Would you slide into a prospect’s DMs to land a product demo?
That idea might sound crazy, but it’s actually part of a new trend sales organizations are using to hit their revenue targets. With the shift to remote work and more new products hitting the market every day, it’s no surprise that social selling has risen in popularity. Social selling is a way for sales professionals to use social media platforms to connect with prospects and start building relationships.
And when it comes to social selling, LinkedIn is the most effective platform for generating leads and demand around your business. Whether you’re just starting your sales career or you’re looking to make your next move, having an up-to-date LinkedIn profile is one step you can’t afford to skip.
These are our best LinkedIn profile tips for 2021
Nowadays, your LinkedIn profile extends beyond your actual profile page. The type of content you create, the community you build, and the value you provide to others are an extension of your brand on LinkedIn.
- LinkedIn Profile Tips for Jobseekers
- LinkedIn Profile Tips for Sales Reps
- LinkedIn Profile Tips for Aspiring Entrepreneurs
Optimizing your profile is just the first step – there’s a lot more you can be doing to go the extra mile.
Here’s a quick checklist of the basics you’ll need to handle before you begin optimizing your LinkedIn profile for social selling:
- Choose a professional headshot and banner image for your profile
- Update your contact information and link your personal website
- Complete your profile summary and connect with coworkers
- List your relevant job history, skills, and certifications
LinkedIn Profile Tips for Jobseekers
If you’re looking for your next big career move, LinkedIn is the place to be. There are over 14 million open jobs posted on LinkedIn and recruiters regularly use the platform to source candidates for their open positions. But with all those jobs comes a healthy dose of competition from other jobseekers. Here’s how you can stand out to recruiters looking for their “unicorn” candidate.
Add a personal touch to your professional persona
We spend a lot of time with the people we work with, so it’s no surprise that recruiters aren’t just looking for your skills on your profile. They’re also looking to see if you’d be a good culture fit. LinkedIn offers plenty of ways for jobseekers to showcase their interests, hobbies, and personality alongside their experience.
Use the space on your LinkedIn profile to add a personal touch and tell newcomers more about your personality by:
- Listing your hobbies and interests
- Adding your volunteer experiences
- Linking to your personal website or portfolio
- Creating a custom hashtag for your content
- Including a clear call-to-action
- Providing a list of services you offer
Curious what a personalized profile looks like in action? Here’s an example from career coach, Caroline Mameesh . Mameesh has created a custom profile banner that includes a few of the items listed above, such as her personalized hashtag, a call-to-action, and her list of services.
This is also the time to claim your custom LinkedIn URL. When you create a LinkedIn account, a random URL is generated for your profile. This custom URL gives you another chance to brand your LinkedIn profile and make it unique to you. You’ll need to go into LinkedIn’s settings and manually change your URL.
Here’s how to claim your customer LinkedIn URL:
- Locate and select the ‘Me’ icon at the top of your LinkedIn homepage.
- Click ‘View Profile’ and select ‘Edit Public Profile and URL’
- On the right hand side of the screen, select ‘Edit Custom URL’
- Your current URL will appear like this: www.linkedin.com/in/yourname
- Type your desired new URL in the text box and click ‘Save’
Ideally, your custom URL will be a variation of your name or a name you go by. This makes it easier for recruiters to remember your name and refer back to your profile. If you have a common name, try including your middle name or initial. You can also use hyphens to format your URL like this: www.linkedin.com/in/firstname-middleinitial-lastname. Whatever you choose for your custom LinkedIn URL, it should be easy to remember and have some relevance to your identity and your work.
Actively seek out endorsements and testimonials
Word of mouth endorsements are one of the best ways to differentiate yourself from other jobseekers.
It’s easy to pad your resume with impressive statistics and portfolio examples, but what companies are looking for more than anything else is how other people like working with you.
Endorsements from coworkers, managers, or other clients can help you craft a narrative around your strengths, as well as what you bring to the table. If you can make it easy for recruiters to see how much people find value in your work, it’ll make it easier to get conversations started.
While LinkedIn does have a specific profile section for endorsements, we also like what Ramli John , Host of the Growth Marketing Today podcast, did with his summary section on LinkedIn.
