Let me confess one thing before we start, for years the idea of building a personal brand just didn’t make sense to me. Then about 10 years ago I started studying other successful entrepreneurs and how they built and leveraged their personal brand to increase and diversify their revenue, and I was amazed.
Branding to me is all about finding an authentic way to tell your story to your target market. There are lots of ways to build your brand both online and off. You can write a book, write for a magazine/newspaper, become a speaker or the most recent phenomenon in the past 10 years… social media.
My personal brand journey has included blogging, social media, speaking, writing a book, getting published on Huffington Post as well as other popular business websites.
Here are 5 LinkedIn hacks for building your personal brand.
1. Stand Out From the Crowd.
It still baffles me, but most LinkedIn users don’t even realize they have the ability to add a custom header to their profile, and it’s one of the many FREE features for all LinkedIn users.
As you can see, the custom background allows you to enhance your brand by further telling your story. In this image, you can see how I include my book, “The 7 Habits of Highly Successful LinkedIn Users” as well media coverage I have had including Inc. Magazine, EOFire podcast, Eventual Millionaire and Huffington Post.
2. Remember that a picture is worth a 1,000 words.
Nothing tells a story online like multimedia! My personal favorite is video, but LinkedIn gives you several options including videos, images, audio, SlideShare presentations and more. The objective is to provide users a compelling medium to tell their story in a way that plain text can never deliver.
As I said, video is one of my favorites because it allows people to get to know you. When you consider the fact that LinkedIn has 450 million users worldwide, having a short intro video allows you to tell your story and make a good first impression with someone you hay have never met, that may live on the other side of the country or the other side of the word for that matter. That’s powerful!
3. Never forget that content is KING!
Do you know who was the first to say, “Content is king?”
It was Bill Gates back in 1996, and it’s probably no surprise, but he was right once again. Using content to position yourself as a valuable resource, a thought leader, and expert, is one of the most effective ways to connect with and engage your target market.
But how can we do that on LinkedIn?
- Daily updates are one of the fastest and easiest ways to get relevant content in front of your LinkedIn network. The key is to focus on content that is highly relevant to your exact target market.
- LinkedIn publishing, aka known as LinkedIn articles or LinkedIn Pulse posts, is an incredible tool that allows LinkedIn users to position themselves as thought leaders in their industry by simply writing short but highly targeted content. Unlike most blogs that no one has ever heard of, LinkedIn will automatically notify your connections/followers that a new post is available which leads to instant traffic to your post.
4. Make it easy to be found.
Did you know that when you first setup your LinkedIn account that you are assigned a random and not so user-friendly URL for your profile? That’s why it’s important to claim your custom vanity URL.
The top URL is not custom and is long, clunky and difficult to use. Below that you can see my custom URL which is short and fits into my overall branding strategy.
5. Stop selling and let your customers do it for you.
Getting LinkedIn recommendations is a must if you’re serious about leveraging LinkedIn to build your brand as an influencer in your niche. LinkedIn recommendations are one of the most powerful but underutilized features on LinkedIn. So why don’t people give and get more recommendations?
In my experience most people are afraid to ask or feel awkward asking for a recommendation, so here are a few strategies I use that work like a charm.
- Give a sincere and honest recommendation for a customer, vendor, employee, thought leader or a new connection you met or recently did business with. If you have provided them value and then given them a recommendation, they will many times reciprocate without you ever having to ask.
- As a part of your follow up with all new clients be sure to ask them for a LinkedIn recommendation. The best time to get a recommendation is just after you deliver value but you can’t be shy about it. Remember the Give, Give, Give, Ask strategy I have referred to before here on Influencive.
- If you’re a consultant, it is common to do free strategy calls as a way to connect with and provide value to your target market before they ever invest a dime in your coaching, consulting, products or services. After every call just ask, “Did you get value from our short call?” and if they respond with a YES, just ask them to write a short LinkedIn recommendation based upon their experience.
IMPORTANT NOTE: My experience has shown that more than half of the people that say they will write you a LinkedIn recommendation will forget unless you follow up with a LinkedIn recommendation request as seen below.
As I wrap up this post, I am man enough to admit that I was wrong. Building your personal brand is not a waste of time and will differentiate you from the crowd. As a matter of fact, it’s a must if you want to be seen and heard in this new age of highly educated buyers that prefer to work with influencers and thought leaders versus sales people or order takers.
I post regularly about LinkedIn marketing and social selling on my blog and just for being an Influencive fan you can be my ebook for free at “The 7 Habits of Highly Successful LinkedIn Users.”
Opinions expressed here by Contributors are their own.