Your LinkedIn page is one of the top tools in your arsenal for bringing new leads and clients to your challenger brand. LinkedIn has more than 360 million members from all over the world, and it’s the most dedicated social networking site specifically for business and forming professional relationship. In other words, it’s more serious than Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest, which means you have to be on it.
You have two, distinct LinkedIn pages that you ought to spend some time on to make pop off of desktop and mobile screens: Your company profile and your individual profile page.
They’re not same beast when you think about it because your company profile needs to tell other networkers why your challenger brand’s worthy of their attention, and your individual profile should sell you as an expert in your industry.
How to Design Your Company Profile
Optimize your company profile by taking care of the following page elements.
Use an Impactful Banner Image
Your company’s banner image is the first thing that leads and networkers see when they stumble onto your company profile. It’s the wide image that’s right below your company name and right above your company information. Thus, your banner image has to do justice to your brand by representing it well.
That’s why you want to take care when choosing it, so don’t pick a lame stock photo or a poorly pieced-together picture of your team members. Instead, design a sharp, high-quality header for your company that tells people about your brand. Have it done up at your company’s creative department; if your challenger brand’s not big enough yet to have a creative department, simply take your banner-image idea to a freelance graphic designer, many of whom charge affordable rates for projects like this.
Human beings are extremely visual creatures, which is why your leads and fellow networkers will appreciate such a touch.
For a great example of a beautiful banner image on LinkedIn, see the Molson Coors Brewing Company profile.
Regularly Post Engaging Updates
There’s nothing people like better than when a brand engages with them. LinkedIn shouldn’t be seen as just a networking site; it’s also a social site, so it makes sense for challenger brands to engage with their followers. Engagement also works as a self-promotion tool, so, on your company profile, feel free to share content like this:
- Blog articles
- Press releases
- Company contests
Here’s something highly interesting to note about posting updates to your company profile stream. While it’s generally accepted that the 80/20 social media rule is a best practice when it comes to social media, LinkedIn is the exception. This rule declares that 80% of your social media updates should be other’s helpful content, and just 20% should be your self-promoting content.
However, this doesn’t apply to LinkedIn as brands of all sizes routinely post company-centric updates on their streams. On LinkedIn—as opposed to more relaxed social media sites like Twitter and Facebook—it’s already understood that you’ve signed up to promote your business and network, so self-serving content is viewed in a much better light.
Panasonic, trailing brands like Samsung and LG in TV manufacturing market share, is a prolific updater of content on its LinkedIn company profile.
Engage With Your Followers by Leaving Comments
Leads, followers and people in general feel valued when a brand engages with them. For challenger brands in particular, engaging with people who leave comments on your updates can be doubly powerful since it demonstrates a personal touch. This form of personalized attention can be more effective than spending a boatload of money on fancy ads.
Whether an individual’s left a positive comment, some constructive criticism, a question or some general feedback, it behooves your challenger brand to reply. If the comment’s positive, thank the person; if it’s warranted criticism, apologize, empathize and ask what you can do to make things better; if it’s a question, answer it accurately; and if it’s general feedback, assure the commenter that it’ll be noted and considered.
For a challenger brand that gets this and practices it well, see Wild Apricot’s way of handling LinkedIn comments. Wild Apricot is a small business software company. The company monitors its LinkedIn updates stream for comments from customers. Whenever there’s a comment posted, the company’s quick to answer it.
How to Design Your Individual Profile
Now, let’s tackle how your individual profile should look to attract clients.
Use a High-Quality Picture of Yourself
As with your company profile, your individual profile communicates who you are. That’s why it’s necessary to use a high-quality, sharp picture of yourself. You want to represent yourself in the most winning way possible, after all. If this means having to get a professional headshot and spending a little extra, it’s well worth it to have a truly professional-looking individual profile.
All too often, unfortunately, professionals on LinkedIn don’t put enough thought into the type of picture they’re using! This leads to many unsuitable images for their photos, everything from pictures at bars and restaurants to poses that seem to have been caught entirely off-guard. And please: No smartphone selfies as well!
Businessman Kevin O’Leary, from ABC’s “Shark Tank,” knows all about putting up a high-quality picture that’s full of personality and character.
Incorporate Eye-Catching Headlines and List Thorough Work Experiences
Writing killer headlines doesn’t just apply to copy for ad materials and newspapers. It also applies to how you describe yourself on your individual profile. The headline has to clearly communicate what you’re all about as a professional in your industry. It ought to generate interest in you and encourage people to continue reading down your entire profile!
When you list your work experiences, make sure they’re thorough and include both past and current positions and employers.
Bonus info: This part of your profile is also very sensitive to SEO, so it’s recommended that you use the right keywords to describe yourself, as these will help your profile perform better in searches.
Cyrus Shepard’s, Moz’s Director of Audience Development, individual profile catches your attention by listing what he does, what his specialty is, and also who his employer is. It’s also filled out thoroughly, as you can see where he went to school and who his past and current employers are.
Write a Captivating Summary
Your LinkedIn profile’s summary is where you have a shot at selling yourself to leads and other networkers. You want to include as much info as possible without being long-winded, yet you also want to make yourself sound very interesting. The goal of a well-written summary is to persuade people reading it to connect with you, send you a message, call you or visit your website.
Never make the mistake of substituting your resume for your LinkedIn summary! The summary is expressly the place to tell everyone about you, why you’re an expert at what you do, and why they should deal with you.
Note that your summary is fresh, engaging and lively, whereas your resume can be boring since it’s just a rote listing of what you’ve done up to the present.
A unique and great example of a powerful summary comes from Donna Serdula, author and speaker. Note how her summary’s bursting with lively, gripping language that presents a problem and then positions her as someone who can expertly solve it.
Making LinkedIn Work for You
LinkedIn is different from any other social networking side because it’s geared exclusively to other business professionals like yourself. It’s not the place to tell everyone how cool that restaurant was last night! It’s a serious networking hub for professionals who enjoy meeting people and solving other’s problems.
With more than 300 million people across the world potentially being able to learn more about your challenger brand, the site offers a chance not to be squandered. Fill out and design your LinkedIn profiles to maximize your brand visibility.