I spend a lot of time in my presentations speaking about the importance of social media, but I want to spotlight LinkedIn here because I have found it’s one of the most effective business tools for personal brand exposure. The nice thing about LinkedIn is that it is designed for business professionals, so there are rules of engagement. LinkedIn is more pragmatic in its information delivery; whereas, some of the other social media platforms allows for more free-flow personal opinion.
LinkedIn is one of the most important social media platforms you should manage on a regular basis. It’s your “professional” version of all social platforms, so it is paramount that it is updated regularly and reflects you as a business professional.
As a professional, people will search for you online. That means making a little effort to make sure that your image is looking sharp on the largest social media platform for business professionals would be a wise move. Keep in mind that Linkedin is no longer just a “venue” finding a new job. It’s also a place where colleagues and potential business partners and customers can look you up and connect with you. Be wary though, LinkedIn is not a place to promote and sell your brand with a hard-sale strategy. You do want to showcase that you have your finger on the pulse of your industry.
I recommend that you do a handful of things to ensure a solid and relevant profile: be authentic, create a distinctive profile headline and build brand associations. Though the initial step in creating a LinkedIn is to enter resume-style information, that doesn’t mean you should complete the most basic template and “walk away”. You should create a unique synopsis of who you are and what you do and what makes you different.
Now that you have a compelling profile, it’s time to start developing your network. A LinkedIn network is all about your professional network. That means that your first, second and third degree contacts are visible because you never know when someone might be seeking you or your company or in need of your widget (your product, service or skill set).
You also need to actively engage with your LinkedIn profile by posting interesting or thought provoking article links along with your point of view on them or comment on another’s published piece if you have something to offer to the ongoing conversation. You want to add value with your opinions, beliefs , information or analysis. Be sure to join groups that align with your personal brand as others will look to see what associations you are making.
Once you have your LI profile, be sure to routinely update it, whether with a new picture, a new post or with new skills you have acquired. If you have presented or published elsewhere, be sure to list those activities to show that you are an influencer in your space.
Don’t forget to build a separate business page, if applicable. If you own a business, the two go hand in hand so be mindful of how you brand that page. Focus on what’s relevant for the company and of value to the audience.
At the end of the day, how you are perceived online influences further engagement. For business purposes, make sure you invest some energy on ensuring your Linkedin profile sings.