2022 is the year I decided to get serious on LinkedIn, and since you’re reading this, I’ll assume you are too. But first, you need to craft your profile!
2022 is the year I decided to get serious on LinkedIn - and since you’re reading this, I’ll assume you’re doing the same.
There are many benefits to using LinkedIn. With more than 700 million users, the networking opportunities are endless. Not to mention the fact that it’s the perfect platform to spotlight your expertise and increase your profile among potential clients and collaborators.
But to get the most out of LinkedIn - to grow your network, raise your profile and experience an influx of enquiries about your services - you need to craft the perfect LinkedIn profile.
Keep reading to find out exactly how to do just that.
While LinkedIn may not be a visually-led platform like Instagram, there is one visual aspect of your profile that matters hugely: your profile picture.
Don’t gloss over this step because it’s one of the most important. Your profile picture is the first thing potential clients see when they check out your LinkedIn profile. It’s your chance to communicate that you’re friendly and trustworthy - key attributes that will help increase responses and engagement from dream prospects.
Here are some top tips to upload the perfect LinkedIn profile photo:
Despite how much networking happens online, it’s important to have a profile image that reflects what you look like in real life (IRL) to maintain your credibility.
This is particularly relevant when online conversations move offline and you arrange to meet prospects in person - but the same applies to virtual meetings, too. It can be jarring to see that the person you’ve been talking to looks nothing like their photo, so avoid this by keeping your photo up to date every year - and when you make big visual changes like dyeing/cutting your hair or wearing glasses.
Since the profile photo is a small space, you want to take up as much of it as you can with a close-up headshot that cuts off just below your shoulders.
Avoid long-distance photos. Your face is what prospects want to see, so make that the focal point of the image. This article recommends that your face take up at least 60% of the frame.
With your face filling the frame, the next thing to remember is to keep the background clean and simple. That doesn’t mean it has to be white - a background in your brand colour is a great way to enhance brand awareness - just make sure to avoid busy backgrounds.
When you zoom into your profile photo (to ensure your face fills 60% of the frame) there’s a chance this will affect the quality. If your photo ends up being blurry, consider changing it for a different one.
Remember - this is your first impression with prospects. A low quality photo might give people the (wrong) impression that this is a reflection of the quality of your work. You can easily avoid that by uploading a 400 x 400 px image.
Your photo is an opportunity to express your personal brand. If your personal brand is more serious, then a straight-faced photo of you makes sense. However, for most people a photo of you smiling is the best way to put people at ease and encourage prospects to engage with you.
If you’ve never invested in professional photos, now might be the perfect time. These photos aren’t just for LinkedIn - you can use them on your website, Instagram, email signature, and so on. And by using a set of branded photos, you'll ensure your online brand is cohesive and instantly recognisable.
You’d be forgiven for thinking that the ‘About’ section of your LinkedIn profile should be all about you. While this is true, if you really want to stand out from the competition, make sure that this section is less focused on your career history to date and more focused on what your ideal client wants (and how you can give them exactly that).
Make it clear exactly how you benefit your ideal client and what results you can get them.
For example, instead of saying:
“I’m an Instagram strategist with 6 years of experience across the lifestyle, fashion and FMCG sectors.”
“I help businesses big and small leverage Instagram to grow their communities and make more sales.
The secret to their success? Engagement-driving, money-making content.”
Here’s a before-and-after from a Wellness and Life Coach that I’ve rewritten:
Before: I am a Menopause and Midlife expert having worked with many women who have reached a crossroad and unsure of how to move forward in their lives or create a new vision for this phase of their lives.
After: Through 1:1 coaching, I help women take control of menopause symptoms and create a career plan for the second phase of their life.
The line of text under your name may have been a simple job description up until now… something like ‘copywriter’ or ‘UX designer’ or ‘freelance brand strategist’. But much like your ‘About’ section, we’re going to make this one-liner work harder for you.
Instead of simply stating what you do, use that space to spotlight your value proposition. What do you do differently to your competitors? What’s unique about your experience or skill-set?
My headline isn’t just ‘Instagram strategist’. It’s ‘Instagram Consultant & Speaker 💫 Let's make your business shine on Instagram.’
Eddie Shleyner, a copywriter and thought-leader on LinkedIn doesn’t even include his job title. Instead he uses the headline to promote his business: ‘Founder of VeryGoodCopy.com’.
The next best place to direct prospects and tell them what you want them to do next is your banner image. This is a prime bit of digital ‘real estate’ - a big section right at the top of your profile! - so use it strategically.
Instead of having a generic photo of a pretty sky or stock ‘office’ image, create a banner in Canva or Adobe that includes key information about your offer.
On my image, I’ve included the three key services I offer:
I haven’t included a URL because it’s not clickable. Instead I’ve told people where they can find more information - in the ‘Featured’ section. This brings me nicely onto step number 5…
The Featured section is a new area on your LinkedIn profile where you can showcase your portfolio, services, press features, or offers like your workshops or online courses. The great thing about this section is that you have the choice of sharing links, media, posts you’ve written or re-shared, and articles you’ve published on LinkedIn.
