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How to Craft a Profile that Enhances your Authority on Linkedin

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Before attempting any LinkedIn lead generation strategies, you should spend some time optimizing your profile.

The first reason for this, is to increase the likelihood of being found on the platform!

In the previous section, you learned how Linkedin search is playing an increasingly important role. So, its not surprising to learn that users with completed profiles are 40x more likely to be found by prospectus looking for the services you offer.

And yet only 51% of all users have a completed profile. Meaning, the number of business opportunities passed up by professionals because they haven’t even included targeted keywords is quite extraordinary.

The second reason is to make such a great fist impression that a prospect feels compelled to get in touch with you after reading what is you do.

Your profile needs to provide value. Needs to enhance your authority positioning. But most importantly, it needs to speak directly to the prospect themselves.

…….Making them feel like you understand their problem better than anyone else, and leaving them with little option but to get in contact with you.

Master this, and your business prospectus on Linkedin will come search for you, as much as your reach out to them.

Phase 1: Generating Curiosity

When a prospectus comes across you for the first time, it’s either your photo or your profile heading (or both) that they see.

So, phase 1 is to pique their curiosity and stimulate enough interest that they feel compelled to click through and check out your profile.

You must spend some time getting these elements right or your lead generation efforts on Linked in will be in vain.

First impressions matter… a Lot!

A Harvard Study of Communication found it takes kust seven seconds for you to form a first impression of another human being.

Digging a bit deeper, the study also suggested that 38% of what makes up a first impression is how you sound. Meanwhile, 7% is based on he words you say.

So, that;s a total of 45% of a first impression that is dependent on what comes out of your mouth.

Which means, the other 55% comes down to the visual aspect. How you look, dress,smile etc. In other words, your personal appearance.

Now, the first interaction on Linkedin is not in person, but the visual aspect is still an important factor in your profile.

Determining the type of Visual;

On the Linkedin, your profile picture is the first thing people see. And according to statistics, profile with a professional photo are not only 14x more likely to be found, but they are 36x more likely to receive a message.

“The link between facial features and character may be tenouns at best, but that down’t stop our hands from sizing other people up at a glance.

Why decide very quickly whether a person possesses many of the traits we feel are important, such as likability and competence, even though we have not exchanged a single word with them.

It appears that we are hard-wired to draw these inferences in a fast, unreflective way.”

So whether you like it or not, your profile picture dictates how you’re perceived online. Used by others to form ideas about your trustworthiness, likability, and competence.

Every time you write a comment, like a post or wngae in a LinkedIn activity, your photograph appears. And being a business site, this photo should exude professionalism..

….From your attire to your grooming, the background and the quality of image itself (But just because it’s business doesn’t mean you shouldn’t smile).

Now, there are two types of photos that I recommend you choose from.

PROFESSIONAL

The plain headshot is the classic option because  of it’s simplicity and clarity. It is a headshot that represents professionalism.

The only drawback being how common it is. You’re unlikely to stand out amongst the thousands of other professional headshots.

AUTHORITY

The authority headshot includes the media publications you’ve appeared on, in order to demonstrate credibility.

Be warned, though. While these logos boost credibility in eyes of some, it has the opposite effect for others, who treat it with increasing skepticism.

I used to like the idea of the Authority headshot but appearing on some media outlets isn’t as difficult as it once was. A paid press release in some cases is all it takes.

Hence the reason more of these authority headshots are cropping up on the platform.

So, my preference is instead for the “Professional” option.

My view is that a great profile picture won’t have prospective clients opening their wallets.

But, it does have the power to send them looking elsewhere without ever engaging with you in the first place.

A Headline That Brings It Home

When it comes to you heading, your objectives are two fold.

Firstly, you want your prospects to know what is the outcome you deliver. And secondly, you want the headline to contain keywords that ensure you are found by people looking for the services your deliver.

Stating the Outcome You Deliver;

Your prospect couldn’t care less about the service you are trying to sell. They only care about the outcome you deliver.

You need to be thinking that right now, they are stuck and you need to explain where your service will take them.

Perry Marshall once summed it up well when he said…

Perry Marshall
Nobody who bought a drill actually wanted a drill. They wanted a hole. Therefore, if you want to sell drills, you should advertise information about making holes – NOT information about drills.

When it comes to the opening line of your heading, it should be simple and concise. To achieve this, ask yourself these three questions.

What is the outcome you deliver?

