9 Fixes for Mistakes You Might be Making in Your LinkedIn Profile
Improve Your LinkedIn Profile to Develop a Professional Presence and Get Inquiries
How much work and/or queries can one get from LinkedIn? As lawyers say, that depends. In this article, Rod Burkert answers the above question and shares some of what he preaches through the Practice Builder Academy.
If we want to grow our network of clients, prospects, and referral sources, then LinkedIn (LI) is probably the easiest of the social media platforms to jump into.Â Most of us are already playing in that sandbox anyway, and with a few tweaks, we can do even better.
Why would we want to do this? Â Well, LI is one of the top ranked sites in Google, so our LI profile will be one of the top results when someone searches for us.Â This makes our LI profile just as important as our firm website!
But youâ€™ve probably heard that LI is not really effective when it comes to generating leads.Â Well, it depends on how you engage with the platform.Â Iâ€™ve been living and working full time in an RV for about six years now, and almost all of my new business has come through LIâ€”which just goes to show how powerful it can be.
So given my experience, it concerns me that so many people in our industry still struggle with creating and maintaining a presence on LI.Â I thought Iâ€™d help by passing on nine fixes I learned to correct mistakes you might be making in your LI profile.
- Headshot.Â Research shows that a profile with a headshot is 14x more likely to be clicked on than a profile without a headshot.Â If youâ€™re still displaying the default silhouette, resolve to change it within seven days.Â Put it on your schedule, and get it done.Â Your picture should be professional grade.Â Smile.Â Appear approachable.Â Dress the way people would expect to see you at the first meeting.Â In short, look like someone you would want to do business with.
- Name.Â Your name should be just your name, e.g., Rod Burkert.Â Spell it the way people would type it into the LI search box.Â If your given name is Katherine but you go by Kate, use Kate.Â Otherwise, you may not immediately show up in someoneâ€™s search results if they starting looking for you under Katherine.Â Also, no credentials or degrees after your name; they are better enumerated elsewhere in your profile.Â And credentials can throw off sorting by your last name if someone downloads you to a .CSV file.
- Headline.Â Here is where you need to check your ego.Â Donâ€™t tell me youâ€™re a partner or a shareholder or a director of your firm no matter how proud you are of it.Â Thatâ€™s who you areâ€”itâ€™s not what you do.Â My LI headline says, â€śTransforming lives one professional practice at a time.â€ť Â I could have just as easily said, â€śCo-founder of Practice Builder Academy.â€ť Â But which headline is more compelling? Â Which better describes how I might solve a prospect, client, or referral sourceâ€™s problem? Â Which is more likely to be clicked on because of someoneâ€™s curiosity being piqued? Â Figure out what you do and how you help peopleâ€”thatâ€™s your headline.
- Summary.Â Your summary is not a resume of what youâ€™ve done in the past.Â It should tell a story about the work you do nowâ€”and for this reason, your summary should be frequently updated to reflect changes in your work.Â The story you tell should answer these questions: What do I do? Â How do I do it? Â Why does it work? Â Why does it matter? Â You can see an example of how I handled this in my profile.
- Contact Information. Picture this: An attorney is searching for someone just like you.Â They find you.Â And now they want to contact you.Â There is no phone number, or itâ€™s a home phone number (discovered after a call was made).Â The e-mail address ends in AOL, Gmail, Hotmail, or Yahoo.com.Â If you work for a firm, the thought is, this is a personal e-mail address where youâ€™re hoping a recruiter might contact you.Â If you work for yourself, the thought is, youâ€™re not serious enough to have a business domain name.Â Either way, none of the industry stalwarts follow this practice, so what does that tell you? Â Your contact information should include a business phone, address, e-mail, and website URL.Â If youâ€™re on Skype, include that contact information as well.Â The idea is to make it as easy as possible for someone to reach out to you.
- Media.Â People want to take a test drive before they buy.Â That includes seeing professionals like us in action before weâ€™re hired.Â So show examples of your expertise and capabilities on your profile.Â If youâ€™ve presented a webinar, upload the slide deck to your profile.Â If you regularly give presentations, include a video of you speaking.Â If you deliver valuation reports, make a sample report available.Â If you donâ€™t want to make the effort to do this, fine.Â But donâ€™t be surprised if you lose out on an engagement to someone who does.
- Keywords.Â In many respects, LI is a search engine for professionals.Â If people were searching for someone just like you, what keywords would they use to find you? Â These keywords should be liberally sprinkled throughout your profile.Â As a test, type some of the keywords you hope youâ€™re known for into the LI search box and see where you rank in the results.Â I can guarantee that if you donâ€™t show up in the first two pages of search results then your profile is not optimized to showcase the kind of work you want to be known for.
- Spelling.Â Really? Â Itâ€™s shocking that I even have to mention this on my list.Â But in my own LI searches, youâ€™d be surprised how many spelling errors I find in names (!), job titles/descriptions, firm names, and schools.Â Would you hire someone if you found these mistakes on their LI profile? Â Wouldnâ€™t you wonder if a person is this careless with their public profile, what else might there be to worry about? Â To fix this, copy your entire LI profile into something like Microsoft Word and let it identify spelling (and grammar) mistakes that you didnâ€™t catch.
- Postings.Â This is not really a profile item per se.Â Itâ€™s more about the sum total of all of the above points plus how you interact.Â Imagine going to a live networking event.Â Your hair is combed.Â Teeth are brushed.Â Youâ€™re wearing your best power suit and tie combination.Â Shoes are polished.Â The shell is complete.Â But you donâ€™t talk to anyone.Â You stand against the wall.Â No one comes over and introduces herself.Â LI is a networking event.Â You need to engage.Â You need to regularly post information that your audience of connections will find interesting and useful.Â You know information about the industry you specialize in which makes you a subject matter expert or, better yet, a thought leader.Â Arenâ€™t those the kind of people you seek out?
There you have itâ€”nine (not necessarily quick) fixes for the mistakes you might be making in your LI profile.Â If you donâ€™t take the time to make these fixes to your profile: 1) people wonâ€™t find and connect with you, and 2) youâ€™ll be one of those people who say LI doesnâ€™t work and itâ€™s a waste of time.
I think itâ€™s important to remember that when LI first started, it functioned primarily as an electronic resume for many.Â As a result, it was pretty much a static â€śset it and forget about itâ€ť social media curiosity.
But today, LI is a dynamic platform that is being mined by incredibly savvy professionals who are searching for just the right person to solve their problem.Â If youâ€™re going to invest any time at all in LI, itâ€™s better to do it right.
PSâ€”Donâ€™t forget to periodically export and save your profile and connections! Â If something ever happens to the LI platform, youâ€™ll wish you had a backup of all of the information that was lost or got mangled.
Rod P. Burkert, CPA, ABV, CVA, is President of Burkert Valuation Advisors, LLC (rodburkert.com). His engagements focus on income/gift/estate situations and working with successful business owners who are looking to make a transition. He also provides independent report review and project consulting services to assist fellow practitioners with their assignments. Mr. Burkert is also the co-founder of Practice Builder Academy (practicebuilderacademy.com), a 12-month mentoring program that teaches proven strategies to BVFLS professionals who want to build their practices and redesign their lives.