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A step-by-step guide to building a killer LinkedIn profile

May 8, 2017

LinkedIn-320x181.jpgNowadays, when someone mentions a new product or service, we’re typing the keywords into Google before they even finish their sentence. That’s why it’s essential to monitor and perfect our online presence, especially if we partake in social selling of any kind.

LinkedIn provides the best platform to tout your professional accomplishments. But with thousands of commercial real estate profiles out there, all using the same meaningless buzzwords (experienced, passionate, leadership, driven etc.), how can you really set yourself apart?

The key is to think of your LinkedIn profile as your personal pitch. A keyword-rich encapsulation of who you are, who you can help and why you’re the best one for the job.

Here, we’ll take you through some techniques for distilling this information and creating a LinkedIn profile you can leverage to win new business and close more deals.

1. Choose the right picture.

People form their first impression of you within milliseconds of seeing your face, based on two key factors: how competent and trustworthy you appear.

Start by selecting a professional image you feel proud of...and no, that doesn’t mean cropping your buddies out of a shot from your friend’s wedding last summer. It’s worth it to invest some time and money here. If you don’t already have a business headshot, consider hiring a professional to take one. And if you aren’t in a position to pay for one, grab a friend who has the new iPhone 7+ and ask them to use the portrait feature to snap a shot against a neutral background while you’re wearing your best suit.

2. Determine your keywords.

There’s a science behind how people find your LinkedIn profile in their Google search results, and yes, we’re talking about SEO, or search engine optimization. By including keywords (words people type in when searching for a product or service) in your profile, you’re more likely to appear in search results at opportune times. The keywords you include will depend on your specialty and location, so you can use a paid tool like MOZ or a free tool like this one to research the key terms people are searching for in your industry. Once you’ve identified the key terms you want to rank for — they could be “Denver Commercial Real Estate Broker” or “Seattle Multi-Family Investment Broker,” for example — then you will want to incorporate them throughout your profile in an organic way, meaning you don’t want to cram them into every sentence. Google will pick up on that and penalize you.

3. Write a keyword-driven headline.

LinkedIn will automatically populate your headline with your job title and company name, but you don’t necessarily need to keep it that way. Your headline is a great place to use some of the keywords you’ve identified, but don’t focus so much on your search ranking that you forget to describe who you actually are and what makes you unique

4. Make your contact info available.

 The new LinkedIn layout makes it pretty difficult to find your contact info, as it’s hidden by a drop down to the right of the page. On top of that, only those in your network will be able to view your information, meaning new prospects will be barred from reaching out. To solve this, you need to get stealthy with how you display your contact info. Consider working your phone number and email address into your summary or directing people to your website. Another way to get around this is to add as many people as you can on LinkedIn so that your network grows and your information becomes available to more people.

5. Ask for recommendations and endorsements!

LinkedIn makes it easy to request recommendations from people in your network, so be sure to take advantage of this feature. Often, the best time to ask for a recommendation is after you’ve helped someone, so make the ask next time you close a deal for a client. Another way to gather more recommendations is to be proactive about offering to recommend others in your network.

Not only do endorsements and recommendations boost your credibility by proving that you are everything you say you are, they also help with your search ranking.

6. In your summary, focus on achievements and use trust language.

Your summary is the most challenging section to write. Most of us can easily list off the attributes of a close friend or colleague but struggle when tasked with describing ourselves. In your summary, focus on answering these five questions while staying away from buzzwords and using your keywords.

  • Who are you?
  • Who can you help?
  • What problem do you solve?
  • How do you do this differently from your competitor?
  • How can you be reached?
It’s also important to incorporate “trust language,” or writing that proves that you are trusted by others into your profile. This can be statistics about the number of deals you’ve closed or information pertaining to how long you’ve been in business.

7. Post useful content — ideally some of your own.

Once you’ve completed your profile you will want to maintain a strong LinkedIn presence by joining groups and sharing useful content, both within group discussions and on your own page. Ideally, you’re creating and sharing your own content as well. If you don’t have a blog to link to, you may want to consider posting original content using LinkedIn’s publishing tool. Because you will want people to engage and share your posts, be sure to do the same for others. Before you know it, you’ll be a LinkedIn pro.

Next: 6 types of social media updates you should be posting

Topics: Best Practices

Nell Gable

Written by Nell Gable

Nell Gable is a freelance writer who specializes in creating compelling content for CRE companies and startups.

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