Have you been wondering how to build a personal brand on LinkedIn? If so, you have come to the right place. In this article, we are going to take a deep dive into how you can build a great brand on LinkedIn and connect with others in your sector or industry. Doing so, you’ll be able to unlock plenty of both expected and serendipitous opportunities on one of the world’s greatest professional networking platforms.
The Power of LinkedIn
When we hear the word “social network,” we often think of uber-popular social networks like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, or Instagram. We think of these platforms for a reason, as they are where we spend most of our time throughout the day.
But having said this, most of us forget about LinkedIn. It is one of the most underrated, yet effective platforms for building your personal brand. What used to be a platform solely for job seeking or connecting with recruiters has transformed into a platform where you can connect with industry thought leaders and build up your own profile. To put it another way, LinkedIn isn’t a valuable platform only when you are searching for a job. Instead, it has become a professional hub where you can (and arguably should) be visiting at least once per day.
Simply being on LinkedIn isn’t enough, however. You’ll need to be strategic about the way that you create posts, comment on other people’s posts, and even how you connect with other LinkedIn users. An ad hoc approach may work in the short-term, but you will quickly discover that you could be getting much more value out of LinkedIn on a long-term basis. Along with this, you may inadvertently violate unwritten rules and etiquette, which may make it even tougher for you to accomplish your LinkedIn goals.
The bad news? There are no shortcuts to building a great personal brand on LinkedIn. The good news, however, is that there are things that you can do to get an immense amount of value out of this awesome social network. Ultimately, if you are wondering how to build a personal brand on LinkedIn, I encourage you to implement the following tactics and strategies.
The Value of Consistent Posting
When you first join LinkedIn, one of the most important things that you should do is post consistently. Ideally, the more that you post, the better. It’s just like a blog, social media page, or any other digital platform for sharing content. You want to be known as someone who consistently shares valuable and insightful content with your followers. While it takes time and consistent, hard work, the results will be extremely appetizing.
One great example of this is from Brian Golod. Brian is an entrepreneur who helps people navigate complex immigration laws to move to Canada. But along with this, Brian is a prolific LinkedIn user, having used it to build a lucrative resume review business. Speaking with him on a recent episode of Connection Loop, Brian said that consistency was key. He posted twice a day (once in the morning and once in the evening) for over 900 times in the past two years. He has had around 13 million views of his content, and much of it comes down to simply showing up.
Because of this, I encourage you to post on LinkedIn at least one to two times per day. Consistency is key here. But along with this, don’t just chase the views. You need to provide valuable content in all of your posts. Don’t be selfish; instead, follow Brian’s lead and post things that will provide value to your audience. By doing so, you will naturally collect the views, likes, and comments that you are looking for.
Along with this, make sure that you are being authentic. Avoid acting a certain way because your audience “expects” or “requires” it. Instead, don’t shy away from being yourself. It has worked for Brian and it will certainly work for you.
In the Beginning, Give Away Your Content for Free
A big part of how to build a personal brand on LinkedIn is leading with free content. You can even provide services for free (if you are trying to promote a service-based business).
The reality of platforms like LinkedIn is that everyone has a voice. Because of this, you really have to prove that your voice is worth your audience’s attention. The best way to do this? By selflessly providing value. In doing so, your audience will speak with their feet. You will quickly discover if your content is resonating by the number of views, shares, and comments that you receive. Sometimes, all you need is one viral LinkedIn post to jump start your overall LinkedIn presence.
Brian has a great example of this breakthrough. He posted a resume template to his LinkedIn page. He told his few followers that if they wanted his template, they would need to like, comment, or share so that others could also get the template for free. That post received a stunning 4.7 million views. In one week, Brian received 38,000 followers. That came out to 21 new followers per minute. Brain says that if you give with your heart, the world will take care of you.
After you have proven that you can do some great work, you can slowly raise your prices for those who want to work with you on LinkedIn. As just one example, Brian started reviewing resumes for free. He completed eight free jobs before starting to charge 150 Canadian dollars per resume review. Now, Brian is the most expensive resume writer on LinkedIn. He now charges $3,000 per resume review.
Brian’s story shows that you can transform free content into exciting opportunities down the road. Whether you are looking to use LinkedIn as a way to find new clients or simply as a way to nurture your reputation in your sector, leading with free content is the most effective and efficient way to do it.
Take On Your Fear and Imposter Syndrome
Imposter syndrome can be one of the most damaging roadblocks on our career journeys. No matter how large our goals are, they become more difficult to attain if we don’t think we’re worthy of them.
