Writing a GREAT Profile

What makes a compelling profile? Research by Princeton University’s Department of Psychology into consumer brand loyalty and purchase behaviour released in August 2010 showed that people were the first brands and faces were the first logos. (Susan T. Fiske, 2006)  Between your profile pic and your first paragraph, you need to have built a sufficiently compelling relationship with the person reading your profile that they don’t bother to search any further.  Let’s look at some ways of doing this.

It’s vital that you include a great photograph of yourself in your profile.  Additional research conducted by Hubspot on Twitter, Facebook, Blogs and LinkedIn profiles shows convincingly that those with profile pics get over 200% more attention (and thus potentially more business) than those profiles without pics.  (Hubspot, 2010) One of the best investments that I ever made was to go along to a professional photographer and have some great photographs taken.

So now you’ve got some great pics, what do you say about yourself?  Ask the people around you what they’d be interested in hearing about?  So often, the things YOU want to tell people about yourself and what you do, are not what they find compelling.  Think about it…you’ve been knocking on doors and trying to get business without success.  Well, clearly you must be doing one of two things: knocking on the wrong doors with the right message, or knocking on the right doors with the wrong message.  Which one is it?  Test your message – test your profile.

We know from research (American Management Association, 2008) thatIn practice, according to Banning (1997) and Smith (1993), a company’s human resources department, a supervisor, or a friend are among the most common ways of finding a coach. Banning (1997) lists three important criteria in selecting a coach: trustworthiness, compatible
chemistry, and solid reputation
” (my emphasis).

This is exactly what needs to project from your profile: trustworthiness, compatible chemistry and a solid reputation.  How on earth do you create this on an inanimate profile?  Well, LinkedIn does a great job of this.  It allows you to do two really important things:

  •  Connect with people who will enhance your credibility.  Think about it: if someone that you don’t really know asks to connect with you on LinkedIn, the first thing you do is check out their profile and who they’re connected to.  If their list of connections looks kosher or if they’re connected to people you know, then you’re far more likely to accept their invitation to connect – aren’t you?
  • Include testimonials.  This is something else that LinkedIn allows you to do, and something we are quite shy about doing.  But surely there are three or four clients out there who would be happy to give you a great recommendation, even if you don’t mention them by name, but simply get their permission to mention what industry they are in – for example: group vice-president, banking industry.

These are great components in building people’s impressions of whether you are trustworthy, whether you have a solid reputation (based on other people’s word of mouth recommendations), and whether they might be able to get on with you – based on the fact that people they know associate with you.

The rules for writing a good press release apply here too.  In your first paragraph, you should include the answers to the WHO, WHY, WHEN, WHERE, WHAT and HOW.  The rest of your profile should just be additional detail in support, building trustworthiness, creating chemistry and cementing your solid reputation.


American Management Association. (2008). Coaching: A Global Study of Successful Practices (Current Trends and Future Possibliities 2008 – 2018. American Management

Hubspot. (2010, April). Marketing Data: 50+ Charts and Graphs of Original Marketing Research. Retrieved from www.hubspot.com.

Susan T. Fiske, A. J. (2006). Universal dimensions of social cognition: warmth and competence. Trends in Cognitive Science Vol 11 No 2 , 77 – 83.

About MH Consulting

MH Consulting is a specialist Marketing & PR Consultancy to the Coaching & Mentoring industry in South Africa. In addition to working with select clients who have approached us to handle their accounts, We run a specialised workshop: Market Your Practice Without Spending a Cent© on request to groups. About Megan Hudson (Owner): Megan has a degree in Politics and Languages, and spent most of her early career in the fields of Marketing and Advertising. She qualified as a coach in 2001, and ran a successful practice until about 2007. She is also a qualified Ethologist, with a degree through an Onderstepoort-affiliated body, as well as having studied Psychology though UNISA. She continues to reflect on the close similarities between the study of politics, and animal and human behaviour. Megan's guiding principles are Integrity and Aesthetics. In addition to having been retained by COMENSA (the national professional body for coaches and mentors in South Africa) on a national basis in Marketing, PR, Special Projects & Social Media on and off since 2009, she runs a number of successful businesses including a property business, a specialist marketing consultancy, a marketing training company (developed in 2001) aimed at SME’s but tailored specifically to Coaches & Mentors. Megan has also had an online business since 2004, which is an on-going guinea pig for many of the tricks that she teaches her students. She strongly believes in contributing to her country and to its growth, and runs her Marketing course free of charge for a number of non-profit organisations. Because it delivers immediate results, the SME's that she works with are able to grow their businesses, earn more money and create more employment.
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