Without question, LinkedIn is considered to be the premiere social network for professionals. So, in an increasingly digital business world, “you are what LinkedIn says you are.”
You probably don’t give it much thought as you go about your day, but make no mistake, people ARE looking at your LinkedIn profile: Potential customers. Potential hiring managers. Potential partners (yes, even romantic ones!). All people who could have a serious impact on your career and on your life. It’s quite possibly the first impression you may make on someone, so you want to make sure you are presenting yourself in the best light.
As human beings, our brains are wired to decide first, think later. It happens when you meet someone new: Accountant? Boring. Lawyer? Arrogant. You could be (and probably are) completely wrong – that accountant could also be a triathlete and skydiver, but “boring” is the perception in your mind – at that first moment. Our mind makes immediate connections to what we’re familiar with and ingrained stereotypes abound.
Given that, keep in mind that it only takes a quick glance at your LinkedIn profile for someone to INSTANTLY evaluate you – in just a few seconds – before they even read one word of your profile:
- Low quality profile photo – or worse, NO profile photo at all
- Vague, generic headline (ie, “Sales Executive” or “Manager”)
- Low number of connections
- No details beyond job titles
- No skill endorsements or recommendations by connections
Rightly or wrongly, these things can impact someone’s instant perception of you with regards to likeability, trustworthiness, ambitiousness, tech savviness, and your collaborative nature.
Knowing that you’ll be evaluated no matter what, why not do your best to present a strong, personal brand that reflects the rock star that you already know you are?
Brand value is built over time, with each new interaction point, so first impressions do matter.
When it comes to your LinkedIn profile, “good enough” is NOT good enough. I’d actually say that having NO presence on LinkedIn is probably better than having a bad one – because having a bad one may actually work against you without even knowing it.
Here’s the biggest reason why a LinkedIn profile should be maximized:
You’ll never know what opportunities are being LOST because you (or your employees) don’t have a LinkedIn presence that’s complete, algorithm-friendly and can actually drive positive results.
Consider these stats that back up the potential opportunity cost:
- 53% of decision makers have eliminated a vendor from consideration based on information they did or did not find about an employee online (Source: Kredible)
- 50% of buyers avoid sales professionals with incomplete LinkedIn profiles. (Source: LinkedIn)
- 81% of buyers are more likely to engage with a strong, professional brand. (Source: Experion Simmons)
- Users with complete profiles are 40 times more likely to receive opportunities on LinkedIn (Source: LinkedIn)
In today’s Attention Economy, it’s not enough to just be good at what you do. You have to be good at TELLING people what you do. Creating a compelling LinkedIn profile that reflects a strong personal brand is a very important step in the process of building trust – which has always been the most valuable currency for doing business.
Many people don’t feel comfortable talking about themselves and writing about all the things they’re good at. I get it, but it’s not bragging – it’s communicating in today’s noisy, crowded world. To be successful and competitive today, you need to actively demonstrate a strong personal brand.
You may be thinking your profile is ok as is…but based on what standard? Do you really know how you stack up against your peers or your competition? Does the LinkedIn algorithm, which is your first gatekeeper in being found, have enough quality info to even present you in search results? If profile sections are empty or sparsely populated, you’re not giving the algorithm enough content to work with. In fact, incomplete profiles, by LinkedIn’s standards, seem to be treated like 2nd class citizens on the platform, even when it comes to determining priority level and amount of exposure that content shares get in its newsfeed timeline.
Maybe you already know your profile needs updating – but you’re too busy to get to it. It’s not a priority, compared to other things you need to get done. That may be true and totally understandable, but it’s still well worth your time to move it to the top of your list of to-do’s.
Finding enough quiet time to work on your LinkedIn profile all at once may not be easy – and that’s one reason why you don’t get to it. It’s always easier to accomplish something big when you break it into chunks of small, manageable tasks. Need some help? I offer a free and easy-to-follow 5 Day Challenge, “Maximize Your LinkedIn Profile,” that will help you stop procrastinating and finally update it – one section at a time, one day at a time. The Challenge also includes a personal, objective review of your updated profile.
No matter how you ultimately get it done, creating a powerful, search-optimized, algorithm-friendly LinkedIn profile that presents you in the most positive light will serve you well. Having said that, having a stellar profile is just the beginning when it comes to leveraging this amazing professional platform to help you drive (and attract!) new opportunities. What happens AFTER maximizing your LinkedIn presence is what will matter most, however… if you choose to skip this critical first step, you just may be limiting how far you can truly go.