8 steps to build and boost your personal branding on LinkedIn (ultimate tips)
Whether you’re looking to take the next step in your career, find a new role, or simply establish yourself as an industry leader, you should be investing in personal branding on LinkedIn.
While personal branding has always been important (particularly for professionals), it’s more essential to manage and cultivate your personal brand than ever before. We’re living in a digital world. If you’re online, you’re already potentially making an impact on thousands of people, worldwide.
Developing a strong personal brand is how you shape what those people think of you. While you can showcase your brand in a variety of ways, and on many social channels, LinkedIn is one of the most powerful options out there.
Why? Because it’s crafted specifically for professionals.
LinkedIn is the go-to place for clarifying your professional brand, connecting with potential employers, and even developing a strong social network.
So, how do you build and boost your LinkedIn personal branding? Here’s everything you need to know for success.
What is personal branding on LinkedIn?
You’re probably already familiar with personal branding. Basically, it’s the art of building an image and identity that conveys a specific message to your intended target audience.
Your personal brand is defined by everything from the content you share online, to how you dress, your profile pictures, and even your personal website. It’s everything you do to convey your values, skills, and abilities to the people around you.
Just as every company has a brand, every person has a brand that shapes what others think of them, and feel about them. A personal branding strategy is how you ensure you’re drawing attention to the best aspects of your character.
Personal branding on LinkedIn is all about taking advantage of the world’s biggest professional social network, and its features, to market your personal brand. It’s one of the best places to connect with industry leaders, build your professional reputation, and even share personal stories.
Why use LinkedIn for personal branding?
Depending on the audience you’re trying to reach and the goals you have for your personal brand, you can potentially build your presence on any social platform. You might even decide to design a personal website or portfolio, where you showcase your work.
However, LinkedIn has some unique benefits for effective personal branding. With about 1 billion members, LinkedIn might not be the biggest platform, but it is the most powerful platform for professional branding.
That’s because LinkedIn is a hub specifically for professionals.
It’s where people go to seek out career advancement opportunities, showcase specific skills to employers, and share content related to their professional interests.
As the world’s largest professional network, LinkedIn is home to millions of people looking to learn, connect with others, and unlock new opportunities. It’s also the most “trusted” social platform out there, according to industry reports.
Additionally, when people search for your name on engines like Google, you can almost guarantee your LinkedIn account will show up at the top of the results.
How to brand yourself on LinkedIn: Initial steps
The good news for beginners is that personal branding on LinkedIn is often easier than it seems. While it takes a little work and commitment to build your brand on LinkedIn, you can get started with minimal effort.
Here are the three first things you should focus on:
Step 1: Define your personal brand
Let’s start with the basics. What do you want to be known for? What are your values and passions as a person? What are your key skills, credentials, and goals as a professional?
Before you can master your LinkedIn branding, you need to know what message you’re going to be sending. What’s the essence of your personal brand, and how do you want to be remembered?
Some of the key things to identify straight away include:
- Your USPs: What makes you special? In your particular field or industry, why would people want to work with you? What unique skills or attributes do you have? How have you proven yourself by earning credentials and accolades in the past?
- Visual identity: You don’t necessarily need a logo for personal branding on LinkedIn, but you should have a clear image. What do you want to convey with things like your headshot? Ideally, you should appear friendly, professional, and reliable.
- Your intended audience: Who do you want to reach with your personal brand, and what matters most to them? What kind of language do they use, and how will this affect your personality and tone of voice?
Writing a personal brand statement can be a good step here. Think of it as the “elevator pitch” for selling yourself to others. Outline the core elements of your identity, your goals, and your achievements in a succinct statement.
Step 2: Optimizing your LinkedIn profile
Now you’ve ironed out the basics of your personal brand, it’s time to showcase it with a great profile. Your LinkedIn profile is the first thing people will see when they encounter you on the platform, so it should clearly outline every aspect of your brand story.
Here are some of the core features of your LinkedIn profile to think about:
- The profile picture: An excellent profile picture should convey professionalism. Invest in a professional headshot for your 400×400 picture, and make sure you smile. Alternatively, film a profile video to really make your account stand out.
- The background image: A background image isn’t a “must” for your LinkedIn profile, but it’s a great place to showcase a specific message, or add to your identity.
- The headline: Your headline should detail what you do, and what unique services or experiences you offer. Think of it kind of like a tagline, or a more succinct version of your personal brand statement.
- The ‘about’ section: Here’s where you can expand on exactly what you do, the services you offer, and a little of your personal brand story. Here are some great examples from LinkedIn’s own blog to inspire you.
- Skills and certifications: Highlight all of your core skills, your licenses and certifications, and the things you’ve accomplished so far. You can also use the “experience” section on LinkedIn to highlight the previous companies you’ve worked with.
One extra bonus tip is to customize your LinkedIn URL. Ensure it includes your name, or consider using a term that’s relevant to your industry.
Step 3: Build your network
If you invest properly in LinkedIn branding, you’ll draw connections to you naturally. However, initially, it’s important to start reaching out and building your network yourself.
