It’s time for you to stand out on LinkedIn. Here are 5 features we’ve found that make amazing LinkedIn profiles.
If you read our last article on 3 steps to creating your own personal brand, you’re probably already aware of the huge emphasis and faith we put into crushing it on LinkedIn (don’t worry if you haven’t read it yet, there’s a link below). With that in mind, we’ve gone on the hunt for truly excellent examples of LinkedIn profiles in order to help you optimise your own.
There are a lot of great examples out there (and a heap of bad ones), but we’ve found 4 LinkedIn profiles in our search that we love and all for different reasons. If you haven’t already, check out these key players on LinkedIn as we’ll be using them in this article; Jessica Alba (former actress and current CEO of The Honest Company), Thomas Barta (marketing and leadership guru), Oprah Winfrey (she’s Oprah Winfrey!), Gary Vaynerchuk (CEO of Vaynermedia) and Andy Puddicombe (co-founder of Headspace Inc).
All of these profiles excel in at least one way that gave their personal LinkedIn profile the wow-factor. So, let’s get to it and discuss 5 of the key features that we think you could implement on LinkedIn today.
1. Set the tone with style
This refers to the very top of your page as it’s the first thing that people are going to see when they visit your profile. While there are a number of directions you can take for stylising your personal brand on LinkedIn, the line you need to follow is to ‘keep it professional’.
That may sound a bit boring but it’s worth remembering where you are. You wouldn’t turn up to a client meeting or job interview in ripped jeans and a hoody (generally) no matter how much of a free spirit you are, and your LinkedIn profile should be treated the same.
Let’s take a look at Hollywood actress Jessica Alba. Despite all the trappings that you might expect of her Hollywood lifestyle, Jessica’s LinkedIn profile is understated, clean and professional. Her profile picture is an exemplary feature of this. Save the selfies from nights out for your friends and family on Facebook, and get a good pic of yourself looking like the class act that you are at work.
The same applies to your LinkedIn banner picture too. Most LinkedIn users tend not to even update this, but if you do do it right. Andy Puddicombe’s banner picture is a good example. It’s professional looking and it features his company brand, so without spending more than a second on his page we get a pretty good feel for what this guy is about.
2. Exclaim your value (how you hook ‘em in the bio)
There are two key players in the LinkedIn bio. First You want an attention grabbing headline that sums up what you’re about in a concise and affirmative way. A lot of users just repeat their job title, which can look a little silly - come on this is your chance to hook the viewer in! Take a look around, find inspiration from others and nail your headline. If you’re really stuck, turning your job title into an action can still be effective - so “Client Experience Manager” becomes “Overseeing Client Experience For Leading Tech Firm”. Look at Oprah’s headline, she’s listed a number of fields within which, she operates. Who knew she was an innovator, I wonder what field she innovates in… let’s read more.
From reading on through Oprah’s very well written bio you can see that she’s something of an innovator in finding new ways to help others. That’s pretty cool! You’ll notice that Oprah’s bio is written in the third person, some people do this, most don’t. For your profile it’s probably best to bear in mind that you’re not Oprah and you’re probably not a NY bestselling author just yet either, so write it from your own perspective.
A word on bios, don’t treat them like a CV. LinkedIn offers you so much more freedom to be descriptive and informative than the old robotic curriculum vitae. This is your killer opportunity to tell us about what projects you’re working on, what you’ve achieved, what are your philanthropic passions are, etc. Be yourself, be passionate and please be spell-checking!
3. Get kudos from your network
If someone scrolls down as far as your Skills & Endorsements then bravo, that means you’ve successfully hooked them in with your headline and wowed them with your bio. Getting endorsed for your skills is a fantastic quick win for converting someone who’s viewing your profile into someone who’s really interested in connecting with you.
So firstly, be sure to include your skills when you set up your profile, then be sure to invite people to endorse you. Start with close friends and people you’re comfortable with helping you, then get out there and share the love, you’ll be amazed at how quickly it comes back around.
For recommendations let’s look at Thomas Barta and Gary Vee’s profile recommendations. Could you imagine having such a glowing review or your work from a customer or a former colleague on your profile? This is endorsement gold-dust for anyone looking to boost their personal brand. As you can see on Gary and Tom’s recommendations, they’ve shared some love here too.
4. Centre on a positive message
Every brand needs a message or a mission statement, the same applies to personal brands too. Look at Oprah’s profile again, read her bio, her career history and also the content she’s sharing. What sort of message do you think she’s most driven toward - it’s not actually her TV work is it. What about Andy Puddicombe, is it fair to suggest that his profile is all encompassed around meditation?
To find your central message, you should consider what your goal is. Firstly, the chances are that you’re optimising your LinkedIn profile to connect with a specific type of user or company, whether that’s for better sales, to find a new job, or to change careers entirely. Secondly, you’re also most likely to be passionate or at least highly engaged with the thing that’s related to your goal (a specific industry, job or product, etc).
So with these two things in mind, let’s take another look at Andy Puddicombe. Judging by his bio and the content that he’s sharing, we can deduce that he would probably like to be seen as a thought leader in the field of meditation. This would be very helpful for Andy as he happens to be a CEO for one of the world’s leading mediation apps.
5. Live and breathe content
The last thing that all of these profiles have in common is their high activity. Too many LinkedIn users think it is something (like your CV) that you can just set up and forget about until you change jobs again.
It’s not. All of the top LinkedIn users and indeed influencers are regularly sharing content related to their field. Why? Well, informing your network, showing off your expertise, displaying your pride in your products, these are all great reasons. Also, people are more likely to engage with a profile that they can see is constantly being updated. As we’ve said before, B2B buyers and visitors to your profile are most likely to switch off and click away if they see something they don’t like (like an account that’s been inactive for 6 months) or if they don’t see something that they do like (ie, a lack of relevant content).
Gary Vaynerchuk is famous for churning out content and sharing it with the world. He shares advice, insight into his life and his opinions on matters of business and leadership. He is completely genuine and unashamed in his love for his own voice, and he has gathered an army of devoted followers because of it. Whatever your field or passion is, whatever your central message is going to be, get out there and start talking about it on LinkedIn. Share your company’s products, share reviews, write stuff of your own. Posts shared on your own personal LinkedIn profile have the potential to be twice as powerful as when they’re shared on your company’s.
By following these great examples and being consistent with your activity, you can create a standout personal brand on LinkedIn.