Incorporating Keywords in Your LinkedIn Profile

Taking action to improve your brand

By Patty Swisher Posted on May 21, 2013

The last article was a general introduction about the importance of keywords, and if you had an opportunity to attend the panel presentation on social media at Build Pittsburgh in April, you may have a better understanding of the value and usefulness of keywords. Keywords are those three to five words that define who you are and how you want your clients to know you. Are you familiar with the classic marketing book, The 22 Immutable Laws of Branding, by Al Ries  and Laura Ries? Law Number 5 says to “own a word”, with examples such as Volvo owning “safety,” or FedEx owning “overnight.”

During the seminar, we talked about keywords in relation to LinkedIn profiles. I also recently read a blog post that reinforced the importance of keywords in your profile and suggested three places they should be used. Use keywords in your title or professional headline, in your summary, and in your skills and expertise. This approach focuses on actionable items for your LinkedIn profile, but the same ideas and concepts apply in any, if not all, of your social media profiles. As an extension of your marketing communication efforts, these keywords should be incorporated in your bios, resumes, and vitae for qualifications, and RFPs for new business.

In my portion of the Build Pittsburgh presentation, I used IKM principal architect Joel Bernard’s profile as a good example of using keywords in his title or professional headline.

JoelBernard-LI Profile-KEYWORDS

Conversely, I could point to my profile and show how it could be improved by adding more, or different, keywords to the title. I do not have ‘Social Media’ in my title and I probably should.  Think of how you can incorporate your words in your title. Keep in mind, when others search LinkedIn, keywords in your title will help you move toward the top of the search results.

Next let’s consider keywords in your LinkedIn summary. First, do you have a profile summary? If not, it’s an excellent opportunity to create one.  Think of an executive summary of your expertise, experience, and credentials. Keywords naturally fit, right?  These are the most important things you want others to know about you, the words that describe you and competitively differentiate you from anyone else. Your summary explains your title and tells viewers of your profile why you are special and how you can help them. Make it compelling – use your keywords.

Have your skills and expertise been endorsed on LinkedIn? If you are not sure what your keywords should be, this is a great place to start. My favorite thing about this LinkedIn section is that it is an indicator of how the marketplace views our expertise, our personal brand. If it is not what you are hoping for, then you have some work to do to change perception.  Make sure you decide what words should be in your skills and expertise section. Using those words in your LinkedIn title, summary, and skills and expertise will begin to create a picture of who you are.

This is the seventh post in a series on social media in architecture. Read the previous post, on keywords, here.

Patty Swisher is a 15+ year veteran marketing communication professional in the A/E/C industry. She is an SMPS Pittsburgh Past President, current member of the MBA Social Media Task Force (and presenter), and co-founder of Social Media Group Pittsburgh – an organization dedicated to sharing best practices in social media marketing. She can be found on Twitter @pmswish.

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