Creating a great LinkedIn profile is about more than just filling out your job history and uploading your corporate headshot from too-many-years-ago!
Making your profile stand out from the crowd and sell you, your business, and your knowledge can feel daunting if you’re not clued up on the platform, which is why I wanted to talk to someone who knows all about it.
Louise Brogan is a LinkedIn consultant, trainer, podcaster, and speaker, who works with businesses and entrepreneurs to help them understand and use online marketing to boost their business.
Louise shared so much useful advice with me and backed up my belief in the power of LinkedIn – stating that a great LinkedIn profile has the potential to be “a lead generation machine.”
So, do you want to crank up the gears and set this machine in motion? Louise joined me on the podcast to share her top tips for creating a great LinkedIn profile, as well as explaining the types of content that work best for her.
You can listen on the podcast player below or read on for a summary of Louise’s awesome advice for creating a standout profile on LinkedIn.
To watch some highlights from the interview, hit play below:
Creating a great LinkedIn profile – advice for each section
Your LinkedIn profile is made up of many different elements, each one serving a different purpose and as important as the last. As Louise puts it, “your profile is your foundation on LinkedIn because you can be putting out amazing content but clicks through to your profile when it’s not been fully optimized - you’re really missing a trick.”
These are Louise’s tips for anyone who wants to create a great LinkedIn profile, divided up section-by-section.
Use an up-to-date headshot
We all wish we were 10 years younger, but your connections and potential clients need to know who you are now, not who you were, so get rid of the fresh-out-of-university photo and get a nice headshot of the current you.
Louise says that a great headshot should show your “head and shoulders, with just you in the photograph.”
Most importantly, though, is to choose a shot that makes you look approachable! “We connect visually far quicker than we do reading any words,” so a welcoming smile and a warm-colored background will help to give off the right vibe to anyone who sees your profile.
Write a clickable headline for yourself
If you don’t write your headline, LinkedIn will fill in the blanks with your most current role.
“You’ve got about 200 characters to use in your headline, so you can really stand out on LinkedIn by writing a headline that really shows what it is that you do and specialize in.”
“The reason that headlines are so important,” Louise explained, “is because it follows you wherever you comment.” If somebody stumbles across you on a post, there are only three things they will see: your photo, your name, and your headline.
Spend time on your About summary
“This is really underused by people,” believes Louise. “You’ve got 2,000 words” to tell your story, sell your experience, and give a really strong sense of who you are.
- “Write it in a way that explains how you can help the people reading, as opposed to it being all about you”
- Write in the first person (“I am a…”, not “Louise is a…”)
- Make use of white space and avoid a long chunk of text. “Break it up into maximum-three-line paragraphs” and use bullet points, but make it readable. A summary that is all bullet points is just as off-putting as one long paragraph
- Write in a way that persuades the people you want to connect with you to do so!
- Include a Call To Action (CTA) – whether it’s encouraging people to connect with you, sharing how to email you, or something else you’d like them to do
- Stick to what’s relevant now – if people want to know about the job you did 12 years ago, they can look in your ‘experience’ section. Keep your About summary relevant to what you can offer people today
Inject some color and variety with your Featured section
Not everybody is aware of this section, but it can be really great for showing off some of your highlights.
You can add content such as blog posts, LinkedIn articles, PDFs, videos, press clippings, awards, speaker reels… Any content that shows off your skills, successes, and helps you sell yourself.
“The About section is mainly text, and then underneath you’ve got the featured section which can be like a little reel of colors.”
Louise includes YouTube videos, articles she’s written, and encourages everyone to “highlight the things you want to be highlighted for.”
Not all Experience is worth sharing
Your Experience section is where you can detail your previous roles… but that doesn’t mean you have to include all of them.
“They’re not all relevant to what it is that you do now,” Louise explains, “and they don’t need to be in there. Don’t worry about gaps.”
If that isn’t enough to persuade you, Louise makes a very good point that when someone searches on LinkedIn for people with a certain skill or experience, you will still show up even if that doesn’t apply to you anymore.
If you used to be an accountant but now you’re a ski instructor, you don’t really want to be showing up when people in the Alps are searching for their next bookkeeper.
“If you’ve had a big career switch… don’t dwell too much on those previous roles.”
The best content to share on LinkedIn
Louise stands by text posts as her favorite type of content but stressed that – whatever content you share – “it’s all about starting conversations.” If you can share content that gets people talking, you’re sharing the best content possible – regardless of whether it’s a video, a text post, a picture, or an interpretive dance.
(Please don’t actually share interpretive dances on LinkedIn.)
“A mix of content” will “keep people interested in the stuff that you’re sharing.” Louise shared some great suggestions for creating engaging content on the platform:
- Ask questions because “people love to be asked questions and they love to give their opinion on things!”
- Use native LinkedIn features, like Polls for quick and easy engagement pieces
- You can add stickers and other design elements to videos if you record them directly through the LinkedIn mobile app
- LinkedIn Live allows you to broadcast live on the platform, but not everyone has access to it and you need to apply (don’t worry if you don’t get it straight away, Louise had to apply four times – and she’s a LinkedIn consultant!)
- And, of course, repurpose your content so that you can create a strong ‘thread’ of messaging that runs through your posts. The last thing you want is to have a scattergun approach. Repurposing your content will help you stay consistent and make it easier for you to dominate your niche. If you want to know more about How to Repurpose Content on LinkedIn, check out my interview with Cathy Wassell
Does your LinkedIn strategy need some work?
If you’re trying to boost your reputation and become known as a thought leader or influencer in your industry, whether that’s so you can leave a legacy or grow your business right now, your LinkedIn profile is going to be the hub for that progress.
Hopefully, this summary of Louise’s interview has given you some quick wins for your LinkedIn profile, but if you want to dive deeper into tips and tactics for growing your presence on LinkedIn, allow me to point you in the direction of two very helpful guides:
You can download Louise’s guide to creating content for LinkedIn here.
And if video is your thing (I really recommend you give it a try, even if you never have before!), then grab your copy of The Simple Guide to Getting Started with Video on LinkedIn, by yours truly.
If you need help with your content on LinkedIn then check out our LinkedIn 10x repurposing service.
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