Last time, we set up your Twitter account in such a way, that now it actually helps promote your personal brand. While we could focus on Facebook next, the social network with the most potential than any other for gaining traction from your personal brand is – you guessed it – LinkedIn. The social network you haven’t updated in, be honest with yourself, in at least a few months if not a year. In today’s Summer of .ME guide, we explore the 3 powerful habits you’ve been ignoring about the world’s most business-friendly social network!
Why LinkedIn Needs to be “linked in” to Your Personal Brand?
LinkedIn was started as the world’s professional social network and while it’s far smaller than Twitter or Facebook, its members mean business! After “googling” you, the first place a potential client or employer will go is LinkedIn. And if your personal profile is not updated – they might decide to skip you altogether. Let’s not let that happen – let’s use these 3 simple, yet ignored hacks to keep the Summer of .ME truly focused on – you!
- Part 1: How to write an “About Me” (This article)
- Part 2: The Power User’s Guide to Twitter Rebranding: Tweet-Voice & Repeat Tweets
- Part 3: The Power User’s Guide to LinkedIn Personal Branding Habits! (this one!)
- Part 4: Soon…
Habit hack #1: Update Your Profile (Or It Doesn’t Matter)
Remember that first time when you created your LinkedIn profile to create a “virtual CV”, by adding the list of jobs you worked at, the college you went to, as well as all the possible people that you knew as “connections”. Although most LinkedIn profiles seem to indicate otherwise (by the sheer number of people that haven’t updated them in a long time), you need to update your profile regularly.
Why? Just think about the times that people update their CV – or in this case – LinkedIn profile. It’s almost exclusively when then plan or have changed a job. Updating their profile is the best sign that someone is looking for new opportunities since they’ll want potential employers or clients to have the best possible overview of the work they’ve done in the past. The incentive to have an up-to-date LinkedIn profile is thus very urgent and makes most people react by finally realising that their profile shows how they’re still working at a job their left 2 years ago, or are categorised as specialists for something they don’t want to do anymore.
While updating in this manner does make sense, you lose a lot of opportunities by not updating your profile until the last possible second. If you had kept it up to date not just with the companies you work for, but also projects you have done in the meantime, potential employers could have contacted you earlier and offered you a better opportunity. Unfortunately, they still think you’re Bob from accounting instead of Mr. Bob, Head of Accounting office at Fortune 500 Inc. And it’s your fault.
While LinkedIn hasn’t done a great job of making us update our profiles regularly, there’s still a little hack you can use to keep one step in front of the (work force) competition – and it’s very simple. Just open your calendar or other software you use to keep note of recurring tasks and add “Update LinkedIn profile” to it as an event that will repeat every 3-4 weeks. Once a week would be too much while updating just every couple of months would miss out on all the opportunities I mentioned. This way, you’ll never forget the accomplishments you should be adding to your LinkedIn profile: The projects you just finished, the people you should ask for recommendations while your work is still fresh in their mind, etc.
Habit hack #2: Get Those LinkedIn Recommendations While They’re Hot
While I’ve mentioned getting recommendations, they require a special note as a habit because of their significance! While you can write wonderful things about yourself like most of us can, a single recommendation from the right person is far more powerful. By having a 3rd party, especially if they are respected in your industry, recommend your work, others will have confirmation that everything else you wrote is actually true!
Think of Recommendations as LinkedIn’s integrated social proof, that is aided by the fact that the people who are recommending you have their own profiles showing their authority and expertise. If the CEO of .ME, Predrag Lesic, says you’re good at what you do, people in the domaining industry will take notice!
While recommendations are a powerful tool and you need to ask for them regularly, never forget that in this case you are relying on other people to do some work. You need to make it as easy as possible for them to react and recommend you.
First of all, ask for recommendations only from people you have worked with at least for a bit, or that know how good your work is – and ask them immediately after they’ve interacted with your work. Asking your client for a recommendation 2 years after the project is over won’t have nearly the effect as asking them right after the project is finished and they are still ecstatic at how well you did your job. Also, first email or tell them you’ll ask for the recommendation over LinkedIn. Not just so they don’t ignore it, but also because since a lot of people ignore LinkedIn and might not even see your request if you don’t tell them about it.
Habit hack #3: Post Your 1st LinkedIn Post… And Keep Posting
I have to admit that I’ve been skeptical of LinkedIn’s publishing platform, since I believe that having an independent place to put your content (such as the .ME blog hosted on .ME’s own servers thanks to WordPress) and then distributing it is the best way to go. However, I’ve found that just posting summaries of articles I’ve written makes sense both for readers who don’t mind clicking on the extra link to read the whole article, as well as my own efforts to generate traffic to those pieces of content. LinkedIn users click through – so you should post!
Posts are a great way to show your authority among your connections and other users that might turn out to be your next partner, client or employer! Because the network wants to make use of all the content users generate, you can be sure that LinkedIn will promote your content across its network. In my experience, typical LinkedIn posts generate far more views and clicks than most personal blogs, making them a good alternative to the never updated WordPress website you installed a couple of years ago.
While I won’t go into the details of writing for LinkedIn’s content platform, except that you should follow the usual blogging best practices and follow how other users are using the platform, I will advise using good images and formatting your posts accordingly. Don’t just use plain text because it’s “simpler to read”. It’s not. Your readers want to skim and then read, so give them that opportunity by adding headings, links and bolding the best parts!
As in the case of updating your LinkedIn profile, writing 1 or 2 posts every 1 or 2 years is not going to help you a lot in the long run. So take a cue from our LinkedIn habit hack #1 and put it into your calendar. A small additional tip would be to connect your expertise to hot topics and generate articles that will be part of a bigger trend!
While I know most of you won’t use these habits to create a powerful LinkedIn presence, those who do will have a significant advantage over their peers. To all of you who keep your LinkedIn profiles update, recommendations coming in and posts going on – congratulations – your personal brand is well under way during the Summer of .ME!