Everyone has a personal brand. Your brand recognition is not as powerful as Oprah, but everyone has a personal brand. You brand is simply what people say about you when you are not in the room. Target, Apple and McDonalds all have a recognizable brand image. You don’t have to spend millions (or even billions) of dollars developing yours. You can build your personal brand using LinkedIn.

Justin Bieber and Michelle Phan started their careers on YouTube. President Donald Trump used Twitter to grow his audience and influence. Today’s professionals are growing their personal brand using LinkedIn. It has garnered more than 400 million accounts, and it has the financial backing of Microsoft. LinkedIn is more than the “professional Facebook.” It is a way to influence like-minded professionals, establish a global network and demonstrate expertise. Here’s how you do it:

  • Improve Your Profile – LinkedIn accounts with a picture gain 14 times the number of views of accounts without pictures. Don’t stop there! Complete the profile with summary, work experience, education and volunteer activities. Focus on describing how you help people, businesses and brands. Include copies of presentations you have given, videos you recorded and papers you published. Now is not the time to be modest. For added professionalism, include a vanity URL.
  • Publish – Publish your blog on your website AND on LinkedIn. Even the free account allows you write long form posts. To save time, copy the content from your blog into you post. Include keywords that are trending in your area of expertise and links to other experts. You probably will not get to the INFluencer level, but it shows you can communicate. To improve your personal brand using LinkedIn, write a blog.

The 5 C’s of Social Media Success

  • Be Consistent – My friend Julie Kratz, author of Pivot Point: Career Notebook, seems to always be on LinkedIn, however, she is not selling her books or services. She shares valuable content with her audience. Some of it is scheduled, and some of it is “in the moment.” Mitchell Rock (Morgan Stanley Financial Advisor) has established a schedule. He participates on LinkedIn for 15 minutes in the morning, he adds another 15 minutes in the evening. The result? In 2014 he landed a $70 million account. To improve your personal brand using LinkedIn, be consistent in your content and time.
  • Share Content – Post valuable content on LinkedIn and other social media networks. Take pictures of the conferences you attend and share quotes from the speakers. Share articles on leadership, management and other topics of interest for your audience. Professionals who share content on LinkedIn are seen and recognized as experts. To improve you personal brand on LinkedIn, share free content.
  • Engage with Connections – Don’t join groups. Participate! Having connections on LinkedIn is not a numbers game. Send your connections birthday wishes and congratulations on promotions. Most of the time people won’t respond. However, when they do it’s an opportunity to engage in a dialogue. Know your key connections and send personalized messages. Engaging with people shows them you care, and helps you to stand out from your competition.

Building and maintaining your personal brand grows your career and increases revenue. LinkedIn is a valuable tool for demonstrating expertise and connecting with like minded professionals. Social media is one leg of the stool of personal branding success that all professionals should be using.

Scientifically Speaking, of course…