How To Leverage LinkedIn To Build Your Personal Brand
You're reading Entrepreneur Middle East, an international franchise of Entrepreneur Media.
Whether it is your intention or not, once you have a name and a social footprint, you own a personal brand. It is your one stop shop to stand out from the crowd and showcase your areas of your expertise in your niche. Therefore, make it worth it, eye-catching, and most importantly leverage it.
According to research, people make a first impression within only a few seconds. While this is true in person, it is now also applicable digitally. More than ever, people will do an online audit to help develop an impression of who you are. Here are a few mere steps to build a "killer profile" on one of the best social media platforms for business professionals known today- LinkedIn. It can help you with the following:
- Boosting and powering up your personal brand
- Getting you higher traffic and visibility
- Generating new business leads and opportunities, and here's why. HubSpot found that LinkedIn is 277% more effective at generating leads than Facebook and Twitter. Also, about 80% of B2B leads come from LinkedIn, followed by Twitter at 13%.
- Acquiring more connections and expanding your reach
- Landing you a new job, because 90% of recruiters regularly use LinkedIn while 122 million people received an interview through LinkedIn, with 35.5 million having been hired by a person they connected with on the site.
- Getting you a seat on the next panel or conference discussion
IT IS ALL IN THE DETAILS
With more than 645+ million users worldwide LinkedIn is the ultimate epicenter for your personal branding. The insights and info you provide about yourself will virally float across the digital sphere known as “our new world” to define how you will be perceived by your audience and the people looking you up. It’s all about how you portray your knowledge, vision and achievements into explicit and structured data on your personal profile!
A well put-together LinkedIn personal profile helps separate topnotch from average. By completing each section, you will allow viewers to have a feel of your self-confidence, your sense of pride towards your career and a hint towards your determination and goals. It will boost your credibility as a trustworthy professional among your network, peers and beyond. So, go ahead and show off your set of skills, your academic accomplishments and your professional successes by endorsing them with videos, slides or images for a three-dimensional view of your own personal brand. This will allow you to add more flavor to who you are.
All sections given on LinkedIn should be filled:
- The profile and background photos (it is your virtual handshake that will get you 14 times more views)
- Headline (create a distinctive headline serving as your brand’s tagline)
- Summary (write a clear and compelling pitch or showcase your vision for your role or company)
- Experience (list only the relevant ones)
- Education (show off your academic achievements)
- Skills (list them all)
- Certifications and credentials (mention their IDs where applicable)
- Publications (add all URLs)
- Recommendations and endorsements (ask for recommendations from your peers and endorse others genuinely)
Include the whole lot starting from your value proposition all the way to some Call-To-Actions (CTA), such as career advice, free consultation, PDF downloads, slides, or simply detailed information. As a major website with vanity URLs, LinkedIn enjoys a high Google PageRank. Therefore, customize your LinkedIn URL to match it your name (linkedin.com/in/yourfullname) and share it everywhere to boost your personal branding and see your name rank high in the search engine rankings.
WORDS HAVE POWER, BUT SO DOES VISIBILITY
“All words are equal, but some words are more equal than others," said Gregory Ciotti. “Content is king” and it applies to everything available online in our feed-driven world. Since communication is one of the most powerful tools when it comes to the art of influence and persuasion, indulge in the pleasures of using it cleverly. Choose words that exhibit power and trustworthiness and use them generously across your profile.Your LinkedIn profile needs to be promptly up-to-date and replete with the right specific keywords to exclusively represent your persona, your signature skills and your set of achievements.
"Optimizing our profile on LinkedIn requires clarity in who we are and what we do so we can decide on the right keywords to use in our profile," said Virginia Bautista, founder and trainer at VB Consulting. Make sure to research and use the top searched keywords and add hashtags that apply to your field for a higher reach and visibility. Work on your SEOs to nurture your brand by building its Expertise, Authority, and Trustworthiness (E-A-T). Viewers will have a sense of the profile owner’s personality through the choice of words, the overall listings and finally, the writing style. These will play a massive role on the influence and image you are seeking to project. With Google’s Algorithms, your LinkedIn profile will be featured among the first 2 to 5 results that will show up when being googled. The end-goal does not lie simply in attracting attention, but it is also to show off your digital face online! Make sure it is a good one!
