Do you want some tips to revamp your LinkedIn profile? Here are some ‘Dos’ rather than ‘Don’ts’.
I’m more about what I can do to help myself and my business as an independent consultant. So this week’s article is all about the LinkedIn ‘Dos’ for a successful independent consulting business. If you’d like a refresh the ‘don’ts’, you can read Part 1 of 2: LinkedIn Independent Consultant Profiles – The ‘Don’ts’ here.
The Independent Management Consultant ‘Dos’ of LinkedIn
Do Complete Your Profile
You can stand out just by completing your profile-shocking! Many consultants either do not have a profile or have an incomplete one. This includes getting a professional headshot image. Don’t be embarrassed to show who you are! Find a decent photographer, take the plunge, and introduce yourself.
Why is this so important?
You have likely heard the phrase, “People do business with people they know, like, and trust.” A current profile image is an absolute: it is the window for others to see into your personal brand and personality. It is also an essential step for those who’ve found your profile to begin establishing likability and trust with you. And finally, it helps people you meet for the first time notice you in a crowd.
Approximately 50% of users of LinkedIn do not complete their profiles, as of this article (early 2018). This signals to clients, recruiters, and peers that you’re someone who can’t get the job done. It also impacts your profile in other ways. LinkedIn will not ‘raise’ your profile when you leave fields incomplete or include too few words to describe who you are and what you do.
LinkedIn has a pretty good library of helpful articles and videos. There is also a slew of YouTube videos and relatively up-to-date books if you’re old school and want a textbook to refer to. So the only excuse for not completing a profile is not making it a priority!
Do Your Research and Carefully Choose Key Words to Describe Yourself
Take some time to research the words and phrases that will help others find you. However, use adjectives with some punch-don’t use everyday words to describe yourself.”
In 2016, Forbes released the article Words To Avoid On Your Resume. They considered phrases like “Best of Breed”, “Go-Getter”, and “Think Outside the Box” as cliché and best to avoid.
How can you do this?
Do your research: you may find there are terms to use and avoid in your specialisation
The Internet is a wealth of knowledge: use it to your advantage. For example, I just found the Glassdoor article while doing my research for this post 13 Must-Have Words to Include in Your Resume. You can search keywords your industry uses, possibly from industry magazine or association websites. Plus, there is Thesaurus.com and the function in MS Word, Synonyms.
Do Your Own Search and Find and Connect with Others
What I enjoy about LinkedIn is that it’s an enormous global, digital rolodex, a database. In the beginning, I only connected with people I had worked with directly. Then I added those I had a meaningful, in-person conversation with and who also related to my interests-someone I met at a conference to someone I met at an airport.
Now I reach out to consultants all over the world
This has gifted me with insight into how others are delivering value in our field in different cultures. Because I sought information, I was rewarded with being exposed to research, techniques, and tactics that had worked elsewhere. You may be surprised at how many new approaches and tools I have added to my ‘toolkit’ that I had never heard of in my geographical region.
With additional research, experience, and effort, I took that knowledge and created the opportunity to use it at home-I have found even greater success in my craft and better results for my clients.
Connect with your community, both locally and digitally, before you need your next contract
100 million LinkedIn users exist in the U.S. alone. Those are a lot of potential opportunities to learn from and help others. It’s also a great way to have more people get to know you and what you are about.
And it’s a massive step to continuing to help “People do business with people they know, like, and trust”-you. And hopefully these same people will share knowledge or opportunities with you when you could use some help.
Do Find and Join Professional Groups Related to Your Craft and Clients
Check out where your favourite clients or their companies post content. You may be surprised at the information that both the company and its employees share openly.
Following your favourite clients gives you perspective on their interests
Whenever you or they post content on LInkedIn, it is shared with their network. Plus, depending on what the person allows to be seen, you can also view the groups, associations and companies they follow.
All very beneficial data, if you know what to do with it. 😉
Do What You Can to Increase Your Visibility-Request Endorsements and Recommendations
The more endorsements you have, the more views you get
Get endorsements for the skills you want to be known for. LinkedIn has facilitated more than 1 billion endorsements among members. Your endorsements help LinkedIn’s algorithms decide if you show up at the top of search results.
Your profile also rises when you have recommendations linked to your work history. So again, ask for recommendations from your clients. The best-case scenario is to collect at least one recommendation, but preferably two or three, for each of your engagements and contracts. It may be difficult for older items, but do your best. Asking for a recommendation may also be a great reason to re-ignite a potential mutually-beneficial client relationship.
Do Take Some Time to Understand How Your Network is Using LinkedIn
Your peer consultants use LinkedIn differently than decision makers do. For example:
- Top-level executives primarily use LinkedIn to network with industry (22%) and promote their businesses (20%).
- Middle-management professionals primarily use LinkedIn to keep in touch with other people (24%) and network with industry (20%).
- Entry-level employees primarily use LinkedIn to job search (24%) and network with a co-worker (23%).
Understanding how people in your network, who may be at different levels in their careers, use LinkedIn is useful to you. If you take some time to cross reference your target clients and advocators with how they use this site, you can manage your time and marketing with LinkedIn better.
Do Post Valuable Content
What’s valuable content will depend on the network you gather. Consider this intentionally. A reliable place to start is by determining, “Who do I want to attract to my network?”.
Post content to help your network solve their problems
Understand the problem or questions your target network struggles with and help answer them in alignment with your consultant craft. This is how you can show your abilities and care for your network.
I post content related to my consulting craft, Organizational Change Management (OCM/CM) for mid to large corporations, usually targeted at the leadership level. However, as I am also a consultant for independent consultants, I also provide content to help my fellow consultants with their businesses. And I always try to introduce the content that will serve both groups from their perspective of their problems.
Take this article as an example. I will very likely post a link to it on LinkedIn and introduce it to grab the attention of consultants. Next week, I may offer a link to a Harvard Business News article about Change Management and how it’s a foundational skill for Leaders in an organisation.
Do Watch the Timing of Your Updates
I am usually up at 6 AM Mountain Standard Time, which is when I try to do my writing and some social networking. But I do not post my content at that time. I’ve learned, from observing my network and how people engage with my posts and research, that most LinkedIn users look at LinkedIn early in the business morning (between 8 and 10 am) and later at night (5 to 8 pm). So I post my content during those hours for my target regions’ time zones. This attracts attention to my profile and earns me respect and trust, as I’m providing content when they prefer to consume it.
Do Join the Conversations
You can help yourself build your network by not only posting valuable content, but by weighing in and commenting on posts, articles, groups, and associations. In some cases, the associations or groups will post questions asking for input. This is your opportunity to provide value. The key phrase here, though, is to ‘add value’ to the conversation.
Observe the ‘norms’ of the group and learn from them – what are they interested in?
Only after observing, and when there is an opportunity, add your comments. Contribute to the conversation here and there, and use a helpful tone in your writing. Slowly, with regular posts, or even starting to ask questions you sincerely want input for, you will build a relationship with the group and attract new and qualified additions to your network.
“You are what you contribute. Joining in the conversation gives you the chance to deepen your connections.”
– J.T. O’Donnell
There are so many ‘Dos’ and ‘Don’ts’ of LinkedIn, I could never cover them all. However, I hope Part 1 and 2 of this series gives you a good start. As I mentioned earlier, there is lots of content on the subject, both digitally and hardcopy, depending on your preference.
Please take some time and invest in your profile on LinkedIn. It won’t be a waste, as it is an investment in yourself and your independent consulting business.
Thanks for reading!
Founder and President
Stand & Deliver Inc.