John pulls out testimonials from people he’s worked with and places them directly in his profile summary. John also uses this section to highlight the type of work he’s open for, as well as all of his contact information.
This format is especially useful for recruiters who are scanning hundreds of resumes and LinkedIn profiles every day. By listing all of his information directly in his profile summary, along with endorsements from people who have worked with him, John makes it easy for anyone viewing his profile to know exactly what he does and how he can help them.
Take a skills assessment
LinkedIn Skills Assessments are another easy way for jobseekers to stand out. If your work involves the use of highly technical programs or software, these skills assessments are perfect for your job search. When completed, LinkedIn adds a badge to your profile page, signaling to recruiters and hiring managers that you’re proficient in these skills.
LinkedIn currently offers more than 85+ free skills assessments in the following areas:
- Technical skills: technical skills assessments can be completed for programs like Google Analytics, Python, Ruby on Rails, and more
- Business skills: business skills assessments can be completed for programs like Google Ads, Microsoft Suite, QuickBooks, and more.
- Design skills: design skills assessments can be completed for programs like Adobe Suite, Final Cut Pro, InDesign, and more.
Many technical roles require knowledge of specific programming languages or software platforms. Completing these skills tests ahead of time signals to recruiters that you have the technical skills needed for specific jobs. This gives the recruiter more confidence in knowing that your background is the right fit for the job.
Signal to recruiters that you’re open to work
Over the years, LinkedIn has added dozens of integrations designed to help recruiters find and source qualified talent.
More than 87% of recruiters regularly use LinkedIn to seek out job candidates. As the jobseeker, the more you can do to get your profile in front of recruiters, the better. The ‘Open to Work’ indicator alerts LinkedIn provides allows recruiters to find jobseekers who are looking to make a move. This is especially helpful for anyone who is currently employed and conducting a stealthy job search.
Here’s how to show recruiters on LinkedIn you’re open to work:
- Go to your LinkedIn profile page
- Click the ‘Add Profile Section’ button to the right of your profile photo
- Select ‘Intro’ and then click on ‘Looking For Job Opportunities’
- Fill out the sections required, and click ‘Save’ when you’re finished
LinkedIn will then allow you to choose whether everyone in your network can see these changes or just recruiters. If you choose to make your job search public, LinkedIn will automatically add an #OpenToWork photo frame to your profile picture.
If you’re conducting a stealth job search, you’ll need to take this extra step. LinkedIn often notifies your network to changes to things like your profile or status updates. If you’re looking for a new role while still employed, you’ll want to turn these notifications off.
How to change your profile share settings on LinkedIn:
- Select ‘Settings’ directly under your profile headshot in the top right hand corner
- Find the section titled ‘How others see your LinkedIn activity’
- Select ‘Share job changes, education changes, and work anniversaries from profile’
- Change your preferences from ‘Yes’ to ‘No’
Turn on automatic job alerts and job recommendations
Job alerts are another LinkedIn feature that every jobseeker should be using. LinkedIn job alerts allows users to create job alerts for specific companies, job titles, and industries. Job alerts can be found by clicking the ‘Jobs’ tab in the main navigation bar at the top of the LinkedIn homepage.
This is the main hub for finding job postings on LinkedIn and managing all of your job alerts. Job alerts also allow jobseekers to turn on job recommendations based on your activity and profile. Users can control how frequently they are alerted to new opportunities and whether or not they prefer to be emailed.
Here’s an overview of the different ways to create job alerts on LinkedIn:
How to create job alerts on LinkedIn for a specific company:
- Search for the company you’re interested in on the LinkedIn homepage.
- On their company page, select the ‘Jobs’ tab on the left.
- Click ‘Create Job Alert’ and complete the required fields
- Finish by clicking on the ‘Create Job Alert’ function one last time
How to create a job alert on LinkedIn for specific roles:
- Select the ‘Jobs’ tab from your LinkedIn profile
- Search for your desired job title and include relevant filters
- Choose your notification preferences
- Click ‘Save’ to complete this task.
