LinkedIn is so much more than just a social channel that you update every time you look for a new job.
With the investment that the LinkedIn team has put into its publishing capability, the platform has so much potential for entrepreneurs aiming to make their mark on the world. LinkedIn is a place for having personal brands discovered and researched where you can network and learn from other professionals in an environment that is, thankfully, bereft of cat videos and Left Shark memes (reminiscent of Sunday's Super Bowl halftime show).
Here are five suggestions:
1. Include a summary.
Having a robust summary on LinkedIn makes your profile (and therefore your personal brand) more discoverable. Be sure it’s at least 40 words and include keywords that people might use to search for your skills or experience.
So if you want to show up in searches for online marketing experience, jot down as many permutations as you can think of like digital marketing, Internet marketing, search engine marketing or SEM. Don’t necessarily list these out as bullet points but disperse them in your summary in a narrative of your career and experience.
2. Don’t complete your profile never to return.
Your LinkedIn profile should never be static. As your career evolves, so should your profile. Every time you hit a professional milestone like a change in job or industry, a promotion or an award, make sure your profile reflects your progression.
Your personal brand needs to be seen as alive as you are. When you share or comment on LinkedIn, those comments and updates can end up in your LinkedIn activity feed if you have opted to turn on your activity broadcasts. They'll also show up in email alerts if your connections have opted to receive updates about people in their network.
3. Remember the power of a good head shot.
Some LinkedIn users have no photo of themselves posted with their profile. Those who do receive 14 times more profile views than those who don’t, according to LinkedIn.
But this statistic doesn’t give you carte blanche to crop and post any old photo of yourself from, say, Facebook, though. Be sure that your photo looks professional and exudes your personal brand.
Leave the pictures of you posed on the beach, in a bar or on the golf course for other uses. Dispense with photos with props unless you’re a veterinarian or a pediatrician and they're contextual (a dog or a baby, say) and add value.
4. Don’t neglect the headline or image for a blog post.
A lot of professionals are using LinkedIn to share their thoughts and expertise via long-form content. When publishing content via LinkedIn’s blogging platform, don't skimp with the headline or image. The title of a piece and its associated image must stand out from the crowd and lure potential readers.
The words themselves are important. But draft a few possible titles and select potential images and solicit feedback from peers about which ones they feel would entice site users.
5. Promote your content.
Your job is not over once you publish a post on LinkedIn. Be proactive about sharing it across different social networks, posting it in relevant LinkedIn Groups and even emailing it to friends or colleagues who might appreciate your updates. This is a great way to stay top of mind with business contacts and reinforce your expertise.
I am always asked by busy, time-poor clients, "What is the one thing I should do every day on LinkedIn that will help my personal brand?"
To this question, Fisher replied, "Whether you have 5 minutes or 15 minutes, check out what other professionals in your industry or your business contacts are reading and share something with your own network or ... comment on someone else’s post. It’s a simple way to engage with your network and keep up on business trends."
Adhere to these points and your LinkedIn presence will be more discoverable, memorable and sharable whether you’re an established entrepreneur or about to launch the startup of your dreams.