We’ve spoken about Branding before (look at our ‘How a logo isn’t a complete brand’) and how important it is to your business, being consistent and creating/sharing relevant information to keep your potential/existing clients interested in your business, staying involved and participating in what you have to say.
Honing in your Business brand is one thing, but what about when it comes to ‘Personal Branding’?
What is Personal Branding?
Every person has a “brand” (the way they are perceived by everyone else) whether it’s your colleagues, clients or even the shopkeeper in the local shop. These people all see you differently but to be trusted as a business person, it helps to keep this level of perception high.
Marketing yourself is a lot like marketing a business, being successful relies on consistency, relevance, information and personality. Sometimes we neglect our personal brands or sell ourselves short as we run the risk of seeming big-headed or egotistical.
Creating a personal brand isn’t about showing off or being selfish, It’s all about the impact you have on the world around you. The best way to show off a professional personal brand is by using social media and we would suggest LinkedIn.
Your LinkedIn profile page is a platform for your personal brand. In 2017, after a slight rearrange, it became very clear and relied more on visual aspects in the hopes of being used as a foundation for professionals in industry.
So where to start?
Below you will find some simple tips to help create a cohesive LinkedIn profile that will allow others to find you easily, understand what you do, grow your network and start conversations with connections.
Let’s begin with a profile picture – As humans we are pre-programmed to recognise and trust facial features straight away. Make sure you have a recent, high resolution image of ONLY YOU which takes up around 60% of the profile space (long distance/group images do not stand out), wear what you would on a normal day at work and smile!
The second most important visual on your page would be your Background photo (sometimes known as a cover image) this gives your profile context and shows a little bit of what you do (for instance if you work in the Agriculture trade showing a beautiful image of sprawling countryside would be a nice visual or if you’re an Accountant then showing a photo of your tidy office would let people know you are organised and efficient). This will also focus attention from the number of other search results.
The headline field doesn’t just have to be your job title, although this is where most people put their role, there is no written rule that this has to be! – Use this field to say a bit more about what you do and how you see your role. This could tie into your LinkedIn summary, where you can write a short story about how you began your role or your business. Don’t be afraid to invest time and effort into this part! Run it passed friends and colleagues to make sure it shows you in the best light – It’s worth it!
Skills & Services
List your relevant skills, these should be selected from the pre populated list LinkedIn give you. Show both an overview of skills (Use of Microsoft Office for example) AND more focused skills (Microsoft Word, Excel, Powerpoint etc). Try to keep this list succinct and to the point – try to reference the most important skills first and keep these up to date! A spring clean can be helpful for staying relevant.
Recommendations are potential client’s way of seeing how your current connections value your skills, think of them as micro testimonials. These are ways that your previous clients can recommend your services to the rest of LinkedIn, just head to the recommendation section on LinkedIn and in the drop down menu select specific contacts and request recommendations (many people will be more inclined to fill these out than a full testimonial, saving themselves time and effort).
The comment section of other people’s posts can be a great way to get across your knowledge of a specific subject – make sure you take some time to write each comment! No flippant “Lol” or “#blessed” (unless of course this fits in with how you see your personal brand!) Try to create a well rounded comment which will leave the viewer wanting more information and this may cause them to check out your profile. Creating connections through comments will allow you to understand what your audience enjoys hearing you talk about, after-all human beings are information sponges – always looking to learn more. Ensure you are leaving comments on relevant pages from your field also, allow like minded people to converse with you and if you disagree with anything they say, do so in a professional and polite manner (backup your answer with facts rather than opinion).
Obviously, this isn’t a full breakdown of ‘Everything you need to know about LinkedIn’ but there may be some useful information that maybe you haven’t thought of before or maybe just needed a slight nudge in the right direction! If this post has helped you then please let us know! Give Simon an add on LinkedIn and say hello!