Once you’ve added a few items to your Featured content, you can rearrange (or remove) these by clicking the pencil icon at the top right of the section. One thing to remember is that only the first three of your featured pieces will be visible to people - to view more they’ll need to click the little right arrow. Not everyone will do that, so make sure you think about the order of your featured pieces and don’t bury any out of sight!
Pro tip: If you add a ‘Link’ to your featured section, make sure the headline is enticing. For example, I’ve included two links in mine: one to my on-demand workshops and one to my online course, Instagram Planning Pro. But I haven’t just included generic names. I’ve given people a reason to want to click through. Do the same for your links - ask yourself, why should potential clients and collaborators care?
In addition to updating your ‘Featured’ section, you can also spotlight your key services at the top of your LinkedIn profile.
This allows potential clients to filter their general searches for service providers like you. When you add services to your profile, you’ll show up in these search results.
For example, if you’ve added ‘marketing services’ to your LinkedIn profile and a prospect searches for “marketing,” they’ll now be able to see you in their search results. From there, LinkedIn encourages people to message directly to inquire about your services.
Want to know how to add ‘Services’ to your profile? It’s really easy:
Following relevant thought leaders in your industry is a great way to fill your feed with interesting content. This makes the LinkedIn experience more engaging for you and gives you an opportunity to showcase your thoughts and perspective to others through the comments.
I recommend starting with relevant thought leaders in your industry (for example, mine would be fellow social media marketers and freelance writers) and then expand to follow those in a complementary industry (who share the same ideal client as you). For example, I also follow business coaches and paid social media freelancers.
You might think that comments are separate from your LinkedIn profile, but they’re not. In your ‘Activity’ section about halfway down your profile, people can see what you’ve been posting and how you’ve been interacting with others in the community.
Leaving thoughtful comments beneath LinkedIn posts is the best way to get your name out there. It’s the equivalent of handing out your business card at a networking event. But instead of just passing over the card and hoping you’ll be remembered, you’re giving people a reason to want to get to know you.
👇 Here’s 3 ways to achieve this with comments:
If you leave comments like these, you will expand your LinkedIn network and start to experience the benefits of a thriving community… more introductions and opportunities!
Ok, so you don’t need to post every day, but I recommend posting as often as you can. Consistency is key - as with any social media platform - so whether it’s 3x per week or 7x per week, choose a posting schedule that works for you and stick to it.
Posting consistently on LinkedIn will hone your writing abilities, increase your followers, and raise your profile as someone to watch in your industry.
LinkedIn educator and coach Justin Welsh often talks about how posting consistently for 3+ years was a total game changer. In a recent podcast interview he said:
“When I write a post each morning, I essentially speak to an audience the size of a college football stadium. And that's taken time. When I posted 18 or 24 months ago, it was nothing but just consistency and patience. And then the numbers are staggering and I don't say that to be arrogant or braggadocious or anything. It just shows you that you can go from 500 to a thousand, to 2000, to eventually a hundred thousand. If you stick with it, if you stay consistent.”
It took time, but after a few years of consistency Justin’s results speak for themselves:
If you’re wondering what to write about, here are some suggestions to get you started:
The key to writing engaging LinkedIn posts is the structure:
✍ The first line should grab their attention
✍ The second line provides context or a summary of the post
✍ The third line gives them a reason to click ‘see more’
✍ The next few lines are the steps or key takeaways (the meat of the post)
✍ The final line is a clear call-to-action that continues the conversation and encourages people to leave a comment
As for general writing guidance, here are some rules to follow:
✅ Keep sentences short
✅ Write how you speak
✅ Aim for 100-150 words maximum per post
✅ Strike a balance between purely text-based posts and image-based posts
✅ Always consider how your post will help or inspire your ideal client
✅ Batch write your posts to save time and maintain focus
✅ Don’t be afraid to use a few emojis
To really strengthen the credibility of your LinkedIn profile, ask people you’ve worked with closely for recommendations. Give them talking points to help them craft a recommendation that emphasizes your strengths and will help you achieve your career goals.
To ensure you get the recommendation you want, make it really easy for people. Provide them a pre-written recommendation that they can quickly edit or approve. You can also offer to provide a recommendation in return and ask them if they have any specific information they’d like you to include.
Check out The Muse for a couple of recommendation templates you can use.
Now that you’ve worked hard to polish your LinkedIn profile, the work isn’t over! Make sure you’re regularly updating your profile with new service offerings, recommendations, completed projects, and featured links so that it doesn’t get outdated. This not only demonstrates consistency, but shows potential clients that you’re continuing to grow and learn.
This doesn’t have to be a lot of work, either. Keep on top of your LinkedIn profile by putting time in your diary once or twice a month to review your account and make any necessary changes.
Once you’ve implemented all the steps in this article, you’ll be left with an impressive LinkedIn profile that will attract your dream clients and strengthen your reputation as an expert in your industry.
And don't forget to be an active part of the community by engaging with people regularly and writing posts that show off your knowledge - oh, and come and connect with me! I’m Bella Foxwell on LinkedIn.
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