much more weight. It’s possible either now or in the future that the number and quality of your recommendations may influence how highly LinkedIn ranks your profile in a search result. Some SEO specialists recommend a minimum of 10. 

10. Expand your network

I am not an advocate of linking with anybody and everybody but within reason, there is no doubt that

The bigger your network the more opportunities you will find and will find you.

According to Statista the breakdown of LinkedIn member’s 1st-degree connections look something like this:


                                                                                       Fig 4: How many LinkedIn connections?

Exactly how many connections you need to be effective will depend in part on your job role. A Chief Executive in a large corporate may be highly selective on who they connect to, whereas a recruiter will aim for a very large network in their niche to give them the biggest field of candidates. For the average user, I suggest aiming for 1,000 for a sales or business development role 3,000-5,000 should be the target.

11. Putting yourself in the algorithm’s place

We have already established that creating visibility with your custom LinkedIn audience is the priority for most business. When someone does a search for your service or checks their home feed it’s your profile and posts that you want them to see. LinkedIn’s algorithm is tasked with showing the most relevant i.e.personalised information to members. Outside of LinkedIn no-one knows exactly what criteria the algorithm uses but it’s going to be based on a mixture of the following:  location, topic, completeness of profile, number of recommendations and endorsements (my speculation), popularity of profile, quality of network and importantly closeness of relationship – i.e. the degree of relationship (1st, 2nd, 3rd) and frequency of interactions.   

12. Activating your Profile

It should be pretty clear by now that even a knock-out profile on its own is not enough. To activate your profile and drive more visibility you need to be actively posting and engaging on LinkedIn. That doesn’t necessarily have to take huge chunks of time. For most people 10-15 minutes a day is enough to keep in touch with their network. Anyone in a sales or business development role will spend more time. 

I hope you found this post useful, do let me know in the comments below. I would also love to hear any examples of when your LinkedIn profile has brought you success. 

LINKS

Greg Cooper profile
How to Write a Business Winning LinkedIn Summary
John Courtney Profile
Google’s Top 200 ranking factors
Keyword finder tool

More about Greg

Greg Cooper is an independent LinkedIn consultant and trainer based in Bristol, UK. He is a Fellow of the Institute of Direct and Digital Marketing. For over twenty years Greg ran an award-winning direct marketing agency working with leading technology companies like IBM, SAP, and Siemens. 

Today he helps SMEs to use LinkedIn more effectively to find, win and keep customers. He runs public and in-house courses including the LinkedIn Essentials Master ClassSales Navigator, and Social Selling workshops, and Employee Advocacy training. 

Greg is also the host for the Bristol LinkedIn Local – a pitch free networking event which focuses on building relationships with other LinkedIn members.

 

How to Position Yourself as an Expert on LinkedIn

May 1, 2017 / admin  / 


Recently I gave a talk on how to position yourself as an expert on LinkedIn to a business audience in the lovely City of Bath. I started by asking how many people in the audience considered themselves experts? Three lonely hands went up. I then reworded the question and asked, “Who here considers they have expertise that their customers value?” Almost everyone in the room put their hand up.

Maybe it’s a British thing. Most of us feel uncomfortable calling ourselves experts but that is precisely the reason customers come to us because we have knowledge and expertise that they don’t. Whether or not you feel comfortable with the word, positioning yourself as an expert is an incredibly effective way of marketing yourself and your business. And if you sell to other businesses then LinkedIn is the place to “be known for what you know”.

Consider the benefits for your business:

  • Higher profile in your chosen markets
  • More and better opportunities
  • Lower marketing costs
  • Lower cost of sale
  • Better margins

Positioning yourself as an expert is probably the single best marketing investment you can make.

When you build a reputation as the got to person for your particular skills then instead of chasing business people start to seek you out.

5 Practical steps to promote yourself as an expert

One of the first ports of call a buyer will make to check out your expertise is LinkedIn. Let’s look at the steps that will help you to position yourself and your business as a source of expertise on LinkedIn.

  1. Create a strong personal brand

There are several ways a potential buyer may come to your profile – as a result of a search, a recommendation, seeing your content, or just a casual visit. When they arrive your aim is to convince them you are the go to person for this product or service.

Pay particular attention to the top of your profile. Your photo is the initial visual hook. Do you look professional and approachable? Have you added a custom image which makes you stand out and reinforces your brand? Underneath your name is the professional headline, this defaults to your job title but is a great opportunity to position yourself and your expertise. It is your written hook.

The other key feature is the summary. This is where you can expand on your expertise, give examples of what you do, describe the type of customer you are looking for, add a testimonial. We want the viewer to recognise themselves and feel comfortable taking the next step to contact you.

On the mobile and desktop, the summary field has now been collapsed into two lines. It’s very important therefore to think about how to start your summary – only the first 200 characters (on the desktop) and 60 characters (on mobile) are visible to the viewer.

LinkedIn has two social proof features –  endorsements and recommendations. Customers will expect to be able to read glowing references for an expert. 

Recommendations are important evidence of expertise (click to enlarge)

 

  1. Build a broad AND relevant network

Experts achieve recognition by writing books or talking at conferences but also by NETWORKING.  A broad and relevant network is a crucial tool for building your reputation. The bigger your network the bigger your reach. One of the best ways to expose your expertise is to share valuable content, LinkedIn gives you the opportunity to build a custom audience to consume and share this.

  1. Expose your expertise with original content

As an expert, you have valuable knowledge that your customers want. Giving this knowledge away in small chunks through articles and posts is one of the best ways to build your reputation. At first, this seems counter-intuitive, why will people use you if they can glean your expertise for free? Strangely the opposite is true.

