So far in our LinkedIn masterclass series you’ve learned to create a standout LinkedIn profile and a customised, consistent social presence, amplified through global social media channels that are pivotal to Online Reputation Management (ORM).
Now take it up a notch by enriching and simplifying your profile; adding rich, visual media to showcase expertise while cleaning away the dross.
ENRICH YOUR PROFILE
Just because a LinkedIn profile is succinct doesn’t mean it can’t convey depth.
LinkedIn provides many ways to showcase expertise by adding documents, infographics, photos, videos and presentations like SlideShare.
The apparent meteoric rise of someone from university to CEO with two lines about each of his/her two roles doesn’t inspire confidence (Zuckerberg-types aside). People want to get under the skin of what you’re about.
Who are you? What do you do? What skills do you have that could be mutually beneficial? What case studies prove your claims? A summary is not the place for detailed information, but if it catches someone’s attention, give them somewhere to go.
Enriching a profile with real examples of work confers credibility and makes you relatable.
The enriched media you add should be visually focussed because the brain is wired to respond to visual communication –
- We take in images 10 times faster than other kinds of information
- It takes 150 milliseconds to process an image and 100milliseconds to attach meaning to it
- Colour increases recall of technical information by up to 82%.
A profile works better if you ‘display not say’ because it –
- Gets more attention – content with images gets 94% more views
- Gets more shares – visual content is 40 times more likely to get shared, infographics are shared three times more than other types of content
- Is more helpful – people following directions with text and illustrations do 323% better than those who don’t get provided illustrations.
Enrich your profile to illustrate expertise
1. Find Profile on the top menu bar and select Edit Profile from the drop down menu.
2. Scroll to the media bar at the bottom of the section you want it displayed in and choose what you want to add, for example Document. Click the Documenticon, a new menu opens underneath.
3. LinkedIn uses a service called Embed.ly. If the content you want to add comes from a Supported Provider, add the link. For example, to a Flickr photo account.
LinkedIn supports many providers. However, if the content you have is not on the list don’t worry.
4. To add media, you can also click Upload File from the same section and save it. Viola!
Less is more so choose content that goes to the heart of what you’re about. For example, manager of social at KLM Karolin Vogel-Meijer has added a 34-minute detailed video on the KLM social program to her background experience. It’s in Dutch which makes sense for her audience. (A brilliant case study of using end-to-end social including to generate new revenue streams can be found Jay Baer and Karlijn.) The video is proof positive of her claims.
Repeat for any section but whatever you add must move the narrative along. Clutter is distracting and unprofessional. Keep your profile lean while backing up claims.
Some profile clutter on LinkedIn is bestowed on rather than created by you.
Are you receiving endless endorsements from people you’ve never met and who have no idea what you do? You’re not alone.
Not only are they frustrating but there may be legal consequences for displaying them. Jamie White from PodLegal says “displaying a false endorsement or testimonial on your website, or anywhere for that matter, could amount to misleading and deceptive conduct.”
Switching off endorsements isn’t my preference. The recommendations of people we know and trust powerfully influence decisions. Appropriately so. Whether someone has a history of excellence or falling out with others you want to know about it.
However, you may work in an industry where accepting endorsements is tricky.
For example, in the US financial advisors are not allowed to use client testimonials in advertising. Legally it’s murky as to whether an endorsement is advertising, but it makes advisors nervous despite FINRA guidance. In Australia the ASX and ACCC have provided some guidance, important because social is influencing investment decisions.
I don’t envy regulators the difficult challenge they have of balancing protection with change but it needs to be said that many dragged the ball on social media or made policies that were out of step with the times.
For example in 2014 health professionals took on the regulator, the Australian Health Practioners Regulation Agency (APHRA), arguing its guidelines were created by people with no understanding of how social works.
It’s possible for highly regulated industries to use social media for business objectives. Biotech expert Michelle Gallaher says the global pharmaceutical industry has been reluctant to adopt social media due to tight industry regulations restricting advertising and promotion of restricted pharmaceutical and medical products to the general public but that the smaller, nimbler biotechnology industry has been an enthusiastic adopter.
Gallagaher says at the very least, social media is an extraordinarily valuable ‘listening’ tool and can be viable in regulated industries provided the boundaries are crystal clear.
From my perspective leaders, boards and regulators need proper education to ensure they’re digitally and socially literate and that decisions on social media are properly informed and in step with the times. Leaders are worryingly out of touch and anchored by myths about social media that are, frankly, false.
Having said all of that, if you prefer to switch off rather than manage endorsements, it’s easy to do.
How to switch off endorsements
1. Find Profile and select Edit Profile from the drop down menu. Scroll down, down, down to the bottom of the editable page until you reach Skills & Endorsements.
2. Because you have opened your Profile in editable mode, when you hover on the right hand side of the Skills & Endorsements section you’ll see an icon to add skills, or a two-headed arrow that allows you to reorder the endorsements you receive. Select Add skill.
3. In the settings you have the option to toggle between Yes and No for I want to be endorsed. Select No. Save.
That’s it, no more endorsements.
How to manage endorsements
Alternatively, and preferably for me, you can manage the skills for which you have received endorsements.
1. Follow the above steps to get to Skills & Endorsement. At the bottom you’ll see options to Add & Remove or Manage Endorsements. Choose Manage Endorsements.
2. Now open any skill that you want to edit. Here I am choosing Strategic Communications.
3. Clicking the uppermost box switches off endorsements for this skill completely. The number count decreases as shown from 217 to 0.
Don’t worry you haven’t lost them, they’re just in hiding. You may want to do this if you move into a regulated industry or one for which the skill is not a priority. This is important for managing career transitions where you want to emphasize certain skills over others.
4. You can remove a single endorsement from someone you don’t know or who does not know your work (I know all the endorsees above well as they do me) by clicking on the box directly next to their name. Remove false endorsements one by one.
5. Remember to Save. Switch off Notify your network? so that your contacts aren’t continually told you’re making changes, in particular for a big clean-up.
Relationships change, that’s life and on Facebook you can defriend the has-beens.
But because an endorsement is for a specific professional skill, on LinkedIn the endorsements you’ve given should not be impacted even if relationships change. Nevertheless, it’s possible that you mistakenly tick a request that flashes across your screen, if so, removing it is easy.
1. Go to the Profile of the person you mistakenly endorsed and scroll down to their Skills to where it says Top Skills, most endorsements are displayed in this section.
2. Choose the skill you’ve endorsed and move your cursor over the blue + sign next to it.
3. Hover over the plus sign, it will turn into a minus sign, giving you the option to remove the endorsement.
If the skill is displayed under the … also knows about section under Top Skills, scroll down to … also knows about, move your cursor over the blue +sign as above and remove it when the minus sign appears.
No, a connection is not notified when you remove an endorsement. Yes, you can remove an endorsement even if you’re no longer connected to someone.
Endorsements versus recommendations
LinkedIn offers the option to give endorsements, these ‘ticks of approval’ should not be confused with recommendations, which must be actively requested and given by someone in the network. Should you get and give recommendations? Absolutely, as you would in real life. Recommendations are directly linked to a person and particular role (yours and theirs) so are verifiable proof of work and skill. Next time I’ll show you how to give, ask for and manage recommendations, including retrospectively.
It takes a bit of effort to get your profile right but once you’ve done the grunt work LinkedIn keeps paying off. In LinkedIn masterclass 4 I will show you how to convert a premium profile into other formats and languages, valuable for recruitment, tenders or reaching out to build a global network.
Dionne Lew is the CEO of the Social Executive, an adviser to boards and senior executives on digital and social media rated in the top 1% for global community influence by Kred.