LinkedIn is growing rapidly and is a great community to build a professional brand. There are several upsides to making sure you have an exciting LinkedIn personal profile.
Why your brand matters online
Your LinkedIn profile is like an online resume in today’s world. When people want to find out more about you, they can Google you or look you up on LinkedIn. It happens so often that LinkedIn can even send you notifications when someone has taken a look at your profile.
Because it is often one of the first things a person will check when looking to find out more information about who a person is, it makes sense to make sure that your LinkedIn profile gives a good representation of who you are.
And there are endless reasons for a person to look you up:
- A recruiter may be looking to headhunt you for a role
- A prospective client could be researching you and your company before purchasing
- A candidate might want to know about your employee brand and what you stand for
- A business might be looking for a partner who can provide a complimentary product to improve their offering in the market
- A media outlet could be prospecting for potential thought leaders to get a quote on an article
Loran Marmes, owner of MyMedicareSupplementPlan states:
“Your personal brand is the way you present yourself to the world, and LinkedIn is a great way to control and manage how you are perceived by others.
When you build your personal brand on LinkedIn, you are increasing your visibility to potential employers, clients, and customers. If you are in sales, for example, building your personal brand on LinkedIn can help you reach more potential customers.
Building a personal brand on LinkedIn will help you to make new connections with other professionals in your field. By engaging with others and participating in groups, you’ll be able to connect with like-minded individuals who can help you to grow your network.”
Finding a new job.
LinkedIn is a great place to find a new job if you are actively looking for a role. LinkedIn has a massive job board where you can search for your next opportunity. Job recommendations are based on your profile, so make sure it is up to date to get the best job recommendations.
Matt Post, Co-Founder at WCAG Pros highlights how branding improves your job prospects:
“LinkedIn has over 830 million users, which means there’s a lot of opportunity to build your personal brand and reach new audiences. Strong personal brands can open new doors, such as speaking engagements, consulting opportunities, or even job offers.
Your personal brand can help you gain greater influence in your industry. You can shape the conversation around important topics and be seen as a thought leader. It can also help you advance your career. Recruiters are more likely to be attracted to candidates who have a strong personal brand.”
Get your skills and talents endorsed by others.
When you fill in your profile, you have the opportunity to complete many things about yourself, including who you are, your work experience, and your skills. You can also get recommendations and endorsements from people who can validate that you can do what you say you do. Having that social proof gives your profile validation.
It can help you rank on Google.
What happens if someone googles your name. In many cases, the first item that comes up is a person’s LinkedIn profile. Even if someone is researching you without starting on LinkedIn, the chances are they’ll end up there. It’s best to lead with a well thought out LinkedIn profile instead of leaving it up to google.
Consultant and Author Sue Ellson expands on the many benefits of having a a strong online brand in relation to Google:
“You will be Googled before a job interview (75%) and before a job offer (95%) and if you personalise your LinkedIn URL, this will help you appear in Google Search Results.
You will also be Googled by everyone else, colleagues, boss, people at parties, long lost relatives – and you can ‘tell your story’ and ‘provide evidence of your achievements’ without having to be asked.”
Use it to keep track of all your professional contacts.
LinkedIn makes it extremely easy to keep track of all the great people you’ve worked with over the years. Maybe you need to speak to a great designer you remember working with a few years ago but can’t quite remember their name. If you keep your profile and connections up to date, you always have that Rolodex to fall back on when needed.
Having a complete profile is a great first step for getting more out of LinkedIn and gaining those benefits for your career.
How to build you personal brand on LinkedIn
1. Complete all the fields on your LinkedIn profile.
Use all the free real estate you’re given. Your headshot is the first impression of yourself. Make it approachable, professional and genuine. Use the banner to showcase yourself and who you are. You usually have to pay to get top real estate on most platforms, so don’t let yours go to waste on your LinkedIn profile.
Henry, Co-Founder at Starregister suggests:
“Build your LinkedIn profile and make sure you’re including all your contact details but only if you want people to contact you. Or add “No unsolicited enquiries” Link all your social media together with your LinkedIn profile so that your professional activities are easily visible on your LinkedIn profile, e.g. include the link to your Youtube videos in your LinkedIn profile. This might not be an option for everyone but it is an easy way to keep your professional activities linked together so anyone viewing your profile will have a sense of what else you do professionally and can easily click through.”
Damian Birkel, Executive Director & Founder of Professionals In Transition® Support Group, Inc. has some specific tips for completing your profile:
“Create your brand positioning statement by customizing your profile headline to reflect your unique differential advantage.
Make sure that the picture you include in your profile is a professional quality appropriate head shot. It will make your profile 7 times more likely to be found in searches.
