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E213 | How to Attract & Capture the Attention of A-Players on LinkedIn with Donna Serdula

In this incredibly tight labour market where the power well and truly sits in the job seekers’ hands, how can you optimise your LinkedIn profile so that you make yourself (and your company) more attractive to A-players and job seekers? 

Don’t miss Donna Serdula, author of LinkedIn Profile Optimization for Dummies, and founder of LinkedIn specialist firm LinkedIn-Makeover, on this week’s episode of Mind Your F**king Business Podcast. 

What should you do as a company? More specifically, what should you do as individual leaders and hiring managers to try and make it more likely that candidates, prospects, even partners, find you and connect with you on LinkedIn? 

Donna details how people should be thinking about this. She shares what you as an individual leader, a CEO, should be doing. How often should you post? Should you put hashtags on? If you do, which ones? Should you share content that’s already on the LinkedIn platform? Or try to get people to connect to content off the platform?

To find out all this and more, download and listen to this episode today. 

On today’s podcast:

  • How to show up to prospective candidates
  • Selling the company culture in the description 
  • The LinkedIn algorithm
  • How often to post on LinkedIn
  • The golden hour 
  • All about hashtags


How to Optimise Your LinkedIn Profile to Attract A-Players with Donna Serdula

Donna Serdula is the founder and president of Vision Board Media, a professional branding company that helps individuals and companies tell their unique stories on LinkedIn and beyond. Bringing dynamic brand storytelling to the masses and empowering people to dream big.

She also runs the company LinkedIn-Makeover, where she and her team of over 20 writers and coaches help people collide with opportunity and transform their lives via future-forward career branding. She has also authored two editions of LinkedIn Profile Optimization FOR DUMMIES.

So just how do you attract A-players with your LinkedIn profile?

Telling your story on LinkedIn

It’s really hard for people to write about themselves, says Donna, really hard. But when people are checking your LinkedIn profile, they want to know who you are and what makes you special. 

“But people just simply copy and paste their resume. But it doesn’t tell the right story for most people. And so that’s what we do: we help people tell that story on LinkedIn.”

Don’t write your obituary, advises Donna, people are looking, candidates are looking, vendors are looking, potential partners are looking, investors are looking, and you have this ability to control how others perceive you. This is your chance to be strategic in how you tell your story.

And just what is the story that you want to tell? How do you want people to relate to you? What do you want to say that’s going to get people to think about you in a certain manner? To understand your strengths, your abilities, your skill sets, your value? 

And doing nothing isn’t an option. 

When you do nothing e.g. you leave your profile blank, or you leave old, out of date information up on your profile, you’re missing a tremendous opportunity, says Donna.

How to show up to prospective candidates

There’s two places to show up to prospective candidates on LinkedIn, says Donna, there is the company page e.g. the LinkedIn page for your company, and your individual profile. 

Your company page is where you should initially focus your efforts. That’s the area for your company, your logo, your banner, the description. It’s where you need to ask yourself – why are people checking you and the organisation out? 

If they’re job candidates, you might need to have more of your culture on display, for example include something in the description that lets people know exactly what you’re selling and why they should buy from you. 

But selling to prospective candidates doesn’t stop at the company page. One of the best features of LinkedIn, says Donna, is that you can click on a company’s people tab and see everyone who works there: their profiles, what they do, and you can run specific searches for specific departments and groups. 

“LinkedIn filters by employees, so that that potential job seeker, that person, that candidate can go in there and say, Who am I going to be working alongside? What does this team look like? Are they going to challenge me? Are they going to motivate me? Or do they all look like they’re looking to get out?”

Selling the company culture in the description 

You only get 2000 characters to write a company description. That’s not enough to write a book, says Donna, so you have to be very succinct. You need to think: what’s going to excite this audience? 

“I think definitely the mission, a vision, talk about the culture, maybe even go into what kind of people you are attracting. Who would be a great fit for the organisation?”

Think about what’s on your website and give them something different. What kind of story can you tell them here?

The LinkedIn algorithm

​​Most people don’t understand the LinkedIn algorithm, says Donna. They think they need to post like they would post on Twitter, or even Facebook. But when they do and nothing happens, e.g. they don’t get any engagement, they worry that it’s bad and they stop. But that’s the worst thing you can do, advises Donna. 

