When it comes to social media best practices, there are multiple platforms — and countless strategies and tactics — to consider. But before we get into the more advanced tips and tricks, let's make sure we have a few important basics covered. Here are the five things you should check out and potentially update on your LinkedIn profile:

1. Profile Picture

Your profile picture is the first thing people see when they visit your LinkedIn page, and it appears alongside all of your updates. So needless to say, it’s important to get it just right and make sure your headshot represents you and your personal brand in the best way possible.

We’ve all had some success cropping out a significant other from an otherwise perfect photograph, but you may want to take it one step further. If possible, get the picture done professionally. Better yet, see if you can get an aspiring photographer friend to do you a quick favor. A quality photo of you in your best professional attire will let visitors to your page know you mean business.

By the way, the file size should be no larger than 4 MB and the actual dimensions should be between 200x200 and 500x500. Check out this article to see a great example.

2. Name and Headline

Your name and professional headline are just as much a part of your personal brand on LinkedIn as your profile picture, and both provide an excellent opportunity to showcase your unique qualifications and specialties. LinkedIn autopopulates your headline with your current position and employer, but you shouldn't just leave it like that. I recommend using that prime space to speak directly to referring physicians or potential clients. Here’s a concrete example to illustrate my point:


Name: Steve Smith

Headline: Physical Therapist at PT Clinic


Name: Steve Smith, Physical Therapist at PT Clinic

Headline: Experienced with physical therapy evaluation and treatment in areas of orthopedics, sports medicine, occupational medicine, pediatrics and geriatrics.

Your current position and employer are listed in your experience section, so you don’t necessarily need it in your name/headline. The goal here is to include as many relevant keywords as possible so that your profile shows up in searches when referring physicians or patients are looking for a physical therapist. If you need some inspiration to help you craft your best headline, take a look at this Forbes article.

3. URL and Contact Info

The default URL that LinkedIn assigns to your account probably isn't very pretty-looking and doesn't exactly roll off the tongue when you want to connect with a friend or mention your profile to a colleague or referring physician. There’s an easy fix for that:

Click Edit Profile > Edit Contact Info > Customize Your URL.

The closer you get to your name and the shorter the URL, the better. If your name is somewhat common, you may need to get creative or end up with a couple of numbers at the end of your name. That’s okay, but don’t get too creative. Remember, this is your professional profile.

4. Summary

Once you've made a great first impression with your professional profile picture and headline, elaborate on your expertise and special qualifications with a well-written summary. There’s no need to tell your life story here, but you should provide a fairly detailed (keyword-rich) description of what you do and why you do it.

Check out this page to see three great examples — or better yet, check out the LinkedIn profile of a friend or colleague who works in the same field as you. Sylvestra Ramirez, co-founder at Physical Therapy of Milwaukee, was kind enough to let me use her profile as an example. Check out her summary section.

5. Recommendations

Don’t be shy — ask for recommendations from former and present colleagues or supervisors, as well as patients you've treated in the past. These days, word-of-mouth marketing means social proof. You can request a recommendation, which would require your LinkedIn connection to write a brief paragraph or two, or you can ask for a skill endorsement, which is a much quicker and easier (one click) way for your network to validate your professional skills and accomplishments.

There you have it, five ways to improve your LinkedIn Profile. Do you currently use LinkedIn? If so, what advice do you have for keeping your profile in tip-top shape? Share your thoughts in the comment section below.