Online business networking platforms have come and gone (remember Biznik?) but the dominant platform remains LinkedIn.
As of this writing, more than 380 million people have LinkedIn profiles. About 110 million Americans have LinkedIn profiles, or approximately 69% of the work force. It doesn’t matter whether you like or dislike the platform—your clients and your prospects are there. Your competitors are there, too.
If you created a LinkedIn account a long time ago, it may be time to revisit your profile. Is it still relevant? Does it put your best foot forward?
How to Improve Your LinkedIn Profile
The first order of business is to make sure that your LinkedIn profile reflects who you are and why you stand out in your profession. Go to “Edit Profile” mode and look for the circle that gauges how robust your profile is. To achieve All-Star status, follow these tips:
Use a professional photo.
Don’t settle for an anonymous ‘ghost’ photo and forget amateurish selfies. Get a professional headshot that you are proud of and that gives people a sense of confidence and trust in your abilities.
Optimize your headline.
The space directly below your name is valuable real estate so think beyond literal job descriptors (e.g., ‘Insurance Agent’) and use keywords that indicate your areas of specialty as well as any geographic specifications that put you at the top of online search results (e.g. ‘Insurance Specialist for Seattle Food Truck Operators’).
Make your summary sing.
Too many LinkedIn profiles look like resumes. The summary section is your chance to talk about you. Explain why you are passionate about your industry and what makes you unique from everyone else. A robust summary statement distinguishes you as a real human being and gives people a reason to want to reach out.
Focus on quality over quantity.
Don’t race to accumulate as many connections as possible. The objective is to build relationships with people that you know, like and trust—and who you are comfortable referring to others. As in the real world, the quality of your online network is more important than its size.
For more specific tips and techniques on using the power of LinkedIn to build your professional network, watch the following video that I created for Grange Insurance Association and its network of independent insurance agents: