For nearly 20 years, LinkedIn has occupied a monopoly in the business social network landscape. As a social network, Linkedin predates YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter. So odds are that everyone reading this has a profile on LinkedIn.
Founded in a garage by Reid Hoffman and Eric Ly, LinkedIn launched on May 5, 2003. LinkedIn quickly establishes itself as the playground for business professionals. Initially viewed as a networking and job search social network, it did not take long for LinkedIn to also become perhaps the best digital prospecting tool for sales representatives. LinkedIn has connected 800 million members in more than 200 countries and territories worldwide.
The Importance Of Your LinkedIn Profile
If you’re a business professional, and especially if you work within sales, you need a presence on LinkedIn. Potential employers will check your LinkedIn profile. Also, potential clients are highly likely to view your profile. A quality profile will benefit your career, and equally as important to keep in mind, a poor LinkedIn profile might hurt your credibility and career.
The general consensus is that a quality LinkedIn profile will give you credibility and establish you as a trustworthy potential employee or business partner. As explained by Sarah More of Eleven Lights Media, even when you are relatively inactive on Linkedin, you will get profile visits. With a well-written and optimized profile, not only will you see benefit from increased profile visits, but you will also grow your network and increase your visibility and credibility in your field.
In the video above, Sarah shares some great tips on how to improve your LinkedIn profile. A few of the tips are expert tips that you won’t typically learn in any basic LinkedIn 101 type training. While we wanted to include that as added benefit tips, we will focus our tips around sales professionals.
Improving Your LinkedIn Profile
There are countless ways in which a professional can improve their LinkedIn profile. And, those who are highly active on LinkedIn are often tweaking their profile to optimize it and utilize the latest features fully. These tips will help sales professionals look credible, get profile views, and obtain visibility in the crowded sales industry.
LinkedIn Profile Photo
We recommend having a professional profile photo, or at least a professional-looking profile photo. With the advancements in cell phone camera tech, it is possible to take a high-resolution quality profile photo.
You will want the photo to be a picture of you facing head-on, and ideally smiling. In addition, you will want it to be a headshot, or from the mid-chest up. If the photo is of your whole body, it will be difficult for people to see your face with how small the profile photo displays on LinkedIn.
While a profile photo with your spouse or kid, or a profile photo of you on vacation is acceptable for your personal Facebook account or perhaps Instagram, you want to stick to a professional headshot for LinkedIn. Being in sales, you’ll also want to dress business casual or in a company logo shirt. The exception to this rule is if business casual is not you nor how you dress. For example, if you’re always in a black t-shirt, no matter the setting, then wear a black t-shirt. But, have it be clean, wrinkle-free, and with a professional or plain background.
It is important to not change your profile photo often. You want people to instantly recognize you. For this reason, using the same profile photo on all social networks and websites is recommended. If your look changes, such as changing your hair color or switching from glasses to contacts, you’ll want to update your profile photo to show what you currently look like. Don’t change your LinkedIn profile more than once per year. Most quality profile photos will last you 3-5 years.
Think outside the box a bit. Your headline is a chance to stand out. Keep in mind that when most people see a post from you in their feed or come across you in a simple search, they will only see your profile photo, name, and your headline. This is a chance to grab the attention of someone and get them to click on your profile.
Lead With Humor
At Funnel Amplified, most of us like to lead with humor in both our personal and business relationships. So, you’ll see us lead with a joke in our headline on several of our profiles. Our CEO, Brandon Lee, leads with humor in his. His headline is: “I love dad jokes, and I help sales teams create first conversations with ideal customers using social media with social cadences and social KPI’s.”
It is important to remember that only a portion of the headline will display in feeds and some searches. For example, the headline for Brandon will often display with, “I love dad jokes and I help sales teams create first conversations.” So, be aware of where the character limit cuts off and how it displays in the feed.
One of the people from our marketing team has a headline that is displayed as, “Semi-Pro Pizza Eater, Social Media Marketer.” The reference to pizza, and how Brandon references dad jokes, stands out as unique and is more likely to lead to a profile click. It also gives someone contacting you a topic to use as an ice-breaker when first contacting you.
If humor is not your thing, we encourage you to think beyond your job title. For those in sales, consider references who you help and/or how you help them. Or, include a feature or benefit of what you sell. Simply putting “Sales Representative” won’t help you stand out.
LinkedIn About And Experience
Your LinkedIn profile is not an autobiography or a resume. Yes, if you’re job searching, your LinkedIn profile may sometimes act as a surrogate for your resume, but it should not read like a professional resume.
This section does not need to include only professional information. Yes, it is a place where you can list your qualifications and things that might make you stand out from your peers. However, it is also a section in which you can tell the story of yourself. Who are you? What ate your interests? What could you put there to make people more likely to request to connect or send you a direct message?
This is the section that resembles a resume, but again, it is not your resume. You do want to tag your current and past employers in this section. Including and tagging past employers and past job titles will lead to you appearing in more search results. Remember that you do not have to list all of your work experience here. If you’ve been in sales for 20 years, your part-time job in high school is not necessary. However, we’d recommend including as many past jobs as possible because it increases your odds of appearing in searches.
Who Do You Help And How Do You Help Them
Keep in mind the desired outcome of your LinkedIn profile. If you’re in sales and using LinkedIn to prospect and generate sales, fill out your experience with that in mind. Yes, displaying your successful track record may look good. But, focusing on who you have helped and how you have helped them may be a better approach. For example:
If you sell homes, you can list “Over $10 Million in Real Estate in 2021.” That is impressive. Or, you could say, “Helped 50 People Purchase Their Dream Home in 2021.” If someone is looking for a realtor to help sell their home, which one do you think resonates with them? It is the latter.
If you sell software to business owners, listing your award for being the #1 sales rep in your company is excellent. Or, you could list the ways business owners have benefited from your software.
Make sure all your dates are accurate. List as many past jobs as makes sense. But above all, keep your desired outcome from your LinkedIn profile in mind and design your About and Experience section around that.
Utilizing LinkedIn To Sell More
If you are struggling to drive sales from LinkedIn and other social networks, consider giving FunnelAmplified a try. Our Digital Prospecting Tools help sales teams, and sales professionals accelerate sales cycles, connect and build relationships with more prospects that win more deals. We offer a no-obligation 14-Day trial. Click Here to get started.