With LinkedIn members growing rapidly and the ranks approaching a billion, it’s getting harder and harder to stand out. Of course, you don't need to differentiate yourself from the entire membership, just from others who do what you do. But that’s a tall order too. I did some quick research using the LinkedIn search feature to see just how much competition there is among some common job titles:Sales Director – 10,862,770 HR Manager – 8,273,460 Marketing Manager – 23,573,428 Chief Information Officer – 7,719,760 CEO – 17,132,397
With that much competition, it’s important to make your profile stand out. When someone is checking you out, you need them to see your unique personal brand – not just one more person who shares your job title. Much of that can be achieved through how you write your profile. The content you choose to include, along with your tone and style, will help someone get to know about you and give them a hint about your secret sauce.
There are ways to differentiate you profile visually as well. You can do that with enhanced text, images and video. Here’s how:
1. Enhanced Text
If you’ve looked at a lot of LinkedIn profiles like I have, you’ve probably noticed that the text looks the same from profile to profile. It is all “regular” text. Well, there’s a way to add italics and bold to your content to help you emphasize key messages and at the same time make your profile stand out. A LinkedIn article by Ahmad Imam describes the step-by-step process you can use to add some visual differentiation with text. Just don't go overboard. Too much of a good thing can send the wrong message about your brand.
Let’s face it, text can be boring. It’s also a weaker way to tell your story than you can with images. There are four places to add images to your profile:The first thing people see when they’re looking at your profile is the large banner that sits behind your headshot and About information about you (headline, location, number of connections, etc.). LinkedIn has a default banner which most people use. I did a little experiment, looking at all the profiles of people who sent me connection requests, and 63% of them had the standard LinkedIn-issued background. So one of the easiest places to make your profile jump out is by adding your custom background. This previous post shares examples and the information you need to make yours sizzle. You can add images to your LinkedIn About and Experience sections. This helps break up the text and makes your profile look more interesting at first glance. When you choose the right images, they also help you tell your compelling story. Consider images of you in action (speaking at an event, working with your team) or infographics, etc. Work products. PDFs of work products like presentations you’ve delivered or white papers you have written can help you reinforce what you want to be known for. When you add them to your profile, their cover page adds that pop of color and imagery that will make people pause at your profile for just a little longer. Whether you write your own articles for LinkedIn or you curate content from LinkedIn or other sites, when you share it, the images associated with that content are featured prominently on your profile page. In fact, they show up before your Experience content. That’s important real estate, so being engaged in LinkedIn is immediately showcased as part of your brand.
When it comes to making your profile pop, the only thing better than pictures is moving pictures. Adding videos is very similar to adding still images. You can add them to your Summary (About) and Experience profile elements. When someone looks at your profile, videos do the same job as pictures; they add visual interest to your profile. But when someone clicks on one of your videos and watches it, they get a much deeper and clearer understanding of who you are – way beyond what they could glean from your words and images alone. That’s because video allows you to exude your personality and deliver a complete communication. And the best news is that thanks to our waning attention spans, your videos need not be long. In fact, a pithy, potent one- or two-minute video will do the most to showcase your brand. Just make sure that the video delivers something of value to the viewer.
When you apply these enhancements to your profile, you move yourself from commodity to differentiated brand.
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