One of the most used research tools for the meetings industry, used by #eventprofs, #hotelprofs and other suppliers alike, is the professional social media platform LinkedIn. LinkedIn is one of the best ways to find people who can assist you in your work, as well as for people to find you when they have a need.
Ensuring your LinkedIn profile is complete, and attractive to your potential client or supplier, will help jumpstart the business relationship!
I touched upon connecting using LinkedIn a few months ago in a related post; today we are digging into your personal profile on LinkedIn and how to optimize it to ensure people connect with you.
Unlike your Facebook page or Instagram page, LinkedIn is a professional platform first. Ensure your profile picture reflects as such and looks clean, polished, and without distraction from accessories, like your kids, your dog or your pink legwarmers from a recent theme-party selfie. You needn’t spend money on a professional headshot; a selfie or webcam pic will suffice as long as it looks clean and tidy.
Your headline is the 120-character elevator speech that appears right below your name on your LinkedIn profile. This is your first impression for anyone that comes across your profile. Your job title is a good start, but if you have characters left, try to use them to showcase how you help your customers.
If you’re a hotel sales manager, try creating something more compelling than Sales Manager at XYZ Hotel. You have more characters to use – try spicing it up – “Sales Manager at the vibrant XYZ Hotel, helping meeting planners achieve their goals in our inspiring spaces.” (109 characters)
The golden rule I like to use when looking at a LinkedIn summary, is the “Ya, but…” rule. When you create the text for your summary, ask yourself “Ya, but what does this mean for a potential client, customer or supplier?” or “Ya, but how does that help other people?” You have 2000 characters in your summary section, try to use as many as you can to communicate your diverse message.
Some tips when writing out your summary:
- Write it in the first-person
- Include statements that speak to your credibility in your field
- Use client-centric language; its not about you, its about who you want to attract to your profile
- What language do my customers use? Use the same keywords that they would use, and look for, when sourcing suppliers
Some questions you can ask yourself as you craft your summary:
- How does your service help your customers?
- What audiences do you serve? Is you service different for those audiences? Can you address them in your summary?
- Hotel sales – do you serve different markets? Address each one
- Industry suppliers – do you serve meeting planners, event planners and/or speakers? Speak to each one
- Professional speakers – what audiences benefit from your content?
- Meeting planners – what types of events do you plan well? How do your skills differ for varying events?
- How do your skills and accomplishments serve your customers, or the organization you work for? Its ok to be proud of meeting your goals and accomplishing great things, just remember why you’re doing what you’re doing and how you’re helping better the community.
Your Work Experience
Similar to your summary, the descriptors in your work experience should speak to how you’ve helped clients, customers or benefited your organization. Use the “ya, but…” rule with your work experience descriptions. It may be tempting to include how you achieved your sales goals and received accolades for your sales skills, it won’t be your sales records that win over your next client. Certainly using your sales savvy will win them over, but doing so as their friend and collaborator in business will be more effective than a run-on list of all your achievements at your organization.
Some tips for work experience:
- Highlight areas that help your customers or your organization
- Use client-centric language and words they would be looking for when sourcing their next business partner
Completing your education section is fantastic, especially if your education directly relates to your current career or future aspirations. For some of us, our formal education does not have a direct correlation to our current career, but I encourage you to include it regardless. Completing certificates, degrees and other programs shows a dedication to education, which can be regarded highly by some organizations and clients.
Similar to your work experience, make sure you fill in the descriptor sections of your volunteer experiences, and use the “ya, but…” rule. How did your involvement in the organization help others? Use the tips outlined under work experience above.
Skills and Endorsements
This is one of my favourite sections on our LinkedIn profiles!! This highlights, in point form, what others think your strongest talents and strengths are. I’m hoping someday they put the 34 Strength Themes as outlined in StrengthsFinder by Gallup.
In the meantime, take a moment to add skills to your profile. A few tips to keep in mind:
- Search for skills that would speak to what your clients would look for when sourcing a new business partner. While its great that sales is your strength, is that what your clients need?
- Ensure you check your advanced endorsement settings to read that you would “want to be endorsed”, “include me in endorsement suggestions to my connections” and “ show me suggestions to endorse my connections”
- The more endorsements you give of other people, the more you’ll receive in return.
This can also serve as a powerful section, and often the section we all struggle with the most. I certainly do. Asking someone for a recommendation is never easy, but if we want to get this profile right, we need to check our ego at the door and ask some trusted colleagues and clients to write a simple recommendation for us.
The easiest way to gather some recommendations would be to:
- Ask a client who you know and trust; this may be the same client that has already referred your services, so the ask is easier
- Tell them why you are seeking recommendations – you are looking to complete your LinkedIn profile and get more out of the robust social media platform to help connect with like-minded business professionals.
- Draft a simple recommendation for your contact to work from; position it as a way of making it easier for them to draft during a busy day.
- Be reciprocal – ask your contact if you can return the favour and give them a recommendation. Ask them to send you a draft of text they’d like you to work from as well!
This section can be used to outline your awards, recognition and accomplishments in your field. While this may look like the “brag book” section of your profile, you still have opportunity to turn it into a client-centric statement.
If you have achieved a level in sales, its likely because you are good at helping your clients achieve their goals. Make sure your award descriptions include this “ya,but…” check as well.
This is where you put your industry affiliations and associations you belong to. Hopefully at some point you’ve been able to give back some of your time to your association and able to build more on these organizations under your Volunteer Experience as well.
Interests (and Groups)
Groups are a great way to meet new connections in LinkedIn, and your profile will show others what groups you belong to. You can join up to 50 groups; here are some tips for using groups:
- Find groups where your clients and customers hang out; make a majority of your groups in this area
- Join a few groups where your like-minded colleagues hang out – there’s great professional development to be found in these groups
- Contribute to the groups in the form of content and value – save the sales pitch for further into the relationship with your potential customers
- Comment on posts in groups, create engagement on the content already there
There’s a lot that goes into your LinkedIn profile. The more complete and compelling it is, the more views and attention you’ll receive from your network, and beyond. Do you have an hour this month to update your profile? Build it into your schedule, make it a priority if you can.
Interesting in learning more about the power of LinkedIn? One of my favourite resources is Melonie Dodaro’s book The LinkedIn Code.