One of the most under-used marketing tools for professional Bookkeepers and Accountants is their LinkedIn profile.
By using poorly chosen titles, vague descriptions of services, and badly branded professionalism, you can fail to get potential clients to click on your profile.
The good news is that you can probably fix it in less than an hour.
Start by changing how you think about your profile. It isn’t a resume, it is a branding tool. It is how you want to be viewed online in your professional life. It is closer to a website than a curriculum vitae.
I am constantly reminding bookkeepers that what we are selling primarily is trust, and that all our other services come second to that. Our clients need us to handle the financial transactions of their business, and they do not take that lightly.
Your well-written profile is the key to being found when potential customers are seeking bookkeeping services through LinkedIn. Because it attracts more business professionals than some of the other popular social media sites, the way you present yourself there is of paramount importance.
Before we go any further I would like to talk about one topic. And that is people saying to me…. “I don’t need to worry about LinkedIn, nobody searches for a bookkeeper on LinkedIn”….maybe, maybe not.
But I can tell you one thing for sure that once they have found you…however, that might be….they will, more often than not go to LinkedIn to see what they can learn about you, your company and your background. And if they cannot find you on LinkedIn it may give them reason to pause before calling you, or perhaps never calling you at all. Just a thought. ☺ Now, let’s continue with your profile.
Start with Your Headline and Photo
This is the most essential part of getting found.
Your headline allows for 120 characters, not much room, so you must be careful to make a branding statement as succinctly as possible. You need to stand out. Make sure you use popular search words to describe yourself, and definitely use the actual word “bookkeeper.”
Think about what terms someone might use when searching for a bookkeeper. Think of what you could say about yourself and your bookkeeping business. For example, all of this would fit:
Professional Bookkeeper, QuickBooks Pro Advisor, Tax Prep & Payroll-Experienced with small businesses and non-profits. (If you prefer to focus on a specific industry or niche you might want to include that also).
Be favorable to yourself, but not cheesy or self-serving. For example, don’t describe yourself as “Best Bookkeeper Ever” or Extraordinary Bookkeeping. Nobody is using those search words and it sends a message of desperation as opposed to professionalism.
A big mistake a lot of bookkeepers make is to describe themselves in terms of their business name. They say: “Addison Services, president” for instance, without using the actual word bookkeeper or Addison Bookkeeping Services. It has to be obvious what your product or service is.
Remember that your headline follows you, along with your photo, all throughout LinkedIn, so be sure it stands out and wants to be found.
Have a great, professionally done photo if at all possible. You need to look your best as a thorough, trusted and approachable professional bookkeeper.
Don’t settle for a grainy selfie done with poor lighting. Don’t pose in a t-shirt, tank-top, or shorts…be professional. Better you go without a photo than to use a family shot of you on your last vacation, especially the one with the hat that has cup-holders of beer on each side.
Make sure the photo looks like you. If you have aged considerably or changed your hair style dramatically, update your photo. It upsets people who have a mental image of you and upon meeting you, they discover you look completely different.
While we all appreciate that some people hate to have their picture taken and posted, keep in mind that profiles without photos do not attract as much attention as those that do. And a bookkeeper that won’t show their face is not sending a message of trust, the essence of your business.
Summary Should be Geared to Your Audience
The most important thing to do before you start to write your summary is to ask yourself one simple question: Why are you on LinkedIn? If you can’t answer that, wait until you can. Because with it will be the answers to all the other useful things you need to know before you write your summary like:
- Who is your target audience?
- What do you want them to learn about you?
- What can you do to help them solve their problems”
- What do you want them to do when they find you?
Once you have clearly established your answers and your strategy, building your summary becomes much easier. It is still going to take you about three times longer than you estimated, however, because it is a lot harder than it looks.
You have 2000 characters to hook your reader by telling them how you can be useful in their lives. You need to be clear about who you can help, what services they will get from you, and why you are the best person to help them.
Write in short chunks of content, not great long sentences that will put people to sleep before the first punctuation mark comes along.
Leave yourself room to add information about your most important accomplishments, your values and passions, your superpowers (and everyone has some) and your unique skills and experiences.
Spend some time looking over the profiles of your competitors and ensure that you differentiate yourself from them.
Do not fall into the trap of mistaking your LinkedIn profile for your resume, especially when it comes to the “Experience” part.
The idea there is not to list every job you have ever done. Instead, it is to carefully select some highlights that illustrate your capability in the field you want people to hire you in, as well as your exemplary character.
As a guideline, include only work experience that is relevant to bookkeeping or that contributed greatly to your knowledge base of business or non-profit management.
Include facts that also contribute to the building of your professional reputation.
For bookkeepers, if you hold a position of trust on a significant non-profit board or do things within your community that show you to be a person of character, include those as well.
And finally, remember to take a look at your profile on the LinkedIn mobile app and make sure you are happy with how it looks since a large percentage of LinkedIn users view LinkedIn on their smartphone.
I hope that helps a little. There is certainly more you can do to your profile but this will give you a very good start. Thank you for reading and we will talk again soon.
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