On LinkedIn, the world’s largest professional social platform, with over 660 million users, there is a vast opportunity of sales leads.
On this global platform, now owned by Microsoft, there are only two core audience groups: recruiters and candidates, or buyers and sellers. Which one do you fit into?
Experts on how to optimize LinkedIn profiles — and there are hundreds around the world, if not thousands (as the platform has grown) — know you can only fit into one of those two main categories. If your profile isn’t attracting leads, then it should be attracting recruiters. If it isn’t attracting either, then it really does need some work.
Assuming you want to generate more leads, and double down on the selling aspect of social selling, then you need to understand how to craft a LinkedIn profile that will get the job done. Here is how you turn your LinkedIn profile into a key part of the lead generation and sales funnel.
6 ways to optimize a LinkedIn profile for lead generation
#1: Explain how you add value in your headline
Now, there are two options when it comes to a headline. You can either state your job title. Nice and simple. Uncomplicated. If your business card and email footer says, Business Development Manager, then why not LinkedIn?
Because LinkedIn should be geared for selling.
And when you start asking people to connect, your name and headline are two of the first things they see. So, seeing a sales-related job title means they know you might try and sell them something.
Connect. Click. Fire off an unsolicited LinkedIn message (or email), and hope for the best. Most messages like that get no response. Not without some kind of preliminary interaction, on some level, before a message is sent.
That isn’t social selling. That is cold calling or cold emailing by another channel.
Social selling requires profiles that encourage interaction, and for salespeople to interact with prospects in comments on content — for example — instead of simply firing off copy and paste message. To encourage that interaction, it starts with the right headline. Use words that explain what you do for clients, or what your company does for them.
For example: I help [company name] customers generate $5 million in savings through outsourced solutions and operational efficiencies
#2: Professional bio photos
In this social media age, visuals are no longer a nice to have. The right images are a mission-critical factor in making connections and on LinkedIn, initiating contact with potential sales leads.
Simply using a picture from another social network, such as Facebook, Twitter or Instagram isn’t enough. It could easily put across the wrong message. Dressed for a night out, drink in hand isn’t the message you should want to convey.
Instead, a professional image, even if a colleague or friend has taken it, where you look relaxed and at ease in what you’d normally wear for work is far more effective. Give potential customers reason for confidence, especially when initially connecting. LinkedIn has found that professional high resolution images generate a 40% better InMail response rate.
#3: Make it easy for people to contact you
This should go without saying, but make sure your contact details are up-to-date. It should be the email you use for work (current employer or business), ideally with the right phone number, and website links to your current company.
Everything should be aligned with the goal of achieving warm inbound leads, so getting in contact should be an easy task.
#4: Make good use of keywords
Keywords are just as valuable for recruiters as potential leads.
Especially in your summary. This is where you can really sell your experience and the solutions your company provides.
It’s in the Summary, much like a website bio or a company About page, when a potential buyer can get to know you a little better before initiating contact. Or if you’ve contacted them, they can read up a little more, which more effectively smooths the whole process. People like to know who they are dealing with, which is why a well-written summary making use of the right keywords is crucial.
Here is how you do that:
- In the first paragraph: Use the keywords and messaging from your headline. Add more emphasis to them and expand upon them;
- In the second paragraph: Expand upon how you achieve what is in the headline, including some of the projects and clients worked with, and results/ROI.
- And finally: Finish with a call to action and a clear way potential clients can get in contact.
#5: Provide more details of your experiences
In previous roles, this is something of a balance between what a recruiter would want to see, and how you’d imagine a client viewing your profile. List all of your relevant past experience, including a summary of the job role and main duties.
But at the same time, briefly explain, either in a paragraph or bullet points, your positive impact on clients of those companies. This way, prospective clients can see your track record for adding value, not only in a sales capacity (for respective employers), but as an account manager and helpful advisor to clients.
#6: Share articles and interesting content
And finally, the art of social selling is about interacting with sales leads.
There are a few ways to do that. Better yet, the way you do this is the same as on any other social network: Share interesting content, and engage with those that do the same (and ideally, on LinkedIn, you can ensure the majority of those are in the pipeline already, or are target clients).
If you don’t have the time to create interesting content — such as articles, videos, memes, etc. — then work with a marketing team or even a freelancer through your company to create this. Once you’ve got interesting content going out, be sure to spend some time every day engaging with others on LinkedIn, commenting, and sharing other peoples content.
Taking that approach means prospects will have an idea who you are before making contact, and any initial contact won’t be cold and out of the blue. With an optimized profile, they will engage with you more easily because it will be easy to see why it will benefit them.