Tue | Mar 31, 2020

Helping Entrepreneurs Keep it LinkedIn

Published:Sunday | August 12, 2018 | 12:00 AMJody-Anne Lawrence

LinkedIn, a social media site that many Jamaicans take for granted this week Gizelle Riley shares how entrepreneurs can make it work for them.

LinkedIn is the premier social networking site for professionals and entrepreneurs. It's an excellent space for creating business connections as well as positioning yourself as an authority in your field. It has high ranking on Google for first- and last-name searches.


Create your powerful professional profile


Creating a powerful profile that attracts prospective customers and potential business affiliates is easier than you think.

So why exactly is your profile so important? Setting up a LinkedIn Company Page is great for the look of your business, but your personal profile is equally important. We live in a social world. People often develop a connection with the owner's personal brand, which then leads them to having an interest in the business itself.

You probably already have a profile, here are a few tips to make it effective:

- Take a professional profile photo, please! People have used pictures of their cat for their profile. Your profile photo must be of you and you alone. No one's saying that you need to hire a photographer. If your brother's smartphone takes high quality shots then by all means use it. Here are some things to keep in mind:

- Keep it simple. Solid white backgrounds are great but you can mix it up and be creative by adding texture or vibrant colours.

- Dress for success. You don't have to wear a suit unless that's the look you're going for. Wear professional looking attire that complements your personality.

- Say cheese! Ever notice how happy people seem to have more friends? People who smile often psychologically communicate to others that they're approachable. This is why showing those pearly whites is important for your profile photo.

- Add a vibrant cover image. Avoid grainy photos as it's not a good look. The recommended resolution is 1585 x 396 pixels. I suggest that you find a nice stock photo at pexels.com which is synonymous with your brand. Own a health food restaurant? How about finding a stock photo of a tasty salad? Find an image that you feel best sums up your brand.

- Be accessible. You want people to have access to you, so don't be afraid to add contact details like your email address, telephone number, twitter handle and company website.

- Details make the difference. LinkedIn is pretty user friendly. As you sign up it will give you prompts asking for information pertaining to your work experience, skills, volunteer associations and academic credentials. Filling in these nitty-gritty details will provide a full picture of your brand personality.

Nowadays, adding an objective on a resume is seen as a waste of space - but not on LinkedIn.

You also don't need to list every single job you ever had on your profile. List only the jobs that are relevant to your current career goals.

- Highlight your interests. Your personal profile gives other users a chance to see who you are and what drives you. Search for groups related to your industry and follow LinkedIn Influencers you admire. These will automatically be highlighted in the Interests section of your profile. This offers some insight to your personality and provides the opportunity to attract like-minded connections.

- Prove it with content. So you say you planned a major fundraiser back in 2005 which was well received. That's great. Prove it. On LinkedIn you can create a digital portfolio which accompanies your profile information. These can include photographs, documents, news links, etc. It adds to your credibility.

- Connect with everyone. Back in the day, there was the unspoken rule that you should only connect with people who you already know. A reasonable concept. But if you intend to increase your connections and expand your opportunities, I suggest sending invitations to people who you may not know (but would like to). It's called social networking.

- Gizelle Riley is a Brand Storyteller and Soulful Business Coach at GizelleRiley.com. She manages communications as the Development & Communications Coordinator for the scale-up business accelerator Branson Centre Caribbean. Contact: gizelleriley.com