As a professional marketer, you have a story to tell about your background and experience, your skills and interests, and what you can add to the conversation in your area of expertise. Together, these pieces of the story paint a picture of your personal brand — a brand you create and grow over time as you move forward in your career whether you lead companies or join them.
Today, one of the most viable places to tell that story online is LinkedIn. With more than 259 million members, professionals of all levels are connecting, sharing content and finding new business opportunities each day.
Carving out time to optimize your presence on LinkedIn can lead you to become more discoverable in the search results and can help you stay top of mind when others are looking for professionals just like you to do business with.
Earlier this month, I talked about what it takes for marketers to succeed today, and in this post, I’d like to share some tips on how to demonstrate the attributes of a successful marketer through your personal brand on LinkedIn.
Your Profile, Your Brand, Your Search Results
Think of your LinkedIn profile as your own mini website all about you, the brand. There, you can showcase your success, interests and endorsements through content, both text and visual.
Just as you would optimize the foundations of your website before you start an aggressive inbound marketing campaign, do the same for your LinkedIn presence, starting with your profile. There are very clear and direct benefits to having a more complete profile, one of which is more visibility in the LinkedIn search results.
While there is “no single rank” for LinkedIn search – meaning that rankings are personalized for each searcher – users with more complete profiles can show up higher in the LinkedIn search results. “Even though a query will return the same results for everyone, the order is determined in part by the profile, activity, and connections of the person searching.”
The Sophisticated Marketer’s Guide to LinkedIn breaks down how LinkedIn search works in terms of keywords, relevance and connections. One thing they note over and over again is the importance of “profile completeness,” as you can see below.
(Note that on No. 2, it says keywords in your name help you rank higher; however, you’re technically only supposed to have your name in your name’s field, as anything else is a violation of LinkedIn’s terms.)
Optimizing Your LinkedIn Presence
If your profile isn’t as robust as it could be, you’ll see a notification about your profile strength on the right side of your profile, with recommendations on how to improve it. This includes:
- Having a photo
- Adding your professional experience
- Listing at least five skills
- Writing a summary
- Citing your industry and postal code
- Filling in your education background
- Having at least 50 connections.
To start taking control of your personal brand on LinkedIn, spend time cultivating the following:
Your Public Profile Settings
Your profile is searchable on the web, and can show up in the search results in the major search engines like Google when someone searches for your name. You choose what information on LinkedIn can be shown to the public by using the settings available to you. Here’s a screenshot of the options:
If you’re having trouble with your LinkedIn profile showing up in the search engine results, LinkedIn gives some tips here:
- Choose “Make my public profile visible to everyone” in your public profile settings.
- Invite and connect with at least 1 connection.
- Supplement your profile with additional sections and information.
- Update your profile regularly to keep it current.
You’ll also want to consider a public profile URL . This is a vanity URL that you can use as a branding tool and share in places like your email signature, your business card and more. (These URLs are available on a first come, first served basis.)
Your Headline, Summary & Experience
Did you know 94 percent of recruiters are on LinkedIn, but only 36 percent of job seekers are? This is according to findings published by Jobvite in 2014.
So, if you’re looking to land your next professional opportunity through LinkedIn, the headline, summary and experience areas are a priority for developing — especially when it comes to including keywords that are relevant to your skills and experience. Pay special attention to what keywords you include here.
Use keywords throughout this section that you believe people would be searching for when looking for a professional such as yourself. Or, use the space to get out an important message, like I did in my headline, as pictured above.
The headline (and vanity URL) also show in the search engine result snippet:
Nate Kievman at Linked Strategies gives solid, hands-on tactical tips for discovering how to optimize your profile for LinkedIn search with the right keywords and frequency here.
Recommendations and endorsements go a long way toward demonstrating your personal brand in action. You can take control of those sections by actively soliciting recommendations from colleagues or clients, and by managing skills and endorsement to your preferences.
Marketing Your Personal Brand On LinkedIn
Now that you have the foundations of your profile optimized, it’s time to start inbound marketing within LinkedIn. Just like other places on the web, content is king in the professional social network, and building authority and connections starts with creating and sharing not only your own content, but others’ as well.
According to a study by LinkedIn that examined content shared by professionals on varying platforms, 74 percent of respondents stated that LinkedIn offers content relevant to their career and professional interests.
Data in the survey give vital clues on the types of content the general audience is looking for on LinkedIn, which builds a case for not only having a strong personal brand, but taking the time to create useful, quality content that you can share on LinkedIn, like your blog posts, for example.
Here are just a few ways you can take advantage of LinkedIn’s features to build authority for your personal brand through your content and engagement:
- Take the time to learn about Pulse, LinkedIn’s content curation service, and how it works , so your content can be visible there – and so you can get the content that’s most relevant to you.
- Leverage the most ROI from the content you publish on LinkedIn by optimizing how you post updates. LinkedIn gives 15 tips here on how to create the most compelling posts.
- Understand the connection between a robust LinkedIn presence and the ability to be an influencer on LinkedIn. According to LinkedIn research, the average influencer post receives 30,000 views.
- Take advantage of long-form posts on LinkedIn to further expand your content reach and personal brand’s authority.
- Create or join a group on LinkedIn that is relevant to your profession. Join conversations, engage with others’ content, share your own content and trade ideas. LinkedIn, after all, is a social network. The most value can be realized when you take the time to network.
Opinions expressed in the article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Marketing Land.