As a company executive, it is important to have a professional profile on social media, and LinkedIn is the top choice both for personal and industry networking, and for increasing company visibility.
What’s more, new distributors and employees will often look up their executives on LinkedIn to get a feel for who is at the helm, and your profile can help build a sense of trust.
LinkedIn profiles are also indexed by the major search engines and can act as another “doorway” into your company, whether or not you are actively using it as a social network yourself.
Following are some little-known ways executives can edit and update their LinkedIn profiles to be more effective.
- Edit your Professional Headline: Visit the Edit Basic Info page. Under Headline > Professional Headline. You have 120 characters to tell people what you do, and that shows up anywhere your name and photo shows up – on groups, in listed connections, when someone adds you it goes out to the news feed of their connections, etc. If you do not edit it, the default is to simply list your most recent job title. You can even add a separator and then something like “Seeking new distributors” or “Offering the finest in XYZ products.” Feel free to be creative. You can change the headline again any time.
- Edit your Profile copy: Be sure you have descriptive Summary and Experience sections. Edit your profile copy here. Click the small pencil icons on each section to change the text. This can be as simple as describing your role in the company, and a paragraph about what the company offers, or it can include full descriptions of tasks performed in your role, benefits you’ve brought to the company, your company mission, or other biographical information. Imagine someone seeking you out for the first time, what would you like them to know about you? Note that although LinkedIn has no formatting buttons in the editor, you can create your copy in another document such as Word and paste it in, and it will retain some of the formatting such as bulleted lists.
- Edit Your Website Labels: By default, in your contact information, LinkedIn gives you the opportunity to list 3 websites, and labels them things like Personal Website, Company Website, and Blog. What most people do not realize is you can label your website(s) with descriptive words by choosing the Other option on the Additional Info editor. Use the drop-down menu under Websites and choose Other. You will then have the opportunity to label your website with up to 30 characters, and then list your URL. For example, you can list your main company website and label it with the company name. You can list another website URL that leads directly to your online shopping and label it with Shop Online, and other one with the link to your business opportunity information and label it Join Our Team or Home Based Business Opportunity. This helps those looking at your profile know about all you offer, and also makes those words and links available to the search engines.
- Edit Your LinkedIn Profile URL: Everyone’s profile has a long web address attached to it that frankly is not very attractive, and difficult to find! You can easily shorten your profile URL so it is something like
linked in.com/in/yourname. To do this you will need to edit your public profile. This is where you can tell LinkedIn what you want to be visible to people you are not connected to – including Google! Check the settings while you are there but visit this page and scroll down to Your Public Profile URL on the right, then Your Current URL. Click on Customize Your Public URL. I recommend using your personal name for this, not the company name, since your LinkedIn profile is yours for life as a person, not a specific company or job, and the URL cannot easily be changed. Editing this URL makes it easy to share your link, and also helps your name be more searchable in the search engines.
- Edit Your Skills: Skills are keywords that LinkedIn uses to suggest to others in your network for endorsements. People who can attest to you having each skill can click on them to verify that you have that skill. (Note that this is different than recommendations which are written paragraphs.) The trouble is, there are spots for 50 skills and if you do not list that you have 50 skills, LinkedIn creates skills for you, and suggests them to your friends for endorsements! So I recommend that you find 50 yourself. Some may be a stretch for you but if they are related to skills you possess it will be better than letting LinkedIn choose. Visit the Skills page and type in keywords for skills you possess. You will see that LinkedIn will start to suggest related skills to you, so feel free to click on those until your 50 words are filled up!
- Adjust Emails and Privacy: Last but not least, to be able to participate in any social network and not start resenting it because it is filling up your inbox, I think it’s important to manage email notifications! Do this here on the Email Frequency page. I personally set mine all to “No Emails” except for new InMails. Since I visit LinkedIn at least a couple times a week I just check for the little red flag notifications instead – I do not need email copies of everything. But if someone sends me an InMail (private message) I want to be able to read it right away. Could be something important!
- Check Privacy Settings: There are some additional settings that allow you to adjust what people can see on your profile and the activity you take on LinkedIn. In general I advise people to be as open as possible on LinkedIn, since chances are when someone sees you there it is because they want to do business with you in some way. However, there are certain things I do adjust on mine. Visit the Account and Privacy page. For the Activity Broadcasts and Activity Feed I limit those since if you make even a small change on your profile, a “story” will go out to all your connections announcing it. Since I like to tweak mine now and then, this can be awkward especially if LinkedIn says I’ve gotten a new job, when really all I did was change the name of one. I have also set my “Who can see your connections” to “Only Me” because I found that sometimes people will try to connect to all of my friends, just to collect connections they can market to. It is up to you as to how private you would like to be but it is totally within the norm to keep things pretty locked put that way while keeping your main profile and picture public.
For more reading, LinkedIn has a help article outlining how CEOs are using LinkedIn. Obviously there is much more that you can do to professionalize your LinkedIn profile and create a strong presence there. If you would like a deeper dive, consider joining my Take Action Social Media course.
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