Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Its Never Too Early to Start Spring Cleaning Your Online Profiles

We're going to start a series on polishing up those online profiles for the coming year, starting with optimizing your Linkedin profile.

Though the social media platform started as a favorite of recruiters, it’s evolved into something much more, blending the attributes of social media with storytelling (content creation) and what amounts to a news service.

I think of LinkedIn as “Facebook for white-collar professionals.”

To understand LinkedIn’s direction, look no further than hires made from media properties like Fortune magazine and the Associated Press.

They definitely intend to scale both original and curated storytelling.

 That’s why it’s worth taking a few minutes to optimize your LinkedIn profile. I recognize that if you plug [optimize LinkedIn profile] or [optimize LinkedIn page] into Google, you’ll find hundreds of articles that will walk you through the process with the precision of a Marine making his bed.

Here are three tips that can add verve to your LinkedIn profile:

1. Customized contact information.

LinkedIn provides real estate for three URLs in the contact information section. Take advantage and use all three. Those backlinks are money. The hack comes in the form of customizing the names of those resources. The LinkedIn drop-down menu offers five choices: company website, personal website, blog, RSS feed, portfolio, and other. Choose “other” for all three resources; that enables you to tailor the name of each resource.

You can see how it plays out below:

2. Captions for content.

LinkedIn ditched the widgets for WordPress and SlideShare some time ago, replacing the functionality with the ability to download or link to virtually any content (presentations, articles, video, etc.). Select content that has visual appeal. Taking this a step further, LinkedIn gives you two lines for commentary on each piece of content, a perfect forum to bring out your personality. Again, you can see how this looks in the content that closes the summary section of my LinkedIn profile.

3. Personalize the invitation.

This one kills me. Social media should be personal, yet 90+ percent of the LinkedIn invitations that come my way use the LinkedIn template copy in the let’s-connect invitation. If I were going to connect with President Obama, LinkedIn would offer this:

“I’d like to add you to my professional network on LinkedIn” sounds like it comes from a robot having a bad day. Instead, personalize the invitation in your own voice:

Friday we tackle Facebook!

Lou Hoffman is CEO of the Hoffman Agency a global communications consultancy. He blogs on storytelling in business at Ishmael's Corner, where a version of this article originally appeared.

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