Optimizing Your Profile
Using LinkedIn successfully first requires that people can actually find your profile. That is, you need to make the effort to search engine optimize it. Otherwise, how can you expect prospective clients to find you or vice versa? When people search for clients in a specific industry, they'll use keywords like "attorney," or "Boston lawyer." Now, if you are located in Boston and are a lawyer, it'd be great if your profile were at the top of the list when someone searches for this phrase. But this can only happen if your profile has been optimized for this keyword.
The first step is to see how you're currently doing. To do this, log into your LinkedIn account and look at the right hand side of the screen. You should see how many times your profile has been viewed and how many times your profile has shown up in search results.
If these numbers are low, your profile is obviously not keyword-optimized. However, high numbers indicates you're doing something right.
So how can you get a large number of profile visitors and search results? You must select several keywords that potential clients of yours would use to find your services. But you don't just have to come up with them off the top of your head. There's a simpler way. To begin, search LinkedIn for your service type and the city in which you're located. Select to sort the results by keyword. This will show you who has the most optimized page in your niche.
Next, visit this person's profile. To get a sense of what keywords they're optimized for (other than the main search term you used) select all the text and copy it. Then, open a new window or tab and paste that text into Wordle.net. Click "Go," and you should be provided with a word cloud. It might look like a sea of words, but that's good. These are the terms you want to use to optimize your profile
since they're currently so effective on the top profile.
So, if you searched for "Boston lawyer," found the top profile, and create a word cloud, it might provide keywords like: law, Massachusetts, New England, legal, attorney, law firm, personal injury, divorce, etc.
With these keywords, you can brainstorm further to include location-specific terms in your profile like cities near your business, county names, and office locations to broaden your search result potential.
To squeeze in all of these keywords, you need to have a lot of content on your profile. You shouldn't have to keyword stuff or write nonsensical sentences to make this happen. Instead, write informative text in each section. Just make sure to include a few keywords as you go.
Increase Connections for Best Results
While optimizing your profile will boost your views and place in search engine results, it's not everything. LinkedIn is based on connections most of all. So, when you search for a service provider, you'll be provided results for those that are connected to those you're connected with. Basically, it shows results based on up to three degrees of separation. If you don't have very many connections, you won't show up in the search engine results. It just won't happen.
But if you increase your connections, even by a little bit, you'll be included a much larger pool of the default search results. Now, this doesn't mean you shouldn't just go and add everybody. Rather, strategically add people that already have a lot of connections. You'll basically be adding this one new person plus their entire network to yours. Pretty neat, I know.
It's easy to find these people with huge networks. Just search for your city name then sort the results by connections. Add the people at the top of the list. Done!
Turning Searches Into Results
So, people can find your profile easily, but now what? It's what you do to convert those searches into sales that matters most. To do this, you need to make the headline on your profile—which shows up in the search results list—really count. Give potential clients something specific to do like go to your website or something similar. Address your client base and give them an action to perform.
Make full use of the summary section as well. Use every last word. You may need to edit it to get it to fit, but it's worth the time investment to get it right. Always end with a call to action, whether it's visiting your website or sending a message. Also, have your email address readily visible so people don't have to go searching for it. Make it easy for potential clients to contact you or to add you to their networks.
Further Connect by Creating a Group
You could potentially become a super connector yourself by creating a group. The idea is to make yourself an essential component of your industry. People should look to you for updates, trend information, and advice.
So, create a group and keyword optimize all of its content, just as you did for your profile. Click "auto-join," so you don't have to manage every new member. Also, make it an open group. You want people to be able to join without you having to invite them.
Take advantage of the features of LinkedIn groups. Send emails out to the group or to individual first, second, and third degree connections. Whenever a regular client of yours adds you as a connection, invite them to your group. Make it a habit to communicate with these people, all of which are potential clients.
Most people don't know these little tips and tricks for LinkedIn. If you implement what you've learned here, you'll be ahead of the game. All it takes is a little time and effort, but the payoff is substantial.