The Art of the Virtual Handshake – 8 Tips for Improving Yours on LinkedIn

Your LinkedIn profile is like virtual handshakes and many times this is the first time someone “meets” you online. Or it will be the first place they will go to check you out after meeting you in person.   It is critically important to leave a memorable and lasting impression through your social media interactions. Your virtual handshake is just as important in making an initial impression as meeting someone face-to-face, maybe even more so since you are exposed to so many more people in the cyber world. Developing an interesting, intriguing and targeted summary about who you are and what you do to add value for your customers is important so visitors can easily access whether it is worth getting to know you better and you are connecting with the right people. Some tips to improve your LinkedIn profile include:

  1. Keep your profile simple and professional. Clearly describe what you do and what your core competency is. People will review your profile before connecting and contacting you and this will be one way for them to distinguish your credibility and demonstrate how you may be able to help them. Update your settings to ensure your profile is public so you can be found more easily through Google searches.
  2. Always include a photo. People want to see who they are connecting to, so add your picture for a more personal touch. The photo should be professional and also reflect some personality. For example, as an accounting professional, you probably don’t want somImageething too outlandish; however if you are a graphics artist, you may want a more artistic photo that shows your creative side.
  3. Your professional “headline” should state what you do in a compelling way. Don’t just state your job title or that you are a Consultant, a Financial Planner, or a Realtor. Instead include a proclamation about how you help your customers in a value-added way.
  4. Document your experience and update it regularly.  For each job position, clearly demonstrate your accomplishments in a bulleted, simple to read format. Make it easy for people to peruse through your information efficiently and effectively.
  5. Embed keywords. You should use keywords relevant to  your industry, experience and skills in your profile. These keywords will help you to be found in searches on Google for potential partners, employers and customers. Keywords also demonstrate your industry knowledge which is important for potential prospects and employers.
  6. Add your blog to your profile (if you have one). Go to your LinkedIn menu under “More” and click on “More Applications” and select Blog Link. Linking your blog to your profile will provide another way to engage with your network.
  7. Actively seek testimonials for the work you have done. Reach out to colleagues and bosses for endorsements of your expertise.
  8. Regularly share updates on your profile that are relevant to your expertise. This can be an interesting article that you read, a recent blog post you wrote, an update from someone in your network or an interesting insight you have about a topic. Your updates are then shared with everyone in your network which keeps you visible and top of mind while demonstrating your thought leadership.

Use these tips so you don’t neglect your virtual handshake and can start building more meaningful and profitable online business relationships through LinkedIn.

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  • Kimberly Kline

    These are great suggestions for “ramping up” your LinkedIn profile. I agree completely that often your social media profiles are the first thing a potential employer or client will see. Therefore, it is essential that you make sure they say what you want them to say about you and highlight what is really important.

  • Diane Bianchi (@Diane_Bianchi)

    I like the tips in this article too. For B2B-type businesses, LinkedIn is a great tool, and optimizing your profile as above should definitely lead to more activity for your business.

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