One of the big mistakes I see CEOs and other senior-level executives make is not fully leveraging the power of LinkedIn.
Whether you are refreshing your brand or trying to bolster your online presence, here are three executive LinkedIn best practices to take your profile from bare-bones to a stand-out presentation.
Although LinkedIn is a social media platform, it is dedicated to professional networking and is a great way for executives to make connections, share their industry expertise + insights, executive resume, and source new opportunities.
Optimize Your LinkedIn Profile
A polished online presence that reinforces your career brand and is optimized for findability should be a top priority for people of all career levels and especially at the executive level.
– Review Your Headline: You have 220 characters to communicate your value + areas of expertise and your career focus. Here is a formula to craft a stand-out headline:
Target Title + Value Offer + Keywords = SEO-Optimized Headline
– Upload a Profile Picture: Yes, your headshot matters and with most job searches and networking activities performed online your profile picture must be on-brand, inviting, and targeted to your market. When prepping for your photo, take into consideration your attire, the background, your posture, and facial expression.
– Create a Branded Background Image: Use an image that bolsters your executive brand and is aligned with your career goals or company you work for.
– Craft an Executive Summary to Wow Your Reader: The ‘about me’ section is a more personal version of your executive career story and is a must-have for senior leaders and executives. You have 2,000 characters to convey who you are, the value you offer, and what drives you, excites you, makes you tick, and frames your professional career history/successes.
Build Your LinkedIn Network
Chances are you already have a LinkedIn profile but haven’t invested time into building your network. If you haven’t already done so, start making connections by searching for people you already know or trust –individuals you work with, former colleagues, and college alumni.
If you’ve already built your network, take the time to nurture those relationships by staying in touch. The key to effective networking is to focus on the quality of vs. quantity of your connections.
– Customize Your Connection Requests: Take the time to craft a personalized connection request rather than sending the standard ‘I’d like to join your network.”
– Join Groups: Search for industry-related groups, engage in the conversation, and make new connections.
Create Meaningful Content
Regular activity on LinkedIn will help you gain visibility and studies reveal posting twice weekly is beneficial to building engagement with your audience. Text posts are limited to 1,300 characters (approximately 250 words).
– Comment: Set aside a few minutes each day to comment, share, or react to your connection’s posts.
– Write Articles: You have up to 125,000 characters and is SEO friendly –giving you more exposure over a longer period of time.
– Answer Frequently Asked Questions: Provide the answers to the questions your clients/colleagues ask you the most.
– Present Your Opinion on Industry-Related Topics: Your audience is looking for information from a trusted source, be the trusted source! 6 out of 10 users actively look for industry insights on LinkedIn.
– Repost Articles: Have you read something that inspired, motivated, or provoked further thought? Share it and include your take on the information.
– Leverage the Power of Video: With our attention spans decreasing, video is a great way to quickly get your message out. Videos should be between 60-seconds and 5 minutes in length and be on-point.
Combining each of these three best practices will help you have a more complete and compelling LinkedIn profile and online presence, leading to more opportunities.
Don’t forget your offline marketing materials as well such as cover letter, executive resume, and executive biography.