What makes a great online profile? Research by Princeton University’s Department of Psychology into consumer brand loyalty and purchase behaviour released in August 2010 showed that people were the first brands and faces were the first logos. (Susan T. Fiske, 2006)
Between your profile pic and your first paragraph, you need to have built a sufficiently compelling relationship with the person reading your profile that they don’t bother to search any further. Let’s look at some ways of doing this.
It’s not all about just writing a great profile. It’s vital that you include a great photograph of yourself in your profile. Research conducted by Hubspot on Twitter, Facebook, Blogs and LinkedIn profiles shows convincingly that those with profile pics get over 200% more attention (and thus potentially more business) than those profiles without pics (Hubspot, 2010).
One of the best investments that I ever made in my business and in creating a great online profile was to go along to a professional photographer and have some great photographs taken.
But all pics are not created equal! Here are a sample of people’s images that they’ve used on LinkedIn. Do you think anyone is going to take them seriously or am I being a bit judgemental?
Ensure that your online profile pics talk to what you do and are compatible with the brand you are trying to create (oh, and please be careful that your personal online profiles – like Facebook – don’t undermine all the hard work you’re doing on LinkedIn or online directories).
So now you’ve got some great pics, what do you say about yourself? How do you start writing a great online profile?
I believe the cornerstone of any articulation of your marketing message starts with finding and defining your niche. I’ve posted links to some articles you can read on this topic (as you can tell, it’s a HUGE passion of mine and my superpower area of expertise):
Ask the people around you what they’d be interested in hearing about? So often, the things YOU want to tell people about yourself and what you do, are not what they find compelling or interesting.
Think about it…you’ve been knocking on doors and trying to get business without success. Well, clearly you must be doing one of two things [truth bombs coming up]: knocking on the wrong doors with the right message, or knocking on the right doors with the wrong message. Which one is it? Test your message – test your profile.
We know from research (American Management Association, 2008) that “In practice, according to Banning (1997) and Smith (1993), a company’s human resources department, a supervisor, or a friend are among the most common ways of finding a coach. Banning (1997) lists three important criteria in selecting a coach: trustworthiness, compatible
chemistry, and solid reputation” (my emphasis).
This is exactly what needs to project from your profile: trustworthiness, compatible chemistry and a solid reputation. How on earth do you create this on an inanimate profile? Well, LinkedIn does a great job of this. It allows you to do two really important things:
- Connect with people who will enhance your credibility. Think about it: if someone that you don’t really know asks to connect with you on LinkedIn, the first thing you do is check out their profile and who they’re connected to. [Don’t forget that the scrutiny that you’re putting THEIR profile through is the SAME degree of scrutiny that THEY have put YOUR profile through]. If their list of connections looks kosher or if they’re connected to people you know, then you’re far more likely to accept their invitation to connect – aren’t you?
- Include testimonials. This is something else that LinkedIn allows you to do, and something we are quite shy about doing. But surely there are three or four clients out there who would be happy to give you a great recommendation, even if you don’t mention them by name, but simply get their permission to mention what industry they are in – for example: group vice-president, banking industry.
These are great components in building people’s impressions of whether you are trustworthy, whether you have a solid reputation (based on other people’s word of mouth recommendations), and whether they might be able to get on with you – based on the fact that people they know associate with you.
Remember those all-important 4 seconds that we have within which to get and keep someone’s
attention? Well, Wikipedia tells us that most of us can read about 180 words per minute on a
screen (Wikipedia, Words Per Minute). This means that we have about 45 words in which to grab someone’s attention. Eek! [BTW: This paragraph is 54 words long]
It makes sense, then, to start by telling them what you can do for them and that your first sentence contains a clear, concise, compelling statement about your niche. You need to tell them what you do in a nutshell – literally.
I developed a series of “sentence starters” for my coaching clients who were stuck for what to
say in their profiles (you don’t have to complete or use them all – they’re just there to get you started):
• If you’re struggling with…
• Have you ever had a tough time…?
• When you find that…
• My expertise lies in…
• My methodology and approach include…
• Other tools that I use to get the best results are…
• I specialize in…
• My passion is…
• I am inspired by…
• My clients include…
• I have a background in…
• My training includes….
• The models I use include….
• Some of my best strengths and attributes are…
• My clients have the following to say…
• As your coach, I will…
• In addition to coaching, I…
• I am a member of…
• I am accredited with…
Articles on finding and defining your niche
- Defining your niche
- Define your coaching niche
- Why should you niche?
- What is a niche, and what makes a good niche?
- 5 steps to defining your coaching niche
- Niche is the new mainstream
- To niche or not to niche: the raging debate
- Ikigai your niche
- The neuroscience of niche marketing in your marketing practice
- To niche or not to niche
American Management Association. (2008). Coaching: A Global Study of Successful Practices (Current Trends and Future Possibliities 2008 – 2018. American Management
Hubspot. (2010, April). Marketing Data: 50+ Charts and Graphs of Original Marketing Research. Retrieved from www.hubspot.com.
Susan T. Fiske, A. J. (2006). Universal dimensions of social cognition: warmth and competence. Trends in Cognitive Science Vol 11 No 2 , 77 – 83.