Did you know that 80% of business to business social media leads come from LinkedIn? I bet you just thought LinkedIn was for recruiting. In this post, I am going to show how you can improve your LinkedIn profile so you can grow your design business and convert more connections to opportunities.
Grow your design business with a stronger LinkedIn profile. You can’t miss this step-by-step guide on how to improve your LinkedIn Profile.
When I switched careers, I made a big mistake in not paying attention to LinkedIn. To be perfectly honest, I was too busy working and going to school. Looking back, I wish I would have been actively using it to meet others in the industry as it is a good way to connect with others as well as generate leads. Today, I use it over all other social media to generate leads for my business.
Check out my previous post on “Why LinkedIn Should be Part of Your Social Media Strategy” or “How I grew my LinkedIn Connections by 36% using Old Business Cards” if you want to hear more on how I use it.
If you want to use LinkedIn to capture more leads, then it starts with creating a well-written and organized personal profile. Before you do anything else, you need to be sure your profile will entice prospects to look further.
What I mean by enticing prospects, is think of a book cover. If you are walking through a book store and you pick up a book that looks interesting, what would make you buy the book? It is pretty simple if you think about it. The book has a cover that draws your attention and on the back (usually) there is a well-written description of what you will read in the book. Before you ever purchase the book, you have a good idea of what you are getting.
LinkedIn isn’t much different. If a prospect is searching for an interior designer, they want to see what they will get if they connect with you. Questions might arise like who this person is? What qualifications do they have? What other projects have they completed? Why should I hire them? These are all valid questions, which your profile should answer.
How to Improve your LinkedIn Profile
Step 1: Spruce up Your Profile Headline
Under your name, you have the opportunity to add a title or headline. LinkedIn will auto-populate this with your job title. Job titles do not convey your talents or your experience. Rather than go with the standard title “interior designer,” come up with 3 or 4 quick words that state how you help others. Don’t forget to use at least one keyword that someone would use to search for you.
Step 2: Add profile image and background art
People connect more easily with images. According to LinkedIn, a profile with a picture will receive 21 times more profile views and 36 times more messages. To improve your LinkedIn profile, Pick a picture of yourself that looks professional. You do not need to have a professional headshot, but you do need a picture that presents you in a professional manner.
Do not pick one that you cut out the person standing next to you. I would also avoid pictures with other people in the photo or that taken on vacation. Also, don’t miss the opportunity to add a background image. You can pick a stock photo that conveys your professional interests, or you can pick an image of a project you completed and are proud to show.
Step 3: Enhance your “About” summary with SEO keywords
Here is a great opportunity to sell yourself and your capabilities while adding SEO keywords that will help you appear in searches. First, identify keywords that a prospect may use to search for your abilities.
Second, construct two to three paragraphs highlighting who you are, what you do for your clients, and what you have accomplished. Make sure you use the keywords throughout, but don’t over stuff. You want it to read naturally. Finally, be sure you have proofread to ensure you have no grammatical errors.
Step 4: Participate on LinkedIn
As you scroll down, you will find a section called Activity. The activity section highlights what you have posted, shared, or commented on LinkedIn. Auto populated by LinkedIn, your activities section should include recent activities.
If you are not participating on LinkedIn, then you are missing out. No one is going to visit your profile unless you are actively participating by posting new content, sharing interesting articles or posts, commenting on other people’s posts. You have to be active to grow your design business on LinkedIn. Your posts and comments should always be professional but don’t be shy about sharing your authentic self.
Step 5: Build your Experiences with Achievements
Rather than just adding where you worked, your job title and the dates you worked there, use this space to showcase what you accomplished. Building a great LinkedIn profile starts with selling yourself. Using bullets, highlight 3 to 5 things that you achieved at each position.
Much like a resume, the experience section on LinkedIn is a place to sell yourself. Additionally, you can add links and images that showcase your achievements. For instance, I would suggest a designer add their portfolio, links to recently completed work, and walk-through videos. These materials should be updated every few months. You can click the button to share with your audience as well, which is a great way to get additional visibility.
Step 6: Complete Education and Volunteering Sections
Under both of these sections, you can highlight achievements and accomplishments. Use your keywords to show how your school or volunteering experience impacts you as a professional.
I think we often miss out on showing skills that crossover into our professional lives. If you have led a successful fundraising event at your child’s school, share it. The skills you use at organizing an event are the same skills you use to organize a project. Though you could probably make a case that the fundraising event was more stressful.
Step 7: Ask and Give Recommendations
This is a hard section for me. I often feel like I am bothering someone by asking for a recommendation. However, it is important to have recommendations. Often clients want to know what others thought about working with you.
If you have completed a recent project with a client, it is worth an ask. It is also important to give recommendations to others that impressed you. If you partnered with an architect or engineer on a recent project, don’t be afraid to write a quick recommendation on the experience. It is a great way to help others in the industry.
Step 8: Update & Improve your LinkedIn Profile Quarterly
Just today, as I am writing this blog post, I found a typo on my profile page. Ugh, I wanted to scream. As much as I tell students and professionals to proofread and then have someone else proofread, I fall victim to not following my advice.
The truth is, we are all human, so I corrected the mistake and moved on. (Okay, I dwelled for a few minutes, but then I moved on.) It is a good habit to check your LinkedIn profile, read and refresh it every few months. Besides helping you grow your design business, it will also give you a confidence boost. Who doesn’t need a confidence boost once in a while?
Improving your LinkedIn profile is the first step to growing your design business. As in many social channels, we often forget to show our authentic selves. Don’t be afraid to show yourself off a bit. You are amazing, and others should see that as well. Be excited about what you have accomplished and how you help others. If you love your job and those around you, then show it.
You may have found other tactics that help with boosting your visibility on LinkedIn. I would love to hear about your experiences on LinkedIn. Drop me a DM or an email. If you need help with building a LinkedIn Strategy for your interior design business, I have a LinkedIn Strategy Template available free.