by Elaine Slatter | Featured Contributor
If you are thinking that LinkedIn is just a resume site if you are looking for a job, you are not alone. Although LinkedIn has been around for 15 years many entrepreneurs do not realize the power of LinkedIn. It is THE business social media platform for business. I call LinkedIn, “Facebook for business”, serious business people. You may be wondering how to use LinkedIn to create your personal brand, so let’s get started. The first step is to create that know, like and trust factor.
Your Photo and Cover Picture
It all starts with a great professional headshot, one with a plain background. Don’t use a picture cropped from a family picture or one with your children, husband or dog. The idea is to look professional, even if a friend takes your picture with your cell phone.
The cover (background) picture default, a standard blue background, can be changed to reflect the business you are in or to create an interesting backdrop.
Your Job Title
Instead of using a generic title such as an accountant, yoga instructor, franchisor etc. why not be creative and use this line effectively to be more descriptive of who you help.
The new profile interface only shows the first 2 lines of your summary, before a reader has to click SEE MORE to see the full version. That means you have 200-250 characters (or about 25-42 words) to make your opening compelling. Use it wisely.
Four Types of Media You Can Share on Your LinkedIn Profile
Slides: These are shared through Slideshare (a LinkedIn company)
Videos: Anything you post on Youtube can be shared on LinkedIn and helps break up the text on your LinkedIn profile. The video could be any aspect of education that your potential clients would want to know about your business. This could include tips, the latest news about your industry or a demonstration of your product.
Blog Posts: Your LinkedIn profile can be linked to your website and your blog, You can also create a LinkedIn badge and embed on your website.
Work Samples: You can also link your profile to your work samples by including the page on your website that shows your work samples.
Your Work Description
When compiling the information that describes what you do for your clients, think of the pain your clients have and how you have solved this pain. This is where you highlight what you have accomplished in each job you have held. Your current description is the most important.
Filling in the Education Section
This section can be used for all the courses you have taken as well as degrees and certifications
The Volunteer Section
Any non-profit areas where you have contributed either work-related or personal are important to list.
The Personal Section
It’s very important to list your contact information in this section, both your phone number and business email address. I am always surprised when people leave this information out.
Ask for Recommendations
Once you have completed a project for a client, while it is still fresh in their mind, ask them for a recommendation. This can be done directly from your LinkedIn profile. This recommendation can be also used as a testimonial on your website.
This is where the magic of LinkedIn can be unleashed to create your personal brand.
- Share your blog posts from your website to your LinkedIn profile and add a piece of commentary before the post to give it some context.
- Join appropriate groups to show your expertise. One great idea is to join your local Chamber of Commerce group and post interesting articles within this group, both yours and other news. Depending on the Chamber, you may be able to post in a Chamber group without being a member of the actual Chamber itself.
- Write on the LinkedIn blog platform to educate people in your area of expertise. You can link out to your website in the blog post.
- Follow influencers and comment on their posts for a month or so. Be genuine in your commentary and add additional insight.
- Send out invitations to link with influencers after you have commented on their posts. ALWAYS add a reason why you want to link to them. This way they will be more interested in connecting with you. This applies to all the invites you send!
- Once you have made connections with people take it to the next level and invite them out for coffee or engage in a conversation through the LinkedIn messenger to deepen the connection you have with them.
- Use LinkedIn to introduce people to each other. No more trying to remember people’s contact information. You can use the direct message function on LinkedIn to connect multiple people for introductions and then you can bow out and they can take it further without you being involved. How easy is that!
If you want to learn more about the power of LinkedIn and how to strengthen your personal brand, listen to our podcast here.