How do you apply your personal brand to your online professional life, like LinkedIn? How should your values influence your profile and activity? What specific goals do you have and how can an online platform help you achieve them?
These are all valid questions that you, as a professional should take the time to answer. LinkedIn is a wonderful platform for business connections, whether you are looking for a job now or simply open to possibilities in the future.
The first section of your LinkedIn profile is one that is often overlooked: your profile summary, labeled as your “About” paragraph on your profile page. It is important for two reasons: One, it’s an opportunity to tell your story in your words, and two, it’s a good way to increase your visibility in a LinkedIn search.
When it comes to telling your story, think of this as your elevator pitch to anyone who looks at your profile. As with all good stories, you should have a beginning (what your career has looked like up to this point), a middle (what you do today and why you do it), and an end (what your dreams and aspirations for the future are). Infuse as much of your voice as you can while maintaining a professional tone.
Now let’s talk about the visibility benefits that come with having a well-written summary. LinkedIn Search (the search bar at the top of the page) is not so different from any other search engine, like Google, with the exception that it only looks up information on its own platform. Just like on Google, when someone types something into this search field, LinkedIn uses numerous factors to deliver accurate results. One of those factors is your profile summary.
Here is an example. If I’m writing an article about marketing analytics and want to see if anyone in my network has experience in this area, I can type this phrase into the search. The resulting page tells me there are over three million people who match the search—that’s a lot to sift through. However, there is a reason the top five-to-ten people show up first. When I click on their profiles, I find that not only do they have marketing analytics-related titles and experience, but nearly all of them have a profile summary that includes one or more sentences about their passion and expertise in that field. Therefore, the details in your summary make a difference.
If you have experience or are an expert in a specific field, be sure to include relevant keywords or phrases to demonstrate your credentials. It could mean the difference between connecting with your next co-worker, employer, or client.
The next key piece in developing your personal brand on LinkedIn is content. Writing and creating content can be intimidating but finding a rhythm can help ease those hesitations.
Remind yourself of some key points in personal branding—your strengths and your goals. What are some subjects you feel uniquely qualified to discuss? If I were an experienced recruiter in the engineering field and my goal was to connect with talented engineers in central Iowa, my content should reflect that. As an example, I could do a video about questions you might only have to answer in an engineering interview and how to give a proper response.
Additionally, consider the content types you can post. LinkedIn has three general types of posts: traditional text-based posts, video posts, and articles. All three are valuable in their own way. It’s just a matter of matching your comfort zone with a content type your audience will engage with. Going back to the engineering recruiter analogy, maybe I’m not comfortable in front of the camera, but I am a great writer. While videos receive outstanding engagement, I might be better served writing posts that include an image or full-length articles that go in-depth on a point my audience cares about. Here are some pointers to keep in mind as you create your own content.
- Audience is key. In your post, are you trying to make connections with potential employers? Expand your network and connections? Your post should have a clear audience each time.
- Consistency makes a difference. Try to create a schedule or rhythm that you can maintain. Post something on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Once that becomes normal, add another day, and so on.
- Connections expand your reach. If you attended a chamber event and took a picture with a few people, tag them in your post. Personal pictures with tags of people you know often gain the most traction.
As a good rule of them, look at the content of people you believe post well on LinkedIn in your respective field or industry. Try to emulate some of their best characteristics while giving yourself the freedom to make your posts your own.
Perhaps the most important aspect of your personal brand on LinkedIn is simply this: engage with others and their content. The frequency and authenticity of your interactions with others not only reflects you are a thoughtful person who posts relevant content but one that supports others who are doing the same. Reciprocity makes a positive impression. When you share, like, or comment on someone else’s post, they are much more likely to do the same in return.
Sharing other people’s posts and articles is also a great way to figure out what types of content resonate best with your network. When you share someone else’s content on LinkedIn, you still get some data on the number of people who saw and interacted with it. You can use this information to inform content choices you will make in the future. For example, if I share a video about marketing analytics and a traditional post about the same subject, and the video version does better, maybe I should consider making a video part of my strategy.
LinkedIn is a wonderful networking tool that helps you make connections and create a stronger personal brand. Take these tips and suggestions one step at a time. The more effort you put into personalizing your account to reflect who you are, the greater return you will receive in using this platform.
If you have more questions on this topic or want to hear more about how Palmer Group can help you with your employment goals, reach out to us today. We would be happy to assist you.