Often, it comes down to fear of what people think of us. In another Connection Loop episode, I spoke with Hannah Brown, who is a TedX speaker and author of The Power of You. Hannah is deeply passionate about helping our clients overcome the fear of what people think. As she told me, many of us limit our own lives because of this fear. Those that don’t? They end up having amazing lives.
Hannah and I urge you to confront this feeling head-on.
It is important to feel confident about your content. Growth in life comes from getting outside your comfort zone, creating content about what you’re passionate about, and providing consistent value to your audience.
Brian offered a great analogy here. When our time on this planet has passed, our tombstone isn’t going to say how many LinkedIn followers that we had. Instead, what others and the world generally will remember is our contributions to it. If you zoom out and take this approach to create content, you may find it easier to go beyond your imposter syndrome and release your content into the world.
Like getting through any other fear, it takes constant work and attention. It’s almost like building a muscle. If you take a few days off, you will start to notice that those acute feelings of doubt or fear come back. On the other hand, if you continue to release content on LinkedIn, you’ll find that you know a lot more than you thought you knew. Not only that, but your audience will appreciate your opinions and contributions to the overarching dialogue in your sector or industry.
As Hannah told me, the reality of when our followers actually say negative, mean, or nasty comments is substantially less bad than the fear of them doing it. Once you’ve had your first few negative comments, it doesn’t sting as much. And the only way to get this feeling? It is by consistently releasing content.
By trying to do something new or different, you are putting yourself out there. Yes, you are more susceptible to being knocked down. It is the metaphorical cost of doing business before building up your armor. However, once you keep getting up and keep producing awesome content, you will discover that these temporary obstacles weren’t so daunting in the first place.
In the end, all of us are constantly learning. Even the supposed “masters” in our field are learning the nuances of their craft. Keeping this in mind is another helpful way to get over these feelings of imposter syndrome when you are posting on LinkedIn.
Mentally Prepare Yourself for the Long Haul
I mentioned this earlier, but a big part of how to build a personal brand on LinkedIn is patience. It isn’t going to happen instantaneously. Because of this, you need to mentally prepare yourself for the long haul. Recognize that there are going to be moments where you want to give up or deviate from your content schedule. Resist those temptations. By setting your expectations early and not expecting immediate gratification, you’ll hang in there and eventually get the gratification that you expect.
Granted, there is the possibility that some of your content goes viral. You may experience a spontaneous viral moment that sweeps you up. If that happens to you, definitely go with it. But that being said, you can’t expect this kind of virality.
Christine Teh is a financial coach and has amassed over 50,000 followers on LinkedIn. As she told me on another episode of Connection Loop, personal branding takes a long time. You can’t just show up one day and expect clients to be pounding on your doors the next day. Christine’s secret to gathering 50,000 followers? Simply put, she spends a lot of time on the platform. She has created a habit where she posts every single day. For instance, she posts every morning after she wakes up and spends one hour responding to comments on her post.
This, again, echoes the point of how consistency is key. Keep going—even when you are ready to give up.
Understand the LinkedIn Algorithm
Now, we come to the LinkedIn algorithm. I think the best approach here is to understand the algorithm rather than try to “hack it” or take advantage of it.
The LinkedIn algorithm is extremely intelligent. People are only going to see your content if they like your content. Of course, some of the users who do not like your content and engage with it may continue to see your content. Christine echoed that idea, saying that LinkedIn changed the algorithm so that your posts will only be shown to relevant audiences. While you may have seen your views fall since the algorithm change, the good news is that those who are viewing your content will be more likely to engage with it.
There are some other important things to recognize about the LinkedIn algorithm. First, Christine recommends that you be careful with external links on your posts. She has noticed that including hyperlinks in the main content of posts causes the LinkedIn algorithm to demote them. Instead, if you want to include hyperlinks, go ahead and post them in the comments.
Next, be careful when tagging people on your posts just to get attention. Tagging definitely has its time and place. But if you overuse tagging, people will notice that you aren’t contributing to their posts as well. If you do decide to tag people in your posts, make sure that you are making thoughtful comments on their posts as well.
As Christine says, if you tag someone in your post, you are expecting them to comment. But if you keep tagging, you keep taking. You don’t take the time to show up when they post valuable content. If that happens, you’ll start to notice that the people you tag will unfollow you or ignore your content.
Focus on Relationships Over Reach
Massive reach is good for business. There are few situations where it isn’t great for business. However, as you are growing your profile on LinkedIn, I highly encourage you to focus on relationships rather than your follower count.
