Hold your Flying Solo hats and pens as this article may nudge and shake a tad. But before anyone starts throwing rocks of outrage or bite their lips down hard, let me qualify in no uncertain terms that LinkedIn is not the place to find a date or spouse. And neither are dating sites the place to dig up new business.
Most readers have an ongoing need to attract new clients, and the right ones at that. And quite a few may also be looking for a new romantic relationship. It’s an established and proven given that LinkedIn and good reputable dating sites are key channels to achieve those objectives.
Ok now you know I’m not taking you down the twaddle road of political incorrectness or twaddle, I’m sure you will appreciate that the key elements of success, mistakes, lessons and intent of both LinkedIn and dating sites are pretty similar.
Why can I write this article with confidence? Well I do know a thing or ten about what will cut the profile mustard. After all, I did meet my current husband on RSVP nine years ago after wading through many profiles and meetings. And I have been a LinkedIn trainer and marketer for many years and have written hundreds of business profiles that attract clients.
Opportunities and challenges
LinkedIn and the good dating sites out there provide really fabulous opportunities to raise your visibility, make an impact and influence. Be it for commercial or personal purposes a profile that creates a wow factor and has back-up and substance converts
And being unique and authentically reflecting what your brand promise is gets results. And that brand promise is what the client or date can expect when they meet and get to know you. There will be no untoward surprises and you will live up to what was written.
But creating and delivering profiles that are clear, truthful, creative and interesting isn’t a walk in the park and easy for most. Hell talking about yourself is hard (especially if you have a touch of the imposter monster)
As Dr Zachary Smith from the 60’s television show Lost in Space would lament ‘oh the pain, the pain’. Does any of the following sound vaguely familiar?
LinkedIn: “I am a seasoned results driven professional with a solid track record. I have a proven history of solving problems. I care about my clients and building new networks”
Dating sites: “I love quiet nights at home and going out. I enjoy walks on the beach and good food. I have a great sense of humour and my family is very important to me”
The above are recurrent examples of lazy, duplicated boring clichés that could apply to any other Tom, Dick & Mary. They have no value or context, are banal, subjective and are as inspiring as a sack of rotting fish heads.
Delusion vs optimism
Trust is the foundation of all successful relationships. It’s useless attempting to portray yourself as 2M tall if you are 1.5M; as extroverted if an introvert; or as a global influencer if you are a local TAFE graduate. Rhetoric must match reality.
It’s a rabbit hole of delusion when initial interest is driven by pretence and hence not sustainable. ‘Fake it till you make it’ is complete nonsense. It causes undue stress as it’s impossible to be the answer to everyone’s prayers and needs.
If you are showing up authentically it is a given that you by virtue will attract some and repel others. And that is totally ok and not to be feared. By gee it will save you so much time, money and headaches when you minimise the wrong connections as ‘your vibe will attract your tribe’.
A few LinkedIn pointers
Success on LinkedIn has so many moving parts and elements. It starts from the personal profile with the follow-up of strong connection, engagement and content strategies. Below are some essentials to start cutting the mustard. Many points are relevant for romance side too.
- Self-reflection and courage is the backdrop to attract ideal clients, position your value and expertise. Grab a mirror, ask yourself some hard questions and get feedback from clients, colleagues and networks to see if it is consistent.
- Share what makes you tick and what is important to you. Put a spotlight on your who, what, why, where, when and unique differentiators (you have 2600 characters)
- Always write your profile in the first person. The vast majority of LinkedIn members prefer to read profiles that are written that way as my recent research poll indicates.
- Show some personality and even a glimpse of your life passions (as appropriate)
- A current and clear photograph is essential. It must represent how you show up when people meet you to do business. If you don’t wear a suit generally, don’t in the photo. If you hate make-up and never wear it, don’t do a glamour shot. And absolutely no sunglasses, wedding, group and out of focus shots.
- The headline is a critical identification search field. With circa 180 characters, add your profession, areas of expertise, target markets, key information and focus. Leave out extraneous and salesy fluff.
- A branded banner makes a real impression. Add logos, images, taglines, media and website elements
- Name field – only for names (and suffixes and qualifications) Extra information is tacky and is against the LinkedIn User Agreement.
- Voice recording feature. This is a fabulous tool right next to your name to record a 30 seconds introduction. It really gives people a window into your personality and communication style.
- Show don’t tell, weave your unique story conversationally
- Ditch clichés, banal and blanket statements. Add context if you go to use a blanket statement. For example, “I love walking on the beach because the fresh air invigorates my thinking ability’. Or. ‘I have a proven track record in analysing digital media and pulling apart the metrics that indicate client cycles”
- Make it easy for people to reach out. Include details of email, website and ideally also your mobile at the end of the profile.
LinkedIn profiles that are unique, relevant and engaging are the foundation for success. But it is not a set and forget it. Without a strategy to connect, engage and contribute the profile will deliver mere breadcrumbs.
And if you are on the lookout for a new romance, just like business marketing, it takes persistence and commitment. So don’t give up on finding whatever you are looking for.
Oh and unless you are a food, you are not seasoned. Not everyone enjoys walks on the beach. And humour is terribly subjective. What gives you great belly laughs may give another a crunching stomach ache.