Small Business: Be a standout on LinkedIn
Creative. Innovative. Dynamic.
All very descriptive words, but terribly trite, according to LinkedIn's recently released 2011 list of the most overused words and phrases in member profiles.
With more than 135 million users on LinkedIn, it's important to avoid the buzzwords and create a unique and complete profile that will help set you and your business apart, say experts.
"Your LinkedIn profile is your personal brand," explains Erin O'Harra, a Linked-In spokeswoman in Mountain View, Calif. "You want it to be not only complete but tailored to who you are as a professional."
With that said, here are some tips to creating a killer LinkedIn profile:
Choose words wisely: You want to stand out, so don't follow the pack and use tired lingo (for a list of the most overused words, see press.linkedin.com). When describing yourself, try replacing an adjective with an action word, recommends O'Harra. So perhaps instead of saying "I'm creative," give examples of things you created, she says.
Say cheese: Don't skimp on the photo. Profiles with a photo are seven times more likely to be viewed then those without, she notes.
Showcase experience: Be generous with your past experience. If you list at least two or more past positions, your profile is 12 times more likely to be viewed by others, says O'Harra.
Be complete: As you fill out your profile information, LinkedIn highlights with a bar in percentage terms its level of completeness. Make sure it's 100 percent, says Bill Corbett Jr. of Corbett Public Relations, a PR and social media consultant in Floral Park who holds LinkedIn workshops. This can help with search rankings.
Create a biz page: Aside from your personal profile, you can create a separate corporate profile for your business, says Corbett, who has both on LinkedIn. "The more outposts on the Internet that a business can have, the better for SEO," says Corbett. The biz page can include a company description, logo, staff and affiliates, he notes. Ask contacts and others to "follow" your page, especially if you have promotions, events or information to share, he recommends.
Update: You want to appear to be an active participant in the LinkedIn community, says Seth Meyerowitz, chief executive of UBE Inc., an online marketing firm in Bellmore. For instance, you can connect your Twitter feed and blog to your LinkedIn page so updates appear, he says. You can add these and other applications to your profile, by clicking on "More" at the top of your page and then clicking on "get more applications."
Create a compelling headline: Your tagline or headline is one of the most viewed parts of your profile, says Meyerowitz. It appears under your name. Choose words carefully that people may search for and that tell people what you do. So for Meyerowitz, his headline has his title and company name but also the descriptive words "professional trainer and consultant -- online presence and visibility."
Add summary information: Don't overlook this in your profile, says Stephen C. Murphy, chief executive of Get Busy Media, a small-business and digital marketing consultant in Eatontown, N.J., who offers LinkedIn tips at getbusymedia.com/ crush-it-on-linkedin. It helps people get to know you better and highlights your specialties, he says, noting LinkedIn now has a skills section.
Answer questions: Don't be afraid to interact on LinkedIn, says Murphy. Answering questions "gives you a chance to establish yourself as an expert in your given field," he says. Access answers under the "more" tab at the top of the page and search questions by category. When your answer is selected as the "best" for a question, you get a star in your profile.
More than 2 million companies have LinkedIn company pages.