Who do you deliver it for?

How do you deliver it?

Then, answer each with just a couple of words. So, in my case, the answers to those question are:

I generate higher quality leads…

… for business professionals

… using Linkedin.

The temptation is to try and go into more detail. Don’t!

Simplicity is the key. You only have a split second to persuade the prospect to click through and view your profile.

Getting Found with Keywords;

The second element of your heading is getting your keywords on there.

Think of these keywords as you would Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) on Google. You want these keywords to represent what it is you do and what you excel at.

So, in my case it’s phrases such as Linkedin, digital marketing and social media marketing.

If you’re unsure of which keywords are best to use, consider checking out a tool like Google Trends.

Yes, the results you generate from this search are related to Google as opposed to Linkedin, but nonetheless, you get some insight into what people are searching for.

So for example, here are some of the Google trends for keywords in my profile: 

Not only do you get to see whether search is increasing or declining, you can also see which country has the the strongest demand based on population percentage search related queries.

Heatmap for global “digital marketing” search

Top “digital marketing” related searches

The free tool also let’s you see related searches, top searches and fastest rising searches, which again might get you thinking outside the box and in a position to attract prospects in a relatively untapped niche.

Phase 2: Boosting Credibility

So, you’ve got a professional photo, and your headline hits the nail on the head. Your prospect is intrigued and clicks through to your profile.

Now, the second phase kicks in.

It covers what happens once the prospect arrives at your profile page and the steps you should take to boost your credibility and authority positioning.

A Background To Brand Yourself

You could just use a generic background on your Linkedin page. But what kind of impression is that to send out?

Instead, take the time to have a background designed that brands you as a professional and trustworthy.

For example, here’s one I’ve used…

Now, there are a range of different options to chose from when it comes to getting your background designed, but here’s a list that caters for the different range in budgets.

99 Designs.com

You outline what you want, select the pricing package that best suits, and then wait for a host of designers to pitch you their best work.

This option will result in the best quality but is the most expensive of the three options.

Fiverr.com

You search for providers with the skillset you need (i.e. graphic design, Linkedin banners) and then choose the most appropriate.

This is an inexpensive option (as little as $5) but as such, the quality tends to be lower.

Canva.com

You choose the background image and the text you want displayed. Then simply add to Canva and download.

This is a free option and if you’re the creative type, it’s is a viable option to consider.

Now that you’ve got your prospects attention, it’s now time to impress and convince them of your expertise.

Posts That Establish Authority

Okay, you have your prospects attention. They start to scroll down your page. Your next opportunity to impress comes with published posts.

You should have at least 5-10 published posts on your Linkedin page. And, you should commit to creating posts on a consistent basis going forward.

Not only do these posts enhance your credibility. They are also excellent from an SEO perspective, because Google recognises Linkedin as an authoritative platform.

Meaning, it gives a much higher rank to posts from your Linkedin page than your business blog page (unless of course you’re already getting thousands of viewers to your blog posts each day).

For those who consider themselves weak writers, there are other options. You can instead create video updates or create podcasts for example.

Alternatively, you could outsource the writing of your articles. Then, just edit the articles if needs be to ensure your voice is coming through.

Three places you can visit to search for potential writers are:

iWriter

The cheapest option where you can get decent writers for $0.20 to $0.65 per word.

You post a project, a writer submits their entry and then you accept or reject the article based on the quality.

Problogger

A place to go if looking to hire a high quality content creator (full time or part time).

You post your project, as you would any other job. Then wait for the applications to come in for you to consider.

Contently

One of the top resources for businesses with large budgets looking to create great content.

Contently is not just about writing, it’s about how your content looks and how it performs for your business.

There’s no substitute for creating your own content, but the only thing worse, is not creating any content at all.

Other Credibility Enhancers

The remainder of your profile on Linkedin is about highlighting your experience and having people endorse and recommend you.

Experience;

What most people do here is fill out their past experience across different jobs. Some go to great lengths, adding job experience dating back 10 plus years.

If it adds credibility to your earlier claims in your summary, then great. Go ahead and add these experiences.

However, an alternative approach is to break up the services you provide in your existing role, and explain each in detail as a unique experience.​

Mandy McEwen does an excellent job of this when explaining the role of her marketing firm.​

As you can see, each of these listings are not past experiences, but rather existing services provided to their target market.

So, if you’re a management consultant for example, your first listing might be targeting CEOs. Your second listing could then target recruiters, which requires a much different language and explanation.

