How To Turn Your LinkedIn Profile Into A Magnet For Potential Customers
By Yannick Ilunga
When it comes to social media, LinkedIn is probably the most underutilized one.
There are over 364 million active users, but only a very small chunk actually uses the platform to its fullest. LinkedIn is much more than a mere “online CV” or portfolio. It’s a powerful networking, authority building, lead generation and business tool.
In this post, I’m going to discuss how you can get the most out of this social media and turn your LinkedIn profile into a magnet for potential customers, as well as a tool for building and growing a network and position yourself as an expert.
In a recent episode of the 360 Entrepreneur Podcast, I sat down with LinkedIn marketing expert and author of the best-seller The LinkedIn Code Melonie Dodaro to talk about how to turn LinkedIn into a magnet for potential customers.
When it comes to this social media, she explained, one of the biggest mistakes users make is having a profile that isn’t completed nor optimized.
LinkedIn Profile Optimization
LinkedIn isn’t Facebook, nor Instagram.
People don’t see it nor use it as an entertaining platform. It’s a business platform, which means that you want your profile to be nothing but professional. This, also for the fact that your LinkedIn profile is going to be one of the first pages that pop up, when people type your name on Google.
The first step of your LinkedIn profile optimization is your profile picture. No photos of your latest trip, your pet, etc. You want to have a professional looking, high quality close-up picture of you. Remember to stay true to your brand though, and be authentic.
Additionally, you should take advantage of all the digital “real estate” available and upload a background, header image (the size is 1400×425). Even though the background image is only displayed to the people you’re connected with, you should still upload a compelling one.
Ideally, you want the header picture to tell something about you, contribute to building authority or to promote an upcoming webinar or product you may be selling. Melonie Dodaro, for instance, highlights her book The LinkedIn Code and her expertise: social selling training, LinkedIn training, etc.
The next step to optimizing your LinkedIn profile is to actually complete all the sections of your page. Don’t focus exclusively on your summary, your current working position and past education. Take the time to add information that can be of value for your potential customers: your skills and endorsements, awards, posts, languages, and so forth.
An excerpt from an infographic by linkhumans.com on Slideshare illustrates why doing all this matters:
When crafting the copy for your LinkedIn profile, you should be focusing on two things. The first is write for your target audience. When writing your summary for instance, don’t talk only about your present and past achievements. Mention your potential customer’s pain points and make it clear what solution(s) you’re providing to solve them.
The second thing is a common mistake many entrepreneurs and small business owners make on LinkedIn. “When people look for someone to help them, they’re not going to do a Google search for terms like ‘founder,” Dodaro explained during the interview. This means that you should describe yourself and what you do, using keywords your prospect customers would actually use on Google: such as web developer, social media marketing manager, etc. Make sure to include those keywords through your LinkedIn profile, as those are going to help your LinkedIn SEO.
An additional tip, for making your profile stand out and turn it into a magnet for potential customers, is to leverage multimedia. In fact, LinkedIn allows you upload PDF files and Slideshare slide decks, among other files. This means that you can highlight your best work and build authority by adding multimedia.
Sharing your expertise through a post is another excellent way to position yourself as an expert. You can do so by using LinkedIn’s publishing platform Pulse.
It’s completely free to use and allows you to establish your editorial voice and make it heard by writing a post and publishing it on LinkedIn. Your posts will be available for everyone to see and, if your latest one is among those that have received the most views, it may be featured alongside those by A-Listers who are taking advantage of Pulse too.
You may have a blog already, but keep in mind that your LinkedIn posts are public, which means that, potentially, each of the 364+ million users could see them.
Write about things your prospect customers may be struggling with, educate them and provide value. Doing all this could get your content in front of hundreds or even thousands of eyeballs.
LinkedIn Networking 101
As I said, LinkedIn is a platform that is all about business, and its networking dimension is no exception. “Don’t send unsolicited contact requests.” warned LinkedIn expert Melonie Dodaro on the 360 Entrepreneur Podcast. People already get those by email or on other social media.
This doesn’t mean that you can connect only with people you have met in person, though. Did you listen to an influencer speaking on podcast? Ok, there’s your good “excuse” for breaking the ice and connect with them.
When it comes to contact requests, avoid using the standard one: “I’d like to add you to my professional network on LinkedIn,” and go for a customized connection invitation instead. Replace the default message and explain why you’re connecting with that particular person (remember that people are busy, so you want to be brief).
You could simply write something like:
“Hi INFLUENCER’S NAME, I listened to you on PODCAST NAME. You have inspired me so much and taught me some new things – thanks for that! I thought I’d take a moment to connect with you and to personally thank you! – YOUR NAME“.
Remember that business is still being done face-to-face, so after a few exchanges try to move the conversation to your email and, after that, either to Skype, to a phone call or a face-to-face conversation.
Lead Generation and Social Selling
According to Melonie Dodaro, when it comes to lead generation, LinkedIn is 277% more effective than Facebook and Twitter. This means that, if you’re not leveraging it to generate leads and create social funnels, you’re missing out big time.
She, for instance, provides value to new connections by giving them access to her free LinkedIn Master Class. By doing so, she directs traffic to her platform (her blog) and grows her email list, as people need to sign up for it in order to receive the free training.
Take a moment to craft a few lead generation messages and create funnels that will turn your new LinkedIn connections into email subscribers and into fans. Remember: People buy from those who they know, like and trust. Hence, you want your LinkedIn connections to know you, like what you do and trust you, before you try to do any selling.
An additional thing you can do to really stand out from the crowd and turn your LinkedIn profile into a magnet for potential customers is social selling. A social selling campaign helps you position yourself as an expert, brings you closer to your target market and allows you to move the conversation off of LinkedIn.
As the infographic below shows, you can do social selling even if you only have 30 minutes a day:
Unlike what happens with other social media, people use LinkedIn to do business and to build and grow their professional network. Most of the millions of LinkedIn users have similar goals in mind, but only a small percentage successfully cut through the noise, build authority and generates leads that can lead to actual sales.
This means that, by following these simple, yet effective, tips, you’re going to have an advantage on your competitors who are trying to use LinkedIn for similar purposes, but have yet to unlock its full potential.
Yannick “Yann” Ilunga is the founder of 360 entrepreneur.net, a blog and training community for entrepreneurs and small business owners. He’s also the host of the 360 Entrepreneur Podcast, show that features inspiring conversations with A-Listers like Pat Flynn, John Lee Dumas, Kim Garst, Melinda Emerson and Natalie Sisson.