LinkedIn, Beyond the BoringOct 15, 2022
For people learning to fall in love with LinkedIn, embrace personality-driven content and capture first-glance sales opportunities, because LinkedIn loves to do the selling for you….if you let it.
You’re living that LinkedIn life lately. Sweet.
Despite its bad rap for being a bit <dry cough> dull, there’s a lot to love about LinkedIn. And while I never find myself bingeing on my LinkedIn feed, I do see a vast opportunity to infuse this platform (who is clearly here to stay) with some personality.
Boring content doesn’t have to be the way on LinkedIn. There are several solid nooks and crannies on your profile page to put in place powerful branded copy, driving engagement up — way up.
After working with dozens of high-achieving professionals making over profiles from top-to-bottom, I’ve ID’d some key areas that can get neglected but are oh-so-powerful. I call ’em “copy’tunities,” and these are the areas where we can plug in compelling branded copy to enhance your profile.
Embrace a personality-driven profile with these seven succulent nuggets:
- Zones of Genius
I would argue that headlines are the most powerful aspect of your LinkedIn profile. To see what I mean, tab over to your LinkedIn feed and scroll through all the entries. See what catches your eye.
I venture to posit that you did not find the middle three nearly as relevant or relatable as the first and last example provided above.
When it comes to LinkedIn, I cannot stress this enough: this is not a digital copy of your resume, it is a marketing tool.
You do not have to settle for the default headline, copied from your current position. Create a custom headline by editing the intro section of your profile (click the little pencil in the upper righthand corner directly below your banner).
Your headline is the most powerful tool in your LinkedIn arsenal because it follows you whenever you post, comment, or react. This opens infinite possibilities to expand your reach, as you flow into the current of the platform’s algorithm. Get in there!
✍️🧠It’s all about the About.
The About section of your LinkedIn profile is more than just a 2,600 character playing field for horn tooting, the content you plant here feeds Google a steady diet of keywords and search engine relevance.
Therefore, you must take heed when developing the section; it must be both SEO slap-happy and readable. You’ve got to paint a picture of who you help and how you got here….AND drop in enough jargon to catch the attention of the bots that deliver search results.
I start with a list of keywords. Then I whittle ’em down to the top 15+ or so and then get to work weaving them into narrative. It’s not easy, but when done right, can gain you both newfound attention AND sustained readership.
#protip You can also stuff keywords into a list of specialties, which provides a nice alternative for the skimmers. This is a great place for any remaining keywords that are too technical or jargon-y to fit seamlessly into natural language.
When writing your ABOUT section, remember that despite the digital platform and the all-business culture of LinkedIn, this is something to be read by real people. If you want to spark enough interest to inspire a conversation/connection, you’ll need to give them something beyond the boring. I’m talking fruitful content designed to make a juicy connection. Walk them on the journey of your career path and paint a picture or professional Shangri-La.
Don’t forget to add a Call to Action at the end of your precious 2,600 characters. Tell the reader what you want them to do. This is also a wonderful way to wrap up your professional presentation again in a few words, redirecting the reader to understand just what you do and how it helps.
🤓✈ Zones of Genius
My absolute favorite LinkedIn lifehack is the ability to stack entries underneath each new Experience Entry to create a linked, linear, bulleted list. This is an absolute game changer in creating a dynamic and engaging profile using creative content.
Instead of one, long, boring-ass entry for each position that you have ever worked, parse your professional acumen into 5–7 Zones of Genius and write an entry for each one (and bonus round, each one is limited to 2,000 characters. That’s a lot of space to share more stories, juicy content and fruitful plums of information). As a set, these will weave a golden thread throughout your career and skill set.
To do this, create a new entry in the Experience Section by clicking the + on the upper right of the section itself. You will get a pop-up prompt to create. As long as the business name matches exactly, every entry will nest under the umbrella position / experience.
#protip Play with the Employment Type to give your business model even more nuance. Is this a freelance, contract, full-time situation? Set your readers’ expectations on how to work with you.
If you have your own business, it can be easy to gloss over all the work that you do wearing the CEO hat….and all of those other C-hats, too. Lead your Experience with your own business by highlighting your role as CEO. This work matters. It speaks to your professional prowess, business acumen, and sense of responsibility. Flaunt it.
You got to give ’em to get ’em. Recommendations can be the unsung hero of any LinkedIn profile. After all, it is the social proof that we were great to work with. Browsing through this section can give the reader a strong sense of what you are like beyond the resume.
What’s more, the recommendations that you have given say a lot about you, too. What do you recognize as strengths in other people? How do you celebrate wins and acknowledge achievements? Do you give as much as you get? These are powerful KPIs (Key Performance Indicators).
It’s likely that you spent more time educating yourself than you did at any single job. Speak to it! Even if you did community college, were a non-traditional student, or on the seven-year plan (all of the above, it me), the education section has plenty of room for play. Don’t limit yourself to just college, post-grad; if you invested in self-education, it is valid here, say it in storytelling.
So much life experience is earned when we’re volunteering. If you’ve ever put in your elbow grease, sweat equity, or brainpower to work for the good of others and with no promise of return, add it here. Board service, girl scout leaders, charity fundraisers, they all speak to who you are and what you’re coming with.
LinkedIn does not have to be boring, babies.
If you’re serious about making a name for yourself as an expert in “your thing,” then you’re on the leading social media platform for business and professional people/discourse. Why not make the most of it? This is a great place to flex your knowledge, network, and creativity. Infuse your profile with compelling writing and storytelling to capture attention beyond the connect. It’s worth it.
To noodle around with a real life (but fictional) LinkedIn profile built with the sole purpose of providing an interactive space, connect with my mollusk from another mister, Octo Ophelia.
I created this “Cephalopersonality” to showcase some of these ideas presented in this article. What good is a “Anatomy of a LinkedIn Profile” if you can’t click around and see it in action.
This fictional brand persona lives to inspire us all to bring our own personalities to the table on this traditionally stiff publishing platform. Plz.
Octo Ophelia is modeled on a real person, so her profile isn’t “tongue and cheek” (or should I say, “tongue and beak?” 🤣), I merely changed a few words to fictionalize her.
I do hope you jump into her jetstream, we’re swimming in Entrepreneurial Oceans with grace and gumption.