Doing it this way means you’re speaking to your ideal prospects without having to resort to a single generic message. It also means you’re getting ranked for more of your relevant keywords.

I’ve barely seen a handful of professionals use this powerful approach. Meaning, if you’re looking to stand out, then take note and take action.

Skills & Endorsements;

You should add a lengthy list of skills relative to your service and look to get them endorsed by family, friends, work colleagues, Linkedin connections etc.

When I first ask people what skills they have, I’m lucky if they give me a list of five.

Modesty, perhaps. But the reality is most people just don’t place enough value on what they know to label it a skill.

If you’re struggling with this part of your profile, make a list of your top 5 competitors. Visit their profile and make a list of their skills.

The next step is to reach out to your first connections and simply ask them for an endorsement. And in exchange, agree to endorse them for their skills.

Recommendations;

A recommendation is more personal than a skill endorsement.

When you reach out and ask for one, ensure it’s submitted through the LinkedIn recommendation platform. This way, the recommendations appears on your profile.

It’s a good idea to explain what your ultimate goal is from that recommendation.

For example, I left the investment industry in 2012. I wanted a specific recommendation because I was going to offer freelance services to investment professionals and firms.

So, I asked my most senior work colleague to write an honest review of my investment skill-set:

Take note of that word “honest”. Don’t force the words of recommendation on someone. Just let them write the review in their own words.

Phase 3: Soliciting Action

By this stage, the prospect has shown an interest in you and recognises you as a credible professional with an impressive background.

The final phase is to get them to take action.

And to do this, you must connect with them on an emotional level, by demonstrating you fully understand the problem they are trying to solve.

A Summary That Sympathizes

The summary is a valuable piece of real estate most people fail to take full advantage of on Linkedin.

And with a character count of 2,000 words, provides enough space for you to hook your ideal prospect. Unfortunately, though, most summaries fall flat.

When was the last time you read someone’s summary on Linkedin and felt like they truly understood your problem and the challenges you were looking to overcome?

Possibly never!

That’s because most profile are all me, me, me.

You know how it goes. They start with “Who Am I”. This is swiftly followed by “What I Do”. And then to finish it off, you get a bit of “How I Do It”.

Some go a bit deeper. They’ve clearly listened to Simon Sinek’s ted Talk on “Start With Why” (which is worth a watch by the way) and proceed to explain their “Why” in their summary.

But in the words of one of the most highly respected motivational speakers in America, Joel Weldon

“SO WHAT?” and “WHO CARES?”

When it comes to grabbing the attention of your audience, whether it be a public presentation or a Linkedin summary, you should assume that no one is really interested in what you have to say.

And so, the onus is on you to create that interest. Not by speaking about you. But by making it all about your prospect.

The Mindset Deep Dive

You see, “Starting With Why” is an excellent approach when writing your summary. It’s just that rather than discussing your “why”, you must discuss your prospects “why”.

You must tap into their desires to be understood. To get inside their head and understand what they are thinking and feeling.

Once you have, you then repeat your readers’ thoughts back to them, word for word.

And while you might be thinking, “yeah, but each prospect is different”, remember this…

Each of your ideal prospects have something in common. They suffer from the same business problems and face very similar situations.

And most of these people have almost the exact same thoughts and feelings about those problems and situations, too – even though each believes they are the only one in the world who thinks and feels that way.

So, in your summary, you need to make your readers feel like you are reading their minds.

Because research shows that if you can articulate a problem to a prospect with greater clarity than even they previously understood…

… that prospect already believes you have the solution to that problem.

The Morrow Opening

Now, there is one man who does this better than anyone else, and that’s Jon Morrow.

An audience is only ready to hear your story when they feel you really and truly have heard theirs.

Jon Morrow

Jon is regarded as one of the top bloggers on the planet, and uses the above approach in the openings to his blog posts. Openings that hook his readers and leave them crying out for more.

Check out this example:

Do you feel that?

That little tugging sensation on your heart?

You’re not sure what, but something is pulling you to change. Not in a confess-your-sins-oh-ye-sinners way, but to shift directions, to embrace your calling, to finally do what you were put here to do:

You feel the ideas inside you. You sense them straining to escape. You know your job is to set them free, firing them like a cannon into a world in desperate need of them.

But you’re afraid.

