The folks at LinkedIn are busy. They are rolling out refinements and new features at an unprecedented rate. Staying on top of these opportunities is the key to staying on top of your online personal branding. If you want your profile to stand out, start using my five favorite LinkedIn upgrades.
1. Background. It’s already available to premium members, and now LinkedIn is in the process of rolling out the feature to all members. By uploading a custom background for the header of your profile, you can vividly communicate the essence of your personal brand. If you don’t have a Premium account, sign up here to get access to this new feature.
To construct your custom background, you can work with your designer to create a 1400×425 pixel jpg, or you can do it yourself. If you go the DIY route, tools like PicMonkey make it extremely easy. Create your image now so when this feature becomes available to you, you will be ready to upload it. Make sure to use a high-quality pic that reinforces your brand message. Here are LinkedIn’s instructions for adding your background image to your profile:
Move your cursor over Profile at the top of your homepage and select Edit Profile. Click Edit Background, which appears above the top section of your profile. Then, select a background image or click Upload to use a photo of your own (jpg, gif or PNG with a maximum file size of 4MB) and click save.
2. Who has viewed your profile. This is one of the most enhanced features of LinkedIn because you can now get valuable demographic data about the people who are checking you out. You can discover which keywords searchers used to find you, how they found you, where they come from, their job title, industry and the company they work for. You can also see the number of viewers by date. This will help you measure the impact of your communications. LinkedIn also shows you a subset of the profiles of those who came to view your profile. If you have a Premium account, they give you the complete list of viewers (omitting those who have their privacy set to anonymous).
3. Profile Rank. LinkedIn now shows you how you rank among your connections based on the total number of profile views. It shows you rank among “professionals like you,” people in your company” and “your 1st-level connections.” This can help you understand who in your network is generating the most interest, and it will give you a feel for how you measure up against your network connections who are your peers or competitors. It also gives you an excuse to reach out to those in your network by congratulating them on their rank. If you are looking to make LinkedIn an important part of your personal branding communications plan (and you should!), you can use this to measure the impact of your status updates, long-form blog posts (see number 5 below) and posts/comments to groups. One easy way to increase profile views is to add a LinkedIn button to your email signature.Here’s how.
4. LinkedIn Connected app (for iPhone). The new Connected appreduces the work associated with networking and makes it easy to stay in touch with your contacts during those moments that matter to them most: promotions, new jobs, when they appear in the news, work anniversaries and birthdays. LinkedIn says that members who use the app can expect six times more profile views and seven times more endorsements than members who don’t use it. I keep this app open on my phone, and I check it during downtime – usually while I’m in line at the bank or waiting for a subway, or before they close the door on the plane. Once you get in the habit, it is a great way to nurture your network.
5. LinkedIn Publishing Platform. The opportunity to publish your content on LinkedIn is rolling out to all members. You no longer need to be an official LinkedIn Influencer to make your content visible. Once you have been granted access to this feature, you’ll be able to create and post long-form content (in addition to your brief status updates). All you need to do is click the edit icon in the “share an update” box on your homepage. When you mouse over it, you will see “create a post,” and LinkedIn will guide you from there. Your posts will appear in your profile. High-quality, relevant posts are organically distributed through feedback such as views, likes, comments, and shares. Your post may even make it into LinkedIn Pulse, which uses an algorithm that matches the right content with the right professional. You can view stats related to all of your posts to determine their relative popularity.
Take advantage of these powerful personal branding features from LinkedIn. They’ll help you can stand out and move up!