HOW TO BRAND YOUR PROFILE
This is part 1 out of a 4 part series on some “how to” hints and tips to make Linkedin work for your personal branding and networking. It amazes me how many professionals in the Health and Wellness Industry are using Linkedin and other social network sites for that matter to get as many connections or “likes” as they possibly can without there being any real value between each connection and like. And then hope that all these connections and followers are going to see all the great and wonderful things they have said about themselves on their own profile hoping it results in a potential transaction….tut tut!!
You should be looking to create a network on Linkedin where people not only know who you are and what you do, but respect who you are and what you do…….and using as many buzzwords around your profile as possible is just not going to do you any justice. Even though, Linkedin is primarily a b2b platform, there could be many busy executives who could benefit from your information products and content. Many executives and busy work professionals need good advice to achieve work life balance, healthy lifestyle, stress management etc etc.
However, this is not an instruction list on how to set up your profile, but more what you should consider when building your brand as you develop your profile. Linkedin provide their own learning and help centre which will assist you to create your own profile from scratch.
This 4 part series can help you if you are a novice but even if you are a seasoned pro there still might be the odd tip that can help make you spend your time on Linkedin more wisely. Or maybe because you have over 500 connections you think you’re an expert. Do you have over 500 connections? Do you have “expert” or the like in your Linkedin profile title? Yes? Please read on…………
Customise your profile to suit who you are, what you do and what you want from your Linkedin Network. So, once registered you have the opportunity to create your online profile and highlight your past experiences, successes and career in your niche of Health and Wellness. The first thing here is to make it relevant to what you are doing now and make sure it is honest and credible. Too bigger embellishment here could lose you your credibility straight away. Stay away from “selling” buzzwords such as “expert” and “guru” in your title or summaries. I recommend reading this article in Time’s news feed (click here) which highlights overused and over-rated buzzwords on Linkedin.
I recently asked a question on Linkedin “How valuable is calling oneself an “Expert” in today’s business landscape? And there were some interesting answers. (Click here to see them). You will notice that there are popular statements such as “prove it”, “credentials”, “back it up”, “egotistical”, “arrogant”, “exaggerated”. When you put fancy “buzzwords” around your profile, people instantly put a barrier between you which makes the engagement process a whole load more difficult. Linkedin is predominantly a b2b medium and there will be many fellow peers ready to challenge your exaggerated claims
Remember, the expert we want to create is the one where others give you recognition not you standing on a mountain shouting from the hill tops how great you are. But at the same time you are there to ensure people who look at your profile can instantly understand who you are, what you do and how you can help. Think of your profile as a landing page, where people can get access to you, your work and integrate with your networks. The key is to refine your profile so your prospect develops a picture in their mind that you’re the type of person they need to reach out to. Once they do, it’s your job to engage this customer with your value, understand their needs and in return they view you as a person they need to follow, work with, buy from or whatever your desired outcome is with your Linkedin connections.
Make your summaries succinct, in the first person and think SEO! Your summaries should be short and the only place where you have a need to tell people what you have accomplished and provide a little gloating. After all, it’s your summary it’s about you. But I also prefer to keep it focused on your target audience, in terms of explaining who you want to reach out to, what challenges you want to address and what you can offer. It’s important people understand what they can expect if they connect with you. I try as much as possible on Linkedin to give out a little before you receive. Think what it is your audience wants from you, give them a little insight or example in your summary with a call to action to connect. Also, any SEO keywords you have indentified specific to your search engine rankings will be worth quoting here so you can use your linkedin profile to be found through the web clutter.
Import relevant widgets. Give people an insight into what knowledge or what they can gain from you. Linkedin provides you with the opportunity to import from other social sharing platforms where you may have published some of your content of value. This can be either your twitter, facebook accounts or if you have a presentation on Slideshare, published books on Amazon or your blog posts from such blogging sites as WordPress and Blogger. This content of value can range from “how to” to “interviews” to “portfolio’s” to your everyday ideas and opinions. This is great browsing content for your prospect to build a positive and credible picture that you’re someone they have to connect with. It provides you with the opportunity to show it rather than say it and also give a little before getting something back in return. Two key mindsets that any aspiring expert should adopt, particularly when conducting oneself on Linkedin.
Some references always help. As I have so often said, it’s about people saying you are an expert. Linkedin provides you with an opportunity to provide numerous references from colleagues and clients. I recommend that these references are sincere and from people who have had genuine successes by connecting with you. Try to avoid a scenario where you ask people “if you give me a reference, I’ll write one for you”. Unfortunately, this tactic is common place and can be noticed and dent your credibility.
An example profile. I would like you to take a look at Lewis Howes. His public profile can be clicked on here http://www.linkedin.com/in/lewishowes. The first thing to realise is that he has his “vanity” public personal profile in his own name which makes it easier to be found through search engines (click here to find out how to have your own public profile and look under profile settings). His profile does not use any of the over rated buzzwords, but only draws on what he has achieved, the work he has done and other websites and networks he wants people to click to. His summaries are succinct and to the point which focuses on the problems he can address for his customer. Lewis has imported various content from different social platforms that either highlights his area of expertise or provides some content to share. Overall, his Linkedin profile is a gateway for the customer to find out what Lewis is capable of, what type of audience he is engaging with and why the customer should connect.
What if I’m just starting out? If you are just starting out, you will not be able to take advantage of all the resources that somebody like Lewis can. But this does not matter one jot. Linkedin is not an overnight success tool. Relationships take time to develop. You can still communicate your unique message in a way of sharing with your audience what you intend to do in the future, how you intend to go about it and who you would like to connect with to help you along your journey. By being open and honest in that way you will start to develop and update your profile over time, and most importantly you will lay the foundations for credibility and to develop your own circle of influence.