Branding is important for any business and personal branding today is no less important for any and every professional. While corporate head honchos can invest in engaging professional PR teams and maintaining media relations it is not a feasible option for everybody. Linkedin is perhaps one of the most powerful tool available to the public in general that provides an amazing opportunity to establish your personal brand.
As Linkedin celebrated its 10th anniversary yesterday, I thought of doing this post showcasing some very simple things you can do to better leverage your Linkedin profile for personal branding.
Your Profile Picture
“A picture is worth a thousand words” – and yes, your profile picture is the first thing most visitors look at, the moment they land on your profile page. Linkedin is a professional network and make sure your profile photo shows the professional you. Post a clear and professional headshot. You might have a great party face but reserve it for facebook and bring out your suits.
While I personally find this idea to be a little too desperate and aggressive some experts do advise to put a red border around your picture before putting them on Linkedin as the red color works as a strong attention grabber for your audience. I think this could be helpful when a user is conducting a search and your name shows up amongst a long list of similar other profiles.
An often ignored and under utilized part of your Linkedin profile. It appears just below your name in real nice bold fonts, creating a golden opportunity for you to sell yourself to the readers, yet often times we end up leaving it blank or just adding our current job role to it. Use this space to include words and phrases that explain the way you want to be perceived by others. Use separators between words and phrases to make it easier to read. For example, I could probably use the one below:
“Digital Marketing Professional | Search Marketing Consultant | Social Media Enthusiast | Blogger | Speaker “
Showcase Your Work
A relatively new but extremely powerful feature. Linkedin now allows you to upload presentations, photos, videos, documents etc in your profile itself. This is a golden opportunity to showcase your work and achievements right inside your profile. This feature is probably still not available for non-English users.
What we are talking about here is basically marketing yourself and marketing today, personal or otherwise, has become heavily content driven. Linkedin is no exception. Share high quality relevant content (whether it is your own or from some other source on the web), knowledge and industry updates with your connection. This not only adds value for your connections as they get to see relevant and important updates from you but it also works as a great indicator to project yourself as someone who keeps himself informed and updated.
It is definitely great to have a lot of recommendations in your Linkedin profile we all know that, however, there are some basic principles that can help. Do not request a recommendation from people with whom you have not worked for real. At times you do tend to get some recommendations that are irrelevant to your profile ( sounds strange? but yes, it does happen at times ), Linkedin provides an option to hide those from your profile – use it where needed. Now why would you hide a recommendation? Because like any other marketing currency, even recommendations have been abused to hell and it is not uncommon to find profiles with only reciprocal recommendations. Irrelevant recommendations does not create a positive impression with your readers, rather it hurts your credibility.
Make sure your Linkedin profile links to your company website as well as any personal website/blog that you want to showcase to your professional network. Also, link back to your Linkedin Profile from your other sites like company website, personal blog, twitter profile etc Each of these ( your website, twitter profile, Linkedin profile etc) are all tools that can work together to project your personal brand; linking them together helps the visitor get the complete picture and additional opportunity for you to connect with them through each of these channels.
A bonus tip : Linkedin Groups
Linkedin Groups are another great opportunity for you to share content, participate in discussions, network and establish your credibility . While it could be a little time consuming, it is an extremely enriching experience as you learn from others and at the same time it helps you to demonstrate your knowledge and experience in your field of work. However, while participating in Linkedin groups, make sure you are not spamming the groups and commenting on topics that your are not sure about. Think of it as a virtual conferenece area, the way you carry yourself and whatever you say decides how people perceive you.