You can add as many job searches to your alerts as you’d like. What makes these alerts especially helpful is the ability to add different job titles and industries to help widen your reach. When you’re finished setting up your job alerts, you’ll be able to manage them all directly from your LinkedIn profile. It will look something like this:
Setting these job alerts up takes the better part of an afternoon, but once it’s done you can set it and forget it. LinkedIn will automatically update you to any new postings that may be a good fit for your skills or areas of interest.
LinkedIn Profile Tips for Sales Reps
If you’re looking to join the ranks of elite social sellers, LinkedIn needs to become a fully integrated part of your sales outreach strategy. With social selling, the emphasis is less on how nice your profile picture looks and more about how you engage with prospects on the platform itself. The strategies in this section will help you take your sales outreach beyond the basics and help you sell smarter.
Review your LinkedIn Social Selling Index (SSI) score
If you’re brand new to social selling, the first thing you’ll want to do is figure out where you stand among the competition. Most people start by reviewing their LinkedIn Social Selling Index (SSI) score . Using a combination of factors, LinkedIn assigns everyone on their platform with an SSI score out of 100 with your overall score broken down into smaller subcategories.
Your LinkedIn Social Selling Index score is calculated based on four criteria:
- Establishing a personal brand. This can be improved by completing your profile and becoming a thought-leader by publishing meaningful posts.
- Connecting with the right people. This can be improved by identifying using LinkedIn’s search tools and keywords to find the right prospects faster.
- Engaging with insights. This can be improved by creating or sharing content that sparks discussions within your network.
- Building relationships. This can be improved by connecting with relevant people in your industry and building relationships with decision-makers.
Your Linkedin SSI Score is an easy way to see which areas of social selling you’re already crushing, and which areas you can improve on. Your SSI score is updated daily and shows your progress week over week. The SSI dashboard will also show you how you rank against other people in your industry and network.
Personalize every single connection request and InMail communication
You’re not the only sales rep hoping to use LinkedIn to hit your revenue targets. Prospects are being pitched every single day by strangers hoping to connect with them on LinkedIn. Sending dozens of canned outreach templates and hoping they’ll land will just leave you spinning your wheels. Personalizing your LinkedIn InMail pitches to the person you’re pitching can be the difference between time on your calendar and getting ghosted.
Here are some tips for creating the perfect personalized pitch on LinkedIn:
- Personalize your introduction: Include your prospect’s name in your pitch as well as any information you’ve gleaned from their LinkedIn profile. This is a good spot to mention things you have in common, like mutual connections, alma maters, and more.
- Focus on a shared goal: Explain how your product or service can help your prospect reach their goals. This shows you understand their needs and are looking to offer a solution.
- Keep it brief: You’re probably not going to sell a prospect in your first pitch. Only include the most important information to get them interested in learning more. You can focus on diving deep once you’re communicating via email.
- Include a clear call-to-action: It won’t matter if a prospect is interested if you haven’t included a next step. End your message with a CTA to keep the conversation moving in the right direction.
If you’re not using LinkedIn Sales Navigator, there’s a chance you have a limited number of InMail messages you can send each month. That doesn’t mean your social selling strategy ends there. Here’s a post from Reno Perry , Founder at Wiseful, explaining how he uses LinkedIn connection requests to start sales conversations without using InMail tokens.
The key to getting responses back is crafting a killer pitch. And just because you’ve received a connection request doesn’t mean it’s time to sell. As Perry pointed out, taking the time to nurture and build genuine relationships will go a long way.
Invest in LinkedIn Sales Navigator
A good profile means nothing if you’re not making the right connections. Sales Navigator is a paid offering from LinkedIn that allows sales teams to manage all of their social selling outreach, customer engagements, and more in a centralized hub. Sales Navigator also allows reps to communicate with people they haven’t connected with on LinkedIn yet. This is great for making those first introductions with prospective customers.
One of the most powerful features of Sales Navigator is the search functionality. LinkedIn Sales Navigator helps you connect with your target audience and makes it easier to find the right people to connect with.
