5 steps to optimize your LinkedIn profile and get more leads

By Kahl Orr, Founder of Rise, a digital agency that creates high-performing custom websites and apps for some of the fastest growing brands.

As the founder of a digital agency, I believe that small business owners are innovative and are looking for tools to build trust and generate more leads. While there are many social media sites to support digital marketing and networking, one platform stands out.

A survey of marketers conducted by LinkedIn found the platform to be the number one platform for business-to-business (B2B) lead generation. That same research shows that four out of five LinkedIn members are decision makers, making this a powerful tool for anyone looking to scale their business and increase sales.

Your first step is to design your LinkedIn profile to attract high-quality leads, creating a profitable inbound lead channel. Let’s take a look at the top five areas you can improve today to optimize your chances of success.

1. Use a high-quality headshot

In remote work, people and companies are limited to digital-only interactions. To ensure a powerful first impression, use a quality headshot. Those with a profile photo are 14 times more likely to be seen by other LinkedIn members. Without a head shot, you can give the impression that there is something to hide, that it is unprofessional, or that your business relationships are worthless. Here are some practical tips for a winning profile photo:

• Use a high resolution image.

• Fill at least 60 percent of the frame with your face.

• Display an expression that matches your brand.

• Wear clothes that you would wear to work.

• Use natural light and a neutral background.

While a professional headshot is not necessary, a high-quality photo will go a long way in presenting you as trustworthy and professional.

2. Think of relevant keywords and use them

Keywords make your profile easier to search, creating more opportunities for people to connect directly with you. With the right keywords, your digital profile positions you as knowledgeable and accessible.

The Title, Summary, and Experience sections are the best places to include information relevant to your industry and role. Mention industry-specific and experience-related terminology that highlights your specific expertise and skills to increase your visibility to potential clients.

If you’re having trouble choosing relevant keywords, search online and on LinkedIn for terms used in your ideal role.

3. Show value and contact information immediately

Face-to-face conversations with prospects may not always be possible in today’s world, so having a clear value proposition sets the stage for a powerful presentation.

Make a lasting impact by highlighting relevant experience and skills in your Summary. Constantly update your profile, including recent courses or trainings, new skills and successes as your role evolves and you take on new projects.

Include your contact information such as your phone number and email in your profile to make it easier for potential customers to contact you. Get people excited about you; then remove the barriers once they are convinced they want to work with you.

4. Be active in the LinkedIn community

Companies are turning their eyes to candidates who have a proven track record of creating value in the digital professional development ecosystem. According to LinkedIn research, people are seven times more likely to react and 24 times more likely to comment on LinkedIn Live than on regular video content. Try the following to build your presence in the community:

• Share recent research and unique insights through LinkedIn Live.

• Connect with colleagues and clients to build your network.

• Actively comment on and react to relevant content from your industry.

• Follow and comment on content from the industry leaders you admire.

• Make a regular commitment to creating your own content (daily, weekly, monthly).

5. Complete the Your Experience section in great detail

Inappropriate information in your Experience section is one of the most overlooked aspects of LinkedIn profiles. By building a trusted online presence, your experience supports your value and backs up your claims of progress and success.

Add key data about your past projects – this can be the difference between someone leaving or contacting you. Include facts that tell you how you were successful in your role (for example, your customer base grew from X to Y in time Z).

Your LinkedIn profile is a dynamic and active record of your career – it is constantly evolving alongside you, highlighting the value you add to your network.

By designing a persuasive profile, you show your value and build trust in your professional community. Take advantage of LinkedIn’s networking and lead generation capabilities to thrive in our digital-first era of business.

The opinions expressed here by the Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.

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