Personal Branding Tips for LinkedIn

Whether we like it or not, each one of us is now a “personal brand” online.

In fact, at this very moment, others are viewing your LinkedIn profile and making snap decisions about whether or not to give you business, hire you for a service, request a media interview, offer you a full-time position and much more.

Now, rather than produce an all-out panic or send you into a tailspin or terror, I found one of North America’s leading experts on Personal Branding and asked for his advice on what we can do about the situation over on LinkedIn.

Screen Shot 2016-03-14 at 7.39.50 PM

His name is Paul Copcutt, and he’s routinely cited by The Wall Street Journal, Forbes and others as an expert on Personal Branding. He gives keynotes and delivers on-site training sessions for clients including Pepsi, Microsoft and many others.

Paul has also become one of my star LinkedIn Riches students, growing his consulting business exponentially using some of the sales tips and strategies I talk about on my free trainings and webinars.

Paul recently agreed to give away some of his best advice in the Personal Branding space on an episode of my LinkedIn Riches Podcast, and I want to spend the rest of this post hitting on three of his biggest LinkedIn-related tips.

Tip 1: Your LinkedIn Summary is Your Biggest Opportunity!

“This is where you have the chance to tell the story of your brand,” Paul says. “It’s a 2,000 character opportunity to help your ideal client or customer understand who you are, what you do and what makes you unique, different or better than your competitors.”

I’ve talked before about how important it is to make your LinkedIn Summary what I call “client-facing,” and in fact you can use this fill-in-the-blank template to ensure your LinkedIn summary section comes across that way.

The key is making it clear who you are, what type of product or service you provide and how it will benefit your ideal client or customer as a result. (Again, read this post and follow this template to make sure you do it right!)

“You can no longer let your work speak for itself,” Paul says. “You have to own the definition of who you are and then communicate that unique difference in a way that reaches the people making the decisions about you.”

LI Hack image

Tip 2: Personal vs. Professional – Find the Right Balance!

Paul is a big believer in differentiating yourself from everyone else by sharing a bit about who you are (your passions, hobbies, interests away from work) within the context of your LinkedIn profile.

“Personal branding is the ultimate opportunity to be yourself,” he says. “However, it is not an opportunity to create something you are not. Authenticity is key.”

In other words, be who you are! Mix in a section at the bottom of your profile summary that has a heading like “ABOUT ME” and talks briefly about your favorite hobbies, family life, interests outside of work, etc.

It’s just a short sentence or two in your overall LinkedIn summary, but it humanizes you for clients. It also makes you more relatable, likable and memorable. Think about how, in the process of a business meeting or encounter at a trade show, you chat up a prospect about his or her life away from work, looking for common interests, passions or themes to bond around. The same principle is at work here.

Tip 3: Be Clear, Consistent and Active!

You must have a clear and consistent “personal brand” that you’re sharing on LinkedIn, according to Paul. You also must constantly reinforce that message to your network of followers, friends and prospects on LinkedIn.

That means sharing status updates, creating content and offering insights on the network that are consistent with your personal brand – whatever it might be.

Also, don’t be afraid to mix in your personality with your business-related content. Have some fun – be human! Share anecdotes or personal stories to illustrate a point or reinforce a concept related to your product or service. (Here’s an example I used about how to ask your boss for a raise.)

Most important, be active! If you’re not sharing and posting content on LinkedIn, you might as well be invisible.

Best of all, if you take advantage of some of the amazing automation tools and software that you can now integrate into your LinkedIn marketing efforts, it won’t take you much time at all to accomplish it.

Final Thoughts

There’s much more to say, and you can listen to my full interview with Paul on the LinkedIn Riches Podcast to get even more insights from one of the leading Personal Branding experts in North America.

Either way, at the very least, make sure you apply these three simple tips and start boosting your personal brand on LinkedIn ASAP!