Listing your 2 most recent positions stuffed with quantifiable, measurable, benefits will make your LinkedIn profile 12 times more likely to be found.”
2. Use media with your posts (videos, PDFs, slide decks, images).
Posts with visuals increase dwell time and engagement with almost all social media platforms. You can get more information across in a more exciting way. People like that. LinkedIn is no different in that regard.
However, one of the many unique things about LinkedIn is that you can attach PDFs and slide decks to posts, and a preview of the document is rendered in your post. Because people can read your content without having to open it, they can get a taste of what your document is about, and you capture greater attention.
3. The rule of thirds (promote, share, engage).
When looking at your content, you need to ensure a balance between the different types of posts you create. Fortunately, there’s a handy rule called the rule of thirds. It’s generally considered a good starting place if your content is ⅓ promoting your product or services, ⅓ interacting with others, and ⅓ sharing industry news and tips that you think could benefit your followers.
4. Choose an underserved niche.
Focus on an area where you have genuine interest and expertise that isn’t crowded, and start being the expert there. Find other people who are also experts in that area and connect and comment on their posts. You’ll most likely have more meaningful content to share and gain visibility from their audience.
Erika McInerney from Mac&Ernie highlights the importance of picking a content target:
“Start with what you want to be ‘known for’ and build your content around that. If you are consistent with topics you can start to position yourself as a thought leader. You can also use keywords and hashtags to teach the algorithms what you what to be known for and that can help you reach a more targeted and interested audience.”
5. Create an interesting profile.
It’s not only essential to complete your profile, but you also need to make it stand out. By viewing your profile, will people easily understand your area of expertise and what makes you different? Use direct sentences and demonstrative examples of value generated to stand out.
Having a clear purpose that people can understand from your profile can take your brand to the next level.
Rebecca Cofrancesco from Marketing Goodness expanded on this approach:
“The people who have the most success with their personal brand are really clear on what they stand for and the story they want people to remember about what they do and how they help.
With clarity, their personal brand story filters into all parts of their presence on LinkedIn.
It’s the backbone of a great profile.
You can control the story your profile talks about you.
A branded banner, your profile pic, the about description, and the publications and features you highlight (thanks to creator mode).
If you’re happy to be generous with your content ideas, ready to get social with people in your network, with a strong mindset of, “how can I help?” over “what can I get?” you’ll do well.”
This is backed up by Michelle Raymond at goodtradingco:
“In 2022, it’s no longer an option to be invisible online. Think of building your personal brand on LinkedIn as creating your Digital Twin. It will highlight your unique skills, experience and personality.
The best way to start doing this is to make sure that your LinkedIn Profile reflects you. It is more than just a two dimensional resume. By bringing it to life, you will stand out in the sea of same same and become a magnet for your ideal opportunities.
If you are a Founder of a business, share your story. How did you get started? Why did you create the business? The more people can relate to you the higher the chance they will also want to do business with you.”
6. Actively engage with people with similar interests in a genuine way.
Build relationships by following or connecting with people who have similar interests, and like and comment on their posts. LinkedIn rewards conversations on posts, and people will most likely respond to you if you have something interesting to say. Avoid clichés and be authentic. People are much more likely to engage with and trust you if you come across meaningfully.
Marty Spargo CEO of REIZE highlighted this point stating:
“Making meaningful connections on LinkedIn is one of the best ways to build your brand and expand your professional network. To do this, engage and connect with people in the same industry as you. Publish light and engaging content that would let people know that you’re open to being reached out to and signifying your brand. Ensure that the pictures in your profile are professional and appeal to your target audience. You can also send personal greetings and congratulations whenever you see one of your connections get a work opportunity.”
7. Find and engage with relevant groups.
There are a number of groups that cover all types of topics. Find the best ones that match your skillset and niche, and actively participate to build your brand.
Shiv Gupta at Incrementors, highlights the importance of groups:
“Joining and participating in groups is a sure way to boost your profile and grow your network, and you should desire to be a “top contributor” in at least one relevant group. If generating material isn’t your thing, you may still contribute to groups by commenting on conversations and offering your knowledge and skills. Check out the group statistics tool for information on demographics, growth, and activity, which may help you evaluate whether or not a group is beneficial.”
8. Optimise your profile for search.
Now you have your area of focus, you want to optimise your profile for that target group. Make sure the relevant terms, skills and tag lines are in your headline, About section, previous job experience and skill recommendations. You’re more likely to show up in LinkedIn’s search results.
LinkedIn is an excellent professional networking and branding tool. Take control of your online brand and reap all the benefits of having a professional and engaging online presence.