LinkedIn, the popular social network for business professionals, continues to grow rapidly with an average of two new members joining every second. User activities range from keeping tabs on business acquaintances and networking to sharing and posting business-related news and information. Ideas are shared and discussed via LinkedIn Groups and of course, headhunters and businesses use the site to search for potential employees or business partners.
For me and for our clients, there’s no more valuable social network than LinkedIn. It’s where business connections are made, vendors are discovered (and vetted) and deals are done. And it never ceases to amaze me how few people, especially in the B2B space, understand the importance of social media, and LinkedIn in particular, as part of their integrated marketing strategies and/or their social selling initiatives.
Some people, however, get it. And it’s interesting to see that 42% of users update their profile information regularly. And headlines? They matter. If you’re currently looking for a job or just want to explore new opportunities, creating a killer profile headline is key is important. Equally as important, if you’re using social media for new business development, your headline is valuable real estate and you need to make sure you’re maximizing it. And that’s what we’re going to talk about here – how great headlines matter when you’re prospecting for new business and/or trying to close deals.
Why is your LinkedIn profile headline so important?
Your LinkedIn headline is what describes who you are and what you can deliver in 120 characters. It’s text that appears right below your name and location on both the home feed and group discussion feed. People searching for vendors often use keywords to search for what it is they need, so it’s important to use descriptive words in your headline that accurately describe you.
When I speak about LinkedIn or when I’m doing a corporate training workshop, I use a slide that’s a compilation of some of the dumb headlines I see on a regular basis. Want to see them?
SVP, Solutions Development, at XYZ
National Vice President, Sales
Pre-sales Director at XYZ
Manager, Sales & Operations at XYZ
Chief Marketing Officer, XYZ
Manager, Customer Marketing
Senior Demand Generation Marketing Manager
Marketing Manager at XYZ
Experienced Strategic Account Executive (no duh)
Maybe now you get my point about how important a headline is? And how silly it is to waste that valuable space with a boring job title.
How Do I Do This Killer Headline Business?
Now that you actually want to change your headline so that it’s awesome, know that it’s not all that difficult to do. You just need to follow these steps and think about it what you want to accomplish as you’re using the biggest business social network for business development.
Step 1. Consider your value proposition. What is your value proposition? What problems do you solve that prospects and customers need? Why would someone want to hire you or the company you represent? What do you want them to hire you to do? Your headline should state that, not some random job title that you were assigned by the company you work for. “Sales manager” doesn’t solve problems for customers and it doesn’t do anything to attract someone’s attention. As an example, I want people to hire me to speak at their conferences and workshops, so I use the word “speaker” in my headline. Doesn’t that just make sense?
Step 2. Use the right keywords. Determine what keywords are appropriate for the type of work you want to be hired to do. If you are a Vice President with a company and primarily focused on groundwater remediation, talk about that, not about being a Vice President or a regional office manager. Your customers don’t care about your job title, they care about what they need – so keywords that speak to that, like “groundwater remediation expert” go a long way.
Step 3. Be interesting. All too often people forget that LinkedIn is a social network. And a network? Well, it’s for networking. Being interesting, funny, and memorable? Those are the things that get you noticed. I love data and am a huge geek, so I put that in my headline. People know that I don’t take myself too seriously and that ability to be down-to-earth and poke fun at myself at the same time bring me a lot of business. With the kind of clients I want to work with..
Step 4. Test that bad boy. After thinking about the things above, create several versions your headline. Then do some A/B testing (I warned you I’m a data geek). Every two weeks for the next couple of months, swap out your headline. Keep track of which headline you used when. Then go back through your profile data and see if any one headline attracted more profile views. Also? Changing your headline on a regular basis not only keeps it interesting, it throws your name out in front of your connection base – and that’s never a bad thing.
How To Add Your Headline
It’s simple to update or add a headline to your profile. Simply log into your profile and click “Profile” in the top menu. Next, click on “Edit Profile” in drop down menu. To edit your headline, click on the pencil icon under your name, type the text of your headline, hit save and you’re done.
If you’re going to use LinkedIn to network, to engage with customers and prospects and for new business development, position yourself for the best success possible. Don’t mail in developing your LinkedIn profile, because if you do, it shows. There’s a lot you can to do to make it awesome, and you can start with your headline. Now, go look at yours. Then come back and show me how you awesome you made it.
Other resources you might like:
V3 Blog: LinkedIn: The Leading Network for B2B Social Media Marketing
LinkedIn Intelligence: 100+ Ways to Use LinkedIn
Entrepreneur: A Guide to Generating Leads on LinkedIn