Using LinkedIn To Build Your Personal Brand

By Bas van den Beld

LinkedIn

Linkedin might be even more suitable for personal branding than it is for business branding, but the two can very well be combined. Whether you have thousands of employees or less than 50, you can use them to help your brand get great new business from LinkedIn. Here are a few things that will help you promote your personal brand on LinkedIn.

Your Profile

Just a few facts: the number one activity on Linkedin is checking out profiles, when searching for people’s names almost every time the Linkedin profile will show up in the search results and when linking to a person, their Linkedin page is the most linked to page. So you better make sure your profile page is set up perfectly!

Design

Everything starts with design. It’s the first impression people get about you in many cases. You know what they say: you can only make one first impression.

So when it comes to design you want to do a few things right:

Make Your Profile Publicly Visible

Many people still forget to do this. You want to make sure they can actually see you.

In your privacy settings select “what others see when you’ve viewed their profile” and check off “Your name and headline (Recommended)”.

Have A Clear Profile Picture

Make sure people have a good view on who you are so make it a clear picture where you can see your face, preferably smiling. If people don’t see your face, they won’t click or connect.

Create A Nice Background Image

Again, like Facebook and Google+ you can now create a very nice background image, a header. This is a huge one (like on Google+) and can really make you stand out.

Be sure to design what you want to be seen as. For instance, in my case, I’m showing me speaking because this is business, whereas on my Facebook Page you can see a more personal background.

Description

The description is vitally important. This is what people will read first.

It starts with the headline. You want to make sure that in the headline people instantly know what they can expect from you. So instead of saying ‘Working at company X as Y’, why not tell them what you actually do?

In my case, I chose this headline: “I help businesses get an understanding of their audiences by speaking, publishing, training and consulting.”

It helps people understand how I can help them and it at the same time tells people how I do that.

Then there is the actual description. Again, you have to think audience first. This means you want to make sure people quickly understand what they can expect from you and you try to keep them with you.

When it comes to the description, the key is to speak to the audience from their perspective and at the same time describe what you do, preferably in a story. This can be a challenge, but it is doable.

For example, I start by describing the issue that many of my (potential) clients run into. And that is exactly what I can help them with. I then describe in a narrative how I do that. That way I keep people interested and make them want to see more.

The Rest Of Your Profile

Naturally the rest of your profile is important as well, but you will have to think about what is and what isn’t important for the reader. Does it really matter where you worked 15 years ago or what type or your interests? Or are awards more important? Or skills?

It might differ from person to person and from the goal that you have with your branding efforts. For example, I use the option to show videos right below my description because it’s one of the most important things I do: speaking.

If people can see me speak on my LinkedIn profile, that’s great! But if I would focus on consulting I would probably choose a different order.

Updates

There are two types of updates you can use on LinkedIn. There is the publisher tool, which we’ll get to in a minute, and there are the updates.

LinkedIn updates are what people see when they log in. And an important thing to know here as well is that these updates are connected with Pulse. Pulse, a discovery tool, was acquired by LinkedIn and integrated in the product, making your updates potentially more visible for your followers and connections.

This means you want to think about what you share: the changes in your profile are one, links to articles you write another. There is no harm in posting these links there as long as they are relevant to your audience. Only then people will like them or comment on them, which will make them more visible.

Groups

When it comes to groups there is a dual “feeling” with me. I mostly use groups for research (see my next article), but it can be used to showcase you as well. You just have to be very careful with it.

If you become a member of a group you can choose whether your membership is visible in your profile. Being part of the right groups makes your profile more impressive.

When it comes to being more active within the groups you want to make sure you aren’t using it as a billboard. Just posting your own links and shouting about yourself will only be bad for your personal branding. You want to get involved in discussions and actually help people, that’s how you can use LinkedIn Groups to build your personal brand.

The Publisher Tool

Finally there is the publisher tool. This LinkedIn feature was originally only given to influencers, but has since opened to more of the public. If you haven’t got it yet you will probably get it in due time, they are rolling it out slowly.

The publisher tool is very useful. Many see it as another place to publish your content, but when used properly it can really push your personal brand.

What you don’t want to do is repeat your updates here. People won’t want to read, comment, or share it. What you want to do is create specific content for LinkedIn and in only some cases duplicate content from elsewhere.

When you think about your audience this will help you get a lot more visibility. For one because the updates appear on top of your public profile, showcasing your thought leadership and knowledge. Secondly you can make sure it gets shared on Twitter as well, driving more traffic to your LinkedIn profile.

When publishing you will want to think about the same things as you have to when publishing on a blog: write good content, make sure you have a featured image and images inside the content, and think about what your audience wants to read.

Have you used LinkedIn to grow your personal brand, and in doing so grown your business? Share your success story in the comments!

Bas van den Beld

Founder & Owner, State of Digital

Bas van den Beld
Bas van den Beld is a well known and award winning Online Marketing Strategist, consultant trainer and keynote speaker. Bas is widely considered to be an expert and influential on Digital Marketing, Social Marketing and Search Marketing. As a trainer he is connected to business schools and colleges in The Netherlands.
Bas is the founder and owner of State of Digital and consults with several type of companies on implementation of strategic Internet Marketing and provides training in SEO, Social and Audience marketing.

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