1. Photo: Professional or Casual? – Professional photos are the best route for many professions (banking, legal, medical, etc), BUT…it should also be representative of YOU and your business!

If your company provides clowns for corporate and children’s events, then a studio shot of you in a suit is not going to deliver the message as well as a shot of you in pancake makeup wearing a funny grimace.

On the flip side – use some common sense – your pic still needs to be relevant to your business. The pic of you doing tequila shots blasted on Facebook at the company’s ‘in-house’ Friday afternoon party is still not appropriate.

2. Your name should ONLY contain your name – This is not the place for advertising no keyword stuffing allowed here, although there are several LinkedIn guides out there that suggest this. It will a) possibly get you banned and b) will NOT get you any business even if you do get a top spot in the LI search results. It ’s tacky. It IS okay to add those hard-earned titles after your name, though…MD, MBA, etc., basically any type of professional designation is fine.

3. Include your primary keywords in your headline – Think of the headline as your ‘elevator pitch’ – and it is KEY to how often you will show up in the search results on LI. This is a lot more important than many people realize because you need to create interest, make yourself stand out from others that will also show up for your keyword and at the same time….still give the visitor a ‘feel’ for you as a potential business associate – all in a very few words. Be succinct – be descriptive and but most of all, don’t be boring.

4. Provide your contact info – The LinkedIn messaging system is very restrictive as to what you can send through it in the initial contact/connect request – you cannot include ANY contact details or your website. But creative people do get around this by replacing the @ in your email address with AT, and ‘.com’ DOT COM (ie: JohnQBusiness AT my business DOT com).But I do suggest using an ‘alternate’ email – maybe a Gmail account – to avoid getting your primary email buried in possible spam.

6. Customize your profile URL – When customizing your LinkedIn profile, it should be your full name without anything else, no middle initial. And, it should also be the name that you are known by in your industry, which might be different than what your friends and family call you. For example, if your given name is Robert, family and friends call you Bobby…but clients and business associates know you as ‘Bob’…use Bob in your profile. The only exception is if you have a very common last name such as Smith or Patel, you might want to add a modification such as your city or company to it as well.


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