15 Top Tips to Success on LinkedIn
By Sherry Sexton

1. Think of your LinkedIn Profile as your resume on steroids:
Typos are a turn off! Most computers have spell check and grammatical checks. When in doubt have a friend read through it! You may want to consider creating your LinkedIn profile in a word document, first – not only so you can “catch” errors, but also so you can get a better idea of what your profile will look like and to be sure you have used the maximum characters (discussed in #4). Don’t worry about bolding or using italics in your formatting because LinkedIn will only use their formatting. Another advantage of using a word document; sections of it can easily be copied into other social media platforms to keep your branding unified.

I can never stress this enough- by far, my greatest pet peeve! Having a professional photo is monumental! The majority of people will not connect with you if they see that gray box where your photo should be. Other social sites are more lax about photos- examples: Facebook and Twitter. LinkedIn is a totally different ball game! Silly icons, avatars, or glamor shots are not a good representation of you. Find a professional photographer in your area who will provide you with some good head shots. Current research shows that a colored, close-up, smiling head shot pointing in the direction of your headline box gives you an advantage over others.

3. Your Headline:
Your headline is one of the most vital components of your profile! It’s the first thing people see and it tells them what you can do for them. Credentials are great but don’t display them after your name. You can display them in your education/certifications section of the profile. Most people really don’t care; they are more interested in what you can do for THEM! Your headline also increases your “findability,” factor ten-fold. You have 120 characters so consider asking some questions. Think about how your headline is able to stand out from your competition. Can they easily determine if you offer the service they are looking for? Does it highlight your credibility? If you have gotten an award or published an article don’t be afraid to let people know!

4. Personalize Your Contact Information:
Branding is everything these days, especially online. Edit your contact info on a regular basis. Add as much detail as possible. When it comes to your website, you can personalize it by clicking the drop-down menu which gives you the option of “other.” Click on it and a new field will open up. That field will allow you to type in your website name, business name, a call to action, and/or a description of your website. So instead of the generic “Personal Website” or “Company Website,” in this section you can enter your name, title or call to action like “Search Engine Optimization Expertise” or “Contact Our Office for Expert Legal Advice.” These links help to boost search engine indexing! Make sure you have all information here so people can connect with you in multiple ways. Your email address are crucial!

5. Personalize Your Public Profile URL:
Make sure your public profile reflects your name, your business, or your
area of expertise. That means get set up with address that looks like this:
http://linkedin.com/in/yourname. The long URL they assign you in
the beginning is unprofessional and too long to use for marketing.
In the case of job seekers, I suggest that you include your LinkedIn URL on the header of your resume. Mainly because you can include more info about you on LinkedIn than you can on your resume.

6. Know Your Keywords to Be Found on LinkedIn:
Keywords are those phrases that someone who is looking for your expertise would type into a LinkedIn search or a Google or Bing search. Make sure to place your most important keywords and keyword phrases strategically throughout your profile. The best keyword spots are in your headline, summary (now under specialties)  and in the interests section. The search engines prefer larger word count so use all the available characters listed below.

Maximum characters for these sections:

• Professional Headline- 120 characters
• Status updates- 140 characters
• Summary- 2000 characters
• Company name and Position/Title- 100 characters
• Position Description-2000 characters
• Specialties and Interests-500 characters
• Interests- 1000 characters

7. Your Summary:
The meat and potatoes of your LinkedIn profile! You have 2000 characters to work with in this section. Here is where it becomes all about THEM and what you can do for THEM. Tell people why they should hire you or your company, and/or why they should buy your product/services. This is a great place to list “wins” and/or bragging points; all the intentions of how you can help them. I also suggest putting your contact info in this section again. The easier it is to reach out to you; the better your success on LinkedIn.

