Do you have these vital components in place?
Visit anyone’s LinkedIn profile and how do you feel? Curious or indifferent? Your LinkedIn profile is a vital part of engaging with a prospect and having them come to you ‘pre-sold’. However, to really develop a powerful LinkedIn profile you’ll need to have these vital components in place. Once developed, you’ll be able to create a powerful profile, and more than business literature.
Build Your Professional Identity with Linkedin
Of all the social media platforms, LinkedIn provides the biggest opportunity to build your professional identity and generate new leads for your business. In fact, of all the platforms, it is the only one that places the profile at the centre of the platform. With it comes the ability to tailor the content to reflect how you help clients, the problems you solve and how someone should get in touch with you. You have the ability to add extra content (such as PDFs, Slides and video) and use a variety of sections to boost your presence.
Is my LinkedIn Profile Really Important?
Many people argue that your LinkedIn profile isn’t the most important part of your LinkedIn strategy. However, if you take a moment to consider what you do when you receive an invitation from someone you don’t know or are curious about the person who wrote a comment, you’ll probably agree that your first instinct is to visit their LinkedIn profile.
There are three strategies you’ll often hear talked about on LinkedIn:
Active – Status Updates, Comments, Publishing, Likes, Shares etc
Proactive – Sending targeted messages to your target audience
Passive – your LinkedIn profile.
Your LinkedIn profile is a 24/7 billboard with a global presence, that can be easily found by anyone searching keywords on LinkedIn or keywords plus your name into Google. Today, LinkedIn profiles rank second on Google for any name-based search. The opportunity to be found by those who are not in your network is large, but the power of LinkedIn is way bigger than that. It’s the ability to communicate your message and be seen by those who already know you and haven’t known you yet.
So when they do find you – what will they discover?
Why do I always get messages from Recruiters?
One of the most frequent complaints I hear about LinkedIn is the number of invitations people receive from recruiters. I don’t even have to look at their profile to know why this is the case. When LinkedIn began, it was a place for finding a job, but since 2009 the platform has evolved providing an opportunity for sales people, entrepreneurs and business owners, to find leads and create a professional brand.
However, most people haven’t updated their profile to reflect this.
Prospects will only respond to the marketing message you put out there. If you sell lemons but tell people you sell oranges, people will ask you for oranges. The logic here is simple. They are asking you for what they think you want to offer. So when your LinkedIn profile is written like a CV, highlighting your skills and technical abilities, this is what you’re selling, and why recruiters are getting in touch. They think you are selling yourself and your skills, and are open to new job opportunities.
For one of my clients, the type of invitations and level of people connecting with him, dramatically changed after we re-worked his LinkedIn profile. In fact, he was approached by a prospective employee that bought into his message and was determined to join an organisation like his. She has now been with him building the company for the last year.
57% of a Buying Decision is Now Made Online
Just by looking at the change in your own buying habits you’ll quickly see that this statistic is correct. These days, people want to conduct their own research before entering into a buying conversation, and will only contact a sales person once they have determined, for themselves, that this product will be good for them.
With this in mind, we will want to supply as much information as possible, up front, so the person will reach out to us. As small business owners, this has a huge advantage, because if we’ve done it right, the individual will be coming to us ‘pre-sold’ on our solution. By the time they call us, they will have already identified they have a problem and be looking to invest in your solution. A great time saver.
Thus, we want to write a LinkedIn profile that really talks about our business, the problem we solve for people as well as how we do it. We can build rapport with our prospect and a great deal of loyalty by how we write and what we share.
The Vital Components
Success on LinkedIn requires us to have some vital components in place, and you may be surprised when I say they don’t correspond with actual sections of your LinkedIn profile. Instead, they involve your personal brand and your business goals.
The Problem You Solve
Before someone can become interested in you, they first need to become relevant to them. In our time sensitive lives, we’re not going to waste time reading a CV or a diagnostic of your character. It’s not that people don’t want to know this, at some point, but first, they need to know why they should be speaking to you and whether you can add anything helpful to their busy day.
This is why we need to start our LinkedIn profile with a compelling paragraph that outlines the problem we solve and how it shows up in the lives of our prospect. The person reading it may be your prospect or they may not. If they are not, they will likely know someone who is, so by detailing the problem, it will help them to diagnose their friend’s issue and make a recommendation (even if they don’t know you).
How You Solve It
Once you have someone’s attention, they’ll want to know whether they can see themselves working with you and exactly what this will involve. Don’t rely on them coming to your website to find out. Outline it on your LinkedIn profile and take a person as far through their decision process as possible.
Call to Action
Once the person has decided they want to call you, it’s important you not only let people know they are welcome to contact you but make it easy for them. By providing a strong call to action, you are helping your prospect reach out and establish contact with you. Your ‘Call to Acton’ could be a diagnostic phone call, a free download or to join a mailing list. The key is that you ask them to do something and you make it easy for them to do. And easy isn’t just technically. If you ask someone to spend 2 hours with you direct from your profile, this could be too soon in the relationship for many prospects. Why not help them out by asking them to enjoy a few helpful videos or read an introduction to your book.
Success on LinkedIn is only achieved when you have a clear outcome. Firstly, because without one, you won’t have anything to measure your success against, but secondly, because having a clear outcome will direct your focus and your activities.
At the heart of your business is sales. It’s the ability to keep the roof over your head and bring in the money. It might be nice to consider ourselves an industry expert and known across the globe, but none of these things will matter if we aren’t making money. Thus our profile needs to help us achieve this outcome.
For most of us in SMEs, making sales is our top objective. Thus, we need to have our sales target front of mind, which ultimately means we need to be having sales calls. In all our activities, we need to be asking ‘Am I booking in appointments with my target audience?’ If the answer is ‘no’ then we need to adjust course. If we post an update, we want people to connect with us because of it. And when they do, we need to start that relationship and develop a conversation.
Now, of course, that has to come with a warning. Like all platforms, you want to avoid status updates that overtly sale or jumping into a ‘saley’ conversation too soon with the individual. You’ll need to follow your social compass and develop the relationships naturally.
Before Next Session
Take the time to consider the following questions:
- What do you want to achieve via LinkedIn? (Outcomes)
- What is the problem you solve?
- Why are you passionate about what you do?
- How does your prospect make a decision to purchase your product?
Tomorrow we’ll be looking closer at how to structure your LinkedIn profile and exactly how people buy.
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