Given that LinkedIn is where professionals hang-out (and given that a very significant proportion of these professionals are decision-makers) this is a logical place for business owners, consultants and the C-suite to begin building their personal brand and growing their authority.
But where do you start? What’s involved?
First things first. Get your personal LinkedIn profile right. I can’t believe how many people don’t … and these are often people who are responsible for bringing in new business or growing their consultancies and practices.
In many instances their profiles read like dull, dreary resumes and don’t give anyone an inkling of what they are doing in the here and now … let alone how they can help their clients.
The No 1 thing you should do when writing your profile is to see your profile through the eyes of your ideal customer. Is it ticking all the boxes from their perspective?
Does your profile explain how you meet their needs or solve their problems and why you are the best possible person for job?
Does it make you likeable and relatable? Would your customers feel comfortable working with you?
If your response is YES to these questions, your profile is likely doing what it should be: Selling you effectively!
The key rules for getting it right
While there is a lot to be said on the topic, here are my top ten points for truly nailing your personal LinkedIn profile:
- Write your personal profile in FIRST PERSON. The benefits of writing in first person are that it makes you more personable and allows you to instantly build rapport with the reader.
- Be super clear on who you help. Drill down the industry they are in, the size or types of organisations they work in and the job titles they hold.
- Explain how you help your clients. In your profile be crystal clear about what you do for your clients and how you help them meet their needs or solve their problems.
- Be crystal clear why you are best placed to help them. Is it about your deep knowledge and experience or is it about the big wins you’ve had in a specific area?
- Explain why people like working with you. Let would-be clients know what it is that keeps bringing clients back. Is it your personal touch, your preparedness to go above and beyond, your ability to cut through the jargon or you propensity to roll up your sleeves and get involved? Bottom line, what makes you shine?
- Tell a story … but only if it is relevant. Ideally your story should be about what lit your flame or what triggered your decision to start your business or consultancy or grow your expertise in a specific area? The wonderful thing about telling a story is that it makes you more personable and often is the thing that people remember most you.
- Also let people know what do you do outside work? What do for enjoyment, exercise, giving back to the community, etc. This information helps to humanise you and make you more likeable and relatable.
- Ensure your LinkedIn headline quickly summarises what you do. Much like a newspaper headline, your headline should catch people’s attention and give them enough information to decide whether or not to read further.
- Professional profile picture. Don’t be sloppy about the photo you choose as this speaks volumes about who you are and your level of professionalism. Make sure it is a clear, professional head and shoulders shot, that looks like you and has you looking at the camera smiling or with a pleasant look on your face.
- Relevant background image. Your background image is there to support what you’re trying to say in your headline. It is designed to provoke a reaction, so don’t ignore it. Make sure the image you select speaks strongly to your area of expertise or specialisation, or to the industry or sector you do most your work in, or to the geographical location you service. Keep in mind that images are often more powerful than words alone so take the time to select a thoughtful background image that reinforces your professionalism, conveys what makes you unique and differentiates you from the sea of other professionals out there.
Struggling to write your personal LinkedIn profile or need some help kick-starting your personal branding journey?
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