MMAM S7 119 Donna | LinkedIn Methodology

SOAR: The Four-Point Methodology To Maximize LinkedIn With Donna Serdula (Episode 119)

Patty Farmer podcast

In the modern world, LinkedIn is one of the most popular social media platforms among professionals. It is where you can connect with other business people, learn about new opportunities, and build your brand. It is also an excellent place to share your work and experiences and grow your network. How do you create a LinkedIn profile that attracts the right people in your space?

That is what our guest, Donna Serdula, talks about. Donna pioneered the concept of LinkedIn profile optimization, realizing early on that the LinkedIn profile was so much more than just an online resume. The LinkedIn profile is a fantastic branding opportunity. Listen to this episode as Donna shares the four-point methodology to acing your LinkedIn profile - Strategize, Optimize, Amplify, and Relate.

Click on the icon to listen to this episode on your favorite podcast platform.

Apple PodcastsGoogle PodcastsStitcherPodchaseriHeartRadioYouTubeSpotifyOvercastRadio PublicSoundCloudPocketCastsCastBoxBreakerTuneInRSS

Donna’s Gift: LinkedIn Headline Generator

Learn how to position yourself as an expert, grow your audience, and attract the right clients.
Click Here

Donna’s #1 Marketing, Media & Money Strategy

You can boost revenue by showcasing your subject expertise and leveraging your authority using your personal brand. Attracting people by giving great information is going to build your personal brand, credibility, authority and, ultimately, your pocketbook.


Leave a Review on Apple Podcasts

About Donna Serdula

Donna Serdula pioneered the concept of LinkedIn profile optimization, realizing early on that the LinkedIn profile was so much more than just an online resume. The LinkedIn profile is a fantastic branding opportunity.
A job change in 2006 led her back to LinkedIn as Donna looked for tools to help her build a sales territory. It was during this time she had her LinkedIn epiphany and forged her LinkedIn 4-point methodology. By integrating LinkedIn into her sales process, she found tremendous success.
In 2009, she walked away from her successful sales career and founded Vision Board Media and Donna and her team of over 40 writers have helped thousands of executives, entrepreneurs, sales stars, business leaders, and professionals from around the world create professionally branded LinkedIn profiles.
Donna is a business owner, speaker, and influencer and is the author of the book “LinkedIn Profile Optimization For Dummies”, published by Wiley and has been featured on Forbes, Business Insider, Time’s Money Section, Wall Street Journal’s Market Watch, LA Times, NBC, SiriusXM Radio’s The Focus Group, and many other news outlets.

Resources and Important Links

Grab Your Free Marketing, Media, & Money Assessment

Would you like a simple answer to the question “Where should I focus my time and energy to attract highly-qualified, ideal clients?” Take the FREE Marketing Media & Money Assessment and in 3 minutes or less you will know where you are excelling, where you could make a few changes and what steps to take to achieve massive results.

Meet Our Sponsor

The Marketing, Media, & Money Podcast (and magazine) would like to thank our sponsor Meg Schmitz, founder of Take the Leap franchise consulting company.

The franchise industry is booming as people look to diversify their income streams with essential businesses, without having to quit their day job. If you have ever considered what it would be like to own your own business with the security of a solid brand behind you, schedule a call with Meg. The conversation is free, and the insights are priceless.

SOAR: The Four-Point Methodology To Maximize LinkedIn With Donna Serdula

I'm looking forward to sharing an industry expert with you as well as the topic we're going to be discussing. We're going to be talking about LinkedIn. Some of you might be thinking, “What? Another episode about LinkedIn?” I'm going to tell you, the expert we have now, we are going to deep dive into LinkedIn from your profile, your “About” section, and how you're going to become part of a community, what you should post. What is LinkedIn looking for from you? Have you ever been asked that? Would you ever think about that? What does LinkedIn want from you?

We're going to dive into the different ways that you can be using LinkedIn for your specific business, how to use your voice, and what is the strategy to make it all successful. This is going to be the LinkedIn episode you do not want to miss. You'll come back and read it over and over again. If that's not enough, our guest is going to give you some resources at the end that are so good and so juicy that you'll want to read just for that. Let's dive deep right now. Let me tell you a little bit about her.

