14 Ways I Maximized My LinkedIn Profile & Won Clients Without Pitching
When you start your freelance business, your highest-priority is getting clients. There are several effective ways to network clients: cold emails, sales letters, networking in FB Groups, and by attending physical events (if COVID ever ends).
But what if I told you there was a way to increase your chance of getting new clients that doesn’t involve pitching at all?
Well, there is a way (otherwise this post wouldn’t exist, right?), and it involves the very popular social platform: LinkedIn. I know that prior to starting my own business, I honestly couldn’t care less about LinkedIn (I don’t really enjoy social media management at all, to be honest).
To me, LinkedIn was this boring, sterile platform where you created an account because your manager asked you to so you’d like and share their random posts.
(if you can’t tell, I’m a little jaded from my time in the corporate world, lol)
But when I started my Freelance business, my mindset totally changed after doing some research and learning from some more experienced freelancers. After implementing the 14 steps discussed below, my LinkedIn profile not only makes me look UBER professional, but actually helped me secure clients who reach out TO ME.
I’ve had multiple clients cold-contact me to ask if I’m interested in taking on their projects, and I never had to send one pitch- or even connect with them at all.
Because I optimized my profile in such a way that I appeared in their searches, and my profile highlighted my skills and expertise.
Now, while I can’t PROMISE that you’ll automatically start seeing PMs flooding your inbox, I CAN guarantee that investing effort and TLC into your LinkedIn profile will ABSOLUTELY benefit you in the long-run. Trust me.
Without further adieu, let’s discuss how to optimize your LinkedIn profile in 2021 [Freelancers Addition]!
Number 1 | Choose Your Profile Picture Wisely
We’ll start with the easy step first, but this is SO IMPORTANT. I cannot emphasize enough how critical this very first step is. I’d wager that, even if you did everything else I discuss on this list, but don’t make an effort in your profile pic… nothing else will matter.
You need to make the best impression possible, and that means you MUST have a professional picture of yourself as your LinkedIn profile picture. While this is a social platform, this is a platform for networking and marketing yourself. Don’t use personal photos of you and friends- or a half-assed selfie. If you don’t present yourself seriously, no one will take you seriously.
Now, I’m not saying that you have to use a stuffy yearbook picture-style image, but it NEEDS to look professional. As an example, the other day I was searching for leads on LinkedIn, and came across one profile who had a pic of herself cuddling a ginormous amount of puppies.
But because the photo was professionally shot (done with intent), it looked awesome and really helped show-off the kind of person she was without taking away from her professionalism.
By all means get creative, just make sure it looks professional. For example: my LinkedIn picture is a carefully shot & edited selfie (I didn’t have anyone to lend me a hand while the light was still good lol). I posed myself in front of a solid-ish background, messed with the settings on my phone, and it’s done me fine thus far.
I WILL be getting better shots soon because I think it’s a little boring, and doesn’t reflect my brand as well as I’d like. However, it doesn’t distract or detract from my page, so as you can see, it doesn’t have to be anything fancy to work.
Number 2 | Make Sure You Blog Platform Is Linked To Your LinkedIn Profile
You should treat LinkedIn like any other social media platform. Engagement leads to traffic and the establishment of your expertise. The easiest way to do that, is by making sure your blog hosting site is linked to your LinkedIn (I use WordPress so it’s pretty easy).
That way, whenever one of my new blog posts goes live, all of my followers on FB, Instagram, Twitter, AND LinkedIn are notified with a post and a link they can check out (without me having to do extra work).
Number 3 | Use Your Copywriter Brain When Writing Your LinkedIn Copy
Treat writing the copy on your LinkedIn profile like the copy you’d write for a client. Say as much as you can in as few words as possible, be consistent in your brand voice, and be a solution to a problem.
You don’t need a huge wall of text in your About section on LinkedIn, that’s what your website is for. So sit down and be merciless with your editing. I’ll have another tip to help you along a little later.
Number 4 | Engage With Relevant Content
Again, LinkedIn is SOCIAL MEDIA, so make sure you take some time to engage with your community and your connections. Like their posts, comment with strategic and impactful comments. Be… social.
I’ll be very honest with you, this is an area that I lack (as I said, I really find social media frustrating, and it’ll be the first aspect of my business that I outsource). However, it is really important, so do your best to engage with your connections/followers.
