If you're looking to get the message out about your business skills, consider using LinkedIn to build your personal brand online. In this lesson, we'll examine LinkedIn best practices to let the world know who you are and what you can do.
Like Facebook but for Business
As Facebook is to social media for families and friends, LinkedIn serves a similar role for business people. LinkedIn is used by businesses to recruit new employees, and your free profile is the equivalent of an electronic resume, so much so that some companies allow you to complete their online job applications by using your LinkedIn profile. If you're a salesperson, you can use LinkedIn to learn more about your customer contacts, and they can use it to check you out as well.
Your personal brand is the image and message you want to represent in other people's minds. A LinkedIn profile gives you a rich canvas to paint a personal picture, because in addition to your work experience, it can also include video clips and other attachments.
According to a recent survey, 94% of recruiters use LinkedIn to search for new talent, so how can you take maximum advantage of this free platform? First, you have to create an account on their website. All you need is an email address and a choice for password, and then you can set up your profile. Your profile is your own LinkedIn page that can include your work history, photo, education, and other related information you want to publish.
Building a Great Profile
To build a great profile, a few elements are needed.
A Decent Photo
According to a 2016 survey, your profile is 21 times more likely to be viewed with a photo, so at the very least include a conservative headshot. Invest in a professional photo if possible. Remember, this is your electronic business card.
Your headline is the first description people see when they search for you, so it's crucial to include keywords that help your cause. It can be your current job title, or it can also include other targeted keywords that convey your value.
You have 2,000 characters here to tell your story. This is your elevator pitch, the 30-second sound bite you say when someone asks you what you do for a living. Make it straightforward and to the point.
You can post documents, videos, web site links, or photos to your profile under the Intro section. You can also edit the background image that appears behind your photo. Use something memorable that enhances your brand.
Manage Your Featured Skills and Endorsements
This is an area that you can highlight your skills and your LinkedIn contacts can endorse you for those skills. Why is this important? According to a 2016 LinkedIn survey, if you display five or more skills, you're 31 times more likely to be messaged and 17 times more likely to be viewed. You can edit this section so that your strongest skills are at the top, and you can ask your LinkedIn contacts to endorse you to improve your rankings.
Other Important Steps
Just like you add friends on Facebook, you grow your LinkedIn network by adding connections, but you want to be more selective on LinkedIn because this is your professional network. Send connection requests to colleagues, customers, and people in your field you admire. Once you've made a connection with someone, you can see the people they know as well. To connect, pull up a person's LinkedIn page, and click on the Connect button. Adding a personal note to the connection request will help you stand out.
Connections may also be willing to write recommendations for you, which shows up on your profile. Recommendations are powerful testimonials that can help bolster your credibility and validate your skills. Writing recommendations for others might help get the process going.
If you're active on Twitter, and the content is appropriate for business you can connect your Twitter account. Once your profile is set up, click on the Me button in the top menu bar and then click on Settings & Privacy. Connecting Twitter allows you to display Twitter on your profile and to share LinkedIn news and jobs. If you have a personal website you want to feature, you can also add it to your profile under the Contact and Personal Info section. You can connect your Facebook account to LinkedIn (again, make sure the Facebook content will be acceptable with your business network) but that connection is setup within Facebook.
You can also add to your personal brand by liking and sharing stories you see in the News Feed or adding stories yourself. The News Feed appears in the middle of your Home page. In addition, you can make comments on items in the News Feed, and those comments can raise your visibility as well.
LinkedIn is to business as Facebook is to families and friends. You can setup a free profile on LinkedIn and publish information about your career, education, and achievements. LinkedIn is a great way to build your personal brand, which is the image and message you want to convey to others online. To stand out, your profile should include a photo and a headline with targeted keywords. Your summary section should include your elevator pitch about what value you could bring to an organization. You can attach videos, web site links, or photos to your profile, and you can also link your Twitter account to LinkedIn. You broaden your network on LinkedIn by adding connections. You can ask those connections to endorse you for skills they know you possess. Having a list of skills with endorsements helps raise your visibility. Connections can also write recommendations for you.