Donna Serdula pioneered the concept of LinkedIn profile optimization, realizing early on that the LinkedIn profile was so much more than an online resume. The LinkedIn profile is a fantastic branding opportunity. A job change in 2006 led her back to LinkedIn as Donna looked for tools to help her build a sales territory. It was during this time she had her LinkedIn epiphany and forged her LinkedIn Four-Point Methodology, which we will all talk about. By integrating LinkedIn into her sales process, she found tremendous success. In 2009, she walked away from her successful sales career and founded Vision Board Media and

Donna and her team of over 40 writers have helped thousands of executives, entrepreneurs, sales stars, business leaders, and professionals from around the world create professionally branded LinkedIn profiles. She's a business owner, speaker, and influencer. She's the author of the book, LinkedIn Profile Optimization for Dummies published by Wiley, and has been featured in Forbes, Business Insider, Time's Money Section, Wall Street Journal's MarketWatch, the LA Times, NBC, and many more. Let's bring her out. Donna, thank you so much for being here with me.

Thank you so much for having me.

I am excited. I have a lot of things we are going to talk about. I've been telling a few people that you are going to be on the show. I've had a lot of people ask me questions. “Make sure you ask her this and that.” Let's get started.

I'm ready.

Let's do this. I said earlier talked about your Four-Point Methodology. Let's start there. You've created this methodology and I always love that. A methodology is even more than a strategy. There are a lot of strategies and sometimes strategies could fall under that though. A methodology, to me, is something important and the fact that there are only four makes it nice and simple. Tell us a little bit about that.

We all want a soar to success on LinkedIn. We want to make it easy. Help me understand what I need to do. What are the points that I need to accomplish to find success on LinkedIn? For me, having done this now since 2009 as a business, but even prior to that, I signed up for LinkedIn back in 2005. I have all of these years under my belt. I noticed that it's not an overly complicated methodology, but it's a methodology nonetheless. You've got to go through these four points.

Once you hit these four points, you're going to find that LinkedIn, one, is not that hard. Two, it’s something that's very sustainable and fruitful. We take the word SOAR. This is an acronym. S stands for Strategize. Strategize means before you get on LinkedIn or start moving forward on LinkedIn, you need to have an idea of who you are and what you want out of LinkedIn. What's the whole point?

I would say to your audience, “Take a moment to say, I'm on LinkedIn because I want to find new business. I want to be seen as an influencer, a thought leader. I'm doing this for reputation management. I want people to truly understand the breadth and depth of my knowledge and what I bring to the table.” Maybe they're on it for a job search. A lot of people are on it for job search, but that doesn't have to be the only reason. There are many other reasons to be on LinkedIn. It’s having a good, strong idea as to what you're trying to accomplish.

What are the other three?

Once you know your goal, the next thing you need to do is you need to Optimize. Optimize means thinking about presence on LinkedIn specifically the profile. For a very long time, people would say, “It's your online resume. Copy and paste that resume in there. You're going to be fine.” That's like the worst advice ever. Most people, especially your audience, they're not looking for a job and don't want to be aligned to one position only. They're on LinkedIn for many other reasons. This is your digital introduction. It's your first impression and reputation. Ultimately, it should be your professional manifesto. We need to think in terms of the optimized piece.

Let's not only just tell our story, but let's think back to the S and strategize. Let's think about our audience. Let's think about their needs and our keywords. Let's think about the ways these people might be trying to find us. Let's craft a profile that is strategic to our audience, chock-full of the keywords that we believe people are using to find someone like us. Let's deliver an organic, natural, and authentic type of profile that gets people feeling confident, impressed, and intrigued. One that makes them want to learn more.

What's the third one. What is the A stands for?

The A stands for Amplify. Once you know your audience and you have a beautiful profile written that truly represents you, at this point, we want to start to amplify. The way to amplify is through growing our network. It's making sure that we're connecting with people and looking to see who's connecting with us. We're accepting their invites?

MMAM S7 119 Donna | LinkedIn Methodology

LinkedIn Methodology: Let's deliver a really organic, very natural, and authentic profile that gets people confident, impressed, and intrigued, making them want to learn more.

If it's someone that we don't know or don't feel is someone we want in our network, we're saying no. It's also making sure that we're getting followers, following people, and joining groups. We're making sure that we have a network. When we do start to post, as well as when people start to search for someone like us, we're going to pop up in those search results. Our messages and our posts will get seen.