Ask people who have written successful books about how to do stuff. Of course, there will be some people who just read the book but there will be plenty of others who get in touch because of the author’s superior knowledge. As a business coach, Peter Quintana, said to me recently no-one wants to pay for someone who is “simply competent”.

 My advice, therefore, is to publish and be damned.

  1. Build and nurture a support network

You can be one of the most knowledgeable people ever in your field but if no-one knows about you there are never going to be queues outside your door. One of the most effective ways to spread the word is to build a network of people who like and share your content. Usually, this happens organically. You start to notice people who are regularly liking, commenting on, or sharing your posts. Say thank you show appreciation, where appropriate share their content too.

It’s likely that some of this network will be your peers. For example, I am linked to an informal network of LinkedIn coaches all around the world. We regularly share each other’s content.

By creating this supporter network or fanbase, your content gets far greater exposure than you could achieve through your own efforts alone.

  1. Engage with your audience

If your content is good it will attract potential customers. LinkedIn notifies us when someone is engaging with our posts, be alert and ready to get involved, without delay. One of my connections, Felix Spender, a conflict management specialists, published an article on LinkedIn about Brexit which attracted thousands of views and over a hundred comments.  He quickly engaged with the people who were commenting, responding thoughtfully and respectfully to all the comments. As a result, he was invited to London to meet with the cabinet office, he won a major new contract, and crucially his personal authority received a massive boost.

Some people will respond to your content by sending you a connection request. This is another great opportunity to open a conversation. I always thanks people for their invitation then ask if there was anything that prompted them to reach out to me.  This regularly results in a sales opportunity as people explain how they would like to learn to use LinkedIn more effectively.  

Buyers want YOUR expertise now

No business has all the expertise it needs to make it thrive. Every business from time to time needs to consult or buy in knowledge from suppliers be that an accountant, an IT consultant, or an office cleaning company. Businesses use outside expertise to:

  • Make better decisions
  • Save time and money
  • Avoid costly mistakes
  • Innovate and stay ahead of the competition
  • Be more efficient and profitable

If you can offer your customers one or more of these benefits then I would suggest this is based on knowledge that you have that the customer does not. It’s time to start exposing this expertise on LinkedIn to be known for what you know more widely.

 

Top 5 LinkedIn Photo #Fails

July 20, 2015 / admin  / 

blog imageAccording to LinkedIn’s own research, profiles with photos get 11x more views than those without. For most of us the prime benefit of being on LinkedIn is to raise our individual and business profile not having a photo is a major own goal.

Choosing the right photo however is equally important.

LinkedIn is a professional network. Your profile is your professional shop window. A carelessly chosen photo can completely undermine your credibility.

As you may have noticed there are many examples of inappropriate photos on LinkedIn. Perhaps these are attempts to express individuality – to stand out from the crowd – or just simply a case of grabbing the nearest image to hand.

If you are reading this and beginning to have a few doubts about your photo, here is my list of the 5 Ps to avoid when it comes to choosing your LinkedIn photo:

5 Ps to Avoid

1. Pets and partners

It’s surprising how often favourite pets from cats to horses make an appearance of LinkedIn. You may also have a pet name for your partner but there really is no place for them in your profile photo.

2. Pubs and parties

Alcohol relaxes us and can stimulate conversation but the only time you should have a glass in your hand on LinkedIn is if (like one of my clients) you are a wine merchant.

3. Posh hats and weddings

Wedding photos are common, after all they were professionally taken weren’t they.

And that might have cost a fortune but it won’t impress your business connections.

4. Parents and babies

Yes, little William is gorgeous but incongruous next to your impressive job title.

5. Pot smoking and pop festivals.

Let’s face it we all let our hair down at times but LinkedIn isn’t the place to advertise this.

And finally, one more bonus P to avoid…

The Pygmy photo which is so tiny that even your mother wouldn’t recognise you.

Make the right first impression!

Once someone lands on your profile you have probably less than two seconds to make that first impression. Having a professional and friendly looking headshot will provide important reassurance and begin to create a positive emotional connection with the viewer. Is your photo failing this test?

If you enjoyed this article, please like and share it now.



Greg Cooper

How to create custom individual AND company page addresses for LinkedIn

June 12, 2015 / admin  / 

Did you know you can have a custom LinkedIn address? This feature is available to paid and free account users.

The default address looks pretty ugly something like this:

https://uk.linkedin.com/pub/john-smith/0/14b/931

With a few clicks you can get rid of that ugly suffix and create a custom url which can be added to electronic documents e.g. an email signature, a CV, a web page to give a much more professional and memorable image. Here’s how.

Custom URL Instructions

1. Go to the contact information on your profile page.

2. Scroll down to your current LinkedIn url and click on the gear wheel next to it.
blog image

This will take you to the following page

blog image

3. Click on the pencil icon next to your url.

4. Type your name in the box and see if it is available. If your name is slightly out of the ordinary you will have no problem, if you have a very common name then you may have to be creative by including your middle initial or name for example.

5. Save and you are done.

Create a custom Company Page address

When you land on a company page you will see a long and complicated url like this one for the Microsoft company page.

blog image

LinkedIn do not provide a facility to create a custom company page address however there is a simple way to do this.

Click on the company logo #1. This brings up the url #2:

https://www.linkedin.com/company/microsoft?trk=company_logo

Delete everything after and including the question mark. This leaves you with your custom clickable company page address. Here is mine:

https://www.linkedin.com/company/microsoft

Simple.

If you found these tips helpful, please share them so others can too.

For more tips and advice on how I can help you to grow your business more quickly with LinkedIn call (+44 (0)70917 360222) or email me today.