Whether you plan to use LinkedIn as an individual, or to represent a business, you will be interacting with and be seen by others without having a chance to meet them. And, while corporate websites give us complete control over how we depict our brands, products, and personnel, LinkedIn levels the playing field by stripping away the design elements and simply presenting every user in basically the same way. Additionally, others may make decisions on whether or not they want to do business with you based on how you’ve utilized your LinkedIn profile.
This is exactly why social media, including LinkedIn, requires a strategic approach. Regardless of how much “branding” you try to include on your professional profile or company’s page, your actions and words online speak much louder about you and your company than anything else. When you create and display your profile, you must make public-facing decisions that communicate who you are as a person. Embedding a video in your LinkedIn profile and using a link that automatically plays when someone visits it may be a savvy Internet marketing tactic, but it may be perceived as a punch in the face to someone who just wants to check out your profile in order to potentially engage you in new business.
When you see the value of communicating on brand or in a way that is aligned with your professional objectives for being on LinkedIn, you’ll likely sense the need to create a ‘public persona’ of yourself.
The fascinating thing about social media, of LinkedIn is definitely a part, is the social component. It is what draws some people into having conversations and posting things on various social media channels that they might later regret. Consider the fact that LinkedIn allows you to input information about your hobbies and interests in your public profile. Including this information may help make a connection with a potential customer, but it may also turn off potential customers who perceive you in an unintended manner.
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It’s easy to say that in creating your public persona you should avoid putting certain things in your profile, but because social media is, well, social, we’re frequently tempted to say things that catch us off our public brand. So, before you post something in any social media channel that may be controversial and therefore affect your future business prospects, here are four questions to ask yourself:
- Would my family approve of this?
- Would my boss approve of this?
- Would all my customers approve of this?
- Would a court of law approve of this?
Unless you can answer “yes” to all four of these questions, keep your public persona intact by simply not posting your opinions on the Internet. If you post useful and engaging comments that are aligned with your sales and marketing objectives, people will perceive you and your business and being skilled and experienced. So remember, if you treat LinkedIn with the same amount of respect you would treat a professional association meeting or industry convention, you will be well on your way to building and enhancing your LI brand, which will be optimized for business success!
Have you ever been taken aback from conversations and/or a public profile you have seen on LinkedIn?
The above is a summary of selected content from my critically acclaimed new LinkedIn for business book “Maximizing LinkedIn for Sales and Social Media Marketing,” available at Amazon, Kindle, Nook, or iTunes.