One of the first pieces of advice I got from a successful entrepreneur specializing in social media marketing was to join LinkedIn. I really had no clue why I should hop on board yet another social media train at the time, but I did it. I took a selfie, loaded up some info about my professional life (such as it was), typed up a quick bio and that was that. Cross another one off the list. I truly did nothing with said profile until about six months ago. I had dabbled in cold calls and was up to my ears in emails, lists and dead ends. All in all, I was flat out discouraged and marketing had become no fun at all.
Then one day, I got bored and started clicking through some of my LinkedIn contacts. Mostly other voice actors, a few friends, and that was about it. I suddenly noticed that there was a drop-down menu to the side of the search box and decided to see what my options might be. Lo and behold, the word “people” caught my eye. I like people and they are a lot more interesting than email addresses. The more I played around with the many features of LinkedIn, I slowly realized that this had become my new favorite social media platform, as well as a window of opportunity.
It’s a work in progress, but here is the first of the LinkedIn secrets that I use daily to not only meet the right people, but gain new clients, book voiceover jobs, and develop mutually beneficial business relationships.
Secret #1: Put your best face forward
Your LinkedIn profile needs to be professional, informative, and an accurate representative of who you are. Selfies aren’t going to cut it if you want to be a true professional. Neither is a boring list of your previous positions. Speaking from someone who made those mistakes, save yourself the trouble and do it right the first time.
KEEP IT PROFESSIONAL
I have four young children and a fabulous husband and I love them all to pieces, but I’m not going to post a family picture as my LinkedIn profile picture. Or a picture of me lifting weights in the gym. Or holding a freshly-baked chocolate cake. Or one of my many open-mouthed silly-looking selfies. Those snapshots encompass moments of my life, but they have nothing to do with me as a voice actor and therefore have no place on my LinkedIn profile because this is the one place where we keep it professional. According to LinkedIn stats from February 2016, a high-quality photo on your profile gets 14 times the views. So hire a photographer and go have some fun on a photo shoot that’s all about you! I did it and it was totally fun! I even used a bunch of the pictures from the shoot to put together a video slideshow showcasing my voiceover demos. Which I then posted on my YouTube channel and linked to my LinkedIn profile. Because I believe in getting my money’s worth. Get even more profile photo tips at Entrepreneur.com.
KEEP IT INFORMATIVE
Even though a picture is worth a thousand words, people need a little more information in order to want to work with you. And that means writing up a little something to tell them who you are, what you do, and what you have to offer in the way of experience and qualifications. Some people like to keep it pretty formal in their writing style, while others take a more casual attitude with the copy. You have to do what fits you applies to your profession. If you’re not a great copy writer, hire someone to help do that as well. Or you can do what I did and lurk around on other people’s profiles who are pros in your industry and get tips from them. I actually encourage lurking, only I call it “learning”. Let’s not reinvent the wheel here.
It’s helpful to include your occupation beside your name if at all possible because people can see that even before they click on your profile. We are all busy and attention spans are shorter than ever these days, so make it easy to spot as much about yourself at a glance. I prefer to use a short summary for the same reason, so choosing your words carefully is important. Keep it short but define yourself clearly in terms of what your job responsibilities are, what types of projects you work on, and how you can help. To add to your credibility, it doesn’t hurt to list a few of your top clients, but don’t get all narcissistic and wordy by naming them all. And since my home studio is such an important part of what I do, I’ve got a photo of it on my profile, but that doesn’t apply to everyone’s profession.
KEEP IT ACCURATE
Accuracy means not only telling the truth, but painting an honest picture of yourself in the best possible light. Maybe you’re not that experienced, but you can still highlight your strengths and whatever past work you have done. Never lie about having worked with a particular client in the past or held a certain position, or anything else that isn’t truthful. Ethics matter in maintaining a successful business.
That being said, an accurate portrayal of yourself means taking an assessment of who you are in all your unique glory. Are you analytical and detail-oriented? Are you fun and light-hearted? Remember what your high school Language Arts teacher talked about regarding your writing “voice”? Your written “voice” needs to come through in your profile to add that touch of personality and humanity, the sparkle that makes you YOU. With 414 million users on LinkedIn at the time of this post, your profile needs to stand out to be noticed.
There’s so much more to say, but like I’ve said, don’t reinvent the wheel. Here is a fantastic infograph to give you a visual idea of how to put together the perfect LinkedIn profile.
In the second part of my super-secret LinkedIn series, I’ll spill my step-by-step method on what I do to find new clients and turn my profile into profit. Make sure you don’t miss it–get it delivered straight to your inbox! Or just click here.