5 LinkedIn profile hacks that will help you outperform your competition on LinkedIn
Your LinkedIn profile still looks like it’s from 2011? We’re here to help. LinkedIn expert, Tracy Enos shares her hottest LinkedIn tips!
If you’re a working professional, surely you have a LinkedIn profile – but are you getting as much out of it as you could be? Probably not.
Fortunately, we’re here to help.
Far too often, people use LinkedIn passively, treating the platform as a digital CV rather than a strategic tool to build their personal or professional brands.
We sat down with LinkedIn expert, Tracy Enos, to better understand how she’s grown her network, mastered the art of lead generation, developed her business, and achieved “All-Star” status – all thanks to the LinkedIn platform, and to get the best LinkedIn tips from her.
Her biggest secret? Maintaining a human-to-human (H2H) touch.
Tracy’s LinkedIn tips will guide you as you revamp your LinkedIn profile to help you gain traction on the platform and achieve your long-term business goals.
Keep reading to discover…
- How to build your profile using a customer or client-centric approach
- How to best showcase your expertise
- How to increase your likability and reach
We have officially entered the era of social selling and optimizing your LinkedIn profile is one of the best ways to get started, so let’s dive in!
Laying the foundation
Without a strong foundation, anything you try to build will weaken over time and eventually come crumbling down – and your LinkedIn presence is no different.
The first and most important step in creating the perfect LinkedIn profile is to define what perfect means – not only to yourself, but also to your audience.
You must clearly identify your goals as well as what you would like to achieve with your LinkedIn profile, aside from simply having a presence on the network.
On any social platform, there are observers, participants, and leaders. If you’re hoping to outperform your competitors, you must be a leader.
Here are a few questions to help you get started…
- Are you trying to get hired, grow your network, reach new clients, or build your brand?
- Who are you trying to reach, and how can you depict your demographics and psychographics to better connect with these people?
- What keywords can you integrate into your profile to highlight your value and strengths?
- How do your competitors portray themselves?
- What is your competitive advantage?
- What are the pain points of your target audience?
It’s important to keep these questions in mind to build a LinkedIn profile that frames you in the best light possible and also positions you to not just reach, but actually exceed your intended goal.
LinkedIn profile hacks
Hack 1: Scrap the selfie, first impressions count!
We all have those friends who seem to have something against professional headshots.
No matter how many years have passed, they still have the same, low-quality photo of themselves that was taken at a college semi-formal as their LinkedIn profile picture.
When someone searches your name or visits your profile on LinkedIn, your photo is the first thing that they see, so it’s important to make a good impression.
Treat your headshot like you’re meeting a new client, prospect, or business partner for the first time. Your selfie is costing you clients, and while it may be appropriate for Instagram, LinkedIn is just not the place.
So, one of her LinkedIn tips: Take your photo with a high-quality camera in front of a neutral background, and most importantly – make sure it speaks to the audience you’re trying to reach!
People are more likely to take an interest in you if you look approachable.
Hack 2: Ditch the 2011 headline!
Second hack of the LinkedIn tips list: You have only 220 characters to tell the world what you have to offer, so why not take full advantage of it?
Instead of simply restating your job title and company or sharing a vague statement about your passion for helping others succeed, use this as an opportunity to hone in on keywords that will make you stand out.
This section should tease your added-value and encourage LinkedIn users to engage with you, so keep your audience in mind when writing it.
Don’t forget that the headline shows directly under your name on LinkedIn, so it will accompany you everywhere you go. Many people fail to realize that when you make a post or leave a comment, your headline is visible to other users. This means that you can capitalize on the opportunity to introduce yourself with every action you take on LinkedIn.
Keep in mind, your headline cuts off after about 50 characters on your posts (as seen below). Make sure to include the most important keywords at the very beginning to captivate the interest of those who happen to stumble upon your profile through a comment or re-share.
Hack 3: Surprise, your ‘About Summary’ is not all about you!
On your LinkedIn profile, the About section provides you with a text box that permits up to 2,600 characters. Most LinkedIn users tend to use this box as an ‘About Me’ summary, but there are already entire sections specifically dedicated to interests, skills, and achievements on your profile page.
