LinkedIn has become one of the largest social media platforms for business growth, but don’t underestimate the importance of a great LinkedIn headline. LinkedIn is a B2B goldmine, and with LinkedIn growing so fast, everyone’s trying to perfect their profile. Many LinkedIn users remember to perfect everything except for the first few words located right below their name: Their LinkedIn headline.
Whether you believe it or not, LinkedIn is the place to be if you want to build strong and meaningful relationships with other people in a business and professional context. It doesn’t matter if you’re a business owner, entrepreneur, freelancer, or a student, there’s so much untapped potential waiting for you.
Many entrepreneurs say that LinkedIn is where the money is. Why? Because unlike Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Youtube, the barrier of entry is very low. Several years ago, LinkedIn was just a platform for people to find jobs. They would post their resumes, connect with a few people, and that was it.
But today, LinkedIn has transformed into a content-based platform. This makes it a superior online marketing tool. The platform is still in its early stages. So the company has made organic outreach incredibly high and widely available to anyone.
In the wise words of Gary Vee, “LinkedIn is where Facebook was 5-7 years ago.” If you want to be ahead in the game, you want to have the first mover’s advantage while you still can.
With that in mind, in this article, we’re going to dive deep into why your LinkedIn headline is so important and how you can write a headline to grow your network, generate quality leads, and promote your personal brand.
First Impressions are Everything: It All Starts With Your Linkedin Headline
First impressions are a big deal. We all remember those moments in our lives where we instantly gravitated towards someone we just met, or were instantly put off by them. All it takes to form a lasting first impression is just 2 seconds, and at most 30 seconds.
That’s how quickly someone might make a judgement of your confidence, trustworthiness, competence, status and likeability.
Ryan Serhant said it best: “Master the art of first impressions. And make your first impression your last impression.” When you meet someone in person, use your tone of voice, body language, physical appearance, facial expressions, and eye contact to your advantage. All of these elements say a lot about you before you even say a single word.
But on LinkedIn, you don’t have any of those advantages at your disposal. The two most visible parts of your LinkedIn profile are your profile picture and your LinkedIn headline. Your chance to make a good first impression lies in those two parts of your profile.
Now, there’s no denying that a professional headshot, compelling summary, and all the other relevant sections on your profile are important. But the one little field that is far too often overlooked is definitely the headline.
If your LinkedIn headline doesn’t stand out in a sea of generic profiles, it could mean the difference between a person reaching out to you, or moving on to the next person.
The headline also plays an important role in LinkedIn’s search algorithm. If you think about the way SEO (or search engine optimization) applies to Google, then the same applies to your headline when the platform decides which profile it wants to showcase for different search queries. Here’s how it works:
- Optimized headlines = More search results
- More search results = More views
- More views = More opportunities
There are Two Elements You Need to Attract the Right People, and Repel Everyone Else
When we break down a LinkedIn headline into its core elements, there are two main things that really matter. The first, is showing up on LinkedIn’s search results for specific keywords. Secondly, you must express the value you can offer to people who land on your profile page.
While you want to increase your profile’s visibility and gain exposure, you don’t want to be the go-to person for everyone. If you think about it, most prospects that go onto LinkedIn are not searching for a person who can do everything or is an expert at everything. Chances are, they’re looking for someone who has the skills and expertise to help them solve a specific problem and produce measurable results.
For example, let’s say someone goes on to LinkedIn to search for an SEO content writer for their online digital marketing agency. And you are someone who can fulfill that role and you appear in the search results for that focus keyphrase. But the profile you’ve been working on for 2 weeks to showcase your great track record and your strong portfolio just doesn’t make the cut.
Why? It all goes back to your headline. If you don’t have anything in your headline to set yourself apart, you’ll just look like every other person that has the same skill as you do. So to sum things up, if you want to stand out in a sea of sameness, you need to show people what you stand for as part of your personal brand. This includes adding strategic keywords and offering unique value upfront in your LinkedIn headline for the person you want to attract.
Why Do Most People Get Their LinkedIn Headline Wrong?
There are 675 million professionals in over 200 countries and regions worldwide who use LinkedIn, so it pays to stand out and get noticed. With that many people, you can’t assume that a simple headline will capture your ideal prospect’s attention.
In business, attention is the new currency. This is especially true on any social media platform. Today, you can’t rely on only the number of views you get on a post or video anymore.
Just because someone sees your post, it doesn’t mean that they’re actively engaging with your content. The same principle applies when someone clicks on your LinkedIn profile. They could click on it and click away just as fast if the rest of your profile doesn’t compel them to read on.
Now, we’re not saying that view count doesn’t matter. We’re saying that it’s not the most important measure of attention. It should be measured in how much they’re actively engaging with your content. Because the truth is if you want someone to take action and choose to work with you on LinkedIn, they need to be compelled to do so which again goes back to your headline.
While the main purpose of your LinkedIn headline is to get the right person to click on your profile, you don’t want to waste the limited space you have on a common headline that looks exactly like everyone else in your niche.
Headline Mistake #1: Allowing the System to “Cookie Cut” Your LinkedIn Headline
One of the main reasons why most newcomers on LinkedIn have a bad headline is because it’s partly LinkedIn’s fault. It automatically lists your current job title and employer as the default. This means if you’re not aware of how important your headline is, you could easily glance over it and focus on every other part of your profile.
That formula is the most common type of headline you’ll find on LinkedIn. And if you recall what we discussed earlier, this kind of headline doesn’t do you any justice to help you rank for specific keywords nor does it add any unique value to differentiate you from everyone else.
