Imagine being at a networking event with over 28million people (676 million worldwide), amongst who are your target audience. While at this event, your target audience may not see you at all, they may look at you briefly before looking away (possibly at a competitor), or see you and talk to you or respond when you introduce yourself. You’d prefer the third option, right? How likely would that happen though, if you have food around your mouth, smelly breath, or dirty clothes? (Sure, I know we shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, but this is a networking event and whether you like it or not, it’s what we do, most often sub-consciously.)
Good news. You’re invited to join this networking event right now and it’s called Linkedin.
If you want to be successful at this event, and connect with your ideal target audience, then you have to put the work in and drive conversations and engagement from the content you share. And if you want your ideal, potential customer to stop and chat with you, it’s important to take a look in the mirror first to check that everything is in order. Here are 3 ways to ensure you’re suitably dressed for the occasion:
1. Keep Your Profile Updated
Whether you’re exploring new opportunities or in a new role, there is no excuse for having outdated information on Linkedin. Not only that, but it will actually look bad on you. Important to note this if you’re taking on new members of your team too. The most important elements to keep updated are:
- Your Professional Headline
- Right under your profile image and name, is your professional headline. Make sure this is to date with your current role, but look beyond your job title. A “Project Manager”, “Business Development Manager”, or “Consultant” tells us what’s on your employment contract, but stand out more but writing what you DO, who you do it for, and why someone should connect with you. Also include keywords to will encourage your profile to appear in search results.
- Contact Details
- Just below your professional details are you contact details, for connections to get in touch via email, explore your website, or even follow you on twitter. Make sure all the links are current.
- About You Section
- Ensure this is up to date and reflects your current role too, by adding more context behind who you are, what you do, and why you do it. Always write in the first person, celebrate your successes, avoid meaningless jargon, and tell your story.
2. Look Professional*
A series of experiments by Princeton psychologists Janine Willis and Alexander Todorov revealed that it takes just one-tenth of a second for us to judge someone and make a first impression and, like it or not, to make an impression of us. Also, given that LinkedIn profiles that have a picture are 11 times more likely to be viewed, we need to make sure the first impressions on us are positive. The ideal photo should be a head and shoulders shot of you looking into the camera, smiling, and with a plain background. Oh, and no sunglasses either. *Linkedin is for professionals, so make sure you look like one, whether you’re a professional Doctor, Agency CEO, or Clown.
3. Add To Your Story with a Cover Photo
The only visual element that differentiates you from you other Linkedin profiles, that we’ve covered here, is your profile image. And as professional as you look, it may not be enough to help you stand out. Therefore, give your profile more personality, or branding, with a captivating and clear background image. This may well be the first part of your Linkedin profile a visitor to your page may see, so it’s important to get it right. When you do, it could play a big part in helping you be memorable and engage positive attention too. If you’re not sure of sizes, or are looking for inspiration, tools such as Canva and Photoshop can help you get it right.
These tools are there to give you everything you need to make the right, first impression, and help get your target audience to notice you and cross the floor of this vast networking event to come and talk to you. And once that connection is made, who knows where this new, professional relationship may lead.