Using LinkedIn to build your personal brand

As a small-business owner, LinkedIn can be a powerful platform to establish your expertise, build a strong reputation as an industry leader and showcase your personal brand.

Your personal brand matters as it is how others perceive you and what you’re known for. You need to be very intentional about creating a brand which resonates with your audience, otherwise other people will create it for you and potential business opportunities may slip through your fingertips.

LinkedIn gives you many opportunities to build your personal brand – your personal summary, status updates, sharing Pulse posts, contributing to groups and connecting and messaging the people that matter to your business.

Here are some ways to build your personal brand using LinkedIn:

Regularly update your status

Every time you ‘share an update’ on LinkedIn it goes into the news feed of your LinkedIn connections. Regular updates related to your field of expertise increases your visibility and positions you as a thought leader.

Think about sharing your blog posts, interesting news articles, tips, infographics or perhaps new stats. But remember, it must be relevant to your field of expertise and the people you want to influence.

Optimise your LinkedIn profile

A completed LinkedIn profile is 40 times more likely to appear in search results. Ensure you have a professional headshot, a great summary detailing what value you offer and your expertise, a stand out headline and a comprehensive list of your professional career history.

Don’t forget you can also add media and links to your profile. Add a link to a piece of media coverage you secured, a video of you speaking, a SlideShare of a recent presentation or perhaps a link to your book.

Take advantage of LinkedIn Pulse

LinkedIn Pulse is an online news aggregation feed designed to share members’ content. It’s a great place to add your blog posts and articles and since it available to anyone on LinkedIn, it’s perfect for amplifying your content.

Build connections

The more LinkedIn connections you have the better. If you only have a few connections it may give the wrong impression. There are first, second and third degree connections. The more first degree connections you have, the more second and third degree connections you will have, and the bigger your network. You can freely connect with only first and second connections so the more you have the better.

Generally speaking, it’s a good idea to accept most people as long as they don’t look dodgy, i.e. they have no photo and no connections.

If you really want to raise your profile and build a personal brand, then LinkedIn is certainly a tool to investigate. It’s more than just a site for job seekers and recruiters, it’s a platform that can connect you to a large pool of connections and help you be seen as a leader in your field.

Catriona Pollard, Director, CP Communications and author of ‘From unknown to expert’

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