When you’re a business professional and you’re trying to increase your reach in the market, building a strong personal identity is absolutely crucial. This speaks volumes about the type of professionalism that you choose to convey to your partners, employees and, most of all, your audience. Creating a powerful personal brand will not only establish you as a leader in your industry, but it will also help your business flourish, because ultimately every organization, no matter how small, is perceived according to its owner’s influence and authority.
From this point of view, LinkedIn is one of the most important platforms you will ever have at your disposal. Its high versatility and ever-growing popularity will help boost your business image, while also leaving a long-lasting impact among your industry peers. If you’re like most people, you probably already have a LinkedIn profile set up, but have only gone as far as adding your background and experience and connecting with a few professionals.
From this point of view, what differentiates LinkedIn from other social networks of its kind is that the simple concept of creating a profile and updating it every once in a while will be as pointless as not having a profile at all. Setting up a LinkedIn profile is only the first step when it comes to enhancing your personal branding strategy. Keep on reading to find out how you can make use of this digital treasure that so many professionals take for granted.
1. It Adds Credibility to Your Online ProfileIn this day and age, having a spotless professional image is pretty much equivalent to mastering your online presence. This means that whatever someone finds out about you when typing your name in Google will directly impact both your credibility as a business professional, as well as your organization’s success. From this point of view, it would help to think of your online profile as a business portfolio. It is composed of many different segments that, when connected, should all tell the same story.
Perhaps you’ve issued press releases on behalf of your company, perhaps you’ve done interviews, attended industry events and been featured in specialized magazines – which means you’ve probably amassed quite a bit of information about yourself, so if someone were to do a thorough research on your name, that person would have to spend a significant amount of time scouting through all the available Google search results.
From this point of view, LinkedIn can help make all of this easier for an interested party, by allowing you to bring together every positive and relevant piece of information about yourself. It gives you the option of incorporating videos of interviews you’ve done, links to publications where you’ve been featured or articles that you’ve personally curated. Thus, you will be able to take control of your personal image, by highlighting only the most essential parts of your background and leave behind what you no longer find useful or relevant.
2. It Helps You EngageIf you are trying to build your professional network, LinkedIn is probably one of the best platforms you have at your disposal at this point. By joining industry groups, you get to interact with other business professionals by sharing useful content and staying on top of any type of developments that may appear in your field.
Furthermore, connecting with your acquaintances on LinkedIn should mean more than simply adding them in your circle and following their job performance. You can engage partners or people who are currently working for you by offering them positive recommendations on their profiles. This will achieve two things: it will make them appreciate you for taking the time to do this and they might even return the favor, thus improving your online identity even more. We live in a world of reciprocity and this is particularly true for the business world.
3. It Helps You Showcase Your ExpertiseWhen it comes to showcasing your knowledge in a particular field, one of the greatest ways to achieve that is by publishing high-quality, well-researched articles that will ultimately bring value to your readership and promote your industry expertise. In the case of LinkedIn, you have the option of publishing articles in the Pulse section and, if they become popular enough, they may even reach the platform’s front page.
There are a few key points to consider here:
• First of all, always keep your audience in mind when selecting the topic on which to write. If you want your piece to make headlines, the words “valuable and shareable content” should be your focus in all scenarios.
• Pay close attention to when you plan to publish. If you’re targeting business professionals, for instance, then you should probably not post your article during morning rush hours or on Friday evenings (when most people are generally taking a break from the virtual world and are mostly trying to relax). Posting on weekends or on lunch hours could be a better solution, though, since on these occasions your targeted audience will dedicate a few minutes to checking out what is going on in the world.
4. It Helps Attract Industry RecognitionOnce you become actively engaged with your business community and you also start publishing well-curated articles, your peers will slowly start to acknowledge you as an authoritative figure in your field. To achieve this goal, participate in as many discussions as possible and offer pertinent solutions to the problems faced by your community, while also sharing some of your own professional stories.
5. It Helps You Promote Your BusinessYou would probably agree that almost all the great businesses in this world are directly linked to one central person that helped shape the company and brought it to the point of success. This can be a founder, CEO or even a spokesperson. Think Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Marissa Mayer or Sheryl Sandberg.
In most of these cases, the public has come to view the companies or organizations with which they’re linked as an extension of their personalities, values, and central characteristics. Often times, it is hard to dissociate between businesses and their respective leaders, so keeping this information at the forefront of your actions can be vital for the ongoing success of your business.
From this point of view, it is safe to say that constantly building your LinkedIn profile through engagement and valuable insight will only help maximize your company’s image and overall profits.
6. It Gives You a Better Perspective On Your AudienceLast but not least, if used properly, LinkedIn can become a highly intuitive platform that can help you gain valuable insight on your target audience. By joining industry-related groups, you will have access to collectively shared information regarding your particular field, be able to identify issues that you might not have been aware of before and even get a better understanding of your competitor’s strategies.
Whatever strategy you wish to design for your personal brand, make sure you add your very own LinkedIn campaign in the mix, with concrete, actionable steps you can take every week in order to enhance your online presence and ultimately build your reputation as a professional.