The R?

The R stands for Relate. Now that we know our audience, we have that strong profile and network. Now we start to network and relate to our network. We start to post, engage and interact. This is where we're going to start to get noticed. We're going to start to get found. This is where everything starts to come together. This is when we start to get the traction.

Having that methodology puts it into clarifying what it is that we need to do. With that said, I want to break each one of those down. It's great to know the methodology. I want to make sure that before we do, sometimes it's good to know what not to do as it is to know what to do. I don't want to go into like what not to do on LinkedIn. You're going to tell us that. We're always thinking about, “This is what I need to do.” What we should be asking sometimes, especially, since the S stands for Strategize, is to ask ourselves the questions, “What does LinkedIn want from us? What are they looking for from us?” That's important to know as well.

I love this question. It's a question I'm rarely asked, but it's such a smart question. If you can give LinkedIn what it wants, you're going to have tremendous success yet very few people do. People think, “What can I get out of LinkedIn?” Truthfully, what does LinkedIn want out of us? Let's break it down a little bit. What does LinkedIn want out of us? They want us to give a strong profile. A strong profile is important because LinkedIn is not just a social network or a professional network.

It is a database of professionals for professionals and a search engine. People are using LinkedIn to find people. The only way to find people is through putting in keywords and hoping and praying those keywords are in those profiles so those profiles can rise to the top. You want to have a profile that does contain content. The more content you have, the more apt you are, and the higher the likelihood you're using these keywords, a recruiter, a hiring manager, a sales professional, or whoever might be using LinkedIn would be using in their searches.

You do want to have more content than you probably would even consider on your own in your profile. A lot of times people are like, “Less is more.” That's true, but more is more. The more words and keywords you use, the higher you are in search. LinkedIn wants you to be active. They want you to log in, be on LinkedIn, and use it. They want the content but they also know that you're logging in. If you're not logging in regularly, why would they serve your profile up for opportunity?

They don't know when you're going to be on there next or if you're going to ever check those messages. They want activity. They want you to be logging in. They want you to create content and be on LinkedIn, on that home screen, on that LinkedIn feed. They want you scrolling through. They want you to be absorbing, going through, and looking at the content.

When you're looking at the content, you're also looking at their sponsored ads. That's an important part. They want you engaged with that content, those likes, comments, and shares. Clicking things like see more and expand the post increases your dwell time. LinkedIn wants you to be doing this. They want you to click on sponsored ads.

That means more money in their pocket. It also means engagement. Engagement is important to LinkedIn. They want to see that you're on it and interacting with content. They would love to see you create content. Few people, less than 1% of their monthly users create content. They're hungry for it. They want you to create it.

That's important there. On so many other social media platforms, it’s a little bit different. That's why sometimes people don't realize how powerful LinkedIn is. The perception of LinkedIn is so different than what they think. They get caught up a lot of time in creating content. One of the things that I have found specifically on LinkedIn is that you don't have to create all the content yourself.

You can curate content, which to me has been a gamechanger. When you're talking about or trying to share your expertise, the way to do that is to curate content and share your authority and expertise about somebody else's posting. Give your opinion on it. Add a little bit more nuggets. Say a little bit more, and expand on that. That is the difference why sometimes when you see LinkedIn, you see people post great content with no interaction. You see posts where people post content and it's off the charts. They're doing something right.

This is something to pay attention to. LinkedIn wants its feed to be sticky. They want people to stay and consume the content. If you do curate content where you're saying, “This New York Times article is fabulous. I want to share this with my network.” It's an easy way of curating and providing the content. Do you think LinkedIn wants its audience to click that link and leave LinkedIn? No.

You have to be careful with the whole concept of curation. For a very long time, that was the going advice. It is still true, but you have to do it in smart ways. If you put those links in there, those posts aren't going to do that well. I also have found when you hit share and share a post, those posts don't do that well. I don't know why. It's the LinkedIn algorithm.

The LinkedIn algorithm is always constantly shaping, shifting, and pivoting. If a person posts something awesome, you're like, “This is groovy. I love it.” If you click “Share,” that post is not going to get as much traction as if you took that content and totally repurposed it, maybe giving a hat tip and mentioning the person who created it. That post is going to do far better because you were the true creator of the post and not sharing the post.

