By now, you might be excited to build your personal brand on LinkedIn. To help you get the most out of your brand, here are some tips to strengthen your profile.
Optimize Your Profile for Search
A well-optimized profile lets you be found by potential clients or employers online. But how do you optimize your profile?
LinkedIn isn’t just a social media channel. It is also a search engine platform, so you need to use the right keywords specific to your expertise and industry.
Once you identified the keywords, use them in the following sections of your profile:
- Headline, summary, and job descriptions.
- Headshot, banner, and images.
- At the top 3 list of the skills section.
- Pulse posts, which is LinkedIn’s blogging platform.
- Contact information section.
- Projects and Publications sections.
Choosing the right words and using them in your profile make the difference between getting found and being invisible on LinkedIn.
Create Your Headline
In the headline field, you’re allowed to fill up to 120 characters. It’s one of the first things that your profile visitors will see, so make the most out of this space.
The headline is an excellent place to show your personal branding statement, which is a 1-2 sentence summary of your brand.
To take advantage of your headline, make sure that it answers all of these questions:
- What are you expert in?
- Who do you help?
- What sets your personal brand apart?
Here’s an example of a personal branding statement in the headline:
“I build the online brands of financial service professionals.”
Also, don’t forget to optimize the headline with keywords so you can be found via relevant searches.
Craft Your Description
The About section is the support text to your headline. It is where you sell yourself to a potential client or hiring managers.
In this part, mention compelling points that would make your visitors want to connect with you. It should include your skills, experiences, and accomplishments.
However, sell yourself for what you want to do, not what you’ve done in the past.
This means you don’t just squeeze every work you’ve done before in your summary. Instead, highlight the works that are relevant to the clients or jobs you want to attract.
For instance, if you’re a photographer and want to attract soon-to-wed couples, be sure to feature previous works related to weddings.
Your other portfolio can be placed below in the Experience section.
Choose Your Headshot
Remember that LinkedIn is a platform for professionals, so use a profile photo that would help you look professional. Don’t just use your usual Facebook or Instagram selfie photos on your LinkedIn profile.
You don’t need to have a professional photoshoot to do this. Just keep these things in mind when having a headshot:
- Show your face and/or shoulders
- Make eye contact and smile
- Dress professionally
- Don’t wear accessories that can obscure your face
- Avoid pixelated photo
- Ensure you have excellent lighting
- Don’t have anyone else in the photo
Also, be sure to name your headshot with your keyword. For instance, name your photo “personal branding consultant Tennessee.” People who are searching for this term may see your image come up on the search results page. The same goes for your banner and other images.
Design a Banner Image
LinkedIn also lets you upload a banner image to your profile. When choosing a cover photo, keep in mind that it should tell your brand story.
Insert elements that clearly tell what your brand is about. For instance, if you’re a writer, you can include an image of a pen in your cover photo. It wouldn’t also hurt to inject your personality in the banner to make it more creative.
If you have a graphic designer who can create your cover photo, great. But if you have limited resources, Canva.com offers plenty of templates to design your own banner.
You might be thinking, “Why would I want to publish an article on LinkedIn? when I can publish it on my website’s blog?”
It’s a valid question, but did you know that every time you publish on LinkedIn, the post shows up on your connections’ feed. But the best part is that they get notified of your post.
That means more people can get to read your article when you publish on the said social media platform versus your blog.
There are various ways to take advantage of LinkedIn posting.
- Publish a LinkedIn exclusive article.
- Publish an excerpt of an existing blog article to LinkedIn. Then, direct your audience to continue reading on your website.
- Syndicate content from your blog and repost it to LinkedIn.
With such a feature, it’s worth considering publishing articles directly on LinkedIn.
Engage with Others
A solid LinkedIn branding strategy isn’t just about you posting content. It also involves building relationships with your connections.
Make sure to engage with other people’s content regularly. Interact with fellow professionals, especially those with who you plan to work together in the future. Find time to share, like, and comment on posts relevant to your goals.
Converse with prospects or recruiters to introduce yourself, which can increase your chances of success when you pitch your products or services to them.
Engaging with others doesn’t only build relationships. It also literally connects you with your target audience. In LinkedIn, a simple comment shows up to your network, which usually appears like this: “Steven J Wilson commented on this post.”
Leverage this to further your brand recognition.
Get Endorsements & Recommendations
LinkedIn also allows users to leave endorsements and recommendations on your profile. These are great to have as they act as social proof of your expertise.
Don’t just wait for people to leave testimonials. Be proactive and ask for endorsements and recommendations from relevant connections. In LinkedIn, you can request recommendations from your connections easily from your profile.
You can start asking your colleagues, clients, or professors for their testimonials.
When requesting recommendations, ask them for feedback on a specific skill to boost your reputation. It also pays to mention why you want the recommendations.
In return, always say thank you and write a recommendation for them.
Personalize Your Connection Request
A personalized invitation boosts your chance of getting accepted. So, spend some time writing your invitation to build that connection.
A good LinkedIn connection request contains the following:
- Explanation on how you know the person
- Reason why you want to connect
- What you admire most about his brand
- Some information from his profile (e.g., recent blog or specific skill set)
When sending your invite, show a bit of enthusiasm to further improve your chance of getting accepted. Also, always end it with a thank you.
Don’t Pitch Too Soon
While you are using LinkedIn to sell yourself, don’t make the mistake of pitching straight away.
It’s tempting to sell to someone you meet the first time because you don’t want to miss the opportunity. But this may only ruin your chance to build potential relationships with your audience, which is the reason why you’re establishing a personal brand on LinkedIn in the first place.
The best approach is to be helpful to your audience. Show you’re sincere in connecting with them, and that you’d want to help them with their needs, concerns, and problems.
At the end of the day, your audience remembers genuine relationships, not cold pitches.