LinkedIn Name And Headline

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In this 8-minute video, recommendations are made for how to structure the name and headline in a professional’s LinkedIn profile.


Hi, there. My name is Andrew Schiestel. Today’s conversation is about recommendations for the structure of a name and headline in a LinkedIn profile. Although the topic optically certainly sounds obvious when you think about it. The name is one of the first things we learn. Our own name is one of the first things we learn linguistically when we were very young. It’s an important topic nonetheless, because the name and the headline are key elements in distinguishing your profile, which supports your brand, the awareness of your brand. When someone is landing on a LinkedIn profile, everyone, if not close to everyone, is going to read a name and everyone, if not close to everyone, is going to read a headline. It’s above the fold on the LinkedIn profile. It’s a real primary element of a user’s profile. When a professional is making posts on LinkedIn, in addition to the picture, the name, and the headline also shows up with every post. If they’re commenting on a thread within a post that they made, or commenting on others’, or if they’re in any way engaging with content on LinkedIn, when what they’re engaging with shows up on someone else’s newsfeed, in addition to the profile picture, the name and the headline shows up.

So it’s an important topic. Sometimes in making recommendations and thinking about what to do on a particular topic in general, it’s useful to talk about what not to do. There’s this practice that is out there. It’s not that most people are doing it, but it’s happening enough that it’s a common practice. It’s this practice where—you’ve probably seen this—users will put these special characters. Professionals will put these special characters around their name, or in their name or their headline, like stars and stuff, the digital representation of a star. Thought has really gone into this when you think about it. Personally, I don’t even… If you ask me, “Can you quickly create a star on a keyboard, a shortcut kind of way?” I wouldn’t know how to do it. I’d probably have to go to Google first and research it. Some thought has gone into this. There’s these special characters that quite a few professionals put in their names and headlines on LinkedIn.

It’s presumed why they’re doing it is they want to have their profile pop out more amongst metaphorically a sea of different posts, and peers, and other professionals out there that are also using LinkedIn, but it’s not recommended to do that. To use another metaphor, it would be like a lawyer walking down a main street in a city banging a drum, not for charity, not for a parade, for business, for marketing reasons, banging a drum. That wouldn’t work in that setting. People would probably say things like, “Why is he banging a drum? Why is he trying so hard?” It just wouldn’t be the most effective way to actually build a successful practice if you were a lawyer in that case or any kind of professional services person in that case. That is a metaphorical equivalent to what’s occurring when people are using special characters within their name and within their headline, special meaning that’s actually not part of their name. It’s probably not on their birth certificate, and probably in most cases, it’s not on their business card. It’s not really how they identify themselves. Short-term, sure, that might be helping them stand out, but it probably doesn’t help get business because someone, again, is going to go back and say, “Why is that person doing this? Why are they trying so hard?”

What is recommended is to really type out your name for the name area. There are certainly situations where certain professionals have accreditations, and there’s abbreviations that can go with that. It could be as simple as having an undergraduate degree, and then you can get into the different professional certifications, graduate-type degrees, etc., industry specific certifications. What’s recommended there is think about what will actually be useful for prospects and clients to know about your name. But try to come from what is the least amount of abbreviations that will matter in that case with your prospects and clients, because some users really get carried away. And it can be distracting, because it can take over a large part of that area that you really want to get your name across for branding purposes, and it’s harder for other users to link to you as you’re engaging more out there, and building your brand, and building connections with others.

So the recommendation is use abbreviations if you think it really matters for clients and prospects, but use the least amount that you can in that setting while still knowing that that’s helpful for your clients and prospects, that will help with sales, and you know that that would be a distinguishing factor in them making a decision to contact you or not. With the headline, the recommendation is your title and your company name. Play the long game with LinkedIn, social media in general. To be successful and to really build up that brand profile and to really have a strong network, you have to think from a long-term perspective. That’s why it’s really discouraged to do these special characters that we covered earlier, because that’s short-term thinking. Have your title and your company name come up every time and your name come up every time when you’re making posts and engaging with other posts. That is going to help more people know you in the future. It’s simple, but it helps when you approach it from that long-term perspective.

I hope today’s conversation was helpful for you. If you have any questions or comments, please leave them in the comments section below. I always love to hear from you, and I look forward to connecting with you soon again.

Take care.

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