LinkedIn is the world’s largest online professional networking site and has become a platform that can no longer be ignored when building your personal brand. In this digital era, LinkedIn is your online business card, and your LinkedIn profile acts as an ambassador for your brand. So you want to invest some time in creating it.
With our expert guide that walks you through six essential steps, you’ll be building your personal brand on LinkedIn in no time.
Why is it Important to Build a Personal Brand?
Building a personal brand in this age is a must (not just a nice to have). It’s what will set you apart professionally and help you stand out in an overcrowded and saturated world. It gives you more purpose, power, and professional recognition than a job title alone can give.
A personal brand is portable and can be carried anywhere even if you switch careers. Without a brand, you’re just a commodity. And when done well, a personal brand allows you to become an icon.
Think of it like the difference in being Oprah rather than just another talk show host. You own a piece of real estate in people’s minds and have raving fans, not customers.
Is LinkedIn Beneficial for Personal Branding?
LinkedIn is invaluable for personal branding given its the world’s largest professional networking site. You have access to a global audience for your personal brand, so it’s a goldmine.
Already there are millions of brands, thought leaders, industry professionals, and influencers on LinkedIn. Unfortunately, many people have the outdated belief that LinkedIn is only for finding a job. And this couldn’t be further from the truth.
Although LinkedIn can be used for finding work, it’s so much more than this. Since its founding in 2002, LinkedIn has grown exponentially—especially during COVID-19—to become the platform to be seen as a professional.
Many professionals won’t engage with you if you’re not on LinkedIn. So, a LinkedIn profile is essential for both B2B and B2C.
Start Building Your Personal Brand on LinkedIn
It’s essential that you start with the following six steps—they are the building blocks to creating your personal brand on LinkedIn.
1. Start with Your LinkedIn Profile
Your LinkedIn profile is the first step to building your personal brand on the platform. It’s the first thing a visitor sees and shows up high on Google search results under your name.
People generally spend 7-8 seconds on your profile. So you want to capture their attention in this time, and more importantly, keep it. Does your profile attract or repel people?
You want to make sure you don’t get people coming to your profile and just leaving. If this is the case, you need to spice up your profile. Best tips for your profile:
- Fill out every section. So many profiles are incomplete, with sections not filled out. It could hurt your personal brand more than you realize.
- Have a professional headshot. Members with profile pictures receive 9X more connection requests, 21X more profile views, and 36X more messagesthan members without one. A photo helps build trust with visitors.
- Craft a clear headline that is confident and has terms that people search for.
- Ensure your skills—at least your top three—match your headline for consistency.
- Keep the about section client-centric: all about who you serve and what value you provide.
- Make sure your profile is aligned with how you want to be seen. It must be cohesive, consistent, and congruent.
2. Go Premium
Many professionals still believe that the free version of LinkedIn is more than enough for a personal brand. But a premium account shows you’re serious about building your brand on LinkedIn.
Also, some professionals might not connect with you if you don’t have a premium account. Keep in mind the following:
- A premium account gives you more in-depth analytics than the free version—see who’s viewing your profile, engagement rates on your posts, and much more.
- It allows you to connect and extend your reach wider. You have access to more people, which means more exposure for your brand.
- You get access to a wide range of courses—all for free—taught by top instructors. There are even courses on personal branding. As a professional, you need to be upskilling.
3. Create Content on LinkedIn
Content creation is essential for not only building your personal brand on LinkedIn but for sustaining it. Without content creation, your brand is passive and stagnant. But through creating content, you become a voice on LinkedIn—people see you as a brand.
Even if you never become a thought leader or influencer, you can still become a prominent voice through crafting valuable content. But before you start creating content, consider the following essentials:
- Create a content marketing strategy.
- Create a variety of content to mix it up and appeal to different consumption tastes: posts, videos, memes, slideshows, PDF, etc.
- Create content of different genres: answer questions, share news, industry trends, etc.
- Be consistent with your content creation. Create it at least twice a week, or else people forget about you.
4. Build a Community
Adopt the mindset of building a community, not just getting more connections. Get clear and intentional on how you want people to see you on LinkedIn and who you want to associate with.
Be selective with who you hang out with—don’t just connect with anyone and everyone. This could dilute your personal brand and make you look scattered. Keep in mind the following essentials:
- Know your audience (ideal customer, customer persona, etc.).
- Connect and meaningfully engage with your community
- Personalize at least 30% of connection requests you send out.
- Be authentic and focus on helping your community.
5. Build Referral Partnerships
Once you’ve laid down the groundwork (all of the preceding steps above), you’re ready to get referrals, which work both ways: you give them, and people give them to you. This further builds your personal brand and leads to more professional opportunities.
It’s all about relationship building. Treat LinkedIn as having a physical relationship with someone—and all solid relationships take time and need investment. Keep in mind the following essentials:
- Connect people with each other who could benefit from working together.
- Refer people to jobs you know of.
- Build and maintain relationships (respond to messages, keep in touch, etc.).
- Bring people together through online networking events, summits, webinars, etc.
6. Measure your Progress
What gets measured gets improved. Just about everything in life needs to be measured to see if it’s on track. And LinkedIn is no exception to this: you should measure your progress to see what’s working and what’s not. Keep in mind the following essentials:
- Review your progress at least every quarter and test new things out.
- Use LinkedIn’s in-built analytics to see your engagement rates, profile views, and more.
- Use the LinkedIn social selling index tool. It gives you a score on how effective you are in building your personal brand. Check out your score here.
Use these steps outlined here, and you’ll be well on the way to building a great personal brand on LinkedIn. For more help with branding and creating yours on LinkedIn, book time with our team, the content marketing experts.