For B2B reps, effective social selling starts with a solid social profile. Here are four easy LinkedIn profile tips that can help.
A lot of people think of their LinkedIn profiles as a sort of online resume for recruiters, outlining what you do and what you’ve done. And sure – that’s one way of looking at it.
I prefer to think of it a little differently though: as a way of promoting your personal and professional brand. This, of course, is a basic element of effective social selling, where LinkedIn is one of (if not THE) most valuable tools in a sales rep’s arsenal. A solid LinkedIn profile adds credibility in the eyes of prospects, informs them about how you can help them, and just makes you look good.
A poor profile does… well… the opposite. When it comes to selling, a lousy online profile is kind of like showing up to a sales meeting in ripped jeans and an old T-shirt. Unless you’re giving a presentation to the members of Whitesnake, you’re probably not going to make a great impression.
When you consider how easy it is to put together a halfway decent profile, there’s really no excuse. LinkedIn even goes out of its way to grade your profile strength automatically and offer suggestions for improvement. But beyond that, there are still little touches you can add to enhance your professional brand.
Here are four simple Linkedin profile tips that I recommend.
#1. Tell a story with your headline.
LinkedIn allows you to create your own Professional Headline – the piece that follows your name at the top of your profile. Most people just list their job title here and call it day. That’s fine, but “Account Executive at CompanyX” doesn’t say much other than that you’ve successfully secured a job someplace.
Instead, use your Professional Headline to say more about the value you have to offer. You can still include your title, but fill it out with descriptive keywords about your company or personal areas of expertise. This way, you start to tell a story at the very top.
For example, a more value-based headline might look something like this:
Helping Companies Do More with SEO | National Account Manager at CompanyX
Customer-focused Sales Leader – Helping B2Bs Increase Security in the Cloud | Sales Representative at CompanyX
This article from Shelly DeMotte Kramer offers some additional tips for writing a killer LinkedIn headline.
#2. Don’t say WHAT you do. Say HOW you help.
The first main section of most LinkedIn profiles is the Summary, where you can provide a simple, high-level description of what you do. Again, this is fine, but in the vein of social selling, why not spin the message toward your customers?
For example, instead of listing your roles and responsibilities, say something like “I help customers increase the effectiveness of their training and onboarding programs with eLearning.” Or “I help companies solve sales productivity problems and win more deals by bringing sales enablement right into Salesforce.com.” Incidentally, Brainshark does both of these things. And now you know.
#3. Get a better headshot.
Actually, first – get A headshot. The gray “missing persons” avatar is so easily dismissed, you might as well not even both with a LinkedIn profile at all. Not everyone can easily have a professional headshot taken, but at least do your best to make it look professional.
That means nothing out of focus. Nothing that features alcohol. No goofy selfies. Ask yourself – would you want to buy something from the guy on the left or the guy on the right?
#4. Post some content to your profile.
Finally, sharing content to your news feed is great, but LinkedIn also makes it easy to post content right to your profile. Click the button that looks like a square with a plus sign in the bottom right corner to add a URL or upload a file to a section of your profile (example below). You can add webpages, videos and more, and LinkedIn will automatically generate a thumbnail image from the asset for you.
You can add different content items to different sections. For example, I find interesting thought leadership content (whitepapers, blog posts, interesting videos) works well in the Summary section, while resources specific to your company or product can add more color to your current job description under Experience.
Those are just four simple ideas from me. Do you have any other LinkedIn profile tips that could come in handy for social selling? Share them in the comments section below.