With 200 million registered users in more than 200 countries and territories, LinkedIn is the world’s largest business network. On it, therefore, special care has to be taken with regards to building a profile that serves as a professional hook, and is not an extension of your resume.
Right from headline and summary to skills and applications, brand building through LinkedIn is a thought-out process – ideally driven by four critical components: awareness, difference, value, and emotion.
Is your LinkedIn profile optimized by these components?
Wait, wait…before you answer, let’s first discuss what each is, and how you can optimize your profile incorporating these – if you haven’t done so already.
Personal brand awareness is the primary reason why professionals are on LinkedIn. But, there are certain elements that defeat the purpose, such as the title of your position for professional headline, jargon-filled and adjective-laden summary page, and verbatim copy of your resume.
Whether it is the professional headline or the summary section of your profile, make sure it is clear, creative, and cohesive.
When you are constructing your profile, consider the following questions:
• What do you want your professional connections to think when they read your profile?
• Is it in sync with your personal brand proposition?
• Is the message cohesive across social media platforms?
Once you have the answer to these questions, it is time to think about the difference: between your competitor and yourself.
We all want to stand out in a sea of competitors, at all times, in all spheres. But, that doesn’t mean we go radical and ignore to stay relevant and relatable. (Yes, both are different. As Tracy Johnson puts it, “Relevance is defined as having direct bearing on the matter at hand. And, relatable is to bring into or establish association, connection, or relation.”)
Both relevance and relatability work at an emotional, more intangible level. It is about connectivity – through your story or message. Audiences, clients, and customers need to feel that you and your story is a part of their lives, a part of who they are.
Your world and your passion must be somehow synonymous with identical experiences because that’s when the magic happens.
While relevance and relatability have different meanings, they operate hand in hand. Relatability is what drives the most powerful of our stories, and relevance creates loyalty.
You don’t want it to be lacking either in detail or attention. The best place to highlight that is in the summary section of your profile.
Just make sure you don’t overdo it; finding the right combination is the key.
For a connection to be made, it is important to ensure that the brand’s value lives up to expectations — audience’s perceptions.
In the world of branding, perception is reality. It is sometimes ingrained in the culture, but very often, it is influenced by many factors – including personality.
Your brand’s personality on a social platform like LinkedIn is you. It is your credibility that will matter. Therefore, treat your profile as your mirror. Invest in the narrative and understand how to build relationships with other professionals on the platform because, at the end of the day, it is about engagement and conversation.
Be natural and approachable since your brand value will be determined by such intangibles as attitude, energy, and enthusiasm.
While you are on LinkedIn to create awareness about your personal brand, your goal with the profile is to get others interested and turn them into cheerleaders.
Well, that’s not a small feat.
As you can imagine, mere listing of achievements will NOT do the trick.
Your personal brand story MUST appeal to the heart.
So, how do you manage that?
Jot down a few sentences about your personal and professional journey. Search for the strong words (active voice and colorful nouns – no passive voice or adjectives) that capture the theme and conflict in your story and build from there.
Remember, the trick is in attracting within 30 seconds; therefore, try and encapsulate your brand essence in a sentence or two. Don’t forget to incorporate the voice and tone of your brand. Also, ditch the marketing-speak.
And here you are — ready with a LinkedIn profile that is add-worthy.