Do you remember when Tommy Cooper was your first impression?
We don’t mean that sort of first impression, what sort of an impression are you making on LinkedIn?
In our modern, social media driven world, first impressions often occur before someone ever meets you in person. Your digital first impression is crucial to your success in gaining new leads and connecting with your target audience.
While there are many elements to consider when creating your LinkedIn profile, some have a greater impact than others. For busy professionals, you may find yourself needing to maximise your efforts and get the most results from the least amount of work. Here are the Ninjas top tips for creating the best first impression on LinkedIn.
Write a Great Headline and don’t make it up!
Your LinkedIn headline is often one of the first things that people read on your profile. It’s also one of the most difficult things to write. The idea of condensing your professional life down to just 120 characters can make many people freeze with their fingers hovering over the keyboard. Using just one line to describe yourself and what you do is a hard task, but it is also necessary to make the right impression.
If you don’t have the time or the inclination to write your own headline, it can be tempting to let LinkedIn do it for you – this is a big mistake. The time you save will result in an unoriginal headline that doesn’t capture the attention of anyone including recruiters or business affiliates or prospects. Instead, use the following guidelines to help you write a quality, authentic headline.
Make your Headline Relevant for your Audience.
Consider the acronyms and titles you use and decide whether or not they will be instantly recognisable to your target audience. If someone is confused about who you are and what you do, they will likely move on to someone else.
Add Value to your Audience.
What do you have to offer? Do you save people time or money? Can you help professionals increase efficiency or accuracy? Instead of simply describing your job title, relate it back to a value proposition for your target audience.
Use the Right Language.
Similar to your job title, the information in your headline should make sense to your audience. If you sell niche products or services, put that in terms the average user could understand. They need to know in seconds whether or not you can be of use to them. Difficult to understand language or company jargon can be a right turn off.
Bragging in your headline is a quick way to turn people away. Also, no one believes that you are the absolute best there ever was. While adjectives like “expert,” “winning,” and “dedicated,” may apply to you, they do not speak to your target audience. Instead of filling your headline with useless adjectives and hyperboles, use your summary to provide concrete results and achievements.
Choose the Right Profile Picture.
Ninjas can’t emphasise this enough, you have to include a profile picture with your LinkedIn profile. People are not likely to take you seriously if you are using the default avatar or image supplied by LinkedIn. It gives the appearance that your profile is incomplete or that you have not taken the time necessary to customise your profile.
Your LinkedIn profile picture should be an image that reflects how you would represent yourself in the workplace. You need to look people in the eye. LinkedIn is a platform for building professional connections, so casual profile photos will not make the right first impression. People are going to notice your profile photo first, so you want it to convey the right message about you and your personal brand. Use these guidelines when selecting a LinkedIn profile picture.
Select a headshot that is close-cropped. The image should be clear and friendly. You want to invite people in, not scare them away. You also want visitors to be able to see your face clearly. Putting a face to a name is valuable with first impressions. A candid photo that shows your personality is fine, as long as it is still appropriate and professional. You do not want to come across looking like a stock image, so adding a little bit of yourself in is not a bad thing to do. Avoid filters or strange angles. Again, LinkedIn is for professionals. Your photo should be free of filters and avoid the use of awkward angles. It should be easy for people to see your face as soon as they land on your profile.
Upload a Background Image
Your LinkedIn background image should enhance your profile and your brand, not detract from it. While many users stick to the default blue and green pattern supplied by LinkedIn, this is a mistake and again makes your profile look unfinished. Changing your background banner image enhances your profile and makes it stand out.
Select an image that reinforces your personal brand. Remember to stay professional and choose an image that is easy to view and clear. You can use a background image that represents your professionalism, such as an office environment, or something that represents how you serve your clients. If your work is focused on a specific region or city, consider adding a cityscape image or recognisable architecture. The options are endless for this section of your profile and our advice is change it regularly.
Cultivating your digital first impression is a process that takes time. However, by writing a powerful headline, using a professional profile picture, and choosing the right background image, you can set yourself up for success on LinkedIn. These elements sit at the top of your profile and go a long way in making the best first impression.
For professionals who want guidance in optimising their LinkedIn profile, IN Business Ninjas are here to help. As LinkedIn marketing experts, we can help you perfectly craft every section of your LinkedIn profile in order to make a great first impression and connect with your target audience.