Does your business spend a huge chunk of its marketing budget on social media?

Is your business spending numerous man-hours on Facebook or Twitter, trying to attract new customers?

You are not alone. Giving you company are your competitors. The customers you target are just as likely to be targeted by them. 

The Smarter Way to Quality Clients

Enter LinkedIn. Contrast it with Facebook and Twitter. While the latter are primarily ‘personal’ social relationships oriented, the former is completely professional. You have decision-makers, business owners and executives dotting its pages.

On LinkedIn you get quality clients. Everybody means business (spammers excluded). This isn’t true for  Facebook and Twitter.

In this post, I’ll show you how you can attract new quality leads on LinkedIn, without spending a penny. All you’ve got to do is…

Optimize Your Profile

If you are a sales executive, a small business owner or an entrepreneur, the ten profile improvement tips given below will help you improve sales and increase your customer base. 

Implementing these tips won’t take long, two hours tops. But, it will create a perpetual source of quality inbound leads. Moreover, the best customers are those that approach you, without you having sought them out. Feel free to tweet that statement.

Profit from Your LinkedIn Profile: 10 Free Ways to Generate New Business

#1 Upload a Professional Photo

What does your current LinkedIn profile photo look like? Is it professional enough? When potential clients land on your profile, your photo is one of the first things they see.  Will they think: ‘Here’s someone I can trust with my business!’? If not, change your photo today.

Here are some pointers that’ll help you make a good first impression:
  • Upload a good quality headshot (no full-lengths).
  • Formals work best.
  • Be wary of what is in your surrounding. It’s funny how random stuff turns up in the backdrop of images. A blank, white wall or something equally safe is a good idea.
  • Get a professional photographer to take your photo, if you feel the need.

#2: Write a Killer Headline

LinkedIn allows you to include upto 120 characters in your headline. Use as many as you can. Here are three reasons why:

  • Descriptive headlines tend to make a greater impact. For instance, ‘Consultant’ doesn’t have the same punch as ‘Social Media and Content Strategist, Keynote Speaker, and Bestselling Author’.
  • Keywords used in your headline help you show up in search results. More the keywords you use, better your chances of showing up in searches.
  • Based on a heatmap study done in 2011, your headline gets more attention than your photo. In other words, your headline on LinkedIn is the most important part of your profile - use it to sell yourself. Feel free to tweet that statement.

#3 Create a Custom URL

LinkedIn allows you to set a custom URL for your profile. By default, your link is a long alphanumeric entity. You can, however, change it to anything you wish – preferably your name. 

See the screenshots for help. This customization will allow you to share your LinkedIn profile in your email signature and on your business card.
Step 1: Expand the 'Contact Info' tab on your profile. At the bottom of that tab you'll see the link to your LinkedIn profile. Click on Edit.
In the next window, scroll down until you see a box titled 'Your public profile URL' on the right. Click on 'Customize your public profile URL'.
In the box that opens up next, enter the custom url you want to put in. For instance, here I have added my last and first name. Click on 'Set Custom URL'. You are done.

#4 Get Creative with Website Links

LinkedIn allows you to share up to three website links on your profile. Most people use just one (or none). I’d suggest using the first one for your business website. You are free to use the second and third as you see fit.

From a sales perspective, I’d suggest changing it often. For instance, if there’s a survey your company’s running, use one of the links to link to the survey page or you could add your newsletter subscription link there. 

Also, use these links as call to actions, by giving your potential customers something to do. ‘Download a case study’, ‘Take our small business survey’, ‘Subscribe to our newsletter’…you get the drift?
Website links can also be accessed by expanding the 'Contact Info' tab. Click on 'Edit' to change the links.

#5 Tell Your Story

Use the summary section of your LinkedIn profile to showcase your expertise. Again, don’t be afraid to be descriptive and use keywords liberally (don’t compromise on readability, though). 

