By Jimmy Rohampton.
Whether you are a freelancer, the head of a startup, or a recent college graduate trying to make your professional mark, personal branding is important.
Don’t make the mistake of ignoring the opportunities that LinkedIn provides you in this area. If someone takes an interest in you, they will eventually find your LinkedIn profile. That’s just inevitable. Fortunately, the following five hacks will let you create the ideal personal brand.
1. Put a lot of thought into your summary
When it comes to making the right connections and moving your personal branding in a positive direction, your LinkedIn summary is key. Don’t simply throw together some biographical information. Take some time to write a thoughtful, attention getting, and interesting summary that truly represents you. Tim Ferriss of the 4-Hour Workweek did an amazing job on his LinkedIn profile.
Start your summary by composing a powerful headline. Many people actually skip this step, which is a bit baffling. Then, continue telling your unique story. Keep in mind that you have 2000 characters with which you can wow people. It may help to take pen to paper first and list your qualifications, values, and accomplishments. You can then use this as a source of inspiration as you write your summary.
2. Use visuals to really make an impact
LinkedIn is a highly visual platform. Unfortunately, if you look at many of the profiles and much of the content therein, you wouldn’t know this. LinkedIn provides users with the capabilities to add pictures, videos, slide presentations, even audio to their profiles. This means that you aren’t limited to text in order to tell your stories.
So, create a video that introduces you to new followers and shares your story. Accent your content with amazing pictures and photographs. Upload that amazing SlideShare presentation that’s created plenty of engagement on other social media sites.
Finally, if you haven’t done so already, upload a professional looking profile photo. This goes a long way towards ensuring that people remember you, and feel connected to you. A good example of this is Darryl Stevens of digiTech Web Design.
4. Optimize your profile header
If you check out someone’s LinkedIn profile, chances are the first thing you are going to notice is their profile header. What many people don’t realize is that they can customize their profile header so that it matches their branding. All that you need to do to get started is click on the Edit Background button in your profile.
If you want to get something up quickly, LinkedIn provides some decent stock images. However, while these are better than nothing, they aren’t ideal. You’ll get better results by creating something customized. This way it truly represents who you are. See the profile header of Gary Vaynerchuk, CEO of VaynerMedia.
If you have funds to spare, getting a graphics pro to put together your profile header for you is a worthwhile investment. If not, you’ll have to brush up on your photoshop skills or use a tool like Canva.
5. Get clients and people you respect to endorse you
What you say about yourself on LinkedIn is important. What other people say about you is 100x times more important. Reach out to your contacts, and ask for recommendations. Of course, you’ll want to be generous as well and reciprocate with sincere endorsements of your own. When you successfully complete a project, don’t be shy. Ask satisfied clients to connect with you on LinkedIn if they have not already, and give you their stamp of approval. Vikas Bajaj, attorney at the Law Office of Vikas Bajaj, APC and Injury Trial Lawyers, APC is a good example to check.
When it comes to building influence, there are fewer things on LinkedIn that are more important than getting recommendations from the right people. Remember that by being sincere and generous with your endorsements, you are more likely to be able to earn some of your own.
6. Be an active user
It might help to think of LinkedIn as you would any other dynamic social media platform such Facebook or Twitter, because it is. Don’t simply create your profile and leave it at that, participate! You can start by using LinkedIn publishing to write and share great content with your target audience. This is a great way to ensure continued interest, and to establish thought leadership. You should also share daily updates.
One great built in feature that LinkedIn has is that it will automatically inform your followers and contacts when you have posted new content. This is almost like having your own promotion tool.
LinkedIn is a powerful platform for building your personal brand. Try out a few of the hacks listed above, and you can get the most out of your LinkedIn presence.