July 19, 2023

Podcast Episode 41: Let’s update our LinkedIn profiles, bestie!

One simple way to deepen your visibility and influence is to optimize your personal LinkedIn profile, because it can serve as your digital professional homepage. Yeah, you probably have a website or other ways you’re showing up online. But, if you google most professionals, your LinkedIn profile is going to be one of the top things that comes up.  Not necessarily your company page – but your personal profile. That’s why LinkedIn is the best place to build your small business and personal brand as an impactful coach, consultant, or service provider

LinkedIn SEO: Your LinkedIn Profile Ranks on Google

I actually did a LinkedIn poll on this back in 2021. I asked folks to Google themselves and see what the first thing to pop up was. I scrolled back to look at it again for this episode, and it turns out 120 folks voted in the poll. There were 4 options, and 31% of people said the first thing to pop up on Google was their website. But double that – 63% said it was their personal Linkedin profile that showed up in the top spot. Which just goes to show, LinkedIn is such a trusted site in the eyes of Google that it’s going to bring up that profile, whether it’s optimized or not, when people look for you.

I just did it right now before recording this episode and, still, the first thing to pop up for me is my LinkedIn. As your visibility snowballs, people are going to start Googling you, and you want a solid LinkedIn profile for when that happens.

So, in this podcast episode, I’m going to give you an over the shoulder look – or rather, a listen – as I update my own LinkedIn profile (which has honestly been somewhat neglected as I’ve supported other changemakers with their LinkedIn – and had total cobbler’s children syndrome myself. That’s okay, it happens to the best of us.  And, you can take inspiration from what I’m doing to update your own LinkedIn profile. 

Highlights from the podcast episode: 

Turn your LinkedIn profile from a resume to a resource

The #1 problem I see with coaches, consultants, and service providers’ LinkedIn profiles. They’re showing up as a resume, not a resource. If you’re actively looking for a job, then yeah maybe that would be different. But if your goal is to find right-fit clients, vision-aligned referral sources, and amplifiers who are down to invite you onto their stages – then you want to be a resource. You want to share your passion, lived experience, and credibility – not a boring bio that nobody wants to read.  And as you position yourself as a resource, it creates top of mind trust. 

So, let’s start “above the fold.” That’s an old newspaper term by the way – it’s the part of the newspaper that would show right away, before you had to open the actual paper to see the rest of it. Similarly, when you go to someone’s LinkedIn profile, it’s everything above the button to message someone. That’s your cover banner, headshot, headline, and all that stuff up there that shows up above the fold. This is the first impression someone will have when they visit your profile. 

Updating your LinkedIn Cover Banner

And, while my medium is words – I focus on brand messaging and language – a picture does indeed speak 1,000 words. And, it’s time for me to update my cover banner, which is that rectangular box that shows up at the very, very top. If you’ve never updated yours, it will be a light blue box with some geometric shapes. As for me, I’ve had the same one since starting my business over 2 years ago – it just has one of my key brand messages which is Stand Out as you Stand Up for your Mission. Which is fine, right? 

I want to reiterate something I really harp on, and tell all my clients: you can’t get this work wrong. If you’re showing up and sharing a piece of yourself that evokes an emotion, a response, a feeling in your ideal audience, that’s all great. 

But for me at this moment, I think I’m ready for my next iteration of my cover banner. I always tell people, you want this to represent a thing you want to be known for. If you want more speaking engagements, have a picture of you speaking on a stage. If you want more people to listen to your podcast, feature it. If you’ve got a group coaching program you’re getting ready to launch, put something about that. And yes, I realize we’ve all got several things we want people to do but hey, my recommendation is to pick one thing, one action you want someone to take or one thing you want to be most known for. 

So what I’m going to do is update this to promote my weekly newsletter, which I’ve recently productized. Meaning, it has a name, it has a soul, and I consider it as part of my offer suite. Yes it’s free, but I put as much value into it as possible. It’s called the Firestarter, and it’s a thought leadership recap that goes out every Wednesday with a Lazy on LinkedIn tip, some insights on what I see as working right now in terms of thought leadership, and other resources. And it kind of makes sense as a first point of entry into my world, beyond LinkedIn. If someone finds me from another comment I’ve left, or just sees my post in the feed because their friend has engaged with it, I want them to easily know – OK, this is how I can get further along in my learning journey with her. 

So what I’ll create – or actually what my fabulously talented VA Mickey will create, because remember, I’m all about words – not Canva – but just a simple cover banner with the same branding as the newsletter. It’ll include the name of the newsletter for sure, and possibly have a testimonial or some other social proof about the newsletter if it fits, maybe the # of people on the list – something like Join 1,000 changemakers who get this weekly resource – and possibly a vanity URL, like lumosmarketing.co/newsletter. A cover banner is not clickable, though. So it would have to be sort of simple enough that someone could just type it in. We’ll see. And not all of that is going to fit, but by the time this episode airs, you’ll be able to go to my profile and see what ended up happening because it will be live. I’ll also change the link that shows up at the very top of my profile to that same URL, so it all matches.

LinkedIn headshot, hashtags, and headlines

OK, what’s next. Not going to change the headshot or hashtags – those look OK to me still. By the way, this is simply an overview of what I am changing in real time as I go through my profile, not a deep dive on the specific tactics of every part of a LinkedIn profile. I am not about gatekeeping information AND I want to be respectful to the folks who have bought my Thought Leadership Clarity Course, which goes into step-by-step detail on updating your profile.  

