Building a professional LinkedIn profile to reach the level of All-Star is good (but not good enough). This blog post explains why you should go All-In with social sharing to amplify your personal brand to important others.
I recently answered a question on Quora about LinkedIn.
The question was:
Why should I share content on LinkedIn?
After posting my response, I began to think about my marketing students and the course requirements for their use of LinkedIn.
My answer on Quora should have been longer.
Yes, my students define their career focus and personal branding strategy.
Yes, they write a Headline using career focused keywords.
Yes, they create a Summary that tells their brand story with a call-to-action.
Yes, they optimize their LinkedIn profile to reach the level of All-Star.
Yes, they connect with targeted career stakeholders and other professionals they meet through physical and social media networking.
Yes, they go All-In and social share content about their career focus.
So, what is the problem?
Unfortunately, when the semester has ended, I have noticed that very few students continue with their social sharing on LinkedIn.
Their activity stops.
In fact, of the 500+ professional connections I have on LinkedIn, fewer than 10% are active in social sharing.
Leaving the remaining 90% inactive.
Out of sight.
Out of mind.
And, easily forgotten.
“Don’t let LinkedIn be a place where your resume goes to die.”
Inactivity on LinkedIn is a Missed Opportunity.
Here is why you should regularly social share content on LinkedIn:
To be quickly recognized and easily remembered.
It is easy to be forgotten on LinkedIn.
While some of your connections may have checked out your profile as a precursor to the connection process, why would they remember you afterwards?
Your regular social activity on LinkedIn can remind your connections of your existence.
What you social share as an update to your connections is what your connections see in their LinkedIn Updates stream.
What you social share to a LinkedIn Group is what other group members (even non-connections) see in their Conversations stream and is repeated for your connections to see in their LinkedIn Updates stream.
Eventually, through social activity your personal name and thumbnail photo will be quickly recognized and remembered in your LinkedIn Updates and your Groups activity.
If consistent and authentic, you may also be more easily recognized across other social media and when physical networking.
Why important: out of sight is out of mind and potentially out of luck for referrals and job and client opportunities.
As a professor, when potential employers ask me for student or recent grad referrals or recommendations for internships or jobs, my first thoughts go to current and former students that remain visible in my LinkedIn Updates stream. Rarely do I search through all my connections to find someone to recommend.
To amplify the visibility of your personal brand and confirm your career focus.
Equally important to being remembered, is to be remembered for something.
That something is your personal brand identity (or how you want others to see you).
If done with career focus and interesting or helpful content, each social share can reinforce and social sell your personal brand.
You are what you social share.
If you primarily share the minutia of your life, then you are a narcissist.
If you primarily share about you (self-promote), then you are an egotist.
If you primarily share about your company (sales pitches), then you are anti-social.
If you primarily share random career related content, then you are a generalist.
If you primarily share content on your career focus, then you are making a strong impressionable confirmation of your personal brand identity and how you want others to see you.
This also strengthens your personal SEO for when a potential connection or employer is doing a keyword search on LinkedIn.
For example, on LinkedIn I primarily share content that is more about the use of social media marketing for personal branding, job search, and career development. I make lots of new connections with those I do not personally know but whom share a career-interest and found me with a LinkedIn search.
Why important: social sharing of career focused content confirms your career focus to potential employers, adds value for your connections, and gives others a reason to connect with you (especially those that find you in a LinkedIn or Google search).
“Strive to social share the career relevant and not the personal random.”
To show others what you are learning.
Continuing your career education and self-learning is essential for career advancement.
LinkedIn can play an important role in your on-going education as a personal learning network (PLN).
When setting up their LinkedIn profiles, my students are required to begin with: (1) a minimum of 20 connections; (2) follow 5 influencers, 5 news, and 5 companies; and (3) join 5 career focused groups.
This requirement jumpstarts their LinkedIn PLN by filling their Updates stream with industry news and trends, career focused content, and an audience for their own social sharing.
More importantly, it shows connections, career stakeholders, and potential employers of their career interests, willingness to learn and grow and better themselves.
To supplement their LinkedIn PLN, my students are required to use Feedly and subscribe to the RSS feeds of career focused blogs and publications. This gives them access to even more resources for learning and more content to social share on LinkedIn.
Why important: while a resume shows what you have learned and experienced, the content that you social share and engage with shows important others what you continue to learn and want to know more about.
It may also prompt further review of your LinkedIn profile and qualifications.
“Demonstrating to others your willingness to learn and desire to grow makes a noticeable and memorable impression to important others.”
To show others what you are thinking.
Among the 10% of my LinkedIn connections that are socially active, even fewer present themselves as human, alive, and worthy of engagement or conversation.
It is easy to automate social sharing on LinkedIn.
Just set it and forget it.
Be a human.
Not a robot.
Automate your personal brand and suffer the risk of losing authenticity and the opportunity to connect with others as a human.
“Don’t be a lazy content curator.”
To overcome this negative aspect of social sharing and to present yourself as an authentic human simply requires that you add relevant comment to your share. This is called social share annotation.
Tell your connections why they should read your social share and specifically why you liked it.
Yes, this takes extra time.
However, quality beats quantity.
Repeating the content title or saying “this is a good read” or “you’ll like this” adds little to the social share, adds little to your personal brand, and does not show others what you are thinking.
Instead, just sell it.
Sell your social shared content, while selling your personal brand.
Give others a reason to notice your shared content and to notice and remember you and your growing authority on the career-focused content you are sharing.
Then with each social share you are sharing what you are learning, sharing what you are thinking, and inviting a human conversation or engagement.
Why important: it shows others of your growing knowledge, authority, and expertise.
More importantly, for students or recent graduates, it shows potential employers and bosses your active commitment to lifelong learning, inquiry, and career advancement.
When potential employers follow your LI profile link from your resume, they gain greater insight about you as a potential employee based on your continued learning and thinking.
“Adding valuable content and personal insight to the Updates streams of your LinkedIn connections, builds authoritative value to your personal brand.”
To encourage engagement and build relationships.
However, you don’t always have to share content on LinkedIn to remind others of your existence or your thought processes.
You can easily and regularly join the conversation started by others, your connections, or those in the career-focused LinkedIn groups you have (or should have) joined.
When you press the like button for others content, this sends that content to the update streams of your LinkedIn connections and a notification to the original poster.
Good, but not good enough.
Even a robot or a half asleep connection can jump into their LinkedIn Updates stream and start liking things, and with little thought or interest in what was shared.
You make the wrong impression if all you do is like things, especially when you do so without vetting what you social share.
It is much better to click the share button and add relevant comment, along with thanks to the original sharer of that content.
Show your connections and others that you actually read what you social share and recommend to others. Then sincerely thank the source of your read.
Why important: social engagement shows your connections that you are human and seeking a relevant online conversation that could potentially continue in the physical at a potential client meeting, job interview, or a networking event.
LinkedIn is a great place for professional networking to make connections, to make a promising digital first impression, build relationships, expand career-related knowledge, and advance careers.
It takes minimal effort to amplify your personal brand on LinkedIn.
Just one social activity a day during business hours at varying times is enough to keep your personal brand alive and remembered.
Just once a day.
Don’t let LinkedIn be a place where your resume goes to die.
Keep it alive.
Share content. Add comment. Engage. Be human.
And, not forgotten.
What are your best recommendations for social sharing on LinkedIn?
Image credit: Denny McCorkle
This article originally appeared on Digital Self Marketing Advantage and has been republished with permission.