8. Make Sure to Post Updates Regularly:
The update box can be found on your profile page under your headline box or on your home page. If you are on your home page, you should see some news articles below. LinkedIn has actually chosen articles that are relevant to your business or service. You can click on an article and share in multiple ways: on other social media sites, to your connections and even to groups; enhancing your reach to others in your network. Your connections can also “like” and “comment” on updates, leading to open channels of communication.

9. Your “Experience” Section:
This is an important aspect of your LinkedIn Profile. Be sure to include your proper descriptive keywords in the job titles/positions for the company you work for or have worked for in the past. Titles are key to nearly all search criteria on the Web, so take advantage of it! List as much info as possible on what you were able to contribute to a company, the key role/roles you played and any seminars or workshops you conducted while there. Any information that is relevant to someone wanting to hire you or take advantage of your products/services. Think about, “What’s in it for them?”, “Why should they hire you over someone else?”

10. Be Sure to Add Your “Additional Education”:
Be sure to list all certifications and licenses you may have, as well as
traditional education. LinkedIn has now added new sections where you can
list areas of expertise, projects, publications, patents, licenses, and

11. Don’t Be Afraid to Ask for Recommendations:
Testimonials from the people you trust and have had the privilege to work with you are usually more than willing to give you a recommendation. You should have no less than 3 to be taken seriously, but ultimately, you really want 20-30 of them, to make your profile shine. In many cases, your colleagues, clients, or employers are very busy, so they may even ask you to write it for them, have them proof it and then sign off on it. This is fine if you’re comfortable writing it yourself. Be kind, professional, and slightly assertive when asking for testimonials. And make sure to interact with people on a regular basis, so others feel they can ask you for a testimonial as well. Social media is about give and take, so dive in!

12. Join Strategic LinkedIn Groups:
Join groups in your own market or industry, your ideal client’s
industry, groups that you are interested in, groups that your target
prospects are members of, alumni groups, open groups and some big groups. You can start a discussion or like or comment on a discussion that has already been posted.
Once you join a group, you can send a message to strategic members, whom may become prospects. You can invite strategic members to connect with you. All groups have rules so follow these carefully. Many do not like sales messages and will take your discussion down. Groups are a good way to build relationships so don’t abuse their guidelines.

13. Create Your Own Group:
Consider creating an open or closed group. Make sure you or someone in
your company is tasked to moderate it, to keep it interesting, updated daily and relevant. Make your group a destination and an active forum.

14. Endorsements:
LinkedIn has recently given you the ability to endorse someone. When you pull up someone’s profile you will see “Do you want to endorse (their name) for these skills? It gives you a list, you can “X” out of the skills you believe they have no expert knowledge and leave the ones you know they possess. Same goes for your profile, you might see again that someone has endorsed you for some skills you possess and others you do not, hence the example below. You can cancel the ones you want and keep the ones that apply. Example: Someone might endorse me as an expert in Quick Books. As many of you know, I would sooner have a root canal than gain expertise in that particular skill!! I leave that to the experts! The rule of thumb that I typically use is my personal knowledge of the person. If you are endorsing someone for a certain skill, you might want to review their profile before endorsing them for something you know they do/don’t possess.

15. Adding media to your profile:
Everyone should now have the ability to upload a file or add a link. Be sure you are in the edit mode of your profile. In the Summary section and Job Experiences you should see a box with a plus sign in the lower right corner, clicking on this should open a box which offers you a choice of uploading a file or adding a link.

In Conclusion… I leave you with one last bonus tip of sound, simple advice… BE COURTEOUS! LinkedIn is a business-networking site, so be professional and kind to others. Thank your new connections in a helpful fashion. Try to stay on top of your connections and messages, and be sure to follow the golden rule: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” No one likes a spammer! Don’t infiltrate email boxes with constant sales pitches. Relationships of any kind take time, especially online.  So don’t rush things.  Let these online relationships build naturally.  Following all of my tips will put you on a truth path of success. For any questions please don’t hesitate to contact me. I am happy to be of assistance! 🙂