How to Use LinkedIn to Leverage Your Personal Brand
4 actionable steps to boost your personal brand on LinkedIn
LinkedIn is a golden goose!
Yet, only a couple of people are leveraging LinkedIn’s power to build a personal brand, gain visibility, and position themselves.
As Neil Patel says there has never been a more powerful business networking tool than LinkedIn. Everything that fuels the ascent of your personal brand lives and breathes on the network.
It’s the online center for meeting people, sharing content, and creating and building business relationships.
If you are not on LinkedIn, you’re minimizing your chances of becoming a brand and being discovered.
If you’re a LinkedIn slacker, that is, you have a presence, but are not active on the network, the following facts may give you the nudge you need:
- LinkedIn has more than 690 million users from 200+ countries.
- B2B marketers rate LinkedIn the top social media for delivering B2B content and most effective for generating leads.
- 40% of LinkedIn members check in daily.
Even if you enjoy other social media more, I want you to understand LinkedIn must be a part of your media mix. To help you make the most of LinkedIn, I’m going to walk you through best practices for developing your personal brand with the many opportunities the network offers.
1. Optimize Your Profile for Search
LinkedIn is just as much of a search engine like Google as it is a social media platform, so the words you choose matter immensely.
- LinkedIn prefers and loves quality content because it cares for its readers
- It personalizes the feed (how Google personalizes the search results) to show the most relevant posts
- Like Google, LinkedIn also ranks profiles in the search results based on certain parameters, one of which is the placement of keywords
What keywords do you want to be found for when potential clients or employers search LinkedIn?
Determine those keywords and use them in your headline, job title, summary, and job descriptions.
Choosing the right words makes the difference between your profile being found or being invisible.
Pay attention to your professional headline.
The most prominent branding message on your LinkedIn profile is also the most critical when it comes to SEO.
Keywords listed in the Headline field will have a greater impact, increasing your ranking among other users for the same terms.
Now you know why using the default “current-job” Headline is not a good idea!
LinkedIn allows you to use 120 spaces for your headline, and using as many of the 120 as possible is smart.
Consider beginning with a tagline to make a first impression. Next, enter a healthy dose of keywords describing yourself and your areas of expertise.
You want to be found via relevant searches.
Try to showcase your strengths without being pretentious.
Your picture is the first thing candidates see. In fact, just having a picture gets you significantly more profile views and connection requests.
According to LinkedIn, your profile is 21 times more likely to be viewed if it includes a photo.
Here are the things to keep in mind when selecting your profile photo:
- It should include your face and/or shoulders — don’t use any extreme closeup of your face or a zoomed out full body shot
- Your photo should be crystal clear and unpixelated
- No hats, sunglasses, or other obscuring accessories
- Have great lighting
- Do not use a selfie (or at least something that you can tell is a selfie)
- Don’t have anyone else in your picture
- Dress professionally
LinkedIn also allows you to add a cover photo to your profile. It’s a great way to stand out and add an extra element to your profile.
Choose an image that reflects well on your brand.
Protecting our privacy is very important for all of us. However, without contact information available on your profile, being visible on LinkedIn is a waste of time.
When prospects find someone who is qualified, they want to contact that person as quickly as possible.
Prospects are always in a hurry because their revenue depends on it. So, if they find you and think you are qualified for one of their opportunities, be easy for them to contact.
Be active, daily, on LinkedIn to increase the chances of discovery and also to show prospects that you are paying daily attention to LinkedIn.
If you cannot be easily reached, people move on. Opportunities will evaporate, and you will never know.
LinkedIn issues you an impossibly long and anonymous URL, but it’s easy to customize it with your name, which makes it much easier to remember and share.
Take the time to customize your LinkedIn profile’s URL. Ideally, you’ll be able to change your name.
If, however, the name is already taken, consider adding your middle name or using your profession.
For example, if /EsatArtug was taken, try things like:
Keep in mind that you can only change your URL once every 30 days, so make sure you 100% committed to the URL you’re about to submit since you’ll be stuck with it for at least a month!
Summary (About section)
Plenty of evidence supports the importance of a solid LinkedIn about, so people who don’t maximize their about are neglecting a golden opportunity!
Use the summary section to tell your story as you would on an “about” page.
Include keywords for search purposes, but compose your summary in a warm way aiming to answer basic questions about your skills and inspiring visitors to keep reading.
Before you can write clearly and compellingly about your brand, ask yourself these questions to gain necessary focus:
- What makes me passionate about the work I do, and the work I will do for future employers?
- What combination of strengths and skills do I have that no one else does?
- What unique value proposition do I have that makes me the best hiring choice?
- What makes me a good leader?
- How have I engaged and motivated my people to top performance?
As you’re compiling and writing this content, remember to pack in plenty of your relevant keywords and phrases, which you uncovered in researching your target employers.
