If you’re selling to other businesses you could be missing opportunities if you don’t have an up-to-date LinkedIn profile.

I teach people to use LinkedIn effectively as a lead generation tool – and it does take a little effort, but not as much as you might think.  It’s all about having a strategy and system that work.

One of the most frequent complaints I get from clients is ‘I’ve only got 6 (14/23/50 etc.) people following my Company profile – how can I get more people engaged?’

The answer is that, unless you’re a big organisation like Ford or Minolta, most people are not going to follow your company page.  People buy people and will connect with small business owners on a personal level.

This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have a company page, but don’t get stressed if only a handful of people follow it.  Instead focus on getting your personal profile working as hard as possible.  These are my tips for this:

Write a professional headline that tells people your profile is for them.  If you know who your ideal client is, this should be straightforward.  Include two or three of your key words.

Put in a good (up-to-date) headshot of yourself – just head and shoulders, smiling at the camera and looking friendly and approachable.  NOT your logo, products or premises – LI T&Cs say it must be ‘a recognisable image of the account holder’.  Also people like to see who they’re dealing with.

Include email and phone contact info.  This is only visible to first level connections – and people will connect with you if you make it easy for them.

Make the links to your website more interesting.  How likely are you to click ‘Company website’?  If you’ve got something more interesting more people will click.

Write a summary that is focused on getting you the results you want.  If that’s marketing your services or products then tell people the benefits of your services, the problems you can solve, the passion you have for the business.

These are my DON’Ts

  • Don’t start your summary by thanking people for visiting your profile. That will immediately ‘tune them out’.  Give them a good headline to hook them in.
  • Don’t include any irrelevant experience and any role that’s more than ten years old is probably history now.
  • Don’t put your endorsements at the top. Most switched-on people think these are low value as you often get ‘endorsements’ from people who don’t know you and have no way of assessing your skills.  Do ask your clients to add a recommendation though – these have real value.

This is just for starters – there are many more things you can do to improve your LinkedIn profile and start getting found in searches.