Gershbein: All Roads Lead to and from Your LinkedIn Profile

Our reliance on the Internet as a marketing tool and a research platform continues to escalate. These days, you must maintain a carefully structured company Web site and constantly assess its relevance, functionality and performance. In addition, your presence on LinkedIn plays a crucial role in the viability and sustainability of your business. Even if your Web site is bombproofed for an incredible, user-friendly experience, you still may not be reaching your target market and your messaging can get lost in the shuffle. This is where your LinkedIn profile can serve as your greatest ally.

Success Secret No. 4: Position your LinkedIn Profile as a Digital Marketing Hub.

These days, businesspeople are carrying out research initiatives on the Internet en masse and, more often than not, the searches are taking them to social media sites before a primary company Web site, landing page, or blog. The analytics bear this out, as content on LinkedIn is preferentially tagged and will always come up at or near the top in Google searches. Knowing the increased attention being paid to social media sites, coupled with people’s inclinations to click on the topmost listings, is it any wonder that LinkedIn achievers have populated their LinkedIn profiles with spectacular, spring-loaded content that is intended to carry the weight of these exploratory hits?

If your LinkedIn profile is going to be an initial point of access for those researching you on the Internet, you should:

♦ Create Personalized Inbound and Outbound Links Early in the process of creating a LinkedIn account, you were prompted to fill in your vital statistics. Included in these preliminaries is the option of creating a personalized (or vanity) inbound URL for your LinkedIn profile (public view). By default, the system will ensconce your name in gobbledygook. Pare this field down to just your name (or a variation thereof) for a cleaner, more professional look for the search engines.

If your name is uncommon, plug in your first and last name (lower case, no spaces) and it should likely be available for your use. If not, or if many others share your name, find the best available configuration of your names (e.g., initials, first name plus surname with your company name, etc.) until the system accepts your choice. This hyperlink is now your online point of convergence.

LinkedIn achievers view the LinkedIn profile as a gateway through which visitors pass to other destinations that are set up for deepening the engagement. LinkedIn gives you three (3) outbound URL’s to which to lead folks. These are displayed prominently on your LinkedIn Billboard—the blue-shaded area at the top of the profile page. You also get the option to personalize them, which is an absolute must.

As you’re editing those fields, simply click on “Other” in the drop-down menu and a blank field appears in which you can type the actual site name—instead of “My Company” or “My Web site.” Follow suit and customize the remaining two outbound links to direct visitors to your Facebook fan page, splash page, or any other strategic site of your own device. If you do a blog, there’s no need to burn one of those links, as you can readily integrate the actual blog site right into the LinkedIn profile content via either the WordPress or Blog Link application. Accordingly, on all external destination sites, position a click-thru icon (your choice of LinkedIn logo) that will route visitors back to your LinkedIn profile. This should also extend to your e-mail signature and other digital collateral pieces.

♦ Unify Your Message in Branded Content So if the search engines are steering visitors to your public LinkedIn profile, and you are encouraging colleagues, clients and prospects to connect with you on LinkedIn, then what do you have on your page waiting for them? LinkedIn achievers know the marketing gravity that their profiles can create. They articulate their unique value proposition (UVP), align messaging with company objectives, and use language that conveys energy and builds trust. To boot, the profile of the LinkedIn achiever is a lead generator with calls to action strategically injected into branded content.

♦ Integrate Your LinkedIn Profile with Other Social Media Platforms LinkedIn allows for the direct integration of Twitter (via a separate outbound link and content merging platform). If desired, your LinkedIn status updates can become tweets, and vice versa. Additionally, LinkedIn has versatile and emotionally appealing applications that drive personal and corporate brand. Google Presentation allows for the embedding of video content directly from YouTube into the LinkedIn profile. The SlideShare app gives you an additional outlet to post a PowerPoint or other visual presentation. To the LinkedIn achiever, these channels are indispensible options for content delivery.

♦ Capitalize on the LinkedIn Search Engine Visibility strategies and search engine optimization (SEO) are not confined to the major search engines. LinkedIn has a powerful and highly sensitive search engine of its own. In configuring your LinkedIn profile as your digital marketing hub, internal searches on LinkedIn for words and phrases integral to your service offering must be considered. Although there is no formal page ranking a la Google, LinkedIn achievers weave in specific keyword strategies to skew the metrics in their favor.

Moral of the story: If your Web site is your storefront, then your LinkedIn profile is your greeter. It sets the tone.

How have you positioned your LinkedIn profile in your content marketing mix?

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