A great LinkedIn summary generally covers your background, your current position, your passion and ends with a call to action. Feel free to tweet this nugget of advice.
Most people forget to include a CTA. If someone has invested time in reading through your summary, they’ll be more inclined to answer your call to action. Ask them to connect with you or contact you for more information – use a CTA that’d drive sales.

#6 Update Your Experience

Fill in your past and present positions in the ‘Experience section’. Describe your responsibilities and successes at each position. People want to know that they'd be dealing with a person they can trust.

P.S. Don’t forget to use keywords. 

#7 Add Your Education

Showcase your education. Include any extra courses you've taken along with your vanilla degree. 

The biggest benefit of including your education is the ability to tap into your alumni network. Chances are that most of your institute’s alumni are placed in companies, or have businesses that could use your services. Adding them is a great way to attract and approach qualified leads.

#8 Ask for Recommendations

Recommendations on your profile increase your credibility to a prospective client who’s dropping by. 

Most people have recommendations from colleagues and classmates and while these are good to have, the best recommendations come from clients. If you can get good recommendations from satisfied clients on your LinkedIn profile, you are golden. Feel free to tweet that statement.

#9 Select and Add Relevant Skills

LinkedIn allows you to add 50 skills to your profile. Adding skills to your profile helps you showcase your expertise. Don’t overdo it, though – adding 50 will make you look spammy. Skills also serve as keyword additions to your profile, thus improving your chances of showing up in results.

Another huge advantage of adding skills to your profile: you show up on the skill’s page. Every skill has its own page on LinkedIn and it features users who’ve added that skill. So, that’s another way to get found by prospects.
This is a screenshot of the 'blogging' skill page. You can see that those who've added this skill to their profile are listed on this page.

#10 Endorse Others

This one ties into point no. 9. LinkedIn recently introduced the Endorse feature, wherein LinkedIn users can endorse each other for their skills. 

Endorsements are a great alternative to recommendations (though not as powerful). Go ahead and endorse others and they’ll surely reciprocate. However, be honest with your endorsements and only endorse people for the skills you know they possess. 

Your Turn

What are your thoughts on these pointers? Is there anything else you do to improve lead generation via LinkedIn? Share it with other readers in the comment box below. 

Share, tweet and spread the word. Also, subscribe to this blog's feed to receive an update when I add another useful and awesome post for your business.

Author: Urooj Kazi is a professional freelance writer. To hire her to write content for your business, visit this website's Contact Urooj page.  
11/5/2012 22:14:32

I have only recently started utilising my LinkedIn account more. I can certainly see the value in it. Thanks for sharing these great tips on

11/6/2012 07:31:22

Hi Sian,

From a business perspective, I think LinkedIn wins hands down.

Thanks for commenting.


11/6/2012 17:51:40

This works for freelancers too - I need to use Linkedin much more to promote my business (myself). Really useful article - thanks.

11/6/2012 18:22:08

Hi Kirsty,

You are right - these pointers are equally applicable to freelancers. In fact, I have added the link to this post on my blog for freelancers (see 'For Freelancers' on this website).

Thanks for dropping by, Kirsty. I had a look at your website - pretty!


11/7/2012 21:52:14

One of the best lists of LinkedIn tips I've seen recently. The only one I wonder about is the LinkedIn endorsement. It seems too easy to give and get, thus diminishing its value. Thanks!

11/8/2012 07:46:04

Hi Gary,


I had niggling doubts about endorsements myself. However, I have noticed (and I am sure you will too) that most people are primarily endorsed, i.e. have the most endorsements, for their main skill.

There are a few who will misuse the ease with which endorsements can be given, but the professional nature of the website serves to keep these practices to a minimum.


7/15/2013 12:57:45

The smartest way to acquire clients are to spend money for advertisements on social media like Facebook. However that method was proving to be really costly for my company. Thanks for all the tips in the article. It was really helpful for me.

9/30/2013 01:30:56

Thanks for the post to this page


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