I never used to advocate a universal marketing platform for all professionals seeking to build their personal brand. That has changed, as LinkedIn has become the premier business tool for contemporary professionals wishing to build visibility and engage in reputation management.
When LinkedIn was developed in 2003, it was the place professionals went to look for a job. If your boss found you on LinkedIn, that was a bad sign! Today, LinkedIn is a business tool used for research, connection, information and deal flow, and professional positioning of personal brands.
I conduct workshops and presentations around the U.S. on building powerful personal brands using many of the dynamic social media tools (LinkedIn, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, etc.). Below are some of the highlights from my program on LinkedIn as it relates to reputation management.
- Consider your LinkedIn profile as a marketing piece. Use every tool and feature to create an impression of your experience, passion, interests and goals. This is marketing and positioning. Use it!
- Get very clear on your target audience. Simply pursuing “hiring managers” is not specific enough. Be clear about what kind of hiring managers, what kind of companies, where they are and what they are looking for. Then, you can tailor your personal profile content to be consistent with their goals and needs.
- Do not just put your resume up on LinkedIn (see point #1). Customize each section to meet your goals and attract your target audience. Be specific about what you’re looking for, what you enjoy, what you’re good at and why people value you.
- Seek specific recommendations. They give viewers an idea of how others have viewed your work. But don’t leave them up to chance. When someone offers to give you a recommendation, suggest key words, phrases or specific experience for them to comment on. This is your marketing piece, and you should direct it.
- Consider Search Engine Optimization (SEO). Populate your profile with key words and phrases that increase your likelihood of being found when a prospect searches for you. In my case, I use two terms, “Reputation Management” and “Personal Branding for Executives” often in my profile. If you search for “Reputation Management” in the “People” search, check out how I rank amongst 190,000 results!
- Get connected. The main purpose of LinkedIn is to connect with other business professionals. If I view your profile and only see a couple of contacts, I might believe you are not very savvy or well connected. Strive for a healthy amount of quality contacts, based on your personal brand strategy.
- When you ask for connections, personalize the invitation. No one likes to get the default invitation – it is impersonal and appears too casual. Instead, refer to the place/time/location where you met the person, offer insight into how you’ve come to know them, or mention your goals in wanting to connect with them. This gives you a better chance of a relationship with your new contact, not just a connection.
- Don’t accept every invitation to connect. I recommend clients be discerning when accepting invitations to connect. When you connect with new contacts, you are in essence inviting them into your professional network and leveraging the credibility of your personal brand. Would you be casual and haphazard introducing your best client to someone you don’t know? Then why would you do so on LinkedIn? Look at their background, read their (hopefully personalized) invitation, see how you might be connected to them…does it add up to a good contact for you?
- Pay attention to the image you use. Was your photo taken at a backyard barbecue or was it taken 10 years ago? Is that the impression you want clients to have of you? Strive for an image that is consistent with your desired personal brand and reputation.
- Update your profile or status every seven to 10 days. This degree of frequency will give you a high likelihood of staying top of mind with key prospects and audiences.
In my programs I share many more tips…These are just ten! Imagine how much power LinkedIn offers to build your professional personal brand. If you are interested in reputation management, don’t overlook LinkedIn!
What are your favorite tips and success stories using LinkedIn? Please share!