Here are just a few of the filters Sales Navigator allows reps to use to connect with the right people:
- Company name
- Company size
- Company type
- Geographic location
- Job title
- Years of experience
Sales Navigator can also easily integrate with many popular sales intelligence tools on the market today. This is especially helpful for sales professionals who manage multiple territories or have several different buying personas. The combined power of having Sales Navigator work with your CRM or lead scoring systems will make automating the tedious parts of prospecting easy.
Post content your target audience will find helpful
The biggest mistake salespeople make when prospecting on LinkedIn is forgetting the social aspect of social selling. LinkedIn, like any other social networking platform, runs on content creation. The LinkedIn algorithm favors creators who post consistently and create posts that other users engage with.
Doubling down on building your personal brand on LinkedIn is one of the best ways to get your name (and product) in front of new people. The trick is to avoid promotional content or only resharing company posts. Instead, focus on generating original insights that users will find valuable. These types of posts frame you as an authority on the subject you’re talking about and help generate trust.
Here’s an example from Devin Reed , Content Strategy Manager at Gong, where he highlights how sales reps can get contract approvals over the line during the holiday season. This post is the perfect mix of personal experience and actionable advice that anyone can use.
Video is another way to make a splash on people’s feeds. LinkedIn videos receive five times more comments than other LinkedIn post types. Videos with closed captions are the most effective because they allow viewers to understand your video with their sound off. Closed captions are also more inclusive of viewers who may have trouble hearing. Most video editing softwares include the ability to add your own closed captions to your videos.
Here’s an example from Becc Holland , CEO and Founder of Flip the Script, showing how adding video to your LinkedIn content can make a big impact. Holland uses a sample clip from a longer video to highlight some of the most helpful tips. She includes a clear call-to-action to listen to the full episode in the comments as well.
When you’re first creating content for LinkedIn, experiment with a few different content formats to see what works best for you. Different audiences respond to different messages. While video might work for Holland, your audience might prefer case studies, podcasts, or original thought leadership. Cast a wide net with your content and narrow focus as you begin to find what works best for you.
LinkedIn Profile Tips for Aspiring Entrepreneurs
LinkedIn isn’t just a goldmine for people who work corporate jobs, it’s also the best place for entrepreneurs to make their mark. Much like sales reps, entrepreneurs can use LinkedIn to find new clients, speaking engagements, and other opportunities to grow their business. Here’s a look at some of the top tips for standing out on LinkedIn as an entrepreneur.
Place your value proposition front and center
Sometimes the best strategy is to shoot straight. Leading with your value-add can be a simple but strategic way to capture attention. Instead of making prospects dig around to find out what you do, tell them in the simplest way possible.
Here’s an example from Samantha McKenna , Founder of #samsales Consulting. McKenna packs a massive punch with his LinkedIn header image, using a custom profile banner to showcase her expertise. McKenna makes it easy for anyone unfamiliar with her or her work who she is and what she excels in. This is a great strategy for entrepreneurs looking to build a larger audience on LinkedIn.
Here’s another example from Jack Chan, Founder of Mad Creative Beanstalk. In both his LinkedIn headline and his custom profile banner, Chan shares the same one-liner pitch to explain what he’s offering and why you should care.
Leading with your value-add is the quickest way to communicate your angle. When you only have a few moments to capture someone’s attention and pique their interest, these simple tactics can make all the difference. Your prospects will spend less time digging for answers and more time reading your story.
Make your content accessible to everyone
Buyers are diverse, and it’s important to make your content accessible to everyone.
Thankfully, technology is making it easier to create communities that are inclusive for everyone. LinkedIn has made a commitment to ensuring their platform is inclusive of all users and your sales outreach strategy should match. It also helps eliminate any confusion by ensuring your message is delivered in a way your prospect can understand and use.
Here’s a look at some of the ways you can make your LinkedIn profile and content accessible to everyone:
- Include your pronouns to your bio or headline
- Utilize alternative text descriptions when uploading images and other media
- Record and display your name pronunciation on your profile
- Add closed captions to videos you upload to LinkedIn
Inclusivity isn’t just about selling more stuff – it’s about creating a welcoming environment. These small changes can make a huge difference for prospects who need these accommodations to help them do their jobs. If you’re looking to create an environment where anyone can feel comfortable talking shop with you, creating an inclusive space is important.