I recently did some online research before having a new business meeting with a local firm. As the firm wanted to use social media more effectively I had a look at over 15 of their fee earners’ LinkedIn profiles. Like many firms of their size and maturity, the results of my research didn’t shock me. What did shock the firm was how much business they could be leaving on the table because of the poor quality of fee earners’ LinkedIn profiles.

The Hinge Research Institute recently published some research, which said that nearly 60% of potential clients would check out your social media profiles, typically LinkedIn, before contacting you.  Therefore, if your LinkedIn profile is sparsely or poorly written, you may never hear from that potential client…

Over the last month, I have blogged about How to create a sound bite to easily win new business and How to make a strong impactful presence – without spending your whole life online. This blog post is really a continuation of these two blog posts, and focuses on 5 key things you need to do to improve the quality and impact of your LinkedIn profile.

1. Fill your profile in – yes, all of it.

The vast majority of LinkedIn profiles are a truncated, quickly scribbled form of the individual’s CV.  Do your potential clients want to see a half-hearted attempt at reproducing your CV on LinkedIn? No. Your LinkedIn profile is your professional shop window into the world. So, make sure that you are using every inch of valuable personal marketing real estate.

When I say fill all of it in, I mean:

  • adding in skills and expertise
  • completing each of the roles you either have currently or have had – using some credibility statements and stories to illustrate the results you achieved in the role

2. Answer the question ‘why would anyone want to work with me?’ (Or hire me, for job-seekers)

Of course, the majority of people looking at your LinkedIn profile will be doing the equivalent of ‘just browsing’. Not everyone will be. Some will be looking at your profile with an agenda. This could be a potential client, referrer, employee or employer. Therefore, to help you answer the ‘why would anyone want to work with me?’ question, answer some or all of these questions in your summary section:

  • Why do my clients choose to work with me?
  • Who I work with?
  • Recent accolades and professional endorsements include…
  • What type of results I achieve for my clients…

In fact, if you use these questions as the basic format for the LinkedIn summary section you wouldn’t go far wrong…

3. Attach content to your LinkedIn profile

LinkedIn allows you to attach multi-media to your profile. Therefore, pick up some content, which helps sell you or helps answer some of the questions your clients have. This could be video clips of you in action, your show-reel, white papers you have written, articles you have had published etc

So many accountants, lawyers and consultants don’t use this relatively new feature on LinkedIn. Sharing high quality content from your Linkedin profile is a great way to start building the trust and relationship with people looking at your profile.

4. Use your professional photo

You will be surprised how many people don’t actually upload a professional headshot of themselves on their LinkedIn profile. Ideally you want to be using the photo that you have on the firm’s website. If your firm doesn’t have a good headshot of you, then pick a photo of you looking professional and welcoming. Aim to pick a photo with a non-distracting background.

5. Include a professional strapline

Your professional strapline is the 120 characters ‘tag line’ which goes with you everywhere in LinkedIn. Don’t leave this blank or accept the default option, which LinkedIn provides. Include keywords which potential clients (or employers) will use to find someone like you. For example, most people looking for a new accountant don’t search for a Chartered Accountant. They will search for an accountant who specialising in…