Optimising your LinkedIn profile is the first step to your marketing outreach and growing your business online via this platform.
Whether you’re going to be doing LinkedIn outreach campaigns or want to get more inbound leads - you need to make sure your profile is fully optimised first.
LinkedIn is a great channel for personal branding and B2B outreach. With over 575+ million users total, the channel can be extremely useful for job search, networking, outreach and lead generation.
Due to the high number of worldwide users, you need to make sure you can stand out from all the other professionals.
In this guide, we’ll be covering how you can fully optimise your LinkedIn profile down to the details so that it’s ready for outreach campaigns, and then, how you can manage and organise your connections accordingly.
This guide will be split up into 8 different steps, going from top to bottom on your profile, and then we will also offer you extra steps you can take to assess your profile’s health and safety.
We will be covering all your LinkedIn sections step-by-step, and they are as follows:
- Background Image
- Profile Photo
- Job Experience and Description
- Profile Safety Check
When people visit your profile, they should instantly understand what you do and how you can help them. As such, it’s a good idea to take advantage of each section in your profile to represent you better.
The most important sections of your LinkedIn profile are the ones that leave a good first impression straightaway - your profile photo, background image, tagline and summary. The goal here is to be memorable, accurately represent what you do, introduce your brand and also let first-time visitors know where and how they should contact you if needed.
Most people skip on adding a background image altogether or just use a stock photo that represents their profession.
While a stock photo is better than a blank space, it’s still a good idea to insert an image that is related to your brand.
When choosing a background image, look at your logo or your website home page, and think how that would look like in the form of a banner. Usually, your logo and some text of what you do or your core values get the job done. If that’s not possible, consider investing in a graphic designer who can create a banner for you that best represents your brand.
Likewise, take a look at Fiverr where you'll able to find an affordable designed who could create a LinkedIn banner for you.
Your first impressions are essential in business, which is why you can’t get away with having a low-quality or irrelevant background photo. If you want people to take you seriously, you need to show your brand and represent it proudly.
The ideal LinkedIn background image is 1584x396 pixels resolution. Make sure nothing gets cut off when you’re previewing the image.
Your profile photo is essential on any social media channel, and even more so on LinkedIn. Simply having one results in 14 times more profile views.
Remember, LinkedIn is human-to-human, not just business-to-business
Like it or not, people are going to be using your profile photo to see if they can trust you. First, they need to be able to tell if you’re actually who you say you are and secondly, that the profile is really your’s and isn’t spam.
Pick a profile photo that's relevant for your industry. Make sure it’s high-quality, well-lit, and of course, professional. You don’t have to invest in a photographer, since nowadays you can take a high-quality headshot with just your phone, but just make sure it’s not a selfie. You can get a friend to take one for you so as long as it looks professional.
Finally, the background of the shot has to be relevant as well (being in a professional environment helps). The ideal LinkedIn photo size is between 200x200 to 500x500 pixels.
Experiment with a few profile shots and make sure they don’t come across as pixelated before using one.
This is one of the main things people will see before they connect with you and land on your LinkedIn page.
Many people just place their current role and call it a day - this is another common mistake.
If you want a high conversion of people accepting your requests, it’s better to describe the outcome of your services in your tagline and how they will benefit from being a part of your network. Simply being the CEO of so-and-so company doesn’t tell them a lot.
They want to know what you have to offer and how you can help them. So, this is why you should focus on the outcome of your services as your tagline.
This tagline accurately presents the benefits I’m offering (generating leads) and the steps that will be taken to get there (via LinkedIn and Email marketing).
Think of your offering (features) and then convert it into how it will benefit them. Consider this formula:
Who + Effect + How
Who - Target Audience
Effect - What do people get from working with you and using your product
How - How do you achieve these results
Ideally, you should get an end-result that will help their business to grow, because this is what your leads care about the most. Simply knowing your position and company name isn’t very useful to them. Be sure to save them time - they’ll appreciate it.
As an added benefit, they might be more likely to reach out to you on their own once you connect with them in case they need help with anything related to your industry.
To make your profile more professional and shareable, be sure to change your LinkedIn URL as well so that it’s just your name, and doesn’t have any unnecessary random numbers at the end.
A brief summary is a must if you’re going to be doing outreach.
If your tagline briefly describes what you do, your summary should cover why they should trust you in that regard and what makes you so credible on the subject.
Here, you can add some information about your personality, your work experience and proficiency, and support this by adding a link to your website or portfolio.
Your summary is where you support your headline and expand on your past experience.
Be sure to provide a more detailed description and list the industries you’ve worked in. Your summary should be about 3-5 paragraphs, and make the visitor want to connect with you. You can even place a call-to-action at the end with a link back to your website so they know where to contact you.
One common debate regarding the summary section has to do with using the first person (“I”) or the third person (“Patrick…”) tone of voice.
My take on this is that the third person is better because people visiting your profile will be reading it from their perspective. In other words, it’s more natural for them to be reading in the third person, because they’ll be reading about you, as opposed to the first person - they’re not reading about themselves.
Below your summary, you have the option to add a media file, a photo, website, video, or a presentation. Be sure to pick one that’s most relevant to you here.
