By Danielle Dayries
When you see a powder-blue bird you immediately recognize it as Twitter, when you see a swoosh logo you know that’s Nike, and when you hear a few quick soft tones from your smart device you know you’ve received a Facebook message. This connection is corporate branding. As the master of your own personal brand, have you determined how to build a connection when other professionals come across your name? A successful personal brand creates a consistent, targeted impression that helps you achieve your personal and professional goals.
LinkedIn is one of today’s most valuable tools for marketing yourself or personal branding. With over 43 million users, LinkedIn provides the ability to connect with other professionals like no other network can. Here are tips to help build your personal brand on LinkedIn in a way that will attract a network of like-minded professionals and market you in the best possible way.
1. Complete Your Profile
After signing up, it is essential that you answer all of the questions in setting up your profile and proofread everything to eliminate any typos or grammatical errors. It’s equally important to know your target market and what makes you unique to communicate your strengths, mission, and specialized skills to set you apart from the rest. Your goal is to build effective business relationships by nurturing the similarities with your target audience.
2. Choose the Right Headline
The best headline when branding yourself is one that reflects the job you want. Unless you change the headline manually, LinkedIn will insert the last job you had or currently have. For example, if you’re a PR manager for a large company you may wish to change the headline to “PR Specialist for Fortune 500 Companies.” That way, your headline will appeal to large companies looking for someone with your expertise. As another example, you would want to changr “Vice President Sales at ABC Corporation” (your current position) to “VP Sales. Revenue Growth in Cloud-Enabled Technology Solutions. Product Development & Sales Operations Leadership.” The Job Title field on LinkedIn is a highly indexed field that helps with being more exposed in searches.
3. Summary, Experience, and a Dash of Keywords.
Your summary should be a short paragraph that summarizes your work and experience, with a focus on the experience that pertains to the job you are seeking. This is the place to highlight any awards or honors you received relating to the job you are after. In your experience section you should list every job you’ve had that relates to your current position and the job you are searching for with accomplishments listed vs. just a list of job duties.
Use keywords that describe what you do to attract jobs or people that you are after to increase traffic. Keywords will have greater impact therefore, increasing your ranking among other users. Take these words and sprinkle them all throughout your profile, but especially in your job title, summary and experience. These keywords will help recruiters and other professionals find you when they search for those terms in LinkedIn’s People Search.
4. Grow your Network
Now that your profile is complete or your house is in order, it’s time to build your professional network. Growing your LinkedIn network helps establish you as an expert in your field and extends your reach and exposure. Your first, second and third degree connections are the ones that could refer you to new career opportunities in the future. The more first-degree connections will exponentially increase the likelihood that LinkedIn search algorithms will find you and place you near the top of search results. So do everything you can to grow your network! Trade association contacts, current and previous colleagues, friends and family are great places to start.
LinkedIn helps you jumpstart the process with a built-in import function that allows you to import all your contacts from other platforms. After you have populated it with people you already know, the next step is to build new pipelines of contacts by not only connecting with other people, but building relationships. How do you do this? Join groups of like-minded professionals and participate in discussions. Just like a live networking event, it works best by participating. Engage in discussions when someone is asking for guidance or expertise. Make sure your posts add value, talk about your business and include a call to action. This is how you get known as an expert in your field without showing off. Someone in the group may ask for an opinion on new software, a tough client, etc… Chime in and answer and voila – you are now seen as an expert in your field!
Lastly, add your LinkedIn URL to your email signature for more exposure and traffic. This is your free marketing tool, so let the world know where to find out more about all you have accomplished.
Invest some time in LinkedIn to market the most valuable client you’ll ever have – yourself! I guarantee it will prove to be a valuable asset to your career.
If you would like some additional information on the importance of self-branding, join the New Orleans Chapter of the American Marketing Association at The New Orleans Yacht Club from 11:30 am to 1 pm where I will be giving an interactive workshop to build your profile. Those who attend the presentation will leave with a profile and clear understanding of how LinkedIn can be utilized as the ultimate self-branding platform.
Click here to register.
I hope to see you there!
Danielle Dayries is the CEO/owner of the locally-based outplacement firm, DMD & Associates, Inc. Her firm is engaged by companies worldwide to deliver outplacement programs that empower those affected by a reduction in force to get back to work quickly, while helping companies protect their brand and limit legal exposure. She is a board member of several Society of Human Resource Chapters, speaks throughout the United States about career transition topics and is published in multiple publications.