Digital marketers need to be strategic about marketing themselves.
It’s easy to spend so much time focusing on your business that you don’t invest enough time on your personal brand.
But don’t forget – you are a direct reflection on your brand.
You represent your business, and for that reason, building your personal brand is a must-do. One way to do that is to create a robust personal LinkedIn profile.
Discover 15 ways to boost your personal brand on LinkedIn.
1. Optimize Your Profile for Search
LinkedIn is just as much of a search engine as it is a social media platform, so the words you choose matter immensely.
What keywords do you want to be found for when potential clients or employers search LinkedIn?
Determine those keywords and use them in your headline, job title, summary, and job descriptions.
Choosing the right words makes the difference between your profile being found or being invisible.
2. Approach LinkedIn Like a Living Resume
Your LinkedIn profile is not something you can set and forget.
Update your profile whenever you make a career move, speak at a conference, publish a new article, take a new course, etc.
Think of LinkedIn as your living resume.
3. Use Your Description to Sell Yourself
Take the time to really sell yourself in your description.
Get specific: make sure to include any facts and figures.
For example, you can state that you increased site traffic by X% – that will be much more compelling than simply calling yourself an SEO expert.
Highlight your greatest accomplishments that will be relevant to the clients and/or jobs you want to attract.
Avoid jargon at all costs. Your profile description functions just like a cover letter – keep it concise and clear, and don’t shy away from selling how great you are.
4. Reconsider Your Profile Photo
You’d be surprised at some of the profile photos that make their way onto LinkedIn.
Here are the things to keep in mind when selecting your profile photo:
- It should include your face and/or shoulders – don’t use any extreme closeup of your face or a zoomed out full body shot.
- Your photo should be crystal clear and unpixelated.
- No hats, sunglasses or other obscuring accessories.
- Have great lighting.
- Do not use a selfie (or at least something that you can tell is a selfie).
- Don’t have anyone else in your picture.
- Dress professionally.
All this can be accomplished without a professional photo shoot – all it takes is a little planning.
5. Get Creative with a Cover Photo
LinkedIn also allows you to add a cover photo to your profile. It’s a great way to stand out and add an extra element to your profile.
Consider incorporating your company’s logo, or an image associated with your profession (for example, a novelist might choose a typewriter or pen and an accountant might choose a spreadsheet.
The dimensions should be 1884×396.
6. Customize Your LinkedIn Profile’s URL
Take the time to customize your LinkedIn profile’s URL. Ideally, you’ll be able to change it your name.
If, however, the name is already taken, consider adding your middle name or using your profession.
For example, if /John-Smith was taken, try things like:
If at all possible, use dashes in these URLs, as seen above. Why?
Google reads dashes as spaces, and, accordingly, recommends their use over underscores.
Keep in mind that you can only change your URL once every 30 days, so make sure you 100% committed to the URL you’re about to submit since you’ll be stuck with it for at least a month!
7. Write Articles for LinkedIn
Consider publishing articles directly to LinkedIn.
You might wonder why you’d post an article to LinkedIn rather than your own blog, and that’s a fair question.
The advantage of posting on LinkedIn is that when you hit publish, all your connections will be notified and it will show up in their feed.
There’s an opportunity to increase your chances of your LinkedIn audience reading it.
You can, of course, always publish an excerpt of an article already on your blog or site, and direct your LinkedIn audience to read the rest on your site.
Or, you can syndicate content from your blog and repost it to LinkedIn. You can also, of course, create content that’s exclusive to LinkedIn.
For example, there might be a piece you want to write on an entrepreneurial subject that would resound with your LinkedIn connections that won’t necessarily make sense on your business’ blog.
8. Choose Your Skills Strategically
Every LinkedIn profile can list up to 50 skills.
You should choose relevant skills to fill all 50 slots, and furthermore, you should think strategically about what skills to include.
Fifty might seem like a lot, but it’s once you start adding skills you’ll find it’s actually not that many (especially considering skills can include things as generic as “writing” and “editing.”)
The 50 skills you choose should align with the skills that potential employers or clients will be looking for.
Not sure what those skills are?
Look at jobs you want and see what the desired skills they list are.
If you have them, make sure to include them (and if not, start working on them so you can include them down the road!).
9. Set Your Profile to Public
You want your profile to be public, no matter what you’re using LinkedIn for.
Why would you alienate future employers, colleagues, and customers from seeing your work?
The only reason you might choose to keep your profile private is if you want to check out other people’s profiles without them knowing it (we all have our reasons).
But, in that case, you can just log out of your account and before viewing a profile, and they’ll never know.
Now, you have no reason not to go ahead and make your LinkedIn profile public!
10. Participate in Groups
Don’t underestimate the power of participating in LinkedIn groups.
Joining groups is a fantastic way to find other professionals whose interests align with yours.
Down the line, those connections can lead to opportunities and contracts.
Find groups relevant to your industry and not only join them, but participate.
Comment, start threads, pose questions, offer advice – strive to be a useful, active member of a few key groups, rather than a silent lurker in many.
11. Accept All Connection Requests
There’s literally no reason not to accept a connection request, whether you know the person or not.
Given that your profile is a professional, public-facing component of your personal brand, you should welcome any and all connection requests.
Growing your connections will only lead to a wider network and more opportunities. Plus, you’ll show up more.
Every time you accept a request, you’re now going to be part of that connection’s network, and accordingly, you’ll show up as a second-degree connection in their network.
Obviously, there’s one exception to this rule: if someone is harassing you online, you shouldn’t accept their LinkedIn request.
Other than that, however, accept requests – they’re a good thing!
12. Engage Meaningfully
LinkedIn shouldn’t just be a platform for your own posts.
Set aside time to go through your LinkedIn feed and find opportunities to share, like and comment.
This is key to building relationships over time.
If, for example, there’s someone you’d really like to work with in the future or a client you’ll like to land, make a point to engage with their content on LinkedIn.
That way, if you ever are in a position to partner with them or pitch to them, they have a background with you – you won’t be just another connection, but someone they actually interacted with.
13. Personalize Invitations to Connect
Taking the time to write a personal note along with an invitation to connect will boost your chance of acceptance and also open the door for further communication down the line.
Write a brief message (even a paragraph is fine!) and mention how you met, why you want to connect or something you admire about their business.
14. Don’t Be Afraid to Ask for Recommendations
Don’t just wait for recommendations to float your way – be proactive and go after them!
Reach out to your connections with a request for a recommendation!
Good places to start include your colleagues (past and present), or over-the-moon clients who you can count on to share good work.
Be sure to include a personal note, politely requesting a recommendation on LinkedIn.
It helps to share why you want the recommendation, as well (i.e., you’re looking to boost your online reputation, you’re applying for new jobs, you’re looking for good references for clients, etc.).
Once they give you a recommendation, always take the time to thank them and write a recommendation for them, in return.
15. Keep Your Content Positive and Helpful
LinkedIn is your professional calling card – don’t comment/share/publish anything that you wouldn’t say to a client or employer.
Keep your posts and comments positive, thoughtful, and encouraging, and always treat LinkedIn like a professional workspace, rather than a personal social media profile.
Featured Image: Paulo Bobita