02 Paź Maximizing LinkedIn for Personal Branding
As the only social network whose predominant function is to cultivate professional interactions, LinkedIn is THE place to build your personal brand. Whether you’re a freelancer, a founding member of a startup, or are simply looking to explore opportunities, the importance to building a strong LinkedIn presence cannot be overstated.
With 94 percent of recruiters said to use the social network to search for job candidates, a deeper understanding of LinkedIn’s features can be the difference between being just one of its 470 million users, and coming across an opportunity of a lifetime.
Here are some tips on maximizing LinkedIn Personal Branding:
Optimize your profile
In this highly competitive age, simply having a versatile skillset and experience aren’t enough to make you stand out. For those skills to be seen by the people who matter, you need to make some key tweaks to your profile to give you a better chance of being found on LinkedIn.
Invest in a profile photo
If you’re looking for professional opportunities, you want to make sure that you have a professional photo that makes you exude confidence. According to a 2016 LinkedIn survey, a profile is more likely to be viewed if it has a profile photo — why not make sure you’re looking your best?
If you want to DIY, you can use LinkedIn’s Photo Filters and Editing features to help enhance your shot.
Keywords are key
LinkedIn’s search tool is renowned for being a powerful one — and you can be sure that recruiters are using them to look for highly qualified candidates. In order to maximize your profile’s visibility, you need to search for which keywords are being used to look for people with your particular set of skills.
A couple of ways to do this is by looking at job descriptions for positions you’re interested in, and joining LinkedIn groups to keep abreast of industry appropriate terminologies. You should then incorporate these keywords (as naturally as possible) throughout your LinkedIn profile, most especially in your headline, summary, and experience section.
Speaking of your headline and summary, it is paramount that you make these crucial aspects of your profile count. Again, using relevant keywords are important — so use the 120 characters you have for the headline wisely. If you need help, you can use this LinkedIn headline generator to create a headline that stands out.
For your summary, use the 2,000 characters allowed to speak to prospective clients. Use this section as an opportunity to be a virtual sales pitch of what makes you unique from the other practitioners in your field, and what value you can add to their business.
And while the importance of using keywords remains, remember to be specific. Everyone can be “experienced,” “passionate,” and a “fast learner.”
Be there: Consume, Curate, Engage
After optimizing your profile, if you think you only need to be on LinkedIn when you’re looking for professional opportunities, you need to think again. If you’re really serious about finding opportunities, you need to spend time on the social network to see what your connections, and the people you follow are sharing and talking about.
And just like content marketing for brands, you need to curate and create content that can bring value to your connections. LinkedIn Pulse is a repository of popular, industry specific articles you can share with your connections.
You should also regularly exhibit your expertise by creating original content on LinkedIn. Whether it’s an explainer video, or a blog post — take advantage of LinkedIn as a chance to showcase your expertise. If you’re able to create good enough content, you might even be featured on Pulse — something that could expand your reach exponentially.
There is also the SlideShare tool that allows you to display thought leadership, while also drawing traffic to your profile — double win!
LinkedIn Groups is the best place to join conversations in your field of interest. Not only can you learn from industry experts who are part of the group, you can also further establish your expertise by helping other members of the group who have concerns you can address.
Again building personal brands is very similar to building corporate ones — and just like in the latter, establishing thought leadership is crucial. Engaging with your connections bolsters this endeavor.
The three essential elements of LinkedIn personal branding lie in being found, being remembered, and being respected.
Optimizing your profile and utilizing keywords allow you to be found; curating and creating content lead to being remembered; while establishing expertise and thought leadership develop respect among your connections.
There are a myriad of other tricks to get ahead in the LinkedIn personal branding game, but what’s most important to get started is to be active on the platform. Spend more time on LinkedIn starting today, and get a better understanding of what you need to do to bolster your personal brand.