Number 5 | Treat Your Headline like Hashtags
One important aspect of optimizing your profile has to do with using keywords. As you can see in the image below, my headline section is all about keywords, thus making it SUPER easy for other business owners to find me.
I don’t clutter up the headline, I just make it clear what problems I solve/services I provide. People know exactly who they’re dealing with. So keep it clear and concise, just like all copy.
Number 6 | Ask For Recommendations From Past Clients
So a really cool feature on LinkedIn is the “recommendations” section. This is where your colleagues, past employers, and clients can write you a recommendation (just like a testimonial).
Since you should be requesting testimonials from past clients regardless, why not instead ask for a LinkedIn Recommendation? You can still use it on your website, but having that added social proof on LinkedIn is a HUGE boost to your credibility.
Number 7 | Repurpose Your Blog Content For LinkedIn Articles
This might seem redundant based on Number 2, but it isn’t at all. LinkedIn allows you to create “Article” posts, and LinkedIn acts like it’s own blogging platform.
This is insanely easy to do. Just choose one of your blog posts from your website (that are also relevant to the types of contacts you’d like to make), and copy and paste into the LinkedIn Article editor!
After that, you can publish your article, and now one post is doing double-duty establishing your expertise and keeping your profile fresh and relevant.
Number 8 | Create A LinkedIn Business Page
Along with your LinkedIn Profile, create a LinkedIn business page. It’s super easy, and it’s a great way to really broadcast that you are a professional that takes your work and your business very seriously.
Number 9 | Fill Out ABSOLUTELY EVERY Field You Can
Leave no stone unturned wherever possible, my friends. Don’t be shy about your accomplishments, and take time to really review all of the possible sections you can include on your LinkedIn Profile.
The way I like to think of LinkedIn is: it’s like my data sheet (or character sheet if you’ve ever enjoyed a certain table-top RPG game). So don’t be shy about filling out fields. Really sit down and find every possible avenue where you can establish yourself.
Number 10 | Make Your About Section Concise, But Authentic
While I just said that LinkedIn is more about the data, it is okay to imbue a little of what makes you “you” into your copy. Show some of your personality, but just keep it short, sweet, and to the point.
Quite frankly, I think your LinkedIn “About” section is an ideal place for your USP. Though if yours is a bit long- like mine, lol- I’d do what you can to trim it down. The whole point is to make it quick and clear what you’re about.
And don’t be afraid to take stances on social issues that matter to you.
I make it very clear on all of my social channels that Kopy By Kenz supports BLM and our LGBTQ+ community- my LinkedIn is no different.
Number 11 | Add Articles & Posts To Your “Featured” Section
After you’ve repurposed and published some articles to LinkedIn, or if you have posts you’re particularly proud of, you can showcase them in your “Featured” section.
It’s a great way to get people’s attention, and show off some of your favorite content that really makes you look like a rockstar.
Number 12 | Ask For Endorsements
Endorsements are not the same as Recommendations. Instead, your connections can review some of your skills, and LinkedIn allows them to “endorse you” for that skill.
So reach out to some past work friends or clients you have a good relationship with, and see if they’re willing to endorse you on one of your relevant skills!
Number 13 | Make Friends
I’m gonna say this again for the umpteenth time. LinkedIn is SOCIAL MEDIA, and that means we have to get a little social. Trust me, I’m an introvert, and I get that it’s awkward.
However, find some peers in your field (not necessarily clients, either), and start building a relationship. You never know where those connections could lead, and it’s always nice to form some bonds with fellow freelancers!
Number 14 | Don’t Be Afraid To Be Yourself
Above everything else, be true to the person and business owner you want to be. Don’t be afraid to take a stand, or show off your personality. Just be strategic if you’re gonna toss in some flavor. Don’t lose sight of what you’re trying to accomplish: getting in front of the people who YOU want to work with.
Go Forth & Conquer LinkedIn
I hope this post has shone some light on just how important LinkedIn is when building your freelance business. There’s absolutely no reason not to invest the effort- especially when the potential for clients increases without you having to do outreach.
Even if you don’t spend much time on other social media platforms, make sure you invest time into your LinkedIn.
You got this, and I’d love to connect with you! If you wanna be LinkedIn pals, here’s my profile page!
Can’t wait to have ya in my networks!