Understanding our digital future

Guest Post from Carol McManus LinkedIn: How to Build Your Profile and Photo

Posted by: In: Blog, Social media 29 Sep 2010 Comments: 0

If the read and followed the last blog post, then you are probably well on your way to making LinkedIn a powerful weapon in your social media arsenal. In this post we’ll delve into more detail about what you can do to start attracting more business today. Like an interview and a great resume, proper presentation yields bigger dollars!

PROFILE: It all starts with an effective and complete profile. An incomplete profile says as much about you as not having one at all and in either case, the message you are sending is not a good one. LinkedIn provides you an opportunity to present your personal biography in a positive, professional, and engaging way. It allows you to show the world everything you want people to know about you – your background, your capabilities, and your services.

The first challenge clients usually bring up is, “I can do all that on my website, and there I don’t have to compete with everyone else’s message.” And my answer is, “That is absolutely true – but – you have to first attract people to your site and then get them to stay long enough to seek out the information about you.” This takes time, talent and money, and there are no guarantees it will work. When people visit LinkedIn, however, it is with the purpose of finding people, finding out about them, and then taking appropriate action (which may be to follow the link to your website where your services are fully displayed). Think of your LinkedIn profile as your permanent classified ad about you!

PHOTO: Why is a quality headshot your best shot? It’s simple really. For people who know you (or have known you in the past), it’s reassurance and confirmation that they are connecting with the right person. For people who don’t know you, it puts a face to a name and goes a long way in humanizing you.

A quality headshot requires you to be well-groomed, looking into the camera so people can see your eyes, and above all – smiling! This postage stamp digital image is your best way to say to the world, “I’m real, I’m human, and I’m approachable.” Dress can vary depending on what you do for a living but should reflect how you want people to perceive you as a professional and what they can anticipate if and when they meet you in person. For example, if you are competing for corporate business, then a suit is appropriate. This would also be true for lawyers, CPA’s, insurance representatives, financial advisors, etc. If you’re a doctor, a dentist, or a chiropractor, then a lab coat could work very effectively. If you’re in a business where casual dress is the norm, then men might choose an open neck shirt or polo while ladies might select a blouse or sweater. While you certainly want to look your best, this is not the time for Glamour Shots as they tend to lean toward provocative rather than professional.

A little bonus tip about photos: you should seriously consider using the same primary head shot on all your social networking profiles – Facebook, Twitter, Plaxo, Squidoo, etc. Why? So that when people navigate from one site to another looking for people, you will stand out as familiar and recognizable. That visual reinforcement will encourage connecting, friending, and following. (More on this in the 3rd series article).

The next post in this series will address the specifics of your network connections, group participation, and profile access. Look for that post next week!

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