You already know that in corporate world, you only get one chance to make a first impression. But what you may not know, is that the “you” who is reading this may not in fact get that opportunity – your LinkedIn profile might beat you to it!

Indeed, more frequently than ever before, everyone from prospective clients and customers to potential business partners and associates are “checking you out” on LinkedIn, which is by far the world’s largest professional networking site with over 200 million members who visit more than 50 million times a week. What’s more, these people are forming opinions, making judgments, and coming to conclusions about you long before you have the chance (if ever!) to say hello over the phone or email, or go in for a hearty handshake or friendly fist pump in person.

Clearly, it’s in your best interest to have an outstanding LinkedIn profile — one that makes the fantastic first (and second…and tenth) impression that YOU want to convey. But how do you create this kind of elite profile? It’s simpler than you think – just focus on these 6 keys:

1. Create a Killer Headline

If your headline suffers from dreaded SOSO (“same old, same old”) syndrome, then to paraphrase Sun Tzu: you’ve lost the battle before it has even begun. Avoid this cruel fate by having a catchy, unique and bold headline that sets you apart, and positions you as someone that people want to connect with. It can also help to put your email address in your headline, so that you send the message that you’re accessible and responsive.

2. Add Relevant Keywords

Be sure to use relevant keywords in your headlines, and throughout your profile (which we’ll get to in a moment). Keywords aren’t just SEO friendly, but they help you stand out in a search.  They also send the signal that you’re digitally savvy, which is certainly a characteristic that you want associated with your personal brand.

3. Write a Focused – and Fantastic – Profile

You know that blurb that might be on your resume – the one that describes your skills in pretty straightforward, ordinary terms? Keep it far, far away from your LinkedIn profile. Yes, people want to know what you’ve done and what you’re good at. But they aren’t leafing through resumes. They want to be impressed and engaged by something unique, authentic and written by a real person (a.k.a. YOU!). There’s so much possibility with LinkedIn to put personality in your profile. You can add photos, videos, special recognition, and so much more. And don’t be afraid to toot your own horn, either. If you don’t believe in your abilities and strengths, how can anyone else?

4. Get a Professional Headshot

I can’t emphasize this enough: if your photo is from the year 2008, or depicts you on a picnic, on a cruise, at the beach, or anywhere else that doesn’t convey the words “professional, poised and confident” then it’s time for a new headshot. As you already know, a professional image counts! Invest in a headshot or professional picture that does your personal brand justice.  You’ll turn heads, and what’s more, people will come up to you at conferences and meetings and say with warmth and familiarity that “they recognize you from your LinkedIn photo!”

5. Ask Others for a Pat on the Back

One of the best features of a LinkedIn profile is the “Recommendations” section. Build credibility with endorsements by asking for recommendations from colleagues, clients and partners. Every positive comment helps build your brand. And of course, remember to recommend others, too – “paying it forward” it always a good policy. Plus, believe it or not, but some people will want to see how you recommend others – so keep that in mind!

6. Keep it Current 

Things move ultra-fast in the corporate world, and it’s easy to let your LinkedIn profile gather dust and grow out of date. It’s essential that you stay on top of this, and ensure that your profile is updated at least weekly. Plus, be sure to join groups, contribute, post and share information that members within and beyond your network will find interesting. As a bonus, the more value you add, the more you’ll show up on news feeds – which will increase your name recognition and exposure in the marketplace. Don’t be the best kept secret in your industry!

The Bottom Line 

A rockin’ LinkedIn profile is just one of the many ways to brand yourself as an expert in your field. Make sure your brand is consistent and noticed on all relevant social media and online platforms. You’ll attract more opportunities and increase your professional reputation by building communities who recognize you as a thought leader in your industry.  Use LinkedIn as part of your online strategy to stand out – and stay ahead!

PR, marketing and communications company Robin Samora Inc. represented and promoted Comcast (Xfinity) at the Boston Wine Expo on February 16-17, 2013

Through its “Partner Promotions” division, Boston PR and communication company Robin Samora Inc. represented Comcast’s Xfinity brand at the Boston Wine Expo, which was held on February 16-17, 2013.

