The way you position yourself online can seriously impact how quickly you’re able to advance professionally.
Whether you’re a consultant focused on building credibility with potential clients or you’re looking to land that next big promotion, a well-developed personal brand can position you above the competition.
LinkedIn is an essential part of your personal brand, and if used correctly, it can make a huge difference.
Here are a few tips to fix up your LinkedIn presence and improve your personal brand.
Your LinkedIn profile photo speaks volumes about you, both personally and professionally. Pay attention to the following elements as you choose the photo you want to represent yourself.
- High quality: not blurry and no selfies
- Stand alone: no friends included in photos, just you
- Shoulders up: not too close, not too far
- Smile: look personable
- Fit your goals: style should represent what you do and who you aspire to be professionally
Pay careful attention to the quality of your profile photos. It’s your first impression, and first impressions tend to stick.
That said, this doesn’t mean your photo needs to be of you wearing a stuffy suit. Be professional, but make sure to work in elements that showcase your personality and present you accurately.
Your Title and Experience
When employers and potential clients search LinkedIn, they’re served up results based on what copy you choose to use in your profile.
This starts with your headline. Make sure you use more than just your job title. Try to fit in some keywords that describe what you do and keywords you know people are searching for.
Here’s an example below of how I crafted the headline on my own LinkedIn profile.
Your title and experience should:
- Include keywords for which you want to be found
- Target keywords found in descriptions of jobs in which you’re interested
- Represent your capabilities accurately
- Add keywords that expand upon your title
- Represent your personality
By placing critical keywords within the copy of your title and your experience, you’re much more likely to be found by the right people.
Treat LinkedIn as a sort of virtual networking event. There’s no value in hiding in the corner at a networking event; the same goes for LinkedIn.
To really benefit from LinkedIn and show those who land on your profile that you’re serious about your work, you’ll need to do the following to build a network.
- Connect with co-workers
- Actively engage those in your field
- Connect with people on LinkedIn who you meet in person
- Build up to five hundred or more connections within relevant professionals
When you reach out to someone to connect, be sure to leave a note for that person explaining why you want to connect. If you ignore this step, you’ll likely be viewed as a spammer or salesperson and denied.
Avoid Canned InMails
Be real. Make real connections. Canned InMail messages can have a very negative impact on your personal brand.
InMail used to be a very effective tool on LinkedIn. In recent years, however, with consumers and business professionals becoming more and more digitally savvy, your spammy LinkedIn messages just aren’t working any longer.
Instead of sending unwanted InMail messages, focus on creating conversations and joining existing conversations to create real dialogue. This is a much more genuine and approachable way to interact, and it leads to much better results.
Sharing articles with links from your profile can add value to your personal brand. That said, presenting your own ideas can take it one step further.
LinkedIn’s publishing tool allows professionals to write and publish articles for others to read. To ensure that your content gets read and helps build your personal brand, be sure to take these steps.
- Know your stuff and write about a topic in your area of expertise
- Add an engaging image and header
- Use rich media like Tweets, video, podcasts and more
Creating your own content shows initiative, and it allows you to get your own ideas and concepts in front of the audience you’re targeting.
You should also create post directly in the feed, but not just your average links. Draft a 100+ word post that lays out a thought leadership concept and promotes conversation.
Here’s a recent post I created as an example. You can see the conversation this post generated. This kind of conversation and engagement can give a serious boost to your personal brand.
Final thoughts on LinkedIn for personal branding
LinkedIn is a very effective tool for improving your personal brand.
If you use it wisely, you can position yourself at the head of the pack. By following this advice as a guide, you’ll be taking a huge first step toward improving your personal brand.
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