What do people find when they google you? If you don’t have a personal website or a thorough profile on your company’s website, people are likely finding snippets of information about you all over the web. A headshot here, a mention in an article there. Maybe a Facebook profile and, most likely, a LinkedIn profile.
If you know a thing or two about search engine optimization, you know that sites with the highest domain authority – the most popular sites – show up first in searches. LinkedIn has a domain authority of 99 out of 100, so it’s the best place to build up your profile and personal brand as it will appear high up in search results.
Why build a strong personal brand and online presence? Because your whole story deserves to be told, not just snippets. And you should be in control of your narrative – think of it like doing your PR for yourself. You decide which stories and angles fit your image.
At Mercer-McKay, our digital executive social program matches tech executives with senior, seasoned writers who help craft personal brands including LinkedIn profiles, regular content updates and social media captions. This helps our clients share their particular strengths and expertise online and ultimately move up the corporate ladder.
How do we set up digital executives for success? Here are our steps for building a personal brand on LinkedIn.
Related read: 7 Tips for Your Best LinkedIn Profile Picture
Choose your pillars
Personal branding is about narrowing down your focus. In the real world, we are so much more than our LinkedIn profile – we are parents, partners, children, siblings. We have hobbies and friends. But your professional profile should set you up as a thought leader. This isn’t Facebook, where you share personal photos and silly memes. Pick two to three topics or pillars to focus on, for instance: leadership, digital marketing and technology trends.
When you narrow your focus, your professional network gets to know who you are and what you’re about very quickly. Your personal branding pillars should be reflected in your LinkedIn headline, biography, profile picture and the content you share.
Write your headline and summary
Your LinkedIn headline should align with your pillars. Think of it as a tagline or personal brand statement. While using your current title is fine, adding some personality to your headline is even better. For instance, “Digital marketing leader on the pulse of tech trends” is better than “Marketing Manager”.
Your LinkedIn summary or about section isn’t a place to summarize your work experience – that’s already in your profile. Use your summary to highlight your pillars. Talk about what drives you, what’s important to you, and why you do what you do.
Choose on-brand images
Your LinkedIn profile photo should not only look clean and professional, but it should also make you look professional and fit your personal brand. (Read our tips for capturing a great profile photo.)
People often overlook the LinkedIn cover image when updating their profile. Don’t just use a fun pattern or generic stock photo; create an image that reflects your personal brand. Use photo editing software to incorporate your company’s logo and colors, photos of yourself speaking at an event, or a meaningful quote or saying that reflects what you do or believe.
Create content and interact
Owning your professional image doesn’t stop at creating an updated, good-looking LinkedIn profile. Now it’s time for content marketing. Continue to nurture relationships with your connections by sharing content that fits with your pillars. Write posts about what you’ve been working on, are proud of, or have been reading. Write LinkedIn articles that show that you’re a thought leader in your field.
Creating a personal brand that connects with your network takes work, but it’s worth it. Why let others tell your story when you can tell it exactly the way you want to?