But as I look at this, there’s one thing in my headline, which right now refers to supporting ‘social impact leaders.’  And what’s coming up for me is that the language you use should reflect the language of the people you serve. So, do the people I work with refer to themselves or think of themselves as social impact leaders? I mean, definitely some do. But I would actually venture to say that’s not the most aligned term. I’m going to change it to impactful business owners right now. Now – I don’t think we’re ever going to find the one right term. That doesn’t exist. Some people might think of themselves as changemakers, as coaches, consultants, or service providers, as social entrepreneurs, so on and so forth. So how do you pick? I mean, I think the best way is to ask your audience and really invest either time or resources in gleaning customer insights. Do surveys, have conversations with the people you’ve most enjoyed working with and want to serve more of. Maybe do a LinkedIn poll to find out what term your current audience is most drawn to out of a list of 4. And, we can let whatever we choose be enough, knowing this is just a piece of the entire brand messaging puzzle. None of these pieces is going to make or break your business or brand, so do what you can and then let it go. 

How to Use the LinkedIn Featured Section 

Scrolling down, I think my featured section still looks pretty good. A lot of people have asked me if they should be updating their featured section with fresh new content and what I would say is, maybe. I see the point of the featured section of being almost like a bulletin board with a quick glance of the most value-packed assets that most represent your business and your brand. So for me, I’ve got a link to my website. I’ve got a link to the Business Insider article I was interviewed for where I go deep into being Lazy on LinkedIn. I’ve got my first podcast episode on the We Are for Good Podcast, all about Thought Leadership on LinkedIn which is like a slam dunk. Love that for me. I see here I also have a post I made when I started my podcast back in January 2022, so maybe that has to go. That’s kinda old news now. 

So what I’ll do now is go to my analytics, which you have access to through Creator Mode. I’m gonna go to Post Impressions, and then filter it to see the last 365 days.  If you’re doing this in real time with me, you’ll now see the top performing posts of your last year. Of course, there are limitations to this. Like I mentioned in my most recent podcast episode about tracking resonance vs. reach, there is trust-building happening behind the scenes we just can’t see. But, sometimes we just have to use the tools at our disposal. So for me, it looks like my top performing post over the last year is this one where I share a tip about working backwards to come up with thought leadership content ideas by going through your photos to inspire a story + resource to share. That was posted almost a year ago, so let’s bring it to the featured section to give this some new light! So, I’m going to hit the three dots on the top right of the post and select Feature on top of profile. 

And, by the way, if you’re starting your visibility journey and you don’t have anything to place here, that’s totally fine. This is actually a great opportunity to think ok, “What would I want to put here in this section? Is it being a guest on this specific podcast that’s important in my niche? Is it being published in this journal that’s really credible in my sector?” Like – what are those things and what are the steps you can take towards achieving that?

Storytelling in your LinkedIn About Section

Now I see the About section. OOF! This is the doozy. But it’s also the most impactful part of your LinkedIn profile. This is where you can share your story. You have 2600 characters to play with here, so this is really where you can express and share your passion, lived experiences, and credibility. Where you can speak to the specific problem you solve, the transformation you create, and the visionary outcome you’re working towards. You want to share the emotional implications of the problem you solve, not just the cut-and-dry facts, your credentials, or jargon. Again – this is not a boring bio, this is you creating a moment of shared humanity with people who find your profile. 

Some other things you can include are social proof like testimonials, the ways you have available to work with people, you could call out the specific niches or kinds of people you most enjoy working with and serving and why. But really, this is really where you want to focus on your brand story, which makes you relatable and positions you as someone who can get your audience from where they are to where they want to go.  And that story might change over time. Like, the story I share in my about section, and pretty much everywhere, is my story of realizing how powerful owning our narrative was when I supported newly sober women in writing their recovery story and then drawing a parallel to how sharing my own lived experience as a nonprofit executive positioned us for new opportunities and gave us a much larger voice.  

That still resonates. But in a few years, maybe the focus of that story will change. It’s worth it to take a look inward and ask, is this still the story that demonstrates my why? 

Getting Social Proof for Recommendations on LinkedIn

The last thing I’ll do, as I scroll down to the very bottom of my profile, is peek at my Recommendations. Recommendations are powerful social proof. Other people have to leave you a recommendation, you can’t just stick one up there. So, think about a specific thing you’re wanting people to hire you for, or partner with you on. Yes, there’s probably a few things, again, but just try to pick the most important one to you right now in this moment. Who has hired you, or partnered with you on this thing in the past, and had a good experience? Ask them for a recommendation. You can do that right on LinkedIn; just hit the + sign and then Ask for a Recommendation. You do need to be connected with the folks you ask, however. But what’s kinda cool about this too, is you can repurpose those recommendations into testimonials for your website, your Media Kit, or wherever you want and makes sense!

OK, I feel productive folks. I’m glad we did this together. You can see how our LinkedIns are something we want to revisit every now and then! For example, I still had information about a group coaching program that I no longer offer in my About section! So, maybe go ahead and schedule a tickler on your calendar in 6 months to revisit your profile again. This is a living, breathing landing page for your business and brand – which changes and evolves over time! And that’s a great thing. OK, thanks for joining me – I’ll talk to you next time.  

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I'm Tania, your new cheerleader & confidante.

Let's give your work the platform it deserves. I consult with a hybrid approach, guiding thought leadership personal branding strategy with support in dismantling imposter syndrome.

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