LinkedIn is a platform that many of the people I consult with have questions about. I’m actually often surprised at how many professionals don’t have LinkedIn profiles! LinkedIn has proved to be a wonderful professional resource for me time after time, and I know that if people learn how to utilize it the right way to build their own personal brand, that they can experience some of the same amazing results.
LinkedIn has recently surpassed the 500 million user mark, so it’s getting quite a bit crowded on the platform. Cutting through the noise and positioning yourself as a thought-leader is a quick way to steer clear of being “camouflage on camouflage.”
The key is simply to strive to be, as Andrew and Pete would put it, “remarkable.” In their book The Hippo Campus, Andrew Pickering and Peter Gartland define remarkability as “simply being different to the majority.” Be someone who is talked about (in a positive way) without provocation!
How can you make this happen? Let me walk you through four sure-fire strategies:
1. Have an expressive headshot! On LinkedIn, your profile image poses as your first impression. You want it to very clearly stand out from all the rest so that it will make your profile undoubtedly memorable. When I think about memorable headshots, my mind goes straight to Laura Pearman’s work. Laura is a photographer in the UK who specializes in highly-branded headshots. Her portraits stand out from the crowd and truly capture brand personality, while also setting the individual subject out from the crowd. You don’t have to be just another face with a forced-smile on a navy blue background! Bring your page to life immediately by showcasing your true self with a solid profile image. Be your own brand in your industry!This will certainly be a milestone on your road to Remarkability.
2. Write Articles on Pulse! For those of you who are unfamiliar with what Pulse is, it’s LinkedIn’s answer to housing long-form written content natively to the platform. I’m sure many of you have read several Pulse articles, maybe not even realizing that this is what you’re reading. Writing these pieces of content yourself is a sure-fire way to demonstrate your own credibility in your field. So how do you post an article on LinkedIn’s Pulse? It’s pretty simple actually!
In the screenshot above, you will see a button that says “Write an article.” Click on that button, and then begin writing your own value-packed article! In addition to writing the article, you’ll also want to create an eye-catching cover image for the post to catch people’s attention as they’re scrolling through their feed. (take the cover image for this very blog post as an example) When I create cover images for articles, I typically grab my underlying image from unsplash.com (this is a website that allows you to download images and use them without attribution, as long as you edit them in some way.) After I choose a compelling image that relates to my post topic, I upload the image into Canva, add some text overlay (a clever piece of copy that reveals what my article is about), download the image back onto my desktop and use it for my article. An important thing to remember when you’re writing your first article on LinkedIn is that you must not overthink it. It’s like anything else, the more you do it, the more comfortable it will become. Also, the more you do it, the more visible you will become! Write about topics that will answer common questions that are asked by your customers/clients. Write about popular or new topics in your industry. This is a terrific avenue for breaking through the noise on LinkedIn and establishing yourself as an industry thought-leader, so dive in and starting doing it!
3. Post often! There are so many things that can be shareable on LinkedIn, despite what you might think! Did you company recently participate in a community event? Share an image from the experience and talk about what your company did! Did your company win an award or land a big new client? Bring extra attention to it by sharing a link to the article on your profile, or announce how excited you are to begin working with “said new client!” Did something newsworthy happen in your industry? Share an article about it on your profile! Or better yet, write your reaction to the news on LinkedIn Pulse! The more active you stay on LinkedIn and the more you engage with other professionals, the more visible you will stay. PLEASE REMEMBER: LinkedIn is a strictly-professional platform, so it’s wise to steer clear of posting about personal circumstances.
4. Join Groups! Staying active in LinkedIn groups is another great way to not only establish thought-leadership, but to learn from peers! LinkedIn groups pose as terrific discussion forums for professionals with similar interests and careers. People can troubleshoot technical issues, discuss industry news, and even make powerful connections and leads. Collaboration is key for thinking outside the box in any industry, and utilizing LinkedIn Groups is a great place to do this. Extra tip: DON’T BE SPAMMY. Making strong connections is about giving and taking, truly nurturing the relationship. No one wants to get onto a social media platform and immediately be sold to. (Don’t be that person) Be willing to learn and provide insight, and this will take you much further.
Positioning yourself as an industry thought-leader can prove to be a huge asset to your company. Yes, having a company page is also a great way to get your brand out there. However, people trust your brand because they trust YOU first. Be inspiring and compelling. This will set the stage for your company to be well-represented in turn.
Thanks again for reading, and please leave any questions/comments/thoughts in the section below! -Jen