If you're creating a new post, the thing is when you're adding to that conversation, you want to make sure you mentioned that other posts and the other person. That person's going to come back, too, and that's truly going to have a conversation. That does give you that stickiness, but it also gives you the opportunity to add value. You're different and how you might have a different perspective on it.

MMAM S7 119 Donna | LinkedIn Methodology

LinkedIn Methodology: Once you have a beautiful profile written that truly represents you, we want to start to amplify. And the way to amplify is through growing our network.

People love that. People want to hear a different perspective. They want to know if this is maybe what the person who wrote the original post role was for that post, which is great. It's on their wall. They did that. You're saying, “I love that.” I never say, “Here's the LinkedIn,” and drive them away because that's almost a given.

When you see it all the time, people don't get that. They try to use LinkedIn like Facebook. They're not the same. Add more value and perspective to the story. That is important. It’s one of the things that has worked well for me on LinkedIn because sometimes people can get carried away, too. When somebody else creates content, I take that content and curate it. I have a hashtag that I like to use called #MyTwoCents.

Basically, it's my way of saying, “Here's what they're saying. This is what I'm saying, but this is my two cents.” I don't want to sound like I'm the end-all-be-all of everything because that's not true. I am an authority and an expert in what I do. People have to make their own decisions about what's right for them. It is always nice to get another perspective. It's a great way to start a conversation because now everybody's sharing their perspective as well. It walks away with being a well-rounded high-value post.

Something else to consider is with LinkedIn, they don't want you creating excessive amounts of content. They want quality and relevant content. When you look at your LinkedIn feed, you start to scroll through it, you're going to find that a lot of the content you're seeing isn't there because you are connected to the person. You're seeing the content because someone you know liked it or commented on it. That comment and like is bringing it into your network as well as a slew of other people's networks.

You could even have quite a footprint by simply engaging in the content. I'm not even saying, “Create a new post,” get in there, comment, and like other people's posts. You don't even need to share it because it's still going to go to other people that you know. It's going to hit their LinkedIn feed because you commented and liked it. Perhaps there's some type of a reason. You're commenting on something that is from a person you know, but they're somehow tangentially related to someone else in your network. All of a sudden, you're rising up.

Let's talk about the O, Optimize. There are a lot of different ways that people can do that. You mentioned something about making sure that you use hashtags and keywords. We've been hearing about this for quite a while. However, other social media platforms do it a little bit differently. It’s doing your work that you're using the right keywords. Let's talk a little bit about how you can increase your reach and how should we be using hashtags and keywords.

When we talk about the profile, you want to know or at least surmise, what those keywords are that a person might be using to find someone like you. Think it through. It should be somewhat if you're good at your business. It's similar words to what you would find doing SEO for your website. Figure out what those words are and organically use them throughout your content in your LinkedIn profile, areas to pay special attention to, your headline, your “About” section, your job titles, as well as the job descriptions. As long as it makes sense, throw them into the skills section of your profile as well. That's how you optimize the LinkedIn profile.

In terms of optimizing your content, now we're talking about hashtags. When I say content, I'm talking about when you're posting on LinkedIn. Before you dive into the posting aspect and you're like, “Let me come up with 2 million hashtags,” stop and start to think, “What are the ten hashtags that represent me, engage my audience, and index the content that I create on a regular basis?” It could be innovation, leadership, or business development. Maybe it's Autodesk products and niche, but figure out what you would think those hashtags are.

There are people out there who sell lists of hashtags. Ultimately, a hashtag is you coming up with a noun and putting a hashtag in front of it. What you want to do is figure out what are those hashtags and throw them into the LinkedIn search bar. Type in the hashtag, start to type in the word, and a drop list is going to appear. You're going to see that hashtag as well as a couple of different iterations of the hashtag. Choose the hashtag, and see how many followers follow it. The more followers, the better. Your posts will potentially do because there are more people who could potentially see them.

That is a good tip. That's a writer downer because I don't think people realize how important that is and how it will help you with that in LinkedIn. That's a great way to do it. When you're thinking about that, one of the important questions is, “How many?”

I have a quick answer for you. It’s from 3 to 5.

Where do you place them? Here are some of the things I get asked a lot in marketing. Should they be all at the end? Should they be through it? That is a different way to read.

