Face the Music: Your Profile Isn’t Working

social identity

What would Professor Harold Hill’s LinkedIn profile look like?

If you are trying to recall who Harold Hill is, travel back in time to the Majestic Theatre on Broadway in 1957 — or watch the 1962 film adaptation of The Music Man. I did the latter.

Hill is a con man posing as a band leader who sells instruments and uniforms to the people of River City, Iowa, with the false promise of providing music lessons.  Spoiler alert: he takes the sales money and runs (attempts to run, but, you know, there is that romantic interest who foils his plan).

Needless to say, if this took place now instead of 1912, his plans would have been moot. His online reputation would have ruined him before he reached Iowa. Bad Yelp reviews, no valid recommendations, probably no social presence whatsoever.  If he did go the extra yard for a LinkedIn page, there would be no credible reviews, endorsements, perhaps even connections. Absolutely no one in town would trust him.

Now if Harold Hill were alive today, and an honest Music Man, and actually in the business of creating a band, how might his LinkedIn profile and social selling approach look?

Harold’s Social Profile

Let’s set up Harold with a LinkedIn profile. It’s not going to be a resume, just showing his accomplishments and sales figures so recruiters can identify him.  The sales process has flipped since Harold came to town.

Buyers are having learning parties, and they’re not inviting the salespeople. – Jill Rowley, Social Selling Evangelist

A LinkedIn profile needs to be buyer-centric, Rowley said in a recent webinar. This means keeping your buyer’s needs in mind when you write it. A LinkedIn page is a chance to build rapport with potential buyers–or employers–so that when they view your page, they see you as an expert in your industry. They see you providing insight and acting as a thought leader in forums.  They are going to think of you when they need someone to… lead a marching band.

Since buyers are going to turn to other buyers, one of the best things you can have on your LinkedIn profile are some solid recommendations.  Nothing will establish your credibility better than a few sentences from previous customers. If Harold was able to create a world class marching band in, say, Gary, Indiana, nothing will look better than hearing an account of his success straight from the source. Don’t be afraid to ask for a recommendation either. If you have truly done a great job, then your customer will be more than happy to write a glowing recommendation.

Last but not least, Harold can further develop his reputation as a thought leader by developing and sharing content. As Rowley put it, mind your ABC’s (Always Be Creating content). Talk about the challenges in your industry through blogging, recording webinars, publishing white papers, etc.  For example, if the local youth are going to shoot pool and get in trouble, Harold might blog about the benefits of safe recreational activities (such as joining a marching band) to prime his audience.

About the Author

Greg Olsten is Ivy Exec's Sr. Content Manager, producing Online Classes, and Executive Intelligence articles.