Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Video: Using LinkedIn for Personal Branding

William Arruda (  of Reach Personal Branding (  posted a video on YouTube about how you can use LinkedIn for your personal branding.

He gives some tips that are good for general branding, but he gives personal branding tips specifically for LinkedIn.
  • Brand Your Summary on Your LinkedIn Profile
  • Get a Good Profile Photo Shot
  • Get Recommendations from Your LinkedIn Connections
  • Link to Your Websites
  • Link to Twitter
  • Join Groups
Below, I summarize his points, and I add a few of my own points about using LinkedIn for personal branding.

William Arruda does a great job of walking us through these basic personal branding steps.

Brand Your Summary on Your LinkedIn Profile

William reminds us that we should make our LinkedIn Summary something that truly reflects US.  It should not read like any other person's summary.  Otherwise, we're missing a great opportunity to brand ourselves.

I also like to remind you that part of branding is making your Summary clear about
  • WHAT you do
  • HOW you can benefit me (actually, how you can benefit a member of your target audience)
Get a Good Profile Photo Shot

William suggests that we get a professionally done picture to put onto our LinkedIn profile.  It should put us in our best light.

If you are operating on a shoestring budget and cannot afford (or just plainly don't want to pay for) a professional photo, at least get someone to take a few pictures of you.  Dress nicely.  Take it on a "good hair day," which applies even if you really don't have any hair.

The overall point is that you can take several pictures and select the best one to use.  You can always replace it with an improved one later, but most of the time it is better to have an "OK" picture than no picture at all.  Most people prefer to see faces, but it's your opportunity to brand yourself personally if you use a "good" photo.

Get Recommendations from Your LinkedIn Connections

William reminds us that we can get LinkedIn Recommendations in one of two ways:
  1. Give Recommendations
  2. Ask for Recommendations
While both of these suggestions are good, I have a warning for each of these.

It is an EXCELLENT idea to give LinkedIn Recommendations.  However, it is in poor taste to "expect" someone to return the favor and "recommend" you.

It is true that the more LinkedIn Recommendations that you give, the more that you will probably receive in return.  Hopefully, they are recommending you, because you earned it--not because they feel obligated to provide it.

You can ASK for LinkedIn Recommendations, but you can really put off people if you really have not earned one.  Actually, I like to send a personal message to them indicating that I am seeking recommendations, and I might ask them whether they can suggest anyone to give a LinkedIn Recommendation.

Recommendations are great when they are heartfelt, but they are not so great when they are emotionally coerced.  A great one, though, can really enhance your personal brand.

I know that it helps shape my initial impression about people, until I get a chance to get enough personal experience with them to provide my own judgment about them for myself.

Link to Your Websites

William reminds us that we can create links to anything we want on our LinkedIn profile.

Currently, LinkedIn lets you add three (3) links.  Use them wisely.

I suggest that you choose the "Other" category so that you can provide your own name, instead of something boring like "Personal Blog" or "Company Website."

Point people to things that reflect who you are (within reason, of course :).

Link to Twitter

William reminds us that LinkedIn allows us to select an option to make it easy for people viewing our LinkedIn profile to "Follow" us on Twitter.

Twitter is not for everyone, but it gives you an additional opportunity to brand yourself for free.

Plus, you can add status updates to your LinkedIn profile through Twitter by including #in or #li within your Twitter Tweet.  When you add those "codes" in Twitter, it will also show on your LinkedIn updates.  (If you are not using Twitter, ignore that last this paragraph.)

Join Groups

William reminds us of one of the strongest benefits of using LinkedIn.  It gives us an excellent opportunity to brand ourselves through our associations.

William suggests that we join groups like our college groups, professional associations, and local city groups.

Those are great ideas.  I will also add that you might want to also join groups where your suppliers and customers might be.  If you are an employee, this also applies to you, because you work for a business who has suppliers and customers.

I think that it is important to do more than join groups.  Personally, I believe that a true power of LinkedIn is how we can meet so many people by interacting within these groups.  Incidentally, it is also somewhat easy to establish yourself as a leader there, too.

How will YOU use LinkedIn for your personal branding?

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