What makes the most sense? What we found is it doesn't matter. You can inject it into your post or put it at the very bottom. I put it at the bottom.

I use them mostly at the bottom unless I'm starting with one if I want to let them know what they're going to get. Every day, I do a quote of the day. I started with a quote of the day and end it with different things that I want them to know. It might be a leadership code, so I'll hashtag leadership.

In that situation, that works well for you. I hit the bell on your profile. Every morning, I get alerted to your quote of the day. It's a way that I get my cup of coffee and there it is. It's like clockwork. It's always there. It always says quote of the day. I've been trained to look for it and know what it is. You did a great job.

Thank you so much. You mentioned one of my new favorite features. My new favorite feature that you shared with me is the bell. I love using it when I'm telling people like, “I'm going to ring your bell.” Let's talk about the bell, who we should choose to ring the bell, and why.

MMAM S7 119 Donna | LinkedIn Methodology

LinkedIn Methodology: Figure out keywords and then organically use them throughout your content in your LinkedIn profile. That's how you optimize.

In some ways, it works well with Amplify. When we think of the A, the Amplify, we want to choose an audience. We want to start to forge that network. We also want to think, “Who's out there that I want to pay attention to? Who is my tribe?” Maybe it's a target audience or a target prospect that you've been wanting to work with. Maybe it's someone who's a real thought leader in your space that you want to learn from. Maybe it's a friend who always posts fun, engaging content, and you want to make sure that you're always jumping in.

Whatever it might be, you want to figure out who that tribe is and visit their profiles. If you're not already connected to them and following them, make sure you hit connect or follow. Once you do that, you're going to see a little bell icon that's going to appear on the upper right-hand side, right below the background graphic, almost directly next to the name field. You click that bell. Once you click that bell, anytime that person posts, you're going to get a notification. That means you can immediately jump into that post and start to engage and interact.

A lot of times, I'm jumping periodically during the day into LinkedIn. I may only have ten minutes. Knowing that those people that I've chosen to ring their bell, it's easy to engage because I only have ten minutes. I don't have to look through my feed and find something. It supplies that for me. Can you expand a little bit on what is the difference? How would they use them differently? When to connect, follow, and ring the bell? The bell almost seems like follow a little bit, but it is different. Could you clarify the differences? Why you would choose one over the other?

To connect with a person means you're sending them an invite or maybe they're sending you an invite. The invite says, “I want you to join my network. I want you to be a first-degree connection.” When you accept that invite or the other person accepts that invite, that person comes into your network, not alone. Trailing behind that person is their first-degree network and that's second-degree network. They are coming into your network as the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd degree.

This is an important part because when a person is searching LinkedIn, they're doing a keyword-based search. If they're not paying for LinkedIn, they are searching the 1st degree, 2nd degree, and 3rd-degree networks. If you want to get found, you do want to be in as many networks as possible. LinkedIn has always said, “When you connect with a person, make sure it's someone you know and trust. Don't connect willy-nilly.”

The problem is for a very long time, the only way for a person to read another person's posts is to connect with them. They introduce the follow button. Think of connecting as someone who you know in real life, or you have some engagement. They know you. You know them. Bring them into your network connection. Let's see maybe there's another person out there that you don't know yet. You don't know them and they don't know you, but they are producing interesting content. Maybe you want to know them one day.

Hit follow. They're not in your network. You're not in their network, but you're going to be able to see and consume the posts and content that they're creating on LinkedIn, which is nice. Once you follow, you can jump into that post and you can like, comment, and interact. Before you know it, what happens? You're forging a relationship and you can connect.

I have people that I follow. Sometimes I follow people that are very selective about who they connect with, but their content is great. I want to see their content. If you follow someone, do they get a notification that you follow them?

I get notifications that 26 people have followed me, but I don't typically get a notification that says, “So-and-so followed you.”

What came into my mind is there are always the people that you want in your network. One of the things about connecting isn't just that you're connecting with them. It's 1st, 2nd, and 3rd tier. You're inviting them into your network. It reminds me of that cell phone commercial. “It's not just me. It's all the people behind me.” That's important. What about if you have a competitor? They provide good content. There are areas where maybe you have an opportunity to collaborate. There might be a gap. I'm in marketing and there's a huge umbrella for marketing.

