Your LinkedIn profile is clearly very important and underpins everything you do on LinkedIn – I think we all know that these days.
Building an effective, optimised profile is actually pretty easy, once you have been shown how. But one section, in my experience, causes us untold levels of anxiety – the About section (previously summary).
Most About sections are about as interesting as watching paint dry!
So why do we find it so hard to write something interesting and informative about ourselves?
In this edition of LinkedInformed I’m going to focus on how to write an excellent About section and demonstrate some great examples.
Interesting Stuff I Saw This Week
The latest LinkedIn Transparency report shows the following;
- 33.7 million fake accounts were prevented or taken down between Jan-June this year.
- Automated spam and scam keyword filters removed 79.3 million posts/articles but only 198.5k were removed after being reported by members. What they don’t reveal is what % that was of the total reported.
- There was an increase in hate speech, harassment, adult, and violent content during this reporting period, which corresponds with an overall increase in the volume of conversations on LinkedIn.
- LinkedIn received 509 requests from worldwide governments for member data of which 72% were granted. The largest request came from the US government (377 requests across 2459 accounts) but the second largest was, bizarrely Germany who have a pretty small population of LinkedIn users yet their government requested data on 92 of them! What on earth has been going on in Germany?!
- China made 21 requests for content to be taken down and action was taken on 90% of these. The US (1) and Turkey (2) were the only other countries to request this.
LinkedIn has been over-charging a lot of advertisers for video view campaigns and impressions. Overcharging occurred on iOS devices when LinkedIn users rotated their phones to watch videos, it counted them as additional views.
Source: Matt Navarra on Twitter
Stories update. I’ve been using Stories for a few weeks now and I’m pleased with how it’s going. View numbers are pretty low but the focus shouldn’t be reach. Interestingly the highest views I’ve seen have been at the weekend which reinforces my belief that stories are something that people browse through when they are less busy.
Also on the point about ‘Viewers’ I’m pretty sure that LinkedIn only counts a view if you watch the full 5 secs of an image story, or at least there is a minimum watch time required.
I know this because I have seen higher view number for stories that appear later. For instance 5 stories in a row might start with a higher view number and gradually decrease which is normal but seeing the number go up from one story to the next suggests a dwell time requirement for a view to count.
What I am finding is a steady amount of engagement (DM’s) from followers, some of which I haven’t heard from in a long time. This, I suspect is because the algorithm is not allowing them visibility of my posts in their feed but they are seeing my stories – i.e. less interfering by the algorithm!
I will keep you updated.
Hard Times For Many But This Is Not The Time To Hustle
More invitations followed by a cheesy sales pitch
More pointless promotional posts that clutter up our feeds
It happened in the first lockdown and it’s happening again…and to be fair, it’s completely understandable – but still not the right thing to do.
I saw this article recently from LinkedInformed subscriber Bruce Segall and it reminded me of the importance of maintaining our composure during difficult times.
I guess I have the advantage of having run my own business for 12 years and in that time I had some tough years. It was my instinct to push harder when my pipeline was looking dry – we want to feel we are doing all we can to turn the situation around don’t we?
But the truth is that it rarely works and even if it does provide some short term relief, the lasting damage can take a long time to repair.
When you push (or hustle – such an icky term) you will turn far more people off you than you will please.
This doesn’t mean that I recommend sitting back and waiting patiently for things to get better, far from it. The key is to work harder at the things that will make you more visible and build stronger relationships with your communities.
- Get more creative with your content – learn new skills (doc posts, video, Stories etc)
- Focus on what you can do to help others. Be ‘relentlessly helpful’ as John Espirian puts it.
- Work hard to improve your product. Take time to observe what other companies are doing and importantly with an open mind, keep asking yourself “Would that improve my product”
- Be highly active commenting on others’ content and helping them achieve more exposure.
- Most important of all, ignore the ‘devil of doom’ who sits on your shoulder whispering negative things in your ear. Instead, focus on the belief that things will get better and you will enjoy success. Belief determines outcomes…always has, always will – pandemic or not!
What makes a good About section?
It’s so rare to find a really good About section on LinkedIn. People seem to grapple with what to put there and end up writing something really boring or in many examples, nothing at all (which is probably better than the former!)
