LinkedIn is the largest online professional network, offering opportunities to connect with industry professionals and potential clients. LinkedIn provides you with a professional profile, not unlike an online CV. Closely linked to SEO (search engine optimisation) it can also help you be found more easily and share content directly with potential clients.

You can connect with individuals you’ve worked with, join groups of like-minded individuals and network, share your expertise with LinkedIn blog posts and keep up to date with the latest industry developments.

You can spend as much or as little time as you want on engaging with the network, but I guarantee that the more you explore, the more you will want to invest in it.

Most professionals have a presence on LinkedIn, but not all profiles are made equal.

An incomplete or out-of-date profile works against you. An overhaul of your LinkedIn presence can support your business development goals, and can be done in mere minutes!

Claim your own URL

Start building your professional image by claiming your LinkedIn vanity URL. This will help people find you, and make it easier for you to share your profile.

A vanity URL means that the link to your profile will look clean and professional, and not a long line of digits e.g.

Customise your URL by going to your profile page and clicking ‘Edit public profile and URL’ section. If your full name is already taken, try adding a full-stop or dash.

A picture is worth 7x more

Your profile will have up to seven times more views if you include a profile photo. And that means a professional-style headshot.

If you do not have professional shots I’d highly recommend investing in a set – you needn’t spend hundreds.

(If you are based in the south-east of the UK I recommend Andy Squire).

As your business grows so will your profile and without good quality photos you’ll always be on the back foot when it comes to marketing of any kind – online or offline

Until then, avoid group pictures, closely-cropped shots or those taken against ‘busy’ backgrounds.

A photo taken on a phone can be fine, but avoid ‘selfies’. Ask a colleague or friend to take a picture of you on a neutral background, but bear in mind that a pure white background can make you appear washed out.

Feel free to tweak your pic but save the Instagram-esque filters for your personal feeds!

Hone your headline

LinkedIn allows you to add a headline to your profile, which acts as your first point of sale. This can automatically be set to include your current job title and place of work (so make sure this is up-to-date), but it is also beneficial to use keywords to describe what you do.

TIP – If your employer is on LinkedIn, when you add a new position it should automatically prompt you to choose them from a list. This will mean their logo will be pulled through to your profile – so make sure you use their proper name as it appears on LinkedIn so that this automation works.

In the headline include your specialisms and go beyond your job title. By doing this, your profile will appear in more searches relevant to you and your expertise. Think about what people would be likely to search for when choosing yours.

Say it in summary

When filling out your profile, don’t forget to add a summary of your expertise, experience and career. This is a fantastic opportunity to be found by including relevant key terms.

Keep paragraphs short and and to the point. Do not include external links (this portion won’t let you hyperlink so visitors won’t be able to automatically click through).

You will have the opportunity to link to other content – see the next tip!

Show and Tell

LinkedIn allows you to share a variety of media such as videos, images, documents, links, and presentations on your LinkedIn profile. This acts as an online portfolio and is worth keeping up to date to demonstrate your expertise is relevant and in demand.

Remember – the easiest way to get this content in front of your network is to post an update linking to coverage, a blog, posting an image etc.

Earn extra brownie points

Endorsement and recommendations help to legitimise your skills and expertise.

Use LinkedIn to list the skills you would like to be endorsed for, and all your connections need to do is click on the ‘+’ icon next to it to ‘endorse’ you. These skills can be reordered to feature those you value most highly at the top.

Recommendations are different from an endorsement – they are written testimonials from clients or colleagues etc.

You don’t have to wait for colleagues to recommend you – you can request a recommendation using this LinkedIn feature. However if you ask for one, be prepared to write one in return… That’s the accepted etiquette.

So there it is folks. A few easy tweaks can help you reach ‘All Star’ status on LinkedIn, and show clients and contacts that you mean business.

Please share your thoughts and tips below and thanks for reading.