On behalf of Comcast, Robin Samora Inc.’s Partner Promotions team engaged Expo visitors with information and demonstrations of the leading brand’s full suite of broadband products, which include: TV, phone, high speed internet, and home security and automation products. The Partner Promotions team also supported Comcast in managing the appearance of celebrity chef Tiffani Faison, who was runner-up on the first season of Bravo’s “Top Chef.”

“We’re proud to be Comcast’s promotional partner for over decade,” commented Robin Samora. “They’re an ideal client of ours, because they’re innovative, visionary, and far ahead of the curve in a very competitive marketplace. And it was a delight to work with them and help promote the appearance of their celebrity talent, Tiffani Faison. The response was overwhelming and it was great to see so many fans turn out to take pictures and get autographs.”

Robin Samora Inc.’s Partner Promotions division offers brand ambassador marketing for top-tier talent and leading organizations, including Fortune 500 companies. Its mission is to create a deeper engagement with audiences via unique promotional experiences, and generate a positive, lasting impression that ultimately leads to more loyalty, leads, sales, mind share and market share.

“By far the most exciting and rewarding aspect of the work that our Partner Promotions division does for our clients is that we’re actually out there interacting directly with current and prospective consumers and influencers,” added Samora. “While back-end strategy, consulting and planning are integral components of what we do, there is no substitute for getting out there ‘on the ground’ and really making an intimate connection with target audiences.”

Prospective clients can learn more about Robin Samora Inc.’s Partner Promotions at: http://www.robinsamorainc.com/partner-promotions/.

They can also take advantage of the communication company’s complimentary 30-minute PR assessment to discover the strategies, tactics, tools and methods they need to: get noticed, generate results, and create a platform that brings more ideal clients to their door.

For more information or media inquiries, contact Robin Samora at (617) 921-3448 or visit RobinSamoraInc.com.

About Robin Samora Inc.

Telling a story is personal. Sharing it is an art. Technology makes it global. Robin Samora Inc., a Boston based PR firm blends all three to take its clients’ businesses and brands to the next level. With clients like Comcast, WBZ-TV and Blue Man Group, and a roster of authors, entrepreneurs and experts nationwide, the firm prides itself on being a “Promotional GPS” that takes its clients’ brands where they want to go to be seen, heard, engaged and remembered. With over two decades of experience, the firm is as comfortable on major media highways as it is on out-of-the-way niche back roads.

When I was little, my Mom told me never to talk to strangers. I knew she had her reasons, and being the good doobie that I was, I didn’t talk to many of them — until I got older and realized, that I liked talking to strangers. Why? I never knew what to expect, and I liked meeting new people and listening to different ideas.

In my tweens, I learned how to harness the power of interaction and looked for opportunities to connect with others. My Dad owned a recording studio, and I worked there part-time, as a receptionist. I met actors, musicians, writers, producers, entertainers, sports figures, and teams of people that worked behind the scenes. Life, from my perspective, seemed full of drama. I watched, listened, and learned. I still remember the buzz.

Probably no surprise that I majored in Communications, and eventually loved talking to strangers. What did they do? Where did they work? What made them tick? How could they be so talented, or not – and succeed? Talking to people you don’t know, for years on end, can give you the ability to laser focus at a glance, and develop confidence to talk to anyone, at any time. Heck, talking to strangers can even lead to meeting new friends, colleagues, potential roommates, husbands, wives, even prospective clients!

This past month, I met two entrepreneurs at Staples and both will work with me. Had I not chatted it up at the Copy Center, I might have not met these wonderfully talented individuals with so much “intellectual property” in their vault. My guess is they’ll be earning interest very soon from an eager community who want to learn from them. And, they too, will most likely be strangers.

If you have an inner circle of colleagues and friends, you know who they are. Clearly, they aren’t strangers. But, the other five billion plus people who live on our planet are.

Who would you like to meet, talk to, and share insights with? Who would you like to work with, write for, or ask to dance?

In all likelihood, it could be a stranger today.

Tomorrow? You tell me.