LinkedIn has very much become the foundation of our personal brand nowadays.
Our potential clients, employers, partners and so on first check our LinkedIn profile to verify our education, experience, interests, recommendation and common connections. Though Facebook has many competitors to contend with, LinkedIn enjoys almost a monopoly in professional networking segment with insignificant regional competitors (like Apna Circle in India).
In fact Linkedin has created an entire industry around itself. Several specialists have emerged like Linkdein profile writers, Linkedin trainers, How to use Linkedin books and the list goes on. So whether you are an entrepreneur or an employee, if you are not on Linkedin, you would be considered outdated by your peers.
So how does one take optimum advantage of Linkedin to build one’s personal brand? Here are some useful tips.
1. Build an Impressive Profile
Your Linkedin profile should have the pull power and should raise the eyebrows of the potential clients or employers.
Besides the usual information which is mentioned in a CV like education, experience, personal details, achievements and honors, Linkedin offers several additional categories to help you develop a detailed profile. The major categories are listed below:-
Headline and sub-headline
The profile headline is the first contact point and must be catchy enough to attract attention. It also ensures that the majority of the invitations you send for connecting are accepted. A sub-headline is also there which shows the current position and is visible in the mini-profile bar (which you see when you move the cursor on the name)
Give the links to your blog, website or employer’s website (preferably linking to your department or profile directly). Websites especially personal portals have become vital for personal branding.
The summary must be short and catchy and you should not expect the reader to read detailed information. It must be the summary of your education, experience, achievements and skills in the real sense of the term.
Besides the major educational qualifications, professionals should also mention the relevant certifications which have been successfully completed. Such certifications are critical in certain professions like trainers, life coaches, management consultants and so on.
Education primarily gives us knowledge but work experience helps us develop marketable skills like writing skills, teaching skills etc. The major skills that you possess must be mentioned clearly. Employers are focusing on the skills and attitudes these days.
If you have published any articles, books, monographs etc, you can mention them here. It goes without saying that publications play an important role in personal branding specially in knowledge industries.
You should preferably mention interests which have professional relevance; for example travelling and meeting new people is a relevant interest in the sales profession.
The kind of groups which you have joined and where you share your expertise is critical. If you are a member of a C level executives group, it automatically raises your credibility.
Honors and awards
You must share the relevant honors and awards received. Avoid mentioning irrelevant awards unless it carries lot of prestige otherwise.
Link to your presentations that you have uploaded on Slideshare. It is very critical to link your best presentations as presentation skills play a critical role in your success in majority of the professions and has thus become an important component of your brand.
Reading List & Ebook shelf
The kind of books you read reflect upon your personality and personal brand. Keep updating this section as you start new books.
If you have your own Blog (or company blog in which you write), link it to your profile. Blogs have become a major tool for demonstrating your knowledge and expertise. If you have good writing skills. Blog is the best way to build your brand.
Link your account with Twitter and share relevant tweets. In case you have diverse interests create separate Twitter IDs and link only the relevant ID with Linkedin.
If you are working at a senior position or you are in a profession like training, the kind of locations you travel to contribute to your brand. If you frequently travel to metros or abroad, use Tripit application to reflect it in your profile.
Mention the events you have attended (or organized). The kind of events you attend strongly reflects on your personal brand.
Get good recommendations
The days of the references section in CV are gone. Now good employers prefer to view your Linkedin recommendations. Remember both, quality and quantity of recommendations are important.
2. Network Updates
Updates can be posted through Twitter, blog or directly. Keep posting updates which demonstrate your achievements and knowledge. If you click the like button on updates of successful people in your network, it gets circulated to your network members and reflects the kind of connections that you have.
3. Connect with the Right People
If you want to become a national brand, develop connections nationally and if you aspire to become an international brand, develop international connections. Common connections (with the client or employer) may become a reference point for new clients and potential employer can even crosscheck your track record or capabilities with the common connection.
4. Brand Integrity
Remember everything contributes to your brand integrity from education to connections, interests to the Twitter ID that you use. Imagine a CEO using a Twitter ID ike FunnyJohn. It will reflect non-serious attitude of the CEO and company and may irritate no-nonsense professionals.
5. Demonstrate Your Expertise
Demonstrate your knowledge, expertise and accomplishments by being present and discussing relevant topics on Linkedin groups. It goes without saying that knowledge is power in today’s economy.
6. Monitor Who is Viewing Your Profile
Keep monitoring who is viewing your profile and send an invitation to connect with wisely chosen words to the right people. Once they are connected, they may keep watching your updates and develop a good impression about you.
7. LinkedIn Answers
Raise the right questions and come up with the right answers to prove your expertise. If your answer is rated as the best answer, you have a proven credential which is reflected on your profile helping you build your brand.
8. Create your own LinkedIn Group
If you have expertise in a niche area, create your own group on LinkedIn and keep sharing knowledge by participating in discussions. Remember knowledge only increases by sharing. Interact with people from other countries and learn the best practices.
9. Numbers are critical
Numbers play a significant role these days. The number of connections you have, the number of cities/countries where your connections come from and number of publications/blog posts that you write, all contribute in different ways to your brand.
10. Take professional help
Take the help of a consultant to build a professional profile and in case you wish to learn, “How to use LinkedIn?” in depth.
The most critical advantage of LinkedIn (and also of Blog and personal portals) is that everything gets integrated at one point and it becomes a kind of one stop shop. So ladies and gentlemen, are you ready for the new buzzword, LNO: LinkedIn Network Optimization
How will you use LinkedIn to build your personal brand?
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