How to boost your LinkedIn profile and stand out online

Feb 24, 2020

Let me ask you a question. Why are you on LinkedIn?

Is it to position yourself as a thought leader or expert authority in your industry? Promote your services? Attract clients, media attention, or job opportunities? All of these are excellent reasons.

As a professional coach, I help individuals grow businesses and develop their careers. And part of my work is to assist my clients with their LinkedIn strategy. Because of this, I look at a lot of LinkedIn profiles.

And one of the biggest oversights I see is that people are not fully optimising their LinkedIn profiles or effectively utilising the platform for these purposes.

LinkedIn was traditionally used to connect employers and recruiters with job-seekers. At the time, a simple resume style profile — with a short summary of your experience and employment history — did the job.

These days, LinkedIn is an important platform for professionals and business owners to showcase their expertise, connect with potential customers, add value to clients and build their brands. However, this requires a completely different approach. Setting and forgetting your LinkedIn profile is no longer enough!

When it comes to promoting your professional brand online, the first question to ask is: where do your ideal clients hang out?

If you’re in business consulting, accounting & finance, marketing, HR, law or another professional advisory sector, your clients are spending time on LinkedIn. For this reason, it’s crucial to ensure you’re maximising your LinkedIn profile and strategy.

Read on to learn 8 top tips to improve your LinkedIn profile. You’ll find out how to build your professional brand on LinkedIn and stand out online!

#1 — UNDERSTAND YOUR TARGET CLIENT

To attract the right people and ultimately turn them into paying customers, you first need to understand your ideal client.

Clarifying who your target clients are involves putting yourself in their shoes. What are their biggest frustrations and pain-points? Think about their greatest challenges as it relates to the service that you provide.

Next, ask yourself — what are their dream solutions to the problems they’re experiencing? What results are they looking to achieve in their businesses, careers or lives (insert your area of expertise)? How do you and your services help them solve these issues or reach the outcomes they’re after?

From here, you’ll use these pain-points, desired results and your solutions to craft your LinkedIn profile and create content.

#2 — KNOW WHAT MAKES YOU UNIQUE

How do you stand out from your competitors? What makes you unique? Why should people buy from you over other service providers in the market?

People do business with people they know, like and trust.

Think about your unique strengths, personality, personal stories and the ‘why’ behind what you do. Then use what makes you different to connect, add value and build that ‘know, like and trust’ factor with your audience.

Make a note of these points that make you stand out. Moving forward, you’ll use these to optimise the About section of your LinkedIn profile and in the unique content that you share.

#3 — YOUR HEADLINE

Your headline is your title or the statement that sits directly underneath your name on your LinkedIn profile. It’s a small but mighty piece of your profile that’s often overlooked. It appears at the top of all your posts and is visible whenever you like or comment on other people’s content.

LinkedIn headlines automatically default to the job title listed in your current role. However, it should be customised to make it clear what you do, who you work with and how you help them. For example — I help (your target clients) with (insert what you do) to/so that (insert the benefit of the service you offer).

This is especially important if you have a generic job title such as ‘Founder’, ‘Director’, or ‘Consultant’. ‘Small Business Tax Accountant’ stands out more than ‘Senior Manager’. It’s also crucial if you have a very complex title — think IT roles — where it’s unclear what you do.

Finally, think about the keywords your ideal clients enter when they’re searching for your services. Include these in your headline. You have up to 120 characters, so make it as specific as possible!

#4 — CUSTOMISE YOUR URL

I’ve come across several business owners and professionals who aren’t aware of this one. When you first set up your LinkedIn profile, you’re issued with a generic URL in the format: linkedin.com/in/(generic name).

This should be customised to your full name. For example: linkedin.com/in/staceyback. Here’s how to do this.

In desktop view

  1. Click on “Edit public profile & URL” which is located in the top right corner of your profile page.
  2. Then from the same location under ‘Edit your custom URL’, click the edit icon.
  3. Customise your name and save.

In mobile view

  1. Click the Settings icon located in the top right hand corner of your profile page.
  2. From the Privacy menu, choose ‘Edit your public profile’.
  3. Under the first heading, ‘Edit your custom’ URL, edit your name and save.

