Creating a Powerful Profile and Connecting with the Right Set of People
As marketers, we invest a lot of time and resource in building brands. We’re trained at it – and we’re good at it. But how often do we apply those skills to building our own personal brands? For many of us, it’s nothing like as often as we should. I know that there’s more that I could be doing to build my own profile on LinkedIn – and I know that I’m not alone.
We don’t get around to it because we’re busy, and because it can sometimes feel selfish or egotistical to invest time in marketing ourselves. However, when we neglect personal branding, we don’t just sell ourselves short – we also miss a big opportunity from a marketing perspective. The impact of employees who share content is huge. And the most effective employee sharers are those who’ve built their personal brand on LinkedIn
1. Choose the right profile picture for LinkedIn
Your profile picture is your calling card on LinkedIn – it’s how people are introduced to you and (visual beings that we are) it governs their impressions from the start. There are some great posts explaining how to pick the right profile picture on LinkedIn – but here are some quick tips to start with: make sure the picture is recent and looks like you, make up your face takes up around 60% of it (long-distance shots don’t stand out), wear what you would like to wear to work, and smile with your eyes!
2. Add a background photo
Your background photo is the second visual element at the top of your profile page. It grabs people’s attention, sets the context and shows a little more about what matters to you. More than anything, the right background photo helps your page stand out, engage attention and stay memorable.
3. Make your headline more than just a job title
There’s no rule that says the description at the top of your profile page has to be just a job title. Use the headline field to say a bit more about how you see your role, why you do what you do, and what makes you tick. If you’ve got sales reps at your company who are on the ball with social selling, then take a quick look at their profile page headlines for inspiration. They will almost certainly have more than their job titles in there.
4. Turn your summary into your story
The first thing to say about your LinkedIn summary is – make sure you have one! It’s amazing how many people still leave this field blank when creating their LinkedIn profile. Your summary is your chance to tell your own story – so don’t just use it to list your skills or the job titles you’ve had. Try to bring to life why those skills matter – and the difference they can make to the people you work with. Don’t be afraid to invest some time, try a few drafts, and run your summary past people you know. This is your most personal piece of content marketing – and it’s worth the effort.
5. Declare war on buzzwords
Buzzwords are adjectives that are used so often in LinkedIn headlines and summaries that they become almost completely meaningless. Our regular rankings of the most over-used buzzwords include terms like ‘specialised’, ‘leadership’, ‘focused’, ‘strategic’, ‘experienced’, ‘passionate’, ‘expert’, ‘creative’, ‘innovative’ and ‘certified’. Now I’m not saying you can’t describe yourself as these things – or that they don’t matter. However, just using these words won’t convince people that you have these qualities. You need to demonstrate them as well – both in the way you describe yourself, and in the way you use LinkedIn profile features to show what you’re about.
6. Grow your network
One of the easiest and yet most relevant ways to grow your LinkedIn network is to synch your profile with your email address book. This enables LinkedIn to suggest people you could connect with. It’s amazing how effective this can be at surfacing relevant people for you to reach out to – and no connection requests are sent without your permission, so you can vet all of the potential connections. Beyond this, get into the habit of following up meetings and conversations with LinkedIn connection requests – it’s a great way of keeping your network vibrant and up to date.
7. List your relevant skills
It’s one of the quickest of quick wins on LinkedIn – scroll through the list of skills and identify those that are relevant to you. Doing so helps to substantiate the description in your Headline and Summary, and provides a platform for others to endorse you. However, the key here is staying relevant. A long list of skills that aren’t really core to who you are and what you do, can start to feel unwieldy. Take time for a spring clean of your skills list every now and then.
8. Spotlight the services you offer
Services is a new LinkedIn feature that helps consultants, freelancers and those working for smaller businesses to showcase the range of services that they offer. Filling out the Services section of your profile can boost your visibility in search results.
9. Spread the endorsement love
Endorsements from other members substantiate your skills and increase your credibility. How do you get endorsed on LinkedIn? For starters, go through your network and identify connections who you feel genuinely deserve an endorsement from you – that’s often the trigger for people to return the favour. Don’t be afraid to reach out with a polite message asking for endorsement for a few key skills as well. Remember though – relevance matters. Reach out to people whose endorsement you’d really value.
10. Manage your endorsements more proactively
Once endorsements start to come in, you might find that they skew the emphasis of your LinkedIn profile in ways that don’t reflect who you are. It could be that your core area of expertise is content marketing for example, but the people who’ve worked with you on events are more enthusiastic endorsers. Be proactive in managing your endorsements list using the edit features in the Skills section of your profile – you can choose which to show, and which to hide...
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