Be cautious with what you share here to avoid being redundant later on.
Instead, think of the About section as an opportunity to integrate your client-solutions with your auto-biography and show who you are, what you have to share, and why you are the best solution.
Here are a few key pieces of information that you should always include…
- Who are you? (Tell your story)
- Who do you work with? (Directly identify your target audience)
- What do you do? (In other words, what can you do for the person reading?)
- How do you do it? (What is your process and competitive advantage?)
- What results can people expect? (Share success stories or accolades)
Most importantly, you should keep your target audience in mind when constructing the About section of your profile. Frame yourself in a way that encourages people to connect with you.
Maybe it’s client-facing, maybe it’s customer-facing, or maybe it’s partner-facing. Whatever the goal is, use this opportunity to shine, but do it in a way that appeals to your audience.
Finally, always include a clear CTA. Your About summary is typically the first block of text that people view when visiting your profile, so don’t force them to do the digging if they want to get in touch with you!
By centralizing your CTA in this section, people will know that you mean business. For example, Tracy includes a link to her website and calendar so that people know that she’s available and ready to build relationships.
Other LinkedIn tips would be to add links to your social media channels or any other valuable resources that will help your audience connect with you.
Hack 4: Turning on creator mode can be tempting, but try to hold off until you have a following!
In the modern day, almost everyone likes to think of themselves as a creator. After all, we do create something in some shape or form through our work, so why not differentiate yourself by turning on LinkedIn’s creator mode?
Well, there are plenty of reasons.
You have to be the judge of the value that creator mode will bring you depending on your field and your audience, but here are a few things that you might want to consider.
First and foremost, turning on creator mode hides your Connect button and replaces it with a Follow button.
There is something more genuine and personal about connecting with someone instead of following them, because it shows that you are open to building a two-way relationship.
You can still connect with users who have creator mode activated, but the button is hidden and requires users to jump through more hoops to reach it.
This can be dangerous if your goal is to grow your audience from the bottom up.
Because creator mode is intended to reward creators for distributing their unique content, activating this feature will also rearrange the order that information is displayed on your LinkedIn profile.
With creator mode turned off, users will see your headline and About section immediately when viewing your page. With creator mode turned on, users will only see a follow button in addition to your hashtags. Creator mode also displays your Activity and Featured sections above your About summary.
Finally, Creator mode gives you the opportunity to add a 30 second profile video (created in mobile only), and if you host a LinkedIn live, your background photo will be replaced by the livestream while you are recording.
Again, these discrepancies can be optimal for those who are very engaged on LinkedIn and want their content and interactions to be publicized, but for those that have nothing specific to show – you will be much better off putting your highlights in the About section and keeping it pinned to the top of your profile.
Hack 5: Don’t leave ANY sections blank; no excuses!
The last but not least hack of our LinkedIn tips: Don’t underestimate the value of filling out the sections that fall below Experience and Education on your LinkedIn profile, such as Volunteering, Skills, Honors & Awards, Languages, Organizations, Interests, Licenses & Certifications, Recommendations, Publications, Courses, Projects, and Causes.
If you treat LinkedIn like a digital CV, adding work experience and education is enough to have a presence on the platform but showing that you are a real human with interests and hobbies sets you apart from competitors.
This is recognized as the human-to-human (H2H) approach, and Tracy is a firm believer in the power of using your personal life to further your professional life.
The truth is that no one enjoys feeling like they are talking to a robot or someone who is only interested in making a sale.
Don’t be afraid to admit to your mistakes, use a casual tone, or give your audience a glimpse into your personal life to reassure them that you, too, are human.
After all, it is your personal profile – and this is where people will get to know, like, and trust you.
LinkedIn tips – Bottom line
Now that you’ve spiced up your LinkedIn profile, don’t get too comfortable.
Remember that it must be nurtured and updated as your career evolves to accurately reflect your strengths and better align you with those you are trying to reach. Looking forward to read more LinkedIn tips? Don’t hesitate to check out our blog for more insights!
We highly recommend downloading Tracy’s Ultimate LinkedIn 30-Point Profile Checklist to dive even deeper.