#5 — CREATE A POWERFUL ‘ABOUT’ SECTION THAT SELLS

Your ‘About’ section is one of the most critical parts of your LinkedIn profile. It’s where you share what makes you unique, speak directly to your target clients and explain how you help them. It’s so important, I wrote a whole article on how to create your About section.

In summary, highlight your point of difference, share your story and why you do what you do. Then, talk to your ideal client’s pain points and the solutions that you provide. This builds connection, attracts the right clients and helps develop the ‘know, like and trust’ factor.

Finally, use keywords throughout this section and finish with a clear call to action. Make it easy for people to contact you if they decide they want to work with you!

#6 — MAXIMISE YOUR ‘EXPERIENCE’ SECTION

This is one of the most underutilised areas of a LinkedIn profile. The most common mistake I see people make is not including any information under each listed position.

Start by outlining your current role. Give a bit of information about your business or employer, outline what you do, the clients you work with and the services you provide. Make your contact details easy to locate by including your email, phone number and website here.

For previous positions, provide a short summary about your company, what you do and who you work with. Highlight any key achievements or skills relevant to your current position. Think about your customer pain-points, desired results and keywords and include these throughout.

#7 — POSITION YOURSELF AS AN EXPERT

I recently looked at 20+ profiles of senior professionals and business owners. Surprisingly, not one person had ever written any articles. Publishing articles on LinkedIn is one of the easiest ways to showcase your expertise, establish yourself as a thought leader and build trust with potential clients.

Look at repurposing any other content that you’re already producing. If you’re writing articles for your business blog, journals or media publications, consider publishing this content as an article on LinkedIn. Publishing one article per week is ideal — but if you’re just getting started, aim for one or two a month.

The beauty of articles? Any original content you publish appears permanently on your LinkedIn profile. This creates instant credibility and positions you as an expert in your industry.

Bonus tipTo take this one step further, add your article to your LinkedIn profile as a Featured Post. This is a brand new LinkedIn feature that allows you to pin articles, posts, website or landing pages or media kits to the top of your LinkedIn profile, under your About section. 

#8 — SHOW UP CONSISTENTLY & ENGAGE

Sharing regular content on LinkedIn is a crucial part of connecting with your customers and adding value to your audience. It gives you the opportunity to share your unique perspective, knowledge and expertise. Create content around your client’s pain-points and the solutions that your service provides.

When posting on LinkedIn, consistency is key. Go for quality over quantity and establish a regular schedule that works for you. I post daily during the working week but 2-3 times per week is more than sufficient!

Finally, engage with other people’s content more than you post. Add a meaningful comment or like their post if you don’t have a lot of time. People are likely to reciprocate and when they do, your posts will show up in their feeds.

The more engagement — likes, comments or shares — that your post receives, the more people will see it!

Crafting your LinkedIn profile isn’t easy. However, when done effectively, optimising your LinkedIn profile will help you build your professional brand, stand out online and attract more clients. 

These tips have helped my clients and I improve and enhance our LinkedIn profiles. I hope they support you too!

Need help with one specific aspect of your LinkedIn strategy, making the leap from your corporate career or establishing the right foundations in your business?

For the next 2 weeks only, I’m offering FREE mini-coaching sessions to entrepreneurs and professionals who want to troubleshoot ONE area of their career or business. Limited to the first 10 places.

If you’re feeling overwhelmed as you work towards building your dream consulting business, let’s chat.

Schedule your complimentary, pitch-free 15 minute coaching session to map out the next step to build your business! Book your call HERE.

Stacey Back is a coach to consultants and the Founder of Profile Careers. She helps high-achieving professionals go from feeling trapped in their corporate careers to developing the confidence and strategy to transition into their own consulting businesses.

Stacey also supports existing consultants who are stuck in a business model they hate, working longer hours than ever or struggling to find clients and make money. She helps them set the right foundations in their business so they can find more time, attract the right clients and create a consulting business doing the work they love — one that supports their ideal lifestyle. 

Stacey works virtually with individuals based across Australia and internationally.