As a business owner, LinkedIn can be one of your best tools for promoting your business and connecting with other folks in your industry. The best way to get started on LinkedIn is to create your own personal profile. LinkedIn makes it really easy to create a profile. Going to LinkedIn’s homepage prompts you to enter your details to get started. After that, it will walk you through the basics of creating the outline of your profile — including current job title, place of work, location, contact information, etc. But what really helps your profile stand out from the crowd? It’s all in the details. Here are some essential elements that should be included in your profile. 

Have a professional photo.

Customers want to know who they’re working with. A grey figure head isn’t inviting for potential customers. No one wants to work with an anonymous blob. It’s important to include a welcoming, professional photo on your profile. If you don’t have a professional headshot, pick the simplest, most professional picture you have — and get that headshot taken asap!

Write a killer headline.

Your headline is what appears directly under your name on your profile, and when you appear in search results. LinkedIn automatically takes your job title and company, and populates the headline for you with that information. Your headline can be changed by going to your profile and clicking the pencil symbol to the right of your profile picture. Your headline should tell people four things: what you are, who you help, how you make their work/life better and give proof that you are credible. For instance, instead of saying “Insurance Agent,” say “Insurance Agent Helping People Protect Their Assets at ABC Company.” Try to get away from industry jargon and keep the headline to 10 words.

Fill out your summary field with highlights.

Your summary is a good place to give potential customers an overview of what you do by showcasing your biggest achievements. Use this area to paint a picture of how you can help them. To make it easy to read, stick to short paragraphs and use bullet points. Want to see some examples of killer summaries? Check out this article.

Add skills.

Think about all the words that describe you and your business and add them to your “skills” list. These skills can be anything that helpS illustrate exactly what your strengths are. Think about including customer service skills, industry skills and computer skills. Other LinkedIn users can then go through and “endorse” you for these skills which shows customers that you really are a superstar!

Ask for recommendations.

As we explained above, endorsements are great. They’re an easy way to prove your worth and prove that your skills are up to par. However, if you really want to attract potential customers, recommendations are the way to go. Think of recommendations as basically testimonials on LinkedIn. Try asking past colleagues, managers, former customers and associates if they’d be willing to write you a recommendation.


Creating A Company Page

So you’ve made your personal profile (or have had one for a while)…now what? If you own a business, it’s time to set up your company page. Company pages allow your customers and potential customers to keep up with happenings in your company. On the other hand, it’s a good platform for you to reach millions of industry professionals. Here’s a step-by-step guide for creating your company page.

  1. Click the “Work” tab on the menu bar of your homepage.
  2. Click “Create a company page.”
  3. Enter your company page and choose a URL. One note on this, LinkedIn does not require that the name of your company page be unique (i.e. you don’t have to be the only John Doe’s Auto Shop) BUT it does require that your URL be unique.
  4. LinkedIn will ask that you confirm that you have the right to act on behalf of your company.
  5. Click “create page.”

Now we move on to the fun part of creating your page, aka the bells and whistles. You want your company page to be visually appealing for customers, and provide valuable information about your business. It’s a good idea to include a bio about your company. Here’s ASL’s bio to give you an example:

“Atlantic Specialty Lines, Inc. was formed in 1996 from the purchase of the contract underwriting and commercial brokerage operations book of Markel Services. Atlantic Specialty Lines, Inc. is based out of Richmond, Virginia, with additional offices operating in Clearwater, Florida, the Midwest, Pennsylvania and Texas.

ASL is a one-stop wholesale operation & MGA offering Admitted and Non-admitted carriers to our customers. We offer over 250 product lines from Personal Lines to Commercial Lines, including: Property, General Liability, Contractors, Special Events, Liquor Liability, Environmental, Excess & Umbrella, Professional, Health Services, Transportation & Workers Comp.

ASL is here to partner with our customers, communicating with them to provide the proper coverage for their insureds. We are upfront about policy forms and exclusions, and we work through problems with our clients. We work as quickly as possible, classifying and rating risks accurately, and we do all of this in a consistent, energetic and friendly manner.”

Once you have your bio written, consider adding your logo or company photo as the main image for your company page so that you stand out from other companies when searched for.

One final tip to consider: if you have employees who are already on LinkedIn, have them connect your page as their employer so that their profiles can be an extra source of page promotion.

There you have it — a guide to getting your personal and business pages up and running. Stay tuned for more tips and tricks for leveraging LinkedIn for your business.