This is another way to build trust and credibility. Whatever you’re linking to has to be relevant to your role and services.
Generally, inserting your website, with a link and a short description of your services, is a good idea because it will also include your homepage image.
Depending on your industry, you might want to consider linking your portfolio or something that explains your services well.
LinkedIn publications are another great way to build trust and gain followers. If you don’t have any publications, consider using one of your blog posts to begin with.
Job Experience and Description
If your leads have scrolled down to this section, then this means they’re interested, but still need further convincing.
The key to having a high-quality and job experience section is to only include the relevant roles & positions that have been building up to your current role (which should always be on the top).
Consider adding only past positions that are relevant to your current one.
People like to go through your job experiences to see if you’re qualified to be doing your current one. So, in a way, your past job roles need to be building up to your current one.
To build trust, make sure to add relevant videos, articles, and photos as well. This section has to be different from your CV, so, be sure to use LinkedIn’s multimedia feature to better showcase your experience.
If you can, be sure to include any relevant statistics or data in your accomplishments as well. For example, if you increased the web traffic by a certain percentage within a certain time frame - you might want to include that.
Recommendations build trust and credibility. Yet, not a lot of people have them, mostly because they’re too shy to ask for one or believe others will write one for them in due time.
While that may be the case, you might be stuck waiting for too long if you count on others to give you a recommendation organically.
Instead, don’t be afraid to take initiative and click the “ask for a recommendation” button - it’s there for a reason.
When someone says that you did a great job on a project, ask if you can quote them in your recommendations section. Don’t be afraid to specify when requesting what you’d like the recommender to focus on either.
Generic recommendations aren’t very helpful, but something specific like how you increased the firm’s leads by a certain percentage really showcases your strengths.
Most people will be more than glad to give you a recommendation if they feel you deserve it, they just need a reminder. Remember, it’s not arrogant to ask for one.
Once you cross that barrier, your LinkedIn profile will start looking better than ever because people trust social proof.
Profile Safety Check
After your profile is ready, you want to make sure it’s ready in terms of its health as well.
If you want to fully perfect your LinkedIn profile before outreach, consider following these extra steps.
1. LinkedIn profile
First, check what type of LinkedIn profile you have currently.
There are three types of profiles, choose the one that works for you best.
Standard - This is the basic account everyone starts with and allows you to accomplish everything discussed above, but if you’re going to be automating your outreach, consider investing in LinkedIn Sales Navigator.
Sales Navigator - This feature gives you the ability to generate and save a database for prospects and leads. The Sales Navigator account starts at £62/month but comes with a free one month trial. Make sure the trial hasn’t been used up yet before buying and see if it’s the right fit for you. We typically use Sales Navigator for advanced lead filtering and then automating outreach based on the database. See our guide on how to find anyone’s email address from a LinkedIn group to see how you can use the tool to achieve better results and advanced search filters.
Business Premium - Depending on your requirements and what you want to achieve, LinkedIn Premium might be worth it for you. The feature comes at a price of £47/month (with different options) and allows you to send an InMail to anyone without connecting first, gain company insights, lets you see who’s viewed your profile and find prospects faster through unlimited browsing. In short: LinkedIn Premium helps you make connections and find a job faster.
Recruiter - Finally, LinkedIn Recruiter is a feature for finding, connecting with, and managing potential job candidates you want to hire. It finds quality candidates based on their profiles and prioritises ones that are most likely to be open to hearing from you. The tool comes with advanced search filters, smart suggestions, and the option to prioritise candidates. If you’ve got a larger budget (£78/month for Lite and £647 for Corporate) and want to make sure you’re hiring the right people - LinkedIn Recruiter might be for you.
2. LinkedIn Profile Health Check
Did you know LinkedIn has a limit of 3,000 pending connections?
That number might seem like a lot but if you’re not keeping track, it’s easy to ignore your pending requests and have them add up in the background. Some people don’t decline your requests and your invitations sent slowly start increasing.
To find your pending connections, go to “My Network” and click “Manage”
Here, you can keep track of your received and sent invitations.
Generally, we recommend clearing up all invitations that are 4 weeks or older.
As for the actual number of connections you can have on LinkedIn - the maximum number is 30,000. You can find the number of connections you have under the “My Network” tab.
3. Contacting LinkedIn and Previous Disputes
If you’re sending too many LinkedIn connection requests daily, you run into the risk of having your account blocked or temporarily disabled.
So, it’s always a good idea to be on the safe side knowing your LinkedIn account is safe.
To do that, go to https://www.linkedin.com/help/linkedin/ask/uumt where you can see your previous conversations with LinkedIn and any other questions you might have in managing your profile.
All in all, whether you’re just getting started with using LinkedIn or you’re planning to use it as a marketing tool, optimising your profile for maximum visibility and trust is essential.
With a complete and a high-quality profile, you’ll be able to stand out from the crowd and attract more attention from people interested in seeking to connect with you.
If you’ve been following this guide step-by-step, your LinkedIn profile should be fully optimised and good to go.
Now, you can start sending personalised requests or automate your lead management outreach. Once you start doing that, it’s a good idea to come back and go over the LinkedIn safety check section every now and then just to be safe.