Entering the world of self-employment means that you will have to build a brand and gain respect your own way! LinkedIn is there to help but many entrepreneurs underestimate its power. LinkedIn is the only social media site with “professional” attached to it. That is because, although it is very social- it is social with a professional twist.

Unfortunately, many people still see LinkedIn solely for those people actively looking for a job and for the recruiters who want to find them. LinkedIn was never meant to be an on-line resume. Of course, it has the power to be a catalyst for both recruiters and job seekers, but it is also a fantastic, flexible, and a favorable tool for entrepreneurs. You just have to know how to work it!

Think of this as the online career story of you-one of the most important stories you will write and make that first impression count!

Background photo

Current, Classy, and Charismatic-and a smile wouldn’t hurt. This photo is there to help you create a deeper connection with potential customers. There’s nothing quite like putting a face to a name to cultivate human interest. Be approachable in a professional kind.

Your Tagline (What I like to call your Branding Statement)

The default tagline is your current title. Don’t live the LinkedIn default life. This section is important and part of the LinkedIn search algorithm. This space is 120 characters dedicated to “differentiation” – the unique value you bring, problems you solve, credentials you have, and what sets you apart from competitors.

My tagline, or what I like to call my branding statement, works to show my unique value proposition, my personality, my specialties combined with key “search” words. It follows my profile and does a good job at defining the 4C-LinkedIn Branding Rule: Catchy, Charismatic, Compelling, and Confident Globally Recognized LinkedIn Trainer ◌ Career Specialist ◌ Confidence Coach ◌ Empowering Women ◌ #BeSociallyFearless

Your Summary (Story)

These 2000 characters is where all the magic happens. More is more so take advantage of all the space you have. Think about your target audience and speak to them. Imagine you are at a live networking event, engaged in conversation with a potential customer. Own your space and think of how you can transfer your story to an online format. You want both your passion, personality, and value to shine. Write in first person and do not make it a cut and paste of your resume because potential clients are using LinkedIn to get to know the person behind the title and “why” they would choose you.

Use “key” words that relate to your industry and skills and post relevant links and documents to add to your credibility and track record (videos, PDFs, slide-shares, pictures, articles, and other relevant self- business marketing material). Also, create “anchor links” to any websites / social.

5 key tips to writing your LinkedIn story:

  1. Start of with a catchy opener that will grab attention

  2. Create a specialty section with key words (do not think keyword stuffing but rather keyword strategy)

  3. End with a Call-to-Action (CTA) and let readers know what you would like to do next

  4. If you have a company page, encourage readers to “follow” it

  5. Show your personality and use as much of the 2000 characters allotted. In this case, more is more!

Your (personalized) URL

Check your profile URL. If there is a long string of random numbers, it means you have not customized it. Customize it to your name and then sprinkle it all over your marketing material. Ideally, make it your first and last name. If it is already being used, plug in your middle initial, reverse the order, or use your brand name. The point is to create a URL that’s easy to remember and distinctly you.

Skills and Endorsements

Including specific skills is a great way to showcase your abilities. Take an 80-20% approach-Industry-related vs transferable. Make sure you are reporting important words that have already been sprinkled throughout your tagline, summary, and experience sections. Many professionals question the value of endorsements, but they are important:

1. They work to boost your credibility and your ability to be found via the search algorithm

2. Combined with mighty recommendations, you will stand out from the crowd

3. They support the art of reciprocity-the power of give and take is crucial on LinkedIn

4. When you hit 99-it won’t change your LinkedIn life significantly, but we are all human and numbers make a difference for people when deciding who to trust; trust is what builds relationships and building relationships is what ultimately builds business.

Recommendations (Testimonials)

Recommendations work with skill endorsements but are much stronger when it comes to social recognition and building credibility. This section is where others get to speak about you by sharing their “why” and influencing others with stellar professional and personal reviews. Social recognition matters because what others think is a powerful influencer when it comes to both products and services.

Other LinkedIn Tips for Entrepreneurs:

  • Be social and post status updates regularly (70% business and 30 % other)

  • Be a thought-leader by writing and sharing relevant blogs

  • Join and be active in industry-related groups

  • Connect and build relationships with people who have strong networks on LinkedIn and know how to navigate the platform effectively and proactively

  • Be a giver and not a hoarder of what you know

  • Build a company page for increased business branding (

  • Think “building relationships” first and not sales

  • Customize all connection requests but don’t follow up with an immediate sales pitch

  • Provide your contact information

  • Establish the relationship online but then move the conversation and relationship-building offline. My favorite-A LinkedIn Latte invitation!

If you are an entrepreneur, a LinkedIn presence is necessary and important for you

and your company’s brand marketing strategy potential.

What makes the difference is going from simply being on LinkedIn to being LINKEDIN!

Shelly Elsliger

President of Linked-Express

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