There are many benefits to joining LinkedIn, like connecting and exchanging ideas with an engaged professional network—including key industry decision makers. As such, the platform can be a powerful tool for improving your visibility online and helping you grow your personal brand.
Here are some steps you can take to make sure you’re putting your best foot forward on LinkedIn.
1. Optimize your profile for LinkedIn search
Your profile is people’s first impression of you. It also determines whether or not people can find you through LinkedIn search.
As such, it’s critical to optimize your profile to improve your visibility on the platform.
Here are several steps you can take to do so.
Create a distinctive headline
The first step is to create a unique headline that acts as your tagline and sets you apart. It can represent your current position, demonstrate your expertise, or showcase your vision.
Note: Besides your photo, your headline is the first thing people see when they search for you. So, it’s important that it makes an impact.
Use the right keywords and phrases
If you want people to find you easily when they search for you, you need to optimize your profile for the phrases people use to find individuals in your field.
You can find these phrases through LinkedIn’s search function.
Just type in a keyword from your niche, then choose “People” to see how competitive a word is on the platform. Then, select one or two keywords you can focus on and add them to the headline, summary, skills, and experience sections of your profile.
Use a professional profile and cover photo
Add a profile photo that is professional, approachable, and friendly. This will help you build trust and stand out from your peers.
It’s also important to include a quality cover or background photo. There, you can include a link to your website, achievements, awards, what you do, etc.
To ensure your profile and cover photo stand out from the rest, you can use image-editing platforms to create eye-catching images. These tools can also help you highlight key features, add icons, adjust white balance, add filters, etc.
Customize your LinkedIn URL
When you first create your account, LinkedIn assigns you a generic URL using your name, numbers, and dashes.
It’s a long URL, which makes it hard to remember, which makes it hard to share. However, by customizing the URL, you can make it easier for people to remember you, find your profile, and boost your credibility.
Note: You can use your first and last name for the URL. Just make sure that you choose the same name you use on your other social accounts (for example, Bob Smith vs. Robert Smith), so people know it’s you.
2. Grow your network
Building strategic associations on LinkedIn can help you increase your authority as an expert in your field by boosting your online visibility and increasing your reach.
To begin, start connecting with other employees, employers, professionals, classmates, industry leaders, colleagues, and so on. You then use these connections to ask for introductions to people you want to follow.
Every time you accept a connection, you become part of that person’s network and show up on LinkedIn either as a second- or third-degree connection.
Note: Do not deny any reasonable connection request, whether you know the person or not. Instead, focus on broadening your network. If someone starts to harass you, you can simply remove the connection.
You should also join groups and follow topics relevant to your profession, interests, or industry. The people and groups you follow or join become your gateways to information exchange, news about your competitors, new connections, job opportunities, etc. The companies, people, and groups you follow also add their credibility to yours when they accept you as a connection.
Most importantly, growing your connections can build your online reputation and increase your opportunities to attract clients and employers.
3. Publish engaging content on LinkedIn
Think about why you follow people on LinkedIn. In most cases, it’s because these individuals share content that entertains, educates, or otherwise adds value to your life.
If you want people to follow you, you need to do the same.
Start by having a clear idea of who your target audience is, what they need, and how you can solve their problems.
Then, create content that:
- Intrigues readers
- Helps your readers improve a part of their lives or businesses
- Offers actionable tips
- Includes professional and branded visuals that tell your story
On your LinkedIn profile, you can also share external resources, such as videos, presentations, and SlideShare webinars, that help build your credibility and let people know what makes you unique.
4. Promote your LinkedIn profile on other networks
Think of your LinkedIn profile as a brand you want to promote and the content you post as your products. As such, it makes sense to publish your valuable content across all your social media channels, like Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.
Doing so will not only increase your reach and boost your thought leadership, but it could also result in more conversion opportunities because the more people get to know you, the more they will like and trust you.
At the end of your posts, it’s also a good idea to add calls-to-action that ask your readers to share your content, contact you, or sign up for something.
Growing your personal brand starts with creating and a professional profile on LinkedIn. It offers the first impression about who you are while showcasing your successes and professionalism. It can also help you connect with decision makers and increase the chances of people discovering your brand.
This article was contributed by Shane Barker, a digital marketing consultant for 15 years with an emphasis on influencer marketing for the last 5 years.