LinkedIn is one of our favorite social networking platforms. Not only is LinkedIn the biggest business social networking platform with some 135 million users in the U.S. alone, it’s a big part of our new business development efforts and a critical channel for many of our clients, too.
At V3, we do a lot of C-suite training on how to integrate LinkedIn into prospecting and new business development efforts, and we also train HR teams to use LinkedIn effectively for recruiting. One thing we routinely focus on is helping our clients develop a great LinkedIn profiles – and the importance of that cannot be overstated. LinkedIn is not a place for your online resume, increasingly in today’s web-based world, it’s being used to screen and vet job candidates, vendor partners and really to assess an individual’s “social savvy” factor. If you have a lousy LinkedIn profile, it’s probably not a stretch to hypothesize that you’re not very dialed into the world of the web and how crucial the Internet is to business today.
Mashable recently worked with EyeTrackShop, a startup that’s getting attention for the eye-tracking studies they do for advertisers, to do a small test and demonstrate what garners the most attention on a variety of social networking sites – including LinkedIn. As mentioned, the test group was small, but we still think the findings relevant.
For LinkedIn, the item on the page that garnered the most attention – more attention than anything else by a long shot — was unquestionably the job title. We think that makes perfect sense. When you’re using a business social networking site, you’re there seeking business information. This is probably one of the sites where what you look like matters infinitely less than what it is you do.
Here’s a look at an image of a LinkedIn profile from the study – the most concentrated green shows you where the eyes went most often.
This research verifies something we talk about often in our corporate LinkedIn training sessions – and that’s being creative with your job title. One of the things we recommend is that instead of plopping the title that you were assigned when you took that job (or started your business) in the job title section, that you instead use the section as an opportunity to create a compelling headline. After all, you only have a few seconds to make a first impression, and a compelling headline might well be all it takes.
Mine looks like this:
As you can see, I’m the CEO of an ad agency. I could say that, but that seems kind of boring. So instead, I use that headline opportunity to let people instantly know what I want them to remember about me. Sure I’m a CEO (big deal), but equally as important, I’m a digital marketer (people hire me to do this), content creator (and this), speaker (and they also pay me to do this) and, as an added bonus, I make fun of myself by calling myself a geek. Which makes people smile.
Which do you think is more effective for me when it comes to new business development …. a title that tells people that I’m a CEO or the one I use? I can tell you that for me, it’s a no brainer – using a compelling headline makes all the difference in the world.
So, here’s your chance. Think about what your LinkedIn profile looks like – especially that job description area. If you’ve gone all out and described yourself as “VP – Eastern Seaboard” or “Regional Manager” maybe you could reconsider. Think about what it is you really do – and just as importantly, what it is you might like people to hire you and/or your company to do for or with them.
Oh, and if we’re not yet connected on LinkedIn, let’s remedy that!