A good number of people get it backward. They think that they first need to gather a substantial follower count to be seen as “credible” in their sector or industry. In fact, one of the best ways to get that follower count of your dreams is to build one-on-one relationships in the beginning. See the other person as a real life human being, rather than just one of your many followers. Focusing on building organic relationships is the quickest and most effective way of getting the follower count that you desire.
Now, let’s talk a bit more about generating business on LinkedIn. I firmly believe that you should not go in for the hard sell on other people’s posts. Instead of trying to promote your product or service, write thoughtful comments. Not only are you actively contributing to the organic conversation, but you are inadvertently getting closer to your goal of making a sale. This is because you are building an organic relationship with the original poster. You aren’t being selfish or greedy; rather, you are doing your part to provide value to everyone involved.
You need to be careful even when posting your own content. One of Christine’s pet peeves is when a LinkedIn user posts a great and insightful post, but then concludes it by saying that readers should schedule a call or meeting with the user. It’s too salesly for her. Instead, you should try to build curiosity. Adopting the “buy, buy, buy” mentality with your posts is not going to lead to a great result.
The same is true with DMs. As Christine says, people who DM her with sales pitches are sent immediately to the spam folder. Instead, DM to build relationships. Christine doesn’t randomly DM people. Instead, she leverages DMs when the other person opens up the conversation. Follow Christine’s lead here and be careful when you are using DMs.
Instead of adopting the salesly approach, use one carefully-selected link in your profile. Christine does this and has found that it can be an effective way for her followers to get in touch with her. And when she does need to be a bit more promotional? Christine says that her followers should check out the comments to her post, where she posts a relevant link to the product or service that she is promoting. Again, you want people to be curious about you, rather than being turned off when you are being too salesy.
Last (but not least), there is the question of whether you should accept everyone’s connection request on LinkedIn. Christine recommends that you do, but there is a caveat. Accept everyone until they give you a reason to block or delete the user. This is a good rule of thumb that will help you grow your LinkedIn reach while minimizing the salesy or professional connections that continue to spam you.
Carefully Use Hashtags
From there, let’s talk about hashtags. If you’re wondering how to build a personal brand on LinkedIn, you will discover that hashtags can be a good way to have other LinkedIn users discover your content. That said, you don’t want to just randomly select hashtags that you think are popular. Doing this, you won’t see the results that you expect. Instead of flying blind, do some hashtag research. Identify the most followed hashtags on LinkedIn that are still relevant to your post.
Then, when you are using your selected hashtags, integrate them into the body of the text. While you may see other LinkedIn users clump hashtags at the bottom of your post, you don’t want to follow their lead. Putting a huge collection of hashtags at the bottom of your post looks spammy. Instead of having 20 hashtags at the bottom of your post, integrate several of them throughout the post itself. Related to this, make sure your posts contain a lot of white space, are readable, and contain few (if any) emojis.
Finally, the majority of your posts on LinkedIn should be videos. Whether it is live streaming or pre-recorded one to two minute videos, you’ll find that you’ll build stronger relationships with your audience members. It comes down to seeing and hearing from you. As humans, we are drawn to visuals, and we are more likely to develop relationships with those that we can physically see. Even if you are camera shy, I encourage you to fight those fears and get in front of the camera.
There are no real rules here. For instance, Christine found that LinkedIn videos of one minute or less were effective for her needs. You may want to appear for a longer amount of time on a live stream or pre-recorded video. Whatever it is, make sure that you are always thinking of your audience and how you can offer value to them. Adopting this mindset, you’ll notice that your follower count will start to grow.
Beginning Your LinkedIn Journey
I hope that I have demystified some of your questions on how to build a personal brand on LinkedIn. LinkedIn is a fabulous platform to connect with others and build your personal brand. It is less a job-seeking platform now and more of a platform that can help you accomplish your career goals. Having said this, LinkedIn is a busy and active platform. You’ll want to be strategic as you leverage LinkedIn to accelerate your career.
To survive on LinkedIn, make sure that you are providing content that is valuable and selfless. Keep your audience in mind throughout the entire content creation process. Make sure that you are not spamming your audience members. Be friendly, and in the early days, have a bias toward giving away your content or services for free. Finally, be aware of changes to the LinkedIn algorithm, but don’t let these algorithm changes dictate your content.
So returning to the question on how to build a personal brand on LinkedIn, I hope you can see that it is a challenging, yet exciting journey. But by following these tips and all of the tips above, I’m confident that you will accomplish your LinkedIn goals.
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