When you think about it, other people would consider my competition. I don't. I like to follow them. When I'm getting their content, it shows me some of the things they're interested in. Eventually, sometimes they will be talking about something. I'm like, “That's the thing. That's the area that we have in common.” I'll connect with them and say, “I read this post.” You can start the conversation there. Following your so-called competitors could be a good strategy if you do it for the right reasons and the right way.

If this is a competitor that knows of you and you know them, you've talked, and connected, why not? Let's say this is a competitor that you both are aware of each other, but you don't know personally. You're in the peripheral. I would suggest following that person first. If you do choose to hit the connect, connect with a warm, nice message that says, “I know we share the same clientele, but I do believe in synergy and collaboration. I would love to welcome you to my network.” If you do it in that type of way, they're more apt to accept you. If you throw and lob them a cold connection request and you truly are a competitor, chances are they're not going to accept you.

One of the things that are super interesting for people who are in the media is we have a show. My podcast is Marketing, Media, & Money. I want other marketing people to come to my show. I want them to come on and share a different perspective. Maybe they do something that I don't do under that, but we serve the same audience. I would love to follow them because when they talk about something, I'm like, “That would be a great topic for a show.” There are a lot of reasons for me thinking about why I would follow them. It doesn't necessarily mean I want to connect with them per se. I do think following them for a lot of reasons could be a good thing.

There's a fellow on LinkedIn I'm absolutely struggling to remember his name, but he calls it collaboratition, which is a nice way of looking at it. You can still collaborate. There's more than enough business out there for all of us.

You're using your voice because it's all about being authentic and vulnerable. Those are the buzzwords, being authentic and vulnerable. It's also important to me when I'm connecting with someone that it’s someone who aligns with my vision, my beliefs, or the things that are important to me. I use that when I'm deciding who I want to connect with versus follow.

The reality is it is important about being authentic and vulnerable sometimes when you share your story. A lot of that vulnerability happens a lot on Facebook. For LinkedIn, what is vulnerability and authenticity when you're talking about sharing your story? What are the best ways to be able to do that and how can it be effective?

MMAM S7 119 Donna | LinkedIn Methodology

LinkedIn Methodology: The words that you've put together help others perceive you in a certain and deliberate way.

I've felt that with the pandemic, there has been a huge shift in how we relate to each other and communicate with each other. I've seen the shift within LinkedIn with the types of posts that we're putting out and which ones are going viral and popular. With the pandemic, with Zoom, with work from home, we're suddenly welcoming our colleagues into our homes. It's allowed us to open up a little bit more and blurred those lines between professional and personal.

We see that now with LinkedIn as we scroll through that LinkedIn feed. It is beginning to seem a little bit more vulnerable, a little bit more personal, and not as professional as it used to be. I do like to see posts that are professional, but still, have an element of the personal. There's a human behind there. I like the realness of it. The issue that I see is there are a lot of people that are a little too vulnerable and opening up.

One of the things that I always tell my clients is if you're sharing your story, that's a beautiful thing. People love that, but does it support your brand, who you are, and why you're there? If it does, that's great. To throw up all over and share what's going on, show that you're real, I don't know if LinkedIn is the place for that.

LinkedIn and the people love it. These posts get tremendous numbers of views, likes, and comments. There's this temptation. Let me fillet myself open, and put it out there. You might do well, but it doesn’t mean you should.

People want to talk about that. Are they the right likes? Ultimately for me, in every single thing I post and every action I take on LinkedIn, the question I asked myself is, “Is what I'm posting and sharing getting me closer to my goal and my objectives? Also, is it serving in the way that I want to serve and support?” I always have to ask those questions. It's not about, “This is the platform I can give my opinion because I know what I'm talking about.”

The thing is, does it serve someone for you to do it? Does it offer value? Does it get it closer to why you're even on LinkedIn in the first place? I was on the debate team in school. I was fabulous. You could give me any topic and say, “This is the side you're going to talk about and I could debate it.” You would swear that's what I believe. I know how to debate well. I don't think that means you should just because you can. That's important.

It's a fine line. I certainly don't want anyone reading to suddenly question whether they should post something or not. In the LinkedIn realm, there is something with the algorithm that you put something out there that's a little overly vulnerable, it does tend to do well. At the same time, don't feel that you have to do that. I would instead say, “It's good to be vulnerable. It's better to be authentic. It's better to give value, educate, help people, motivate, and inspire them.” That's where I would rather you focus on than the vulnerability aspect and feel like you have to slice yourself open and bleed all over the page. You don't have to do that.

