It’s become essential today to build your digital personal brand. LinkedIn is the best place to start and the first step is to sort out your profile.
Here are a few tips on what you need to understand if you want to build a solid foundation for your digital presence. Do these and you will boost your career and get more business. More people will find you in searches and connect with you.
1. Have a plan
You make a plan for most things you do in business. Why would it be any different when it comes to you? You need to have your own personal promotional plan.
Treat your personal image in the same way a brand nurtures its products
To build a personal brand you need to know where you should position yourself. Just like any product you need to decide where you sit in relation to your market and to your competition. You should treat your personal image just like a brand nurtures its products.
- Use the same message all the time. Your need to reflect this message in your title and in your summary.
- Use the same keywords throughout your profile.
- Use similar images across LinkedIn, your blog and your Twitter profile.
- Get a professional headshot and a banner image in line with your message.
- Be consistent.
You haven’t built up a strong enough brand image yet to be clever or cheeky. If you run a chain of coffee shops, no problem to have a photo with you sitting in front of a coffee and croissant. If you run a surf school, get a photo on the beach. But if you are a corporate leader (or aspire to be), stay conservative; wear standard business attire and get the photo taken in a neutral location.
- Remember that you are in a professional context.
2. Make sure your LinkedIn profile is complete.
Your profile is your shop window, your showcase, don’t leave it half empty.
You only get one chance to make a first impression.
When you introduce yourself to someone in real life, what do you say? You don’t just tell the person in front of you your name and job title. You talk to them about what you are currently doing or have done in the past. You might also talk about what is important to you or to your company. Otherwise they will just move on to talk to someone who is more interesting or relevant to them.
You have to do the same on your LinkedIn profile. It is your online introduction to people you have not yet met. It’s your digital first impression.
- Complete all the sections you can.
- Fill your profile with detail and keywords that identify you and your strengths.
- Add links to extra information, add relevant photos or a presentation highlighting a project.
- A complete profile will boost your visibility in search results. Profile completeness is the key criterion to rising up in the search rankings. Only the level of connection scores higher in the Linkedin algorithm.
Remember: Your profile is visible across the web. LinkedIn searches appear in Google search results too.
3. Write a brief and informative summary
The first thing to say here is “Do write a summary”. Many profiles go straight into the experience section. There is no introduction, no welcome.
Your LinkedIn profile is not just an online CV or resume.
The least you would do in a real life situation is to say hello. In fact, you will probably have a few brief, clear and simple words in your head to explain who you are.
Use your summary to make the introduction you would make when meeting someone for the first time.
- Your summary is your elevator pitch in written form.
- Say who you are, what you believe in, where you want to be, what you want to do.
- Include some personal information. Don’t talk about your pet cat, but do add a personal element to the latest project you are working on. Add what you have contributed to an otherwise factual description.
- Refer to your past to explain why you are doing what you do today.
- Talk about what excites or interest you.
4. Drop the jargon
There is no shame in speaking a language that everyone understands. You are not dumbing down by removing technical terminology.
Jargon creates barriers to broadening your network.
Use straightforward terms that those outside of your sector will also understand. Avoid some of these over-used words:
- Expert – Says who? Isn’t it for others to say that about you? Specialist may be a better alternative.
- Creative – Everyone uses this word, it has lost its impact. A true creative is an artist or designer, not a corporate lawyer.
- Motivated – Well if you aren’t who would want to do business with you?
Forget the corporate speak such as:
- leverage, USP, KPI, synergies, paradigm shift, game changer.
Follow the principles of Plain English:
- don’t facilitate, help
- talk of an ability, not a capability,
- try, rather than endeavour, to do things,
- show a skill or strength, instead of exhibiting it.
So these are four keys to getting you started. There is much more to do. But please do this first. Without a good profile as a solid foundation, your efforts in sharing or publishing content and in building your network will stumble.
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Find out more about how to exploit professional social media here.
This post is also published at https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/how-get-attention-linkedin-robin-young