So I thought I would take some time to explain what I think a great About section should look like. Others will take a different view I’m sure but for what it’s worth, this is my take.
What it isn’t
A sales pitch for your business! I’m not suggesting that you don’t tell viewers what you do and how you can help them but you need to do it in a ‘viewer friendly’ way. A big sales pitch or a cheesy marketing message is not likely to appeal.
An interesting About section should hold the viewers interest and not make them feel like they are being pitched.
Oh no…that annoying word again! It might be overused in business these days but I really do feel that this section is where you can really have impact on the readers by revealing your true character.
Lets face it, the About section is unlikely to be read unless someone is already interested in you, at least to some degree. So that is a signal to allow you to open up a bit – tell them a story or something interesting about you. It’s doesn’t have to be especially business related, great if it is but the important thing is to tell them something that reveal something about you.
It’s also important to be mindful of the first two lines because that is all a viewer will initially see – the ‘see more’ link kicks in at some point during the 2nd line (depending on screen size) so we need to get their attention in the first line and then give them enough further information to want to click/tap on the see more*
I don’t know about you but I couldn’t resist clicking on the see more in the above example, even though I have zero interest in coding!
Here’s the full section to put you out of your misery!
This About section is full of personality and their passion for what they do really shines through. The ending is a list of keywords – this isn’t necessary for most people, your main keywords should be in your current title and headline but in the world of IT and programming there are a lot of programming languages and software to quote so, in this case, it makes sense.
*Clicks whilst viewing a profile are noticed by the algorithm so getting someone to click ‘see more’ is helpful to you.
Make yourself accessible
If someone views your profile and likes what they see, they may wish to make contact…this is a good thing right?
The problem is, assuming they don’t have a premium account they can’t actually do that unless you have a premium account (and even then it’s not always apparent to them). They could invite you to connect but they have no idea if you will accept.
So we have a problem…
We’ve done the hard work in attracting them in the first place but this might not result in success because it’s not easy for them to contact you!
This is why I always advise starting your about section with an email address. Yes you might get some spam but surely the upside easily outweighs the downside here!
Above is a great example from Sophie Tunstall. The contact information is clear and the second line says enough to get your interest.
I also love the way she builds her story and ties in her personal interests to her career choices which in turn allows her to explain what she does and more information about who she works for.
I’ve been closely observing the behaviour of LinkedIn members for 12 years now and one thing has been consistent over all that time…
People are interested in people
If you remember this then you are halfway to writing a great About section.
Nothing helps you break down barriers and build trust with people more than be prepared to show a bit of vulnerability. It makes you more human and people can relate to it.
I know that it can be a difficult thing to write something personal and show vulnerability in a professional profile but if you can be brave, you will reap the rewards.
Here is another great About section which is interesting, relatable and vulnerable in point 4.
There is a certain energy to the above example and they seem like the sort of person many of us would want to work with. This can of course, work both ways! Some of you might be thinking they sound awful…that’s life though, isn’t it? You can’t win them all but you want to win the ones you are going to enjoy working with – such are the benefits of authenticity!
A really strong About section should contain the following ingredients;
- Contact information in the first line
- A strong, attention-grabbing start in the first two lines to ensure the viewer clicks on ‘see more’
- Authenticity. Your voice should come across as distinctively you.
- Use of stories. We can’t resist a story and often the best way to explain who you are is through an example of something that happened to you.
- Focus on your why. Try to avoid telling us what you do directly, explain it better by telling us why you do it.
- Write how you normally speak and never refer to yourself in the 3rd person. This makes you sound inauthentic at best or even downright egotistical!
Post Of The Week
There’s a lot to like about this post. It’s not attracted especially high engagement but it has over 50 comments and that means it qualifies.
‘Let me have you for just over a minute’ is a great opening and although the video lacks captions or a heading, in some respects this adds to the simplicity and lack of commerciality of the post.
There is clearly vulnerability in Maxwells message and voice and this only adds to the appeal.
More than anything else though, it’s a kind and thoughtful gesture from someone who must be in a very worrying situation.
The most understandable reaction to being put on furlough would be to worry about yourself and your future but, much like I described earlier, the best thing to do is to focus your energy on helping others and by doing so you will find yourself in a much better place.
I think Maxwell is a great example to us all.