Get real with your online presence

Make the most of your LinkedIn profile and invest your time and energy into making your online presence an authentic representation of you.

In this digital age, you cannot escape your online presence and it is just as important to be authentic online as it is in person. From your website to your LinkedIn profile, your online presence can have an effect on how others see you.

How you appear online is often the first impression people get of you – most people will do an online search before meeting with you – so it’s worthwhile investing time and energy into making your online presence a real representation of you.

Many small businesses have a website that they invest in. However, they often neglect other online platforms. While there are various platforms small business can use such as Facebook and Twitter, the most dominant and effective platform for businesspeople is LinkedIn.

Take advantage of LinkedIn

Just creating a LinkedIn profile and leaving it to gather some digital dust is not enough and can in fact be damaging to your brand.

Here are six tips on making the most of your LinkedIn profile.

  1. First impressions count

You wouldn’t go to a networking event with a mask on and, equally, you shouldn’t hide your face on your LinkedIn profile.

Having a clear, professional photo on your profile will allow you to have more impact and credibility. It is also important to select a photo that genuinely reflects the real you.

  1. What does your headline say about you?

Don’t think that your headline automatically needs to be your positional title.

Could you use something else such as a tagline? Perhaps you could highlight your passion or use a combination of this with your title, such as ‘Head of Customer Service and passionate about making a difference’.

  1. Make your summary worth reading

Many people don’t provide a summary, or simply use this feature to capture their work experience.

However, LinkedIn provides a specific section where you can capture work experience and skills, so you don’t need to duplicate the information here. Additionally, use the summary to bring in all aspects of you and what you do.

Just creating a LinkedIn profile and leaving it to gather digital dust is not enough and can damage your brand.

  1. Actively contribute

Don’t be a bystander with LinkedIn. If you come across an article you find valuable and that you think others in your network will also find beneficial, share it.

What’s more, if you have an insight into an article, make a comment. Even if you like a comment, make sure you ‘like’ it.

Doing this will help build your reputation as a contributor in your field, but also give people a clearer idea of your passions and opinions.

You can take this further by publishing your own post with your own ideas, as this is a way to establish yourself as a thought leader in the field.

  1. Connect well

You can usually find a smarter way to do most things in life, and connecting on LinkedIn is no exception. When you want to connect with someone, don’t just send them a standard request; instead, always try to include a personal note on why you want to connect.

Hi

We have not done business together but l am on your mailing list and enjoyed reading your last newsletter. I hope you accept my invitation to connect here on LinkedIn.

Kind regards

I believe the way this person reached out to connect was polite and professional – and just common sense. These attributes are sometimes forgotten in the world of social media.

  1. Stay updated

It is important to keep your profile up to date. As you change, make sure your profile reflects this. Keep it current and keep it relevant – but, most importantly, keep it real.

Final word on your website

When it comes to your website, you may feel that the site needs to be void of any of your own personality. Unfortunately, many leaders feel like this.

However, just as we can attempt to be ‘real’ in person, we can also take that same philosophy for our website. If we are prepared to show our passions, values and beliefs in person, we should aim for the Same position on our website

One perfect place to show this is in the ‘about ‘section. Perhaps, for example, you could share a personal story in this section that shows your passion or values.

Ultimately, don’t be afraid to inject some of the real you into your website.

Gabrielle Dolan Consultant to corporate Australia Author of ‘Ignite: Real leadership, real talk, real results’

This article first appeared in issue 10 of the Inside Small Business quarterly magazine

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