What business cards are in the analog world are professional social media profiles in the digital. International number one is LinkedIn. XING is also to be mentioned in German-speaking countries. The examples and tips in this article are based on LinkedIn.
I will supplement the tips in this article with concrete examples of inspiring profiles. Many thanks to the following people from my network for letting me use your profiles as Best Practice examples:
Angela Beeching, Music Career Coach, Speaker, Author: https://www.linkedin.com/in/angelabeeching/
Thomas Offner, Quarterback at PwC: https://www.linkedin.com/in/offner/
Matthias Reinholz, Digital Strategy & Marketing Consultant: https://www.linkedin.com/in/matthiasreinholz/
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Tip 1: Pictures
On LinkedIn there are two different pictures for the profile. The profile picture, which is also used as a thumbnail everywhere in the network. And the background picture in the profile.
The profile picture should be a good, authentic, professional picture. After all, it is a business network. Angela and Matthias are good examples for this, because they look professional and sympathetic at the same time. The background image should be used to support the message of your profile. Angela has positioned a simple but clear Call2Action here: “Let’s super-charge your music career”. For artists or speakers a picture on stage is also a good option.
Tip 2: Profile slogan
The first thing LinkedIn users see of your profile is your profile picture, name, and profile slogan. So this small part of your profile is very important. Top priority here: describe yourself and arouse curiosity at the same time. Or provide a teaser, which problem or which challenge you can solve for whom. Thomas does it really well with his slogan “Quarterback at PricewaterhouseCoopers - bridging the gap between corporates and startups”. Who doesn’t want to know what a quarterback does at PwC? In addition, he briefly writes that he is able to support companies and start-ups as an intermediary.
Tip 3: LinkedIn Public Profile URL
In the settings you can adjust the Public URL for your profile so that random numbers and letters become your name, what you can remember and what you can e.g. put in the email signature. As you can see in the list above, each of the best practice examples has done this in different ways. The most simple is the first name and last name combination.
Tip 4: Profile summary
More content is needed for the summary. It’s worth the effort because it’s the primary content that profile visitors see and look at. Anyone who does not convince or at least generates interest here has lost.
It is recommended to position yourself as an expert in this part of the profile and to introduce yourself as a person. Everyone has to follow their own style so that it is authentic and convincing at the same time. Angela has a very well structured summary: A very short elevator pitch, her contact details, her approach to how she works and her why. All in all, however, on a very factual level, but by describing her why she reveals a lot of personality in the form of her mentality, as you can see in this screenshot:
The profile summary of Thomas is described as a vita of what he has experienced in his career so far. The conclusion of the summary is a paragraph about him as a person, his hobbies and passions. This allows personal interaction in conversation, beyond business aspects:
“Thomas is a passionate runner, swimmer, writer, thinker, foodie and Gin Tonic drinker and also works as an actor with performances at Residenztheater Munich and Stadttheater Klagenfurt. He also owns a vineyard (fb.com/TPOwine) in Vienna, where he produces an excellent white wine as well as a small organic olive oil farm in Croatia.”
Matthias creates the possibility of connecting in a different way. Clear call to actions to contact him, coupled with the added value he can provide:
“Connect with me and let’s talk about challenges in growing your digital business sustainably. Together, we can explore smart solutions to identify hyper-targeted audiences and to automate your business growth”.
To make it even easier, he also formulates his preferences and interests.
Tip 5: Media
Thomas and Angela supplement their profile summaries with media files. These can be presentations (e.g. as PDF or in PowerPoint format), documents (PDF, DOCX, ODT), images or links (e.g. embedded from YouTube). An interesting way to present and position yourself in addition to the text form of the summary.
Tip 6: Experiences
In Experiences you can find the CV of the contact. Apart from the name and the time period, you can also insert detailed descriptions and media for the individual phases here. Thomas has implemented this very well. Of course, it is also necessary that high-quality media exist which you would like to publish in this area.
Tip 7: Skills and Endorsements
At LinkedIn you have the opportunity to index your expertise as a skill. That doesn’t sound unusual at first. The special thing about the skills, however, is that your contacts can confirm them and thus underline your expertise. Of course, a skill confirmed by 20 contacts is more meaningful than just promoting your skill on your own.
Our best practices also benefit from this functionality. Everyone of them can boast of a large number of confirmed skills that also reflect what they write in their summary.
Tip 8: Recommendations
While confirming skills from tip 7 is just a click away for your contacts, making recommendations is much more time-consuming. If you wish to add recommendations to your profile, you should ask contacts with whom you have a strong relationship and with whom you have worked actively. On the other hand, it’s also very appreciative when you make a recommendation for individual contacts in your network and publish it on LinkedIn. Some recommendations on LinkedIn just have a size of three or four lines, others are much longer. With several recommendations, the contact profile can give you a very detailed impression of how the person works.
Tip 9: Accomplishments
This is almost the last section of a LinkedIn profile, but should not be neglected, especially if you have something to show. It is important for every LinkedIn user to specify the languages in which you can communicate. LinkedIn is a very international network. So it helps if your contacts and interested people know in which languages they can contact you.
Further information in this section is for example publications and awards that you have received that additionally strengthen your profile.
Matthias have intensively maintained this section of the profile with projects, awards and certificates. It is possible to add additional information to each qualification, which becomes visible when the section is expanded.
Tip 10: Activities
Last but not least, a tip that goes beyond your profile at LinkedIn: All activities increase the visibility of your profile, the perception through your contacts, the cultivation of your relationships. The spectrum ranges from own articles as a highlight in your profile, general community contributions, activities in the numerous LinkedIn groups, to comments and reactions to the contributions of your contacts or contacts of your contacts. These activities also affect what posts appear in your newsfeed. By the way, in my experience the newsfeed is much more substantial than on Facebook. After all, LinkedIn focuses on business interests and topics, so that the whole range of more or less funny or meaningless videos don’t find a place here and therefore don’t take place.
Also interesting in this context:
In this sense: Happy Networking!
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