On Tuesday of this week I was fortunate enough to be asked by Nicki Kavanagh at The Juniper Co to take part in a webinar at their head office in Aldershot.
The webinar was aimed at members of their exclusive Alumni Group and was part of a series of events on how to enhance your personal brand, and the part that Social Media can play in doing so.
It was a very enjoyable hour, and in the Q+A session towards the end, I was asked some questions about LinkedIn and Twitter.
As I gave my answers to these questions, it occurred to me that many people aren’t using LinkedIn to its full potential – particularly in terms of their personal brand.
Think about going for a job interview – you’d do your research, you’d update your CV, you’d wear smart clothes, you may even have a haircut (as Dan says to me – which hair did you have cut..?!) – but the point is that all of these things, plus the way you then present yourself in the interview, form part of your personal brand.
So please do bear in mind the importance of presenting yourself in the same way on the Social Networks that you use – particularly on LinkedIn as the perceived ‘professional’ platform of choice. A potential client, customer or employer checking you out online may see your failure to keep your online profile up-to-date as a potential shortcoming.
So to help you avoid this scenario, here are a few tips to help you present yourself in the best way online:
1) Profile Pic – is your LinkedIn profile pic one of you lying on a beach with a sangria and a sombrero? Or having a bit too much of a good time in the pub? Then consider changing it to something a little more sober – a simple head shot or you working in your current role for example. If you’re a teacher, a photo of you teaching is perfect for example. If it is a head shot – try and be smiling 🙂
Oh and the cardinal sin – no profile pic – there’s no excuse not to have one! How will anyone know if it’s THAT John Smith from the networking event…?
2) Your Biography – Make sure it’s filled in and don’t be scared of bigging yourself up, you’ve got a few seconds to make an impression so spend some time thinking about that killer opening line – and also how that works in conjunction with your profile picture, try and make sure the two marry together nicely if you can. First impressions are everything and online you have even less time to make an impact so make it count.
3) You Current Role – Most people create a LinkedIn profile as they are either looking for work or setting one up to network as part of a current role. However when they then move roles, the profile can simply be ‘left behind’. Bear in mind that your LinkedIn profile ultimately reflects YOU and YOUR brand – not that of the company that you work for. So if they’ve asked you to set one up, make sure that when you leave the company that your LinkedIn profile comes with you. Setting up a new profile for a new company is all well and good but someone searching for you and finding five different profiles of you working for five different companies with no end date is going to be confused. Either delete old profiles or make sure that your new profile is as up to date with your current role as it can be.
4) Ask for recommendations – you’ve probably seen the ‘endorsements’ section of LinkedIn that has emerged in recent months, where you can simply endorse someone as LinkedIn asks you ‘Does Matt know about Online Marketing?’ However I’ve subsequently kindly been endorsed for random skills by people I’ve never worked for or with!
The real weight comes from recommendations, where previous colleagues and clients can write a recommendation on you as a person – adding huge value to your personal branding online. It’s great ‘Social Proof’ that you know what you’re talking about!
5) Demonstrate Your Knowledge and Authority – Make sure you post regularly about what you do and the results that you’re achieving. Do you write a blog? Make sure you link to it. Did you win an award? Post a photo of you receiving it. Seen something interesting in the news about what you do for a living? Post the link as an update. LinkedIn is the perfect platform for you to demonstrate exactly what you know about your specialist subject and role within the company. Make sure that anyone landing on your profile is impressed immediately!
Need more help with LinkedIn? Or maybe you want us to just check out your profile and let you know how it could be optimised further? Drop us a line here.
Written by Matt Davis