Don’t just reach out to anyone. Think about who you want to be associated with, and who you can learn from in your industry. People think highly of others that keep good company. So be cautious when accepting random connection requests too.
When you’re reaching out to people on LinkedIn:
- Start with people you already know: Connect with your colleagues, the people you went to school with, and friends to begin with. Find out who they’re connected with, and consider reaching out to people who can benefit your brand.
- Search for relevant thought leaders: Use the LinkedIn search function to find people who are considered thought leaders in your industry. Send them personalized friend requests, mentioning how you found them, and why you’re interested in making a connection.
- Attend LinkedIn events: LinkedIn users frequently host events using the video and audio capabilities of the platform. Attending events relevant to your industry can be an excellent way to get valuable insights, and find new valuable connections.
Crucially, when you’re building your network, don’t immediately start asking people for things, like endorsements, recommendations, or job opportunities. Focus on building a rapport and getting to know your new connections first.
How to build your brand on LinkedIn
Now you have the basic elements in place for personal branding on LinkedIn, the next step is figuring out how to build your brand on the platform. Like any form of personal branding, or corporate branding for that matter, this takes time and effort.
However, if you commit to the process, you’ll develop stronger brand equity, and improve your chances of standing out in your industry.
1. Create and share content
Content is a powerful tool for personal branding. It’s how you show your expertise and establish yourself as a thought leader. It’s also how you ensure you have an active presence online, so people can find you, learn from you, and discover who you are.
If you’re struggling to think of valuable content to share, it’s worth checking out what other people are doing in your industry. Look at posts of business owners and experts in your landscape. Stay up to date with industry trends, and share your own personal comments on events.
You can also repurpose some of the content you’ve used on other social media channels, your website, and portfolio. Just make sure you’re tailoring your content to a professional audience. Ideally, you shouldn’t spend too much time talking about your personal life.
Instead, use your content as a way to share industry-related news, ideas, and even accomplishments you’ve achieved in your career.
2. Speak at industry events
One of the best ways to elevate your brand on LinkedIn, is to speak at industry events. Applying to take part in events on LinkedIn is a good start, but you can also speak at other local events and conferences, and share snippets on your LinkedIn profile.
The great thing about speaking at events, is that the other companies involved in that event will also share content from it on their LinkedIn profiles. This draws more attention to your LinkedIn branding, and should help other relevant connections to find you.
Plus, speaking at events is a great way to position yourself as an expert in your field. The more events you can showcase, the more likely it is that customers will trust your insights as an authority.
Simply attending events will also give you more insights into industry trends you can use to shape the content you share on your profile.
3. Join LinkedIn groups
Groups are one of the most powerful tools on LinkedIn for personal branding. They’re one of the top ways to build your following on LinkedIn, as they give you an opportunity to connect with new people.
You can find Groups using the search bar on LinkedIn.
Simply type in a keyword relevant to your industry, and click on the “Groups” tab:
Once you join a group, introduce yourself. Highlight who you are, what you do, and what your goals are as a professional. Then, start engaging in conversations.
Respond to other people’s posts with relevant insights and links to your profile or website when necessary. Try not to be overly promotional. Instead, focus on sharing high-quality content that’s genuinely useful to the people in your industry.
4. Seek endorsements and recommendations
Another way LinkedIn helps you build a powerful personal brand is by allowing you to showcase your achievements, and plenty of social proof. LinkedIn Endorsements, and LinkedIn Recommendations allow you to showcase what other people think about you on your profile.
Your endorsements will validate the skills and abilities you’ve already shared on your profile, while recommendations will help others to see your work ethics.
To get started, you can request recommendations and endorsements from your existing and previous employees, coworkers, and clients you’ve worked with in the past. As you continue to expand your career, you can ask for more recommendations, to further strengthen your brand.
5. Engage meaningfully with your network
Simply adding connections on LinkedIn is just the first step in successful personal branding. You also need to ensure you’re actually engaging with your followers, and connections. You can start simple, by “liking” people’s posts in your industry.
Consider commenting on other people’s content with your own insights and experiences, and share meaningful advice and tips whenever possible. Additionally, consider reaching out to the people who are most relevant to your personal brand through direct messages.
Don’t just ask them for endorsements or favors. Tell them what you like about your content. Share a bit of your story and your ambitions as a professional. Find ways to build rapport with the right people, and they’ll open the door to new opportunities for you.
How to market yourself on LinkedIn
Marketing yourself on LinkedIn is all about creating and sharing relevant content. We’ve already acknowledged that high-quality content is crucial to standing out on this social media platform.
However, it’s worth being creative with your approach.
When companies build social media marketing campaigns to spread brand awareness and drive sales, they use a range of different mediums in their content calendar. Similarly, when you’re building your own personal brand on LinkedIn, you should experiment with different types of content creation.
Here are some of the best options to explore:
65% of brands use infographics for marketing purposes. They’re excellent for conveying complex information in a simple and accessible format. Plus, they’re highly shareable. If you can create a valuable infographic, it can draw new people to your profile.
