With 330 million registered members in more than 200 countries and territories,* LinkedIn is the world’s most popular professional networking site. Here are five tips to help make it work harder for you and your business.
1) Customize your LinkedIn URL to feature your name.
Instead of keeping the default URL that LinkedIn assigns you – complete with a random string of numbers – try creating one that is easily recognizable. For example, www.linkedin.com/in/joeadvisor. This makes it not only easier for your clients and prospects to remember, but easier for them to share. To customize your URL, log in to your LinkedIn account, select Edit Profile from the Profile dropdown and then click the Edit link next to the URL under your profile photo. This will take you to your Public Profile, where you should see a section called “Your public profile URL” in the right-hand column. Click the pen icon next to your current URL to edit it.
2) Make your link(s) to your other websites more effective.
When you edit your contact information for your LinkedIn profile, there’s a section for adding links to your other websites. Don’t use the default dropdown labels LinkedIn provides. Instead, choose Other in the dropdown options, and type in a name for your link that better promotes your business name or brand. For example, rather than using default label “Company Website,” type in a more explicit label, like “Wealth Management Website” or an approved DBA name. And don’t forget to include a link to your compliance-approved Twitter account, if you have one. If you are a branch manager, you can include a link to both your personal advisor or group site as well as your branch website, or link directly to an approved professional bio page.
3) Create a descriptive and compelling headline.
The headline field on your LinkedIn profile is one of the most important features. Your headline is what shows up in searches, group memberships, updates and many other areas within LinkedIn’s platform. You should be selective and strategic about the words you choose – aim to grab attention, be searchable and support your personal brand.
4) Build informative descriptions of your prior work experience and education.
Use keywords and search phrases throughout your profile that will resonate with your clients and prospects. For example, retirement planning, certified financial planner (if you are one), wealth management, etc. Include schools you attended, awards, certifications, and professional or philanthropic organizations.
5) Include a professional headshot.
Your LinkedIn profile is seven times more likely to be viewed if you include a profile picture. It appears in searches, updates and can engage people more quickly than any text. Some guidelines for a good professional photo, including dress, background, posture and more, can be found here. On the flip side, MarketingProfs.com describes 19 things to avoid when choosing a professional headshot for LinkedIn.
– For additional LinkedIn best practices, brand-building tips and more, visit Raymond James’ Practice Insights portal.