There are a couple of things I want to make sure that we get to. One is I want to go back to the profile. There are a lot of people talking about how you should do your profile. There are a lot of opinions here.

There is only one right way. The right way is how you want to represent yourself.

A lot of times, you have to ask yourself, “What is the reason I'm doing it?” I took a course on speaking. This is several years ago. One of the things I remember is that they said, “If you want to get booked as a speaker, this is how you need to do your profile headline.” I had somebody else who came on the show once that was a branding expert that said, “You need to put something personal in your profile because you want people to have some type of conversation that they have.” It's important to do that.

I'm giving you three totally different perspectives. The third one was instead of using titles, “I'm a podcast host, a speaker,” you should use a sentence. I remember she was super strong about it. She said, “Your sentence should be something like, I teach, work with, help,” and it should be like the sentence so people would know what it is that you do. I have my own opinion, which I'm not going to share because this isn't a solo show. What I want to know is, “What should people be thinking?” Sometimes you do want to be found to get books. Sometimes you want to be found by potential clients. Sometimes you do want to have conversations with people.

There are a lot of different things. Let's talk about that. What should they put? I even see people all the time. There's even controversy about, “Should your name just be your name?” I understand if you're a doctor putting the MD, but I heard good and not so good about, “Should you put your title after your name in the name field?” Let’s talk a little bit about the profile headline. Give us some story there.

In terms of the headline, there are numerous approaches. It depends upon why are you on LinkedIn? Who is your target audience? What are your keywords? What's the most important thing? You have to know that. That determines everything after that. If you want to do it for reputation management, you don't want to have a salesy headline like that sentence. It's going to seem misaligned. You want to think about it. I have found that strategically utilizing keywords that a person is using to find someone like you, by putting those words into your headline, you're more apt to turn up in search higher and more often.

If you have a headline that is engaging, intriguing and does tell a bit of a story, it gives that person who's searching this feeling of, “This person's a perfect fit.” You're going to get more clicks, more opens to your profile, and more opportunities. These are the things that I know from having been on it for so many years. When I'm going through my network and I'm processing the invites, the person has a headline that's super salesy. I'm more apt to hit ignore than I am to hit accept.

I suddenly, “They're here to sell me.” That is something that salespeople have to recognize. If you come in full throttle with a salesy, “I'm promising you the moon and the stars,” in your headline, you may find that it's hard to connect because people see it and they’re like, “Bye.” I have a LinkedIn headline generator. It’s one of my free resources.

It is important to know that and get that piece because it's the first thing. You want to be found in the search.

MMAM S7 119 Donna | LinkedIn Methodology

LinkedIn Makeover: Professional Secrets to a POWERFUL LinkedIn Profile

Not only that, it follows you everywhere on LinkedIn. That headline follows you. Wherever there's your picture or your name, there’s your headline. It's in the search result listing, your messages, when you comment and post on LinkedIn, or if you recommend someone. It's everywhere. It truncates and gets collapsed, but it's there.

That is probably not the time to say, “I love shoes.”

Here's the thing, I do like that idea. If you use my LinkedIn headline generator, we segment the headline into a couple of different areas. It's focused on making a keyword-saturated type of headline. There is a section where we say, “Give me something personal or a hobby.” It's not at the top or in the beginning part of the headline. It's more towards the middle end. The idea here is to say, “I'm more than a professional creature.” It's a way of saying, “Here's a conversational topic.” It's a way of forging and finding commonality, but it's only one word in how we do it. It's also something that you can emit. If it doesn't feel authentic and right, get rid of it.

It works for me so well putting that in there. I don't know if it's because marketing is a big umbrella. At least 80% of the time, when people connect with me, they will make some reference to the thing that they wanted to connect with me for. It could be for a multitude of reasons. They say something about that line. They're like, “You had me with travel. I love puppies.” In the end, it says, “I'm passionate about travel, shoes, and puppies.” They always referenced one of those to me. It says a lot to me. It also lets me know that they did read. It is a qualifier for me. I loved that because if somebody says, “Your marketing is great. I hate dogs,” I don't want you as a client anyway.