- Add 3–5 bullet points to highlight hard-hitting achievements and/or metrics, focused around your top relevant keywords and phrases, with a brief description of how you achieved these things.
- Include a brief paragraph about why you chose your profession or industry.
- For visual appeal and better readability, include plenty of white space and short paragraphs.
Make sure you include the relevant keywords you found when you did company and industry research to develop content for your branded resume. Weave these keywords into your value and metrics-driven statements.
The more relevant keywords you include, the more potential traffic you’ll draw to your profile.
Give yourself permission to be bold and authentic in this content. You’re not boasting. Think of it this way — you’re educating people about what makes you a good-fit candidate for the employers you’re targeting.
Populate the fields in the experience section with your work history to present your credentials as you would in a resume.
Try to include keywords in the experience fields.
You can also mention more details, describe your experience, and include keywords in it.
Skills and endorsements
This section allows you to select your skills and present endorsements are given to you from LinkedIn members. Listing your skills gives members 13 times more in profile views.
Every LinkedIn profile can list up to 50 skills.
You should choose relevant skills to fill all 50 slots, and furthermore, you should think strategically about what skills to include.
Fifty might seem like a lot, but it’s once you start adding skills you’ll find it’s actually not that many.
Not sure what those skills are?
Look at jobs you want and see what the desired skills they list are.
Lastly, I totally agree with Neil Patel:
A lot of people feel the endorsements section is lightweight, but I believe when the endorsements begin piling up it helps support your personal brand with a credibility boost.
Written testimonials are presented here, which are even more powerful than endorsements.
Don’t just wait for recommendations to float your way — be proactive and go after them!
Reach out to your connections with a request for a recommendation!
Good places to start include your colleagues (past and present), or clients who you can count on to share good work.
Be sure to include a personal note, politely requesting a recommendation on LinkedIn.
It helps to share why you want the recommendation, as well (i.e., you’re looking to boost your online reputation, you’re applying for new jobs, you’re looking for good references for clients, etc.).
Once they give you a recommendation, always take the time to thank them.
2. Produce Content for LinkedIn
As Neil Patel says your quest to develop a strong personal brand calls for developing and sharing original content as well as curating additional content you believe serves the interests of your connections.
In recent years, through both the development of new features and the integration of services LinkedIn has added by way of acquisitions, the network has become a giant content marketing hub for individuals and companies.
- Share your thoughts: As is the case with all social networks, you need to contribute to the conversation.
- Start a group discussion: You start discussions within your groups by giving your comment a title and then writing details. Link to a blog post, article, ebook, presentation, or whatever is relevant to the discussion you’re starting. Asking questions tends to be the best way to invoke a meaningful discussion.
- Go one-on-one: In the course of your updates and discussions, you’re likely to want to engage individually with users. LinkedIn enables you to do so via LinkedIn messaging.
- Publish blog posts: Consider publishing articles directly to LinkedIn. You might wonder why you’d post an article to LinkedIn rather than your own blog, and that’s a fair question. The advantage of posting on LinkedIn is that when you hit publish, all your connections will be notified and it will show up in their feed. There’s an opportunity to increase your chances of your LinkedIn audience reading it.
3. Participate in Groups
One of the platform’s most useful features is LinkedIn Groups. There are millions of groups catering to all business interests. Groups generally exist to share content and ideas. They also provide another way to identify and make meaningful connections.
Use keyword searches to get started finding relevant groups. Find groups relevant to your industry and not only join them but participate.
Comment, start threads, pose questions, offer advice — strive to be a useful, active member of a few key groups, rather than a silent lurker in many.
Don’t underestimate the power of participating in LinkedIn groups.
4. Engage Meaningfully
LinkedIn shouldn’t just be a platform for your own posts. Set aside time to go through your LinkedIn feed and find opportunities to share, like, and comment.
This is key to building relationships over time.
If, for example, there’s someone you’d really like to work with in the future or a client you’ll like to land, make a point to engage with their content on LinkedIn.
That way, if you ever are in a position to partner with them or pitch to them, they have a background with you — you won’t be just another connection, but someone they actually interacted with.
Keep your personal brand visible and relevant on LinkedIn:
- Develop a strategy and emails to connect with people you don’t know, who will be important to network with.
- Develop a strategy and emails to connect with people you don’t know, who will be important to network with.
- Refresh the content in your profile regularly to align with your current job search/career focus, and to upgrade with current relevant keywords.
- Reach out to your network regularly to see how they’re doing, offer support, and pass along something of interest to them.
“The key to any personal branding campaign is ‘word-of-mouth marketing.’ Your network of friends, colleagues, clients, and customers is the most important marketing vehicle you’ve got; what they say about you and your contributions is what the market will ultimately gauge as the value of your brand. So the big trick to building your brand is to find ways to nurture your network of colleagues — consciously.” — Tom Peters