GROW YOUR THOUGHT LEADERSHIP
Thought leaders, known as influencers, are the knowledgeable opinion leaders and the go-to people who command authority in their field through their savoir-faire and expertise. Simply put, they are the trusted sources who can transform dreams into reality, motivate and inspire people with innovative ideas, and own the capacity to influence others on how to replicate their success. Their main strategy is to expose their thoughts which can result from solid content strategy that has been proven to be impactfully bigger than marketing.
With many leaders out there, you can stand out by sharing content, writing articles and posting frequently. As a matter of fact, your LinkedIn feed will not show you everything your connections are posting by default, but rather it cherry-picks what it needs to show you based on content it believes is useful and appropriate to you. Therefore, thought leaders or personal brands who publish research, publications, articles and fresh ideas on LinkedIn will not only find an interactive audience, but also a supportive algorithm. It is just as much about how engagement as it is sharing knowledge and content.
According to Varun Choraria, founder and CEO of WiseWords Interactive Studio Pvt. Ltd., LinkedIn is the best business professional social media platform. "Here's the profound, true secret that you may have not known (no-brainer, actually), LinkedIn has become the best tool for personal branding and it's guilty of being that because since the beginning of Mesopotamian times, customers have always preferred the 'human touch' over a cold and pretentious 'corporate caress'," said Choraria.
That said, handle your personal LinkedIn profile as a process of becoming a social business and a brand in your industry. It is your gateway to get more views, acquire higher visibility, and finally develop greater engagement with your audience. This can help you gain their trust, market your brand successfully and grow by leaps and bounds.
It is important to mention that business pages have limited offerings compared to personal profiles because:
- Interacting with people is more relatable than companies
- People are inspired and influenced by leaders more than companies
- People are more likely to follow a personal profile than a business page
- Business pages do not have the option of sending connection requests or personal messages
- LinkedIn Publisher is not accessible from a business page
Nevertheless, consider diversifying by posting videos, images, slideshows etc. Many people prefer to learn by viewing content in a video, infographics or visuals rather than just reading them. These can help you retain your audience’s attention span and allow you to inject more personality into your content to result in extra interest.
NETWORK WHILE KEEPING AN EYE ON COMPETITION
As social media was primarily designed to help humans socialize with each other, LinkedIn thrived in upgrading this experience to a whole new level. It became an essential social networking tool with priceless resources to help you expand your successes through valuable connections and information.
By joining LinkedIn’s community, you are becoming part of a sophisticated world of professionals and role models who are simultaneously providing value and constantly seeking news and innovations. Once you start building your brand on this business-oriented social media platform, you’ll be astonished at the number of opportunities that will come knocking at your door.
As you are reading this article, some people are searching the services and know-how you offer or are simply trying to get in touch with you. These people can be prospects, clients, competitors, recruiters. Thus, to help further increase your visibility and boost your brand, seek to join local or even global groups while following companies or role models that are relevant to your profession, industry or interests. These will become your gateway to new connections, info exchange, blogs, discussions or even jobs opportunities, while keeping you abreast of competition in your field. Through brand association, the companies or influencers you choose to follow will give a statement about yourself to the people checking your profile.
Finally, consider this platform as your perpetual business database where you remain instantly connected to your community no matter the changes that occur in your endeavors’ directions. You will no longer have to worry about carrying business cards, losing email addresses or phone contacts and having to stay on the radar of your ever-growing network and industry updates with the little time at hand!
BREAKING THE RESUME ETIQUETTE
The advantage of LinkedIn personal profiles helps break the rigidity of the old-fashioned resume etiquette. It offers room for more content, the usage of videos, slides and images for a better positioning and projection of one’s self brand.
A well put profile will illustrate your A to Z of experience and achievements to eventually influence the decision-making of investors, generate business, attract potential leads or clients, and finally recruiters if the objective is to land a new career opportunity. The summary on your profile will also help play a big role in voicing some of your ideas and goals which can be a great way to reach your targets. Therefore, such profiles are not just limited for job seekers but instead, it serves as a tool to promote your personal brand and your prestigious online presence. It is therefore crucial to keep it up-to-date and active through continuous relevant posts.
The way your profile is handled will play a major role on the impression you will be projecting about yourself to those viewing it, mainly about your seriousness, professionalism and success. So, if you’re not on LinkedIn, you’re minimizing your chances of becoming a brand and being discovered. Therefore, make sure you’re highly visible to everyone and consider reaching out to some experts who can help you build your “killer profile” if it’s too much of a hassle for you to do it on your own.