By now you will no doubt have read about the importance of personal branding. With the advent of social media and the ease of self-publishing, every one of us now has our own brand online. And that brand is often the most interesting to potential business partners or clients, even more important than your business brand.
Prospects don’t just research your brand anymore, they research you. They want to find out about the people they might be working with, the person the find out about has a huge effect on their decision to engage with you or not. That’s why we see more and more executives actively looking to learn how to use social media effectively. And more and more stories of personal branding mistakes.
The thing is, it’s not just your personal brand you need to worry about. Potential clients are just as interested in your people and their individual brands. Which presents a problem. How do you make sure that your employees’ personal brands line up with your business’? And if they don’t haw do you fix that?
You can’t afford to sit back and hope that your employees will manage their personal brands in an effective way. So you should provide them with as much help as possible. While no one will want their boss telling them what to do on social media, most employees would welcome guidance on how to get the most out of their social networking. Especially on LinkedIn.
While most employees will see their Twitter or Facebook activity as private; LinkedIn has a different perception. Your employees are directly linked to you through the business network. You have a natural interest in your employee’s LinkedIn profile. More importantly, you have the ability to help your employees to get more out of LinkedIn.
Help Them To Add Value
While LinkedIn offers valuable B2B marketing opportunities and hiring possibilities, it is a social network at its core. Employees that use it properly will get the opportunity to interact with peers and thought leaders and learn more about your industry. They will also make valuable contacts that will help them to get the most out of their careers, inside or outside of your business.
Don’t just dictate how your people should manage their LinkedIn personal brand. Let them know how to get the best out of their own online presence.
How Can You Help?
Let’s take a look at a few sample tips on how to get the most out of LinkedIn. Use these as a starting point for your own LinkedIn Personal Branding Checklist. An effective checklist will help to protect your business brand and allow your employees to build their own.
Building Your Profile
– Follow the steps in the profile strength suggestions.
– As a rule of thumb, the more information you add the better. Utilize the headline, current position listing and summary to illustrate your responsibilities. – List past experience in detail. Focus on your successes. Focus on skills that are relevant to your industry
Optimize For Search
– Use as many keywords as possible on your page. This will also allow people to find you when they are looking for somebody with a skillset that is similar.
– Customize your URL. Try to choose a URL that matches your full name.
Choose an appropriate profile picture, meaning:
-Smiling/positive facial expression.
-You should be the only person in the photograph.
Groups & Following
-Join industry groups to keep up to date with industry news and trends.
-Follow people you can learn from, who are:
Within the same industry
Thought leaders (e.g. Microsoft, Apple, Facebook, etc.)
– Endorsements add to your personal brand
– Provide as many genuine endorsements as possible
These are just a few simple guidelines for creating an effective LinkedIn profile. Work with your staff to define the best groups to join for your industry and build a strategy around content sharing. And remember, this is not about dictating; it’s about using personal branding to benefit you and your people.
For more information on brand management, you can download our free marketing webinar on How to Build Your Brand with Social Media.