You’re afraid of quitting your job and living without a safety net. You’re afraid of the concerned, disapproving looks your friends will give you when you tell them you’re giving it all up to write for a living. You’re afraid of not having enough money for food, of the power being cut off, of watching your family shivering and hungry, all because of your “selfishness”.

And most of all?

You’re afraid you’re wrong about yourself.

Maybe that tugging sensation you feel is just an illusion. Maybe your ideas are crap. Maybe you’re just a fool with delusions of grandeur, and this whole fantasy of becoming a writer is just that: a fantasy.

So, you do nothing.

You cower in your safe little job. You tinker with a blog or a novel or a screenplay. You drown your dreams with junk food or booze or shopping sprees, all the while telling yourself you’re doing the right thing.

But are you?

“No,” a little voice whispers inside of you. “No, this is all very, very wrong.”

Oh God…

Pretty powerful right?

And while this might seem beyond your reach now, there are some common techniques that run though Jon’s posts that you can copy…

… not only for your summary, but for your blog posts too.

1) Start with a Question;

Jon starts over 70% of his blog posts with a question. Nothing detailed. In the above example, it’s “Do you feel that?”.

Posing a vague and simple question like this creates curiosity and opens what’s referred to as an emotional loop.

And for anyone that’s into their psychology, they’ll know that it’s in our nature to want to close emotional loops.

How is that achieved in this instance?

By reading the next line of course. So, you can see why the approach is so powerful in getting your prospect hooked and reading on to learn more.

Mission 1 accomplished! On to step 2.

2) Use Transition Words;

Remember in school when the teacher told you to never start a sentence with “And”, “But”, “Because” etc.

Well, if you want to keep you reader engaged, those lessons get thrown out the window.

A transition word essentially joins two sentences together. So, you might like to think this sentence is over…But I’ve got more to say.

And want you to keep reading.

See how I’ve used transition words to navigate you to this point.

Check out how Jon used it in the example we referenced above. I’ve highlighted some of the transition words for you.

You know your job is to set them free, firing them like a cannon into a world in desperate need of them.

BUT you’re afraid.

You’re afraid of not having enough money for food, of the power being cut etc…

AND most of all?

You’re afraid you’re wrong about yourself etc…

SO, you do nothing.

You drown your dreams with junk food or booze or shopping sprees, all the while telling yourself you’re doing the right thing etc…

BUT are you?

“No,” a little voice whispers inside of you. “No, this is all very, very wrong.”

The benefit of transition words are they enable you to write shorter sentences, which are easier to read.

And second, the flow of words are more conversational, which helps pull the reader through and create the illusion they are reading faster.

3) Apply the Rule of 3;

“Three… is a magic number”.

An overstatement perhaps, but actually, the number three has some powerful qualities. Most notably, it’s the smallest number necessary to create a pattern.

And humans love patterns.

It explains why the use of three is so common. From storytelling to quotes and systems, there are examples all around us.

Add in a bit of alliteration to the rule of three, and you’re really spicing up your summary.

Here’s an example from Jon’s piece, where the word “to” is repeated…

You’re not sure what, but something is pulling you to change. Not in a confess-your-sins-oh-ye-sinners way, but to shift directions, to embrace your calling, to finally do what you were put here to do:

And in this extract from the same intro, it’s the words “You’re afraid”

You’re afraid of quitting your job and living without a safety net. You’re afraid of the concerned, disapproving looks your friends will give you when you tell them you’re giving it all up to write for a living. You’re afraid of not having enough money for food, of the power being cut off, of watching your family shivering and hungry, all because of your “selfishness”.

And further on, it’s the word “Maybe”

Maybe that tugging sensation you feel is just an illusion. Maybe your ideas are crap. Maybe you’re just a fool with delusions of grandeur, and this whole fantasy of becoming a writer is just that: a fantasy.

You get the picture.

So, now it’s your turn. Remember, don’t rush in with solutions. Take the time to identify, state and sympathize with the problem your prospect is facing.

The Call to Action

The demand on people’s attention is greater than ever before.

Unless you tell your prospect exactly what steps you want to take next, chances are they’ll never take them.

So, close your summary piece with a call to action.

You could direct prospects to an external landing page and ask them to opt-in. Alternatively, ask them to connect with you on LinkedIn or invite them on a consultation call.

Either way, emphasize why it’s in their best interests to do so.

Your summary acts as a filtering tool. Meaning only those who are a good fit in the first place are likely to take action. Those who aren’t, won’t…

… A win-win all around!

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