They're not a good client. It's funny how it works. With that LinkedIn headline, I don't want anyone to ever think that it's my way or the highway. What I want from people when they approach that LinkedIn profile is to approach it authentically. Here's the thing, it's hard to write about yourself. No one wants to sit down and think about where they've been, what they've done, where they're going, what they represent, how they help, or what their value is. No one wants to think about these things.

The LinkedIn profile is one of the first things that you're going to run away from. You're going to find every excuse in the world not to do it. If you have a career vision for yourself, want a little bit more out of life, want to be seen, want to level up, and want people to respect you and start to offer you a little bit more along the way, how you choose to represent yourself. The words that you've put together help others perceive you in a deliberate way.

You can be the one that's being deliberate. This is how I want to be perceived. These are the words and the sentences. This is the content that I'm going to use to shape that brand, that persona, and that person. It's hard. I'm not going to tell you it's not hard. It’s hard. If you put the time in, you are going to see so much opportunity and a change.

I've never had anybody come to the show and share so many resources. If you look at that, it will blow your mind because she was so generous. It makes so much sense. You need to make sure that you grab those because they are so good. Where do you stand on emojis? A lot of times in the “About” section, you see emojis. Sometimes I see people speak in 1st person and sometimes in 3rd person. Which do you suggest?

In terms of emojis, I'm all for Unicode to an extent. I'm up for Unicode in terms of bullets and ways of breaking up content. It's not in this huge impenetrable dense wall. I find that's very hard for people to read. I'm all for an old-term carried returns and utilizing emoji, bullets, or Unicode symbols to group things and segment them out. I've seen some people use colorful emojis and it's lovely.

It works for some people. It depends on how you want to be perceived. It depends on what your brand is. If you're fun and have that silly quality, go for it. If you want to be perceived in maybe a little higher-level manner, you might want to say, “I'm going to use more circular bullets or a square to act as a separator, but I'm not going to go for something that's colorful or silly.” You had asked me another good question there. I like the second person.

Here's the thing. It depends upon the S in my SOAR, Strategize. Know your audience, and also know what you're trying to communicate. I do feel that for most people, the first person works well because it's your profile. When you do see third-person summaries, it's usually because they took the easy way out, copied, and pasted an old out-of-date bio. That's the reason it's the third person for most people. The second person works well if you're in a sales type of situation. The second person is not saying, “I do this. I do that.”

The first person is, “I like coffee.” The second person is, “You like coffee.” The third person is, “He or she likes coffee.” If you're in a sales role, the second person where you're speaking directly, “Do you feel this way? Are you suffering from these issues?” The second person works well. If you are a high-level executive, someone who has accomplished amazing things, sometimes writing in the first person feels weird. “I've won an Emmy. I have the Nobel Peace Prize.” It doesn't feel right. Plus, at that point in that person's career, you've earned the third person. In that situation, I say, “You've earned it. Go for it.” For the average majority, don't go for the first person.

Thank you for clarifying that. Donna, you have been very generous with your knowledge and your resources. I appreciate it. My audience is going to want to connect with you. Could you tell us where your website is? Where do you want them to go, so they can connect with you? Obviously LinkedIn, but where else do you want them to go? Where can they go to get those resources?

Connect with me on LinkedIn, visit my website, There is a Free Resources section. I'm also crazy in terms of our services. I have our pricing. Everything's there. Nothing is cloaked. We're transparent in everything we do. Certainly, if you do need help with writing your LinkedIn profile, check us out. We're also on Instagram. It's @VisionBoardSpotlight. Tons of good stuff goes out on there. I'm restarting my podcast, Dream Big with Big Dreamers. It's under

Donna, thank you so much for being here. I appreciate it so much. I'm sure my audience appreciates it as well. You've been very generous in sharing your brilliance.

Thank you so much for having me. It has been an absolute pleasure. Thank you.

This show is sponsored by Meg Schmitz. She's the Founder of Take the Leap Franchise Consulting company. The franchise industry is booming as people look to diversify their income streams with essential businesses without having to quit their day job. To learn more and schedule a call, go to The conversation is free. Your insights, however, are going to be priceless. Thank you so much for joining us on the show. If you enjoy this episode and I am sure you did, please subscribe and review the show on your favorite platform. Thank you so much for being here. I look forward to seeing you again next time. Have a great day.