Preparing for the New LinkedIn Design: How to Optimize Your Page and Profile
While you might be waiting for the launch of the new LinkedIn profile design, there are still many other areas of LinkedIn you can improve upon today.
In this article, you’ll learn more about both new and existing LinkedIn features for your professional profile and company page that can help you get more results from your LinkedIn experience.
LinkedIn Professional Profiles
Want to make sure your LinkedIn profile is prepared for the new profile design (which you can preview by enlarging this image)? Here are some things you should make sure to include in it now.
If you want to be found in LinkedIn search by potential employers, customers and partners, you need to make sure your profile is up to date in key areas such as the following.
- Your Headline – Your headline is probably the most important when it comes to how your profile appears in search results. Think of the main keywords you want to be discovered by and include them in your headline.
- Your Summary – Be sure to write a strong summary about yourself that summarizes your experience, your achievements and who you are as a professional.
- Your Contact Info – In the current and new profile design, you have to click on the Contact Info button (as seen in the image above) to get to your website, email, Twitter and Skype. While it’s not as obvious as it was before, be sure to include at least your Twitter and up to three website links. Select Other when setting up your website links to use custom text to describe them, versus letting LinkedIn label them as Company, Blog, Website, etc.
- Your Current and Previous Experience – If you’ve changed careers lately or taken on new responsibilities at your company, then you should update your LinkedIn profile to reflect these changes.
- Your Groups – In the new layout, the groups you belong to will be listed in a more visually appealing way. Make sure the groups you belong to describe your professional interests; photographers should be in photography groups, writers in writers’ groups, and so forth.
- Your News – LinkedIn Today, LinkedIn’s news that pulls from a variety of sources from around the web, allows you to follow specific topics that will be displayed on the new LinkedIn profile design. Be sure to select a few relevant topics to follow in your News Settings. Also be sure to scroll down to the bottom of the settings page to adjust your email settings so you don’t get too many emails.
- Your Companies – Another thing to be prominently displayed on the new profile design is the companies you follow. Use this area to follow companies you own, your customers, your partners or companies you may simply hope to work with in the future.
Skills and Expertise
Chances are if you have a lot of connections on LinkedIn, you have seen many endorsements for your skills and expertise rolling in. If you feel like people are not endorsing you for the right things or you would like to get endorsements for other skills, make sure to add them.
Add New Sections
Go beyond the basic profile information about your experience, skills and education by adding some sections to your profile; some of which allow you to link back to your website. This option can be found when you go to edit your profile above your summary. These sections include the following.
- Certifications – There are a lot of professional certifications that potential employers or customers may be impressed to know you have. Be sure to add yours in this section.
- Courses – If you’ve taken courses outside of college or at various educational institutions, you can highlight the ones that are relevant to your current professional goals in this section.
- Honors and Awards – Add any kind of public recognition that relates to your current professional goals in this section.
- Languages – If you speak additional languages, add them here to attract an international audience.
- Organizations – Publicize professional organizations as well as important local ones that you belong to in this section.
- Projects – If you have been or are currently working on major industry-related projects, you can showcase them here and even link to them.
- Patents – For certain industries and entrepreneurs, highlighting patents you’ve developed can be very helpful.
- Publications – If you’ve written any type of book, whether it is formally published an in print, Kindle or eBook only, you can share it under in this section and link to it on Amazon, your own website or elsewhere online.
- Test Scores – If you have impressive scores on tests relevant to your industry, you can share your scores here.
- Volunteer Experience and Causes – Let people know how much you care about your community by sharing the non-profits, organizations and causes you support.
Your Status Updates
Status updates will be displayed much more prominently on the new LinkedIn profile design.
How All of These Will Help You Get Results
Why are all of the sections on your professional profile so important? Think of it like keyword-optimizing your website for search engines – the more keywords you have on your professional profile that tell what you are about, the more likely you are to get discovered by those searching for people with your qualifications.
Once people have found your profile, seeing things like your latest updates will let them know you are active as well as the right fit for their business needs.
LinkedIn Company Pages
If your business hasn’t already created a new LinkedIn company page, it is definitely something worth doing soon. A few good reasons include:
- Employees will be marketing your company on their professional profiles when they list it as their current or previous place of employment.
- People who follow your company (customers, employees, partners, friends, etc.) will be marketing your company on their professional profiles when the new design adds companies followed to their layout.
- It’s another great social media property to own for your company and one that can show up on the first page of search results for your company name.
We have covered four tips to creating your LinkedIn company page as well as five tips for optimizing for the new company pages. But there is one area that does not receive enough attention – an area that can lead converting visitors (strong leads and potential customers) back to your website.
Basics About Products and Services
If you have a company page, you probably know that you can create an overview page for your products and services that includes the following.
- Up to Three Banner Images – Use up to three 646 x 222 pixel banner images to represent your top three products or services, each of which can link back to specific pages on your website.
- YouTube Video – Include your latest advertisement, demo or other video content about your products and services.
- An Ordered List of Products/Services – Prioritize your top products and services by arranging them in order of importance.
Variations of the Products and Services Page
Here is where you can get really creative with your products and services. Let’s say that you wanted to create different content for different visitors coming to your LinkedIn company page. Now you can with variations of your Products and Services page.
Start by going to your company’s page and navigating to the Products and Services page. If your business only offers products, it will just be called Products, and if your business only offers services, it will just be called Services. Then click the Edit button.
At the very top, you have the option to create multiple variations of your Products and/or Services page. The default page is the first one you create – this will be shown to anyone who doesn’t match any additional variations you have created. To create a new variation, click on the Create New Audience button.
Here, you will have the option to define audience based on the following criteria on your Products and Services page.
- Company Size – Use words targeted toward small business, large corporations or businesses in between.
- Job Function – Use words targeted toward people working in specific positions within a company from accounting to support.
- Industry – Use words targeted toward businesses within specific industries. If you’re not sure what industries to target, see if you can find your best customer’s LinkedIn company page and see what industries they list themselves in. This will be listed in the About information on the company page.
- Seniority – Use words targeted toward business owners, managers, directors, VPs and other levels of authority.
- Geography – Use words targeted toward businesses in different locations around the world.
Once you have defined your audience, you will be given a duplicate of your default Products and Services page to tailor to your fit your newly defined audience’s needs. Remember that it’s not just the words on the page you can change; you can change your banner images, video and choose up to five products and services to highlight for each target audience.
If you want to attract more visitors to your company page, or directly to your website, keep these audience-targeting options in mind and try out LinkedIn Advertising. The better you target your ads, the less you’ll spend on more valuable clicks.
How Variations of the Products and Services Page Will Help You Get Results
Think of variations of your Products and Services page as individual landing pages. When you customize a landing page just right for advertising or search optimization, you are more likely to get conversions because you are talking directly to your target audience instead of generalizing your products and services to the masses.
To get your mind going in the right direction, take a moment to look at Shopify’s custom landing pages for people who want to sell jewelry, photography, crafts, books, music and magazines online. Instead of just having one generalized page about their shopping cart service, they have targeted specific industries most likely to use them for ecommerce, which likely translates to many more free trial signups.
What do you think? What other ways are you preparing your LinkedIn professional profile and company page for the new design in 2013? Please share in the comments section below!
Kristi Hines is a contributing editor for Social Media Examiner, freelance writer, and HubSpot Inbound Certified Marketer. She specializes in analytics, blogging, and social media topics. Other posts by Kristi Hines »