The good news is you don’t necessarily need to be a graphic designer or artist to create high-quality infographics. Tools like Canva can help you produce compelling visuals.
Videos are another valuable visual form of content for LinkedIn personal branding. Although you can post longer videos on LinkedIn, it’s usually a good strategy to start with short, simple videos that are packed full of useful value.
Think about the kind of content that will benefit your connections on the social media platform. You could produce how-to videos related to what you sell or do. Or you might experiment with videos that share personal opinions, similar to “talking head” videos.
Share your videos on your own profile, as well as on the Group pages they’re relevant to. This will help you connect with a wider audience.
Again, another form of visual content you can use on LinkedIn, carousels are an excellent way to share multiple images in one post. You can showcase behind-the-scenes photos, and before-and-after shots to highlight your skills and abilities.
You can even use carousels to create short insights into case studies and customer success stories relevant to your personal brand. All you need to do is select the “Create Carousel” button on LinkedIn, and upload your photos and short video clips.
4. Long-form articles
On most social media platforms, short, simple content is king. However, on LinkedIn, people are looking for more in-depth, educational content. That’s why it’s worth experimenting with longer, more detailed posts.
You can create comprehensive blog posts, complete with images, and show them on your LinkedIn profile, complete with links to your personal website. Ideally, your article should be no longer than 1,000 words, and should be easily scannable, with plenty of subheadings.
Make sure you include sources for any claims you make, and high-quality external links, and use keywords relevant to your industry. This will help your content rank on the search engines.
Webinars on LinkedIn are another fantastic way to showcase your thought leadership and expertise online. While you can host webinars on your own website, sharing them on LinkedIn is an excellent way to reach a highly targeted audience.
Before you host your webinar, do plenty of research to ensure your topic interests your target audience. Consider asking other experts and influencers in your field to join you in the webinar, and look for ways to make the experience interactive.
You can ask questions, create Q&A sections, and even take polls during your webinar to increase engagement. Don’t forget to promote your webinar before you host it, to improve your chances of attracting plenty of attendees.
6. LinkedIn Live
Going “live” on LinkedIn can be tricky for beginners. However, it’s an excellent way to showcase a more authentic personal brand. Live sessions are great for sharing updates with your network in real-time, and even answering the questions of your contacts and followers.
Again, just like with hosting a webinar, it’s important to ensure your live sessions cover topics relevant to your audience and your LinkedIn personal branding.
Share the schedule for your webinars on LinkedIn in advance, and write a great title and description for the session. It’s also worth including a “call to action”, like asking your customers to hit the follow button to hear more from you, or visit your website.
LinkedIn personal branding examples
If you’re still concerned about the complexities of personal branding on LinkedIn, try taking insights from the experts.
Here are some masters of content creation who have used the power of LinkedIn to elevate their own personal brand over the years:
1. David Gerhardt
The Founder of ExitFive, Dave Gerhardt has an exceptional presence on LinkedIn. He’s one of the top thought leaders in B2B marketing, and takes full advantage of all of LinkedIn’s features. His profile showcases links to his website, his history, experience, and skills.
Plus, Gerhardt is extremely active, constantly sharing posts, commenting on other thought leader content, and engaging with his audience through video. He’s earned hundreds of endorsements for his skills, and plenty of amazing recommendations over the years.
Plus, he uses his LinkedIn profile to draw attention to his podcasts, his books, and the other work he’s doing outside of the platform.
2. Chris Walker
CEO of Refine Labs, Chris Walker, is another example of an expert with phenomenal personal branding on LinkedIn. He’s attracted thousands of followers with his powerful posts, videos, and images, and regularly comments on other thought leadership content.
His LinkedIn profile is packed with useful information, including his licenses and certifications, recent projects he’s worked on, and endorsed skills. Plus, he showcases his honors and awards, test scores, and the causes he supports in his free time too.
Though he only actively started building his LinkedIn personal brand when launching his company in 2019, he quickly gained a lot of attention with his active approach to content marketing.
3. Ann Handley
Identified as a “Top Voice” by LinkedIn, Ann Handley is a major online influencer, with hundreds of thousands of followers. The digital marketing and content expert has developed her personal brand around her expertise, influence, and memorable content.
She regularly speaks at industry events and shares video snippets on her LinkedIn profile. Plus, she’s constantly commenting on relevant topics, re-sharing the posts of other thought leaders, and connecting with followers with behind-the-scenes insights into her life.
Ann even creates comprehensive documents and guides that she shares with her followers on LinkedIn, covering topics like content marketing and digital advertising.
Making a connection with LinkedIn branding
Investing in personal branding on LinkedIn is one of the best ways to raise awareness of your skills, expertise, and values as a professional. The right strategy on LinkedIn will help you show up in the search results for terms relevant to your niche.
It can also help you to establish yourself as a thought leader, as you share insights into your industry and professional life. The more time you invest in building your presence with LinkedIn posts, and a strong content strategy, the more your personal brand will develop.
Over time, a strong brand on LinkedIn can open the door to everything from new potential clients to excellent job opportunities, and more.
Fabrik: A branding agency for our times.