For whatever reason you chose to use LinkedIn, you are unique. You have your own unique story to tell. And you have your own unique value to offer to the marketplace. If that’s true, why would someone pick you out of thousands of people who have the exact same headline?
LinkedIn gives you 120 characters to fill your headline so use as much space as possible to make a powerful and compelling headline.
Headline Mistake #2: Stop Wasting Space by Focusing on Your Own Needs
Let’s face it. The world does not care about what you want or need. People only care about how you can help them solve their problems. So let’s say you’re a new freelancer and you want to go on LinkedIn to find quality clients. The last thing you want to do is ` announce that you are seeking new opportunities.
Unfortunately, there are still many people on LinkedIn who resort to this useless tactic. There really isn’t anything unique or compelling about saying you’re “Looking For New Opportunities” in your headline. It doesn’t say anything about your skills or your value.
And in this case, if you are a freelancer with or without a lot of experience, one of the most effective ways to actually land a high-quality client is to offer value upfront. Depending on the industry you want to serve, look for ways you can produce results for your ideal client or someone who you want to learn from. You’ll have a much better chance to gain more experience and work with someone who respects you.
What Should You Do Instead, to Connect With the Right People?
Your LinkedIn headline is the first thing people see when you pop up in the search results. They don’t see your lengthy summary, your recent work experience, or your testimonials.
The only thing they see is your profile picture and your headline. These two carry the most weight when you want to increase your visibility and show up on more search results. Fortunately for you, there are a few easy things you can do to upgrade your headline.
1. Optimize Your LinkedIn Headline With Industry-Specific Keywords
Just like any other big social media platform like Google, Facebook, Instagram, Youtube, and Amazon, LinkedIn is simply a search engine. People will go and type what they’re looking for into the search bar and LinkedIn loads up a list of profiles it believes to be most relevant and useful.
The main way it can do this is with the help of focus keywords. Let’s say you search up “Digital Marketing Manager.” LinkedIn will present a list of profiles that match those keywords. In this case, “Digital Marketing” and “Manager” are both keywords.
Typically, profiles that rank at the top have those specific keywords embedded within areas of their profile that matter the most like in your summary, job description, experience description, or even articles you’ve posted on your profile. But most of the weight is carried in the headline.
So remember if you want to start increasing your exposure and visibility, fill your LinkedIn headline with relevant keywords in your niche.
2. Jam-Pack Your LinkedIn Headline With Authority and Credibility
Usually keywords are placed at the beginning of your headline. But it’s the second half of your headline that’ll really differentiate you from the rest of the crowd. If you’re in a position where you’re looking for potential prospects, then you’ll want to focus on building your authority and credibility.
The goal is for you to position yourself well in the marketplace. Now, why is it important for you to pay attention to your positioning? If you think about it, most people don’t use positioning to their advantage. Instead, they do a lot of prospecting and chasing people down for their services. The problem with this strategy is that it can be very time consuming and it’s much harder for you to acquire quality clients.
In some industries, that may be something you have to do which is fine. But a strategy that has worked really well for Dan as well the thousands of mentees he has trained over the years is positioning. It means when people want to do business with you, instead of you chasing them, you become the chase.
So what are some ways for you to establish your authority and expertise in your industry? There are many ways to go about doing this. If you’ve ever written for any note-worthy media source, or interviewed, or even produced specific measurable results for your clients, you can definitely add that to your LinkedIn headline for an instant credibility boost.
But one method that is so overlooked is being the author of your own book. As a young guy in his twenties, this is exactly what Dan did that changed the way he did business. The reason why it’s so powerful is because he became an author.
And if you look at the word authority, what similarities do you see? You see the word author. So when you become an author, you instantly gain a ton of credibility points because psychologically, you’re seen as an authority figure.
3. Paint a Picture of the Value You Can Offer
If you’ve already established yourself on LinkedIn, then you may not want to focus too much on visibility. Instead you should differentiate yourself by painting a picture of the value you can offer to your ideal client. This is especially important if there are already too many search results that show up for your specific keywords.
So to make good use of all the space you have to fill in your LinkedIn headline, sell your value and your services to the reader. You can think of this as your “mini elevator pitch”.
Earlier we discussed how attention is a crucial element in business. If we go a little bit deeper, there’s a lot you can do to get attention. But there are only two things you can do to get interest, which is ideally what you want.
- Solve a problem they have and don’t want.
- Give a result they want and don’t have.
Now, what exactly does that mean? The best way to explain this concept is with an example. Let’s say you are a relationship coach and your “mini elevator pitch” sounds like this: “I help people with relationship problems.” This is okay but we can definitely make it better. So it might sound like this: “I help married couples on the brink of divorce save their marriage and rediscover their passion.” Do you see how it speaks to a very specific audience now?
The idea here is for you to position yourself narrowly and reach wide. What does that mean? It means you want to narrow down who you are and what you do and who you serve to a very specific niche. Because when people come across your name, you want them to know you as the top expert in that niche.
Now, if you position yourself widely, meaning you announce to the market that you do a little bit of everything, then at the end of the day they will have no idea what you do. So always aim to be specific because that’s what gives your potential prospects assurance.
Make it Count: The 1-Inch Difference Between You and Everyone Else
With 120 characters, you can tailor your LinkedIn headline to your unique situation. You now have the power to massively set yourself apart from others in your niche. You no longer have to sit and wonder why your profile isn’t getting more high-quality leads.
Once you start to get some attention flowing to your profile, your next hurdle would be getting high-quality engagement. But that’s another topic for another time. If you found this article helpful and you’d like to learn more, follow me on my LinkedIn and let me know.