Personal branding on LinkedInWhen trying to build relationships with buyers and other businesses online, it’s much more effective if you communicate as you, rather than as your organisation.

It allows for a more personal and intimate conversation to ensue – the conversation can even begin without mention of business, if that fits.

However, it’s fair to say that you need to give them the impression that you are well-respected in the industry when reaching out. Displaying only 50 or so connections on LinkedIn, for instance, will probably mean you won’t get a response from decision makers.

It might not be fair, but it’s the way of the online world.

That’s one of the reasons personal branding is so important for a business. Having a finely-tuned LinkedIn profile will see many of those non-replies turn into, well, replies.

While you can’t build your personal brand overnight, here are five quick and easy ways to get the ball rolling on LinkedIn, as suggested by Social Media Examiner.

1. Complete your LinkedIn profile

As far as we’re concerned, your LinkedIn profile is not complete until you have:

  • Uploaded a friendly, role-appropriate picture (that means no pictures from a night out!)
  • Created a distinctive LinkedIn profile headline (this is the first description many people will see)
  • Selected a LinkedIn background photo that represents what you stand for/what you do
  • Customised your LinkedIn URL, i.e. linkedin.com/in/yourfullname
  • Told your story using the ‘Summary’ and ‘Experience’ sections – standard CV speak is a turn-off
  • Inserted keywords where appropriate to make your profile easier to find

2. Connect with industry leaders

It might feel like you’re connecting with well-known names for the sake of it, but from a personal branding POV, it’s good company to be amongst.

However, it goes against the platform’s ethics to just spuriously connect with people just because they have a bit of clout. The trick is to find leaders who you actually have an affiliation with, even if it’s just a case of hearing them speak at a conference – it will make that opening message so much easier to write and increase your chance of being accepted as a connection.

Don’t just stop there, connect to trusted friends, former colleagues, classmates, and other professionals. Then ask them for an introduction to people in their network. You’ll have 500+ connections in no time.

3. Publish content

Personal branding and content marketing go together like cheese and crackers. Publishing LinkedIn content is your way of getting your name out there beyond your network. All the while you’ll be gaining respect from the influential connections you already have – those who connected with you without giving your profile as much as a second glance.

The more posts you publish, the more credibility you’ll build, and the stronger your professional profile will become. Just be sure to create content that is unique, relevant and engaging, otherwise nobody will read it.

4. Keep ‘in the know’

With content creation in mind, you’ll find plenty of use from following those innovative industry voices which are always a step ahead of the rest. You’ll find content ideas much easier to come by, and might even get inspiration for new concepts that you can apply to your business model.

Suddenly, personal branding is more than just attracting new business; it’s resulted in changing the way you operate on a day-to-day basis.

While you’re at it, unfollow those LinkedIn connections who are filling your news feed for irrelevant, irritating updates that only serve to waste your time. Harsh, maybe, but that’s business!

5. Get on board with SlideShare

SlideShare boasts more than 400,000 new pieces of content each month, making it the world’s largest professional content-sharing community, with nearly four million people visiting LinkedIn SlideShare every day.

Those are figures you simply can’t ignore. Get signed up and start sharing your presentations, videos you produced, webinar videos you’re featured in, and nicely designed content you created.

With Google on board with SlideShare, it won’t be long before people are viewing your content via the search engine. Don’t be surprised if you receive a message saying “*Industry leader* wants to connect with you.”

Once you begin building your personal brand on LinkedIn, you’ll be surprised at the number of opportunities that come knocking on your door. Imagine that for a minute: people coming to you with work.

Ben Hollom

July 6, 2016