3 Rules To Creating A Successful LinkedIn Profile

Imagine that you are at a party
You are single and spot someone across the room you are attracted to.  This person might be the partner of your dreams.
Naturally, you would want this person to notice you. You would want them to be attracted to you. It would be important to stand out among the crowd.
However, imagine how you would feel if this person saw you as exactly the same as every other person in the room.  It would be a major disappointment.  This person would be just as likely to choose to talk to someone else.
LinkedIn users face exactly the same problem.
Just like single people, LinkedIn users need to stand out

LinkedIn now has millions of members.  It would be amazing if there weren’t hundreds of people offering services almost identical as you. As a result, it’s important that you be more memorable to prospects than the competition.
That’s why having a successful LinkedIn profile is so important.
The trouble is, many people fail to put anything memorable in their profile

A typical LinkedIn profile announces someone as:
Joe Bloggs
Sales Manager at XYZ company
This sort of profile typically has no photo.  They have a brief CV and that’s it.
There is nothing to stand out to a prospective customer.  There isn’t anything to lead the LinkedIn search engine to you.  This sort of profile often doesn’t even mention the industry someone is in.
Here are four ways to make your profile stand out to prospects.
1. Have an interesting job title
Having the right job title can make all the difference as to whether someone looks at your profile in more detail.  Remember, the job title is one of the few bits of information that accompanies the pop-up box of your profile on LinkedIn. Have a look at Deborah Corn’s profile.
Her job title is Intergalactic Ambassador to the Printerverse. It’s fun. It makes me smile every time I see it.  Most importantly, it’s memorable and it screams print.
2. Have a great photo
People like to connect with people.  It’s much easier to make a connection with someone if you can put a face to a name.  That’s why it’s important to have a photo on your profile.  You shouldn’t use any old photo – you should use the right one.
Here’s the photo for Bill Michael, who manages this blog.
Bill Michael, Xerox Corporation
There are three important things to note about this photo:

  1. Bill is smiling
  2. The photo is not too formal: it seems real and genuine
  3. Bill is dressed in work attire – you’d be surprised at the number of people who think swimwear is appropriate for a business social media profile!

3. Use the summary to tell people why they should be interested in you
If people look at your LinkedIn profile in more depth, you have a chance to get them interested.  But you won’t achieve this by providing your CV.  And you won’t achieve this by using the everyday, worn-out print sales phrases that we have all heard hundreds of times before.
Here’s my LinkedIn summary.  This section is aimed at print buyers:
I hit them with a typical challenge that they are faced with every day.  Then I tell them a way to solve it. Finally, I tell them why they should use me.
4. Have recommendations
Recommendations are an important part of any LinkedIn profile.  They act as testimonials. (In fact, I use several of my LinkedIn recommendations on my website).  They give prospects some proof that you really can deliver.
It’s time to make your LinkedIn profile memorable

  • Create a memorable job title
  • Upload a photograph with a smile
  • Make sure your summary will grab the attention of prospects
  • Ask your best customers to give you a recommendation on LinkedIn

Need more help filling out your LinkedIn profile? The LinkedIn help centre is a great place to start. The folks at Mohawk Fine Papers also recently put together a presentation detailing best practices and helpful tips for creating a better presence and network.
Schedule 60 minutes in your diary to spend on your LinkedIn profile
Don’t be like the single person that fades into the background at the party.
Editor’s Note: This post is part of a larger series on how to effectively utilize LinkedIn for prospecting and sales:

Matthew Parker has been buying print for over 20 years. He’s had over 1,400 sales pitches from printers. Now he’s using that experience to help printing companies engage with their customers and sell print more profitably.  Find out more about Matthew on his site. Download his e-book “Ten Common Print Selling Errors And What To Do About Them” for free here

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  1. Deborah Corn June 12, 2014 -

    WOW BILL!! Your smile beat my antenna’s in best photo category! You should be proud… 90% of the time people comment on those and NOT my title!

    One thing to add… catchy titles are catchy as Matthew said, but make sure they aren’t so far out there that people don’t understand what you do, and that you are still SEARCHABLE by keyword… like Sales for example. I have the luxury of not having to worry (or compete) with other Intergalactic Ambassadors out there, but if I did I would make sure could be found and that I showed up on the same results lists they did… THEN I would want to stand out 😉

    Great tips… great series… Cheers to all 🙂

    • Bill Michael June 12, 2014 -

      Great advice, Deborah – you’re absolutely right…it’s critical to strike that balance between a title that catches the eye – and having the right keywords to get found in search results.

      Thanks for checking out the series and commenting!

      PS – I was shocked when Matthew chose me for his profile picture example. I’m a bit partial towards your antennas, personally 🙂

      • Deborah Corn June 12, 2014 -

        Well just don’t go getting any catchy title + antenna ideas or you will knock me right off the list!

  2. Matthew Parker June 13, 2014 -

    Bill, Deborah, great comments.I tend to find that most salespeople will be seeking out and making connections rather than the other way round. However, I know that Deborah still regularly looks for specific types of printing company on LinkedIn.

    Deborah, do you have any specific keywords that you would recommend that people use?

  3. Deborah Corn June 13, 2014 -

    Matthew… that is a BIG question. What I would say is that people should do two things first…

    1. Make themselves familiar with the advanced search tool for “people” and test the top level keywords associated with Printing Company occupations, and a short distance from your zip code – for example “sales” “customer service” “prepress” and see who and what comes up.
    2. Identify the top level service your company provides, and then 5 or next in line. Then redo 1… for example… Digital Print Sales, Offset Print Specialist. Now what shows up? My guess is the field is narrowing.

    For the rest of the main keywords, have them prominent in your CURRENT experience, and you can add additional ones to your general experience. Remember you can’t be, and shouldn’t try to be, everything to everyone. Focus on what you and your company does best and most likely you won’t disappoint when people find you, and get in touch!

  4. Katherine June 17, 2014 -

    Great advice, Matthew! The profiles without photos are an instant turn off. I’m thinking I need to rethink my job title as there’s nothing distinctive about ‘marketing director’.

  5. Matthew Parker June 18, 2014 -

    Deborah, awesome answer. Thank you.

    Katherine, given your online presence you know that ‘marketing director’ does not do you true justice!

  6. Jenny June 20, 2014 -

    That’s really awesome and great tips given by you, will surely use this to my linked in profile.

  7. Matthew Parker June 23, 2014 -

    Jenny, I’m delighted that you have found this so useful.

  8. EDDM July 20, 2014 -

    This is awesome advice, I really picked many points to add into my profile.I hope to have my profile get better with these little additions. 🙂

  9. Matthew Parker July 21, 2014 -

    Thank you for the kind comments EDDM. Do let us no how your social media results improve as a result of your changes.

  10. Colin Burnell July 22, 2014 -

    Great advice Matthew and perfect for those wanting to achieve warmer visibility to old and new connections. I remember joining LinkedIn nearly 5 years ago and discovered this invaluable tool to connect to my industry collegues and potential clients. Your comments hit the target describing all the polishing I need to do to my own profile now that I’ve recently re-entered back into the selling game coming from the safety of print production.

  11. Matthew Parker July 23, 2014 -

    Colin, I’m delighted that you feel I’m on target. Good luck with using LinkedIn to sell!

Comments are closed.