Tips to Rock Linkedin – Updated for 2020
Many years ago, at the New Start Scotland Exhibition, I was asked to give a talk on Linkedin by NSDesign. At the time, I shared my 25 tips to Rock Linkedin. Since several people had asked for a copy of the “slides” afterwards, I thought I’d create a blog post instead. As Linkedin has changed a lot over the years, I thought I’d update this post for 2020.
At the workshop, I started off by asking people what their actual “goal” is for Linkedin. Like every other platform out there, Linkedin works best when you have a strategy in place. You need measurable goals that you’re actually working toward, or what’s the point in being on there? What I suggest in this post is both a matter of opinion (my own opinion of course), and a variety of “best practices” too. I probably read an average of one Linkedin article a week.
I also need to add a disclaimer to say I am not claiming my profile is “the best profile ever” – to be honest, it’s a constant work in progress. As I learn more, I adjust it often.
Here we go in a step-by-step fashion…
1 Proper Profile Picture
Start by actually having a photo (blank is bad). Be sure it’s the right size photo/dimensions and ensure your face is taking up 60% of the frame. Do NOT use a logo (they break Ts & Cs). People want to see who they’re dealing with – so smile and look them straight in the eye (not gazing off in to the distance – you wouldn’t do in real life so don’t do it online).
Whatever Linkedin profile picture you choose, it t shouldn’t be a “selfie” from a night out with your pals, or one with your spouse or kids.
Make it a professional studio “headshot” if at all possible. Profiles with pictures are said to be viewed seven times more often than ones that don’t have a profile picture. Get the picture!? (Pun intended).
So with that being said, who in the photo above has gotten it right?
2 Have a Headline that Shines
The text right below your name is your headline, is 120 characters, and is the second most important part of your profile after your name. If you don’t change it, your headline will simply be your current job title by default. Why not change it to include relevant keywords for search engine optimization? Google and Linkedin share a good and symbiotic relationship – so if you do it right, by that I mean choosing the right keywords, you just may find that you can rank highly in Google. Try to show the benefit of connecting to you to your potential (and current) contacts. Here are some Linkedin headline tips for inspiration.
Below you can see my current headline but I do change it regularly to try out different keywords and phrases…
3 A Succinct Summary
Your Summary now called the About section is 2000 max characters. To me, this isn’t the place to write your full life story or bullet point your full career, but perhaps an opportunity to show who you are in a more rounded sense. Give the reader a little insight into who you are – not just what you DO. Be authentic, use keywords, show some personality, and don’t forget some sort of call to action at the end of it. I also recommend sign posting people to the Career/Experience section lower down in your profile. Finally I personally prefer it is written in the first person because it’s YOUR profile but you can suit yourself. Note that only two or three of the first lines of the summary will show and people will need to click “See more” to read it all. Make those sentences count!
4) Use Your URLS
(30 characters). There are two areas in your profile that you should take advantage of:
A. Your customized URL (also known as a vanity URL, it is usually this is your name). Your URL is found right below your photo on Linkedin. Thankfully, for me, there is only one Thea Newcomb (accept no substitutes) so I got my own name. 🙂
B. Anchor Text/ Back Links The other areas you want to claim are your various website links. These are in the “contact info” area of your profile, and they’ll say things like “Company Website” or “Personal Website”. You can choose from Blog, Company Website, Portfolio, etc. I always recommend choosing “Other” so you get a box to type in the name (helps with SEO). Like everywhere else on your LinkedIn profile, use those relevant keywords! I can’t believe how many profiles I see out there where it’s not been used properly. It’s another place for SEO juice, as it were, so please take advantage of it and give the link a relevant name!
5 Cover It – Your Linkedin Header
You can make a bespoke cover to your profile using something like Canva (a Free tool). Choose custom dimensions 1584 x 396 pixels in Canva and add your name, logo, a photo, some text, whatever you want.
To demonstrate a few tips – I made a rough diagram of where the safe zones are in Linkedin headers. Sometimes your profile pic is on the left…sometimes on the app other smaller devices it’s in the middle so you won’t want to put your important information in those areas. Keep it to anywhere across the top or down the right side.
6 Feature Your Highlights
Make sure you’re using the Features area on our profile well. Focus on the kind of work or clients that you wish to attract, or the people you’d like to add to your network. In my case my main areas of expertise are highlight, Canva, Linkedin and Merch (merchandise/print on demand). Again I made mine in Canva – keeping to my branding throughout. Linkedin was recently were testing square format features, but I see now they have gone back to rectangles. Make sure whatever format they’re using in highlights that yours are legible and on brand.
7 Connections – The Low Down
Let’s talk about connections in terms of your strategy, maintenance and visibility.
Network Building Strategy: Do you want to connect to everyone and anyone? Fine. Do you want to only connect with people you know or have met? That’s good too. Do what works for you. I personally am discerning and don’t accept all connection requests – not even close.
If I don’t know the person requesting connection, I’ll go check out their profile. You see, I like to know that we have people in common, or interests, or geography. I prefer to receive notes with the requests. When I don’t, I am confused.
Visibility: Did you know that you can hide your connections.? Some people like to keep their network private. Some don’t. You may or may not wish to hide the connections you have. You do this in your “privacy & settings” (privacy controls, profile tab). I personally don’t hide mine, but you may have competitors that might look to see who you’re connected to, and might hone in on them. Some people are just like that…Please note, any mutual connections you have will always be shown, regardless.