“The LinkedIn algorithm is very picky. It’s looking for very specific things. And if you can craft content that gets people doing the things that the algorithm is looking for, your posts will be successful, you’re going to get likes, you’re going to get engagement, you’re going to get those comments. And you’re going to start to see traction. But unfortunately, people aren’t waiting long enough, they’re not figuring it out. And they’re getting off before anything really happens.”

Also, the algorithm behaves slightly differently on a company page than it does on a personal page. It’s a little harder on a company page, says Donna, it’s easier to get your content seen when you post from your personal page. 

Filling in your personal profile

LinkedIn is a search engine, says Donna. It’s a database of professionals for professionals. And LinkedIn wants to give accurate search results just like Google. If Google’s not giving great search results, people will use a different search engine. And LinkedIn is the same. 

There are recruiters, there are hiring managers, there are people just searching LinkedIn. And LinkedIn wants to make sure that those search results are accurate and fresh, that they’re not stale, rather they’re complete. 

And so the more of your profile you fill out, the fresher it is, i.e. it’s been updated within the last couple of weeks, the more your profile will pop up. And when it pops up, says Donna, that’s when you typically collide with opportunity.

If you don’t have something to put in every section, of course leave them blank, but where possible, fill them out. And at the very least, says Donna, make sure you populate the background graphic, don’t leave it blank, and upload a great looking profile picture. 

“The headline is another area which is a great area, because it should act as a headline. It follows you all over LinkedIn. All of your activity on LinkedIn is stamped with your picture, your name and that headline. So you want to have a really great headline that would make a person want to click to learn more about you.”

How often to post on LinkedIn

Unlike Twitter, you don’t want to post every 90 seconds, advises Donna. 

“Post once every 24 hours, at most once every 24 hours. With LinkedIn, those posts live a lot longer than any other network out there. So you could post once a week, once every two weeks. And that post could live for a number of days, popping up on different people’s LinkedIn feeds.”

Where possible link to things on LinkedIn, don’t direct your audience off LinkedIn – LinkedIn doesn’t tend to boost posts that have external links. LinkedIn wants people to come to the LinkedIn feed, they want them scrolling, they don’t want them clicking on external links and leaving the LinkedIn feed. 

“When you’re posting on LinkedIn post enough content so the See More link appears. And if you can get a person to click the See More link, that’s good with LinkedIn, because that shows that there’s some quality here.”

If you can, suggests Donna, get them to scroll down even further and have them react or comment on your post. These three things can undo any bad that might come from having an external link. 

“LinkedIn factors and dwell time – the longer a person dwells on the post, that conveys quality and relevance to LinkedIn. But it also gives the person a reason to stay on that post. And those posts tend to do well.”

The golden hour (or two)

At one time, you used to have what was known as ‘the golden hour’ whereby if your post wasn’t getting enough engagement, that post died a very quick death. Today it’s more of a two hour window, says Donna.

The way the LinkedIn algorithm works is it sends your post to almost like a focus group, says Donna. It sends that post out to a small group and then it watches to see how this small group reacts. That’s where that two hour window comes into play. 

If you can, advises Donna, ask for engagement on your post. Say something like: Hey, let me know what you think, or, I’ll meet you in the comments. And as people post and engage, comment and like, that’s when you start to see posts living longer, and appearing on more LinkedIn feeds.

Another thing Donna sees lots of people getting wrong is they go on LinkedIn and into send mode – they start to post, but they don’t engage.

“When I said you don’t need to post every day on LinkedIn, maybe post once a week, maybe post three times a week, but the days that you’re not posting, scroll through that newsfeed, that LinkedIn feed, and interact and engage. That’s where networking comes into play.”

All about hashtags

The sweet spot when it comes to hashtags, advises Donna, is a minimum of three hashtags per post, five maximum. 

“LinkedIn itself has gone on record to say three, other people have tested it and found that five doesn’t hurt too badly. What I have found is the more broad the hashtag, the more followers it tends to have. Those long tail hashtags that are so cute on Twitter don’t really work here.”

And finally, advises Donna, try not to use tools that allow you to post from outside the platform, as opposed to doing it yourself. LinkedIn prefers you to do it in real time. Posting something yourself where the post is generated from LinkedIn, these posts tend to do a little bit better. 

“With that said, it’s hard to do that. And so if you can, if it’s easier for you to plan your posts and pre-write these posts and schedule them out you might get dinged, but at least you’re posting, and posting is better than not posting at all.”

Book recommendations

Larry Kaufman – The NCG Factor

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