In my previous post on personal branding, I looked at the reasons and benefits behind why you need to build a personal brand. Now I’m talking tactics—and showing you how to build your personal brand—on LinkedIn.
Jennifer Holloway is a Yorkshire-based personal branding coach, speaker, and author of Personal Branding for Brits. Taking time out of her busy schedule, she gave me the low down on why personal branding is important: “Personal branding is essentially about who you have to offer—not just ‘what.’” She says that when these two things come together, prospective employers or clients can decide whether they are buying into your brand. “If people are going to make decisions about you, then the messages you put out there, online and in person, should shape how they think about you.” Think of it as enhancing what you have already got to offer.
Recent research by Reppler.com shows that 48% of employers use LinkedIn for recruitment, with 68% of them hiring a candidate because of what they saw on a social networking site. With this in mind, you need to be taking LinkedIn seriously when it comes to personal branding. LinkedIn is ideal for building professional relationships and job hunting, in addition to raising your personal profile, getting referrals and recommendations for your work.
“Nowadays, your online brand is as important—if not more important—than your ‘in person’ brand. Your online presence means that people viewing you are getting an understanding about you and buying into it (or not) before they have even met you.” – Jennifer Holloway, Author of Personal Branding for Brits.
7 Tips to Developing Your Personal Brand on LinkedIn:
1. Update your profile photo.
Ideally you’ll want to employ a professional photographer to take the picture, but if budgets are tight, choose a picture that is sharp, high resolution, flattering, and clear—not a cropped image of your head and shoulders taken from the office party. That doesn’t mean you have to be dull—you can ensure that your photo reflects your personality and professionalism—and don’t forget to smile!
2. Complete your profile to 100%.
This will increase your search ranking and give potential employers and clients a good impression. Use the section on "experience" to explain what role you had in each company you’ve worked for, include any voluntary work that you’ve done, and add relevant qualifications to enhance your experience.
3. Write your elevator pitch.
The summary box in your profile needs to be your personal elevator pitch, but targeted at the people you want to see it—such as prospective clients, recruiters, or employers. When writing your pitch you need to make it clear what makes you different, and what value you can bring. As your elevator pitch is ultimately about starting a conversation with the person viewing your profile, you need to be able to expand it out from WHAT it is, to more on HOW it will credibly fulfill a particular need/solve a particular problem of your target audience.
4. Make it consistent.
Consistency just like integrity and reliability is very important in the online world, emphasises Jennifer. “Personal branding is not about being something you’re not, it’s about being the best version of who you already are. It’s you: on your best day, showcasing your best attributes, and playing to your strengths. Get this clear in your mind, and then reproduce it consistently on your LinkedIn profile.”
5. Join groups.
Joining and participating in groups is a sure fire way to raise your profile and expand your network—and you should be aiming to be active in at least 1-2 relevant groups as a "top contributor"—a status awarded to people who are regularly starting and being involved in group discussions. But if creating content is not quite your thing, you can still get involved in groups by commenting on group discussions, sharing your expertise and knowledge. To help you decide the usefulness of a group, check the group statistics feature, which gives information about demographics, growth, and activity.
6. Personalise your LinkedIn URL.
Use the option of including your name in your public profile URL, so instead of “linkedin.com/67w84rj32wef09” you can change it to linkedin.com/in/johnsmith. This will make it easier for you to be found both within LinkedIn and Google searches.
7. Make sure your profile is public.
If you are on LinkedIn and using it to look for a job or acquire new business, then you DO want to be found don’t you?! Make sure that your contact settings are set to include: Career opportunities, Consulting offers, New ventures, and Reference requests.