I receive a lot of requests for advice on how to create profiles that will increase your visibility, connections, and ultimately, the chances of scoring more contracts. As a contractor myself, I know how hard it can be when you lack connections or if you don’t know how to highlight selling points.
I got to thinking about how I present myself. I haven’t updated any of the information on my LinkedIn profile for at least two years. After doing research to improve my online business profile, I realised that a lot of other people could use the help. So here are 5 ways to use LinkedIn for a killer contractor’s profile.
01. Building Your Connections Increases Your Business Prospects
Building connections through networking is time well spent. You must connect online as well as face-to-face, because those two vehicles are interconnected. LinkedIn is one of the best platforms in which to start.
Do you know exactly how much building relationships within social media matters? As you use LinkedIn, work to increase the number of your first level connections. Because of the associations, your second and third level connections will always include your name in searches.
Connections provide leads. If I need advice or help, I go to people I can trust or the people they trust. Make yourself available to referrals. Work on establishing trust with others too. Connections are more than just stepping stones to success. They’re give and take relationships without hidden motives.
Make a list of your business friends and relationships. Which ones are you taking for granted? Do something that shows them you remember the connection, whether that means offering a discount or providing a shining review of their services.
2. Keeping Your Profile Up to Date
Updating your LinkedIn profile requires more thought than I suspected. You want to demonstrate what new skills you’ve acquired recently, but there are other items to consider.
Using keywords in your profile is a given, but search engines are keenly aware of the overuse of words to drive up a company’s visibility. Use them intelligently and strategically, particularly in your headline.
Instead of “Information Technology Specialist,” go for “Expert IT and Linux Professional.” It’s more precise.
LinkedIn asks members a lot of questions about ourselves, our work experience, our hobbies, and our goals. Take advantage of every opportunity it gives you to share information about you and your work.
Add professional groups to your profile. It shows you stay current within your line of work. When you receive a new certificate, update your profile. Ask for endorsements from people who are familiar with your work. Give then one or two keywords to use. Specific endorsements raise your visibility.
3. Socialise with Other LinkedIn Users
Don’t worry, I don’t mean meeting up at a local coffee shop. It’s about posting to millions of people and posting to the ones who are interested in hearing from you. You’re creating your brand.
Most people appreciate information that is practical, well-written, and provides tools or tips of some sort. When you read through online trade magazines or see an interesting article, share the link. Comment on what you found useful. Ask for opinions. This engages people.
Comment on the articles other people post on LinkedIn’s News Feed. Share your opinion on the information. One thing you’ll notice in doing this is other people will respond to your comments. When that’s the case, ask to connect. The worst they can say is no.
Read about what your connections are doing. If someone has a work anniversary, congratulate them. It’s a great, unobtrusive way to reconnect to somebody with whom you haven’t spent time.
One effective way to tell the world about your skills is by contributing articles. LinkedIn allows you to publish your own articles on their forum. Writing about your abilities isn’t enough, though.
People are always asking “WIIFM?” (What’s in it for me?) Offer useful advice in your article or a tip on how to do something more easily. Give yourself props at the end, including your contact information. If you act like an expert, and sound like an expert, people will go to the expert.
4. Update Your Status When You are Available
Everyone knows how to share your status on other social media platforms. You take pictures, you send funny memes, or say a few words about your day. LinkedIn is different.
News Feed is a simple way to give and receive all types of information. The drawback is that the information can often be too general or unrelated to your field of interest or those who want to know about your work. Posting articles will get you attention, but there’s a way you can narrow down your target audience.
Update your status within your groups. The groups you list on your profile should be related to the work you do and your various business interests. If you’re in marketing, become a follower of marketing companies and join groups associated with marketing.
When you update your status and share it with people in these specific groups, they’re more likely to be interested in what you have to say than other people reading the News Feed. If you ask an opinion, people respond more quickly, and it can even result in a quick chat via IM.
5. Maintain a Very Visible Profile
Keeping a highly visible profile on LinkedIn can feel like a full-time job, but it doesn’t have to be.
Set aside time specifically for connecting through LinkedIn. Spend an hour on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays commenting on posts and articles, updating your status, and posting your own articles.
Use LinkedIn’s analytic tools to find the best times to post. It will tell you when to limit your activity and when your post is likely to get the most traffic, readers, and responses.
If you want people to take you seriously, be serious about yourself. Invest in getting a professional photograph. A good one won’t cost more than $100, if that. Wear the type of clothing that would inspire you to hire yourself and smile.
Make sure you complete the summary field within your profile. Many people skip doing this, because they believe just attaching a resume will say everything. Providing a resume is smart but using the summary field to list five of your biggest achievements makes people take notice.
Final Words on Setting Up Your Killer LinkedIn Contractor Profile
I used to think I’d done everything I could to make my CV and Linked in Profile shine. I know now that there’s more to it than a good heading and a nifty picture. If increasing the visibility of your LinkedIn profile sounds like a lot of effort, remember that it does produce results. Right now, there are over 11 million jobs.