If you’re serious about your professional brand on LinkedIn it’s important that you actively and consistently communicate your subject matter expertise to your target audience. In essence you need to have a well planned and locked in go-to-market process for your LinkedIn profile. I’ll take you through 8 key steps.
But first a little background reading so you understand the value a focused LinkedIn strategy and profile will play in delivering opportunity referrals during your career and job search.
A recent Jobvite survey found that 78% of recruiters sourced their best quality talent through referrals. This is up from 60% in 2014. And even more important – in the next year, 41% of recruiters plan to invest more in referrals! So where are you in this mix?
Jobvite survey: Referrals will get you the opportunities
For those who are on their career journey, referrals through networking on LinkedIn are becoming even more important. You need to be prepared to not only self promote, but also build a network of those who know you and promote you.
Jobvite survey: 87% of recruiters use LinkedIn to source talent
Jobvite also found that of the 92% of recruiters who used social media in their candidate search process – 87% used LinkedIn and 55% used Facebook. So if you want to grab their attention and embed your brand so others will refer you, you need to have a well thought out and executed LinkedIn go to market plan.
For you to gain the benefit from your LinkedIn profile – it’s not only important to have a complete profile (LinkedIn claim those with a complete profile are 40 times more likely to have profile views) – you also need to be active and on message with your target audience. Have a plan. Be structured. Be focused.
I’ll take you through a summary of the 8 steps to focus your LinkedIn brand.
Your objectives are the anchor to which everything on your LinkedIn profile hinges. Are you a graduate ready to launch your career? Or are you a seasoned professional wanting to embed your brand as a subject mater expert in the minds of those who actively refer talent?
Determine what you want to achieve.
What is the ‘brand’ you’re wanting to present. In the context of LinkedIn it’s primarily your personal brand. Ensure the brand you present is unambiguous. The last thing you need is for people to ask you; “So what is it you really do?”
3. Target Audience:
Know your customer! This applies as much to you as it does to any business. Structure your content to the needs of your target audience – know where and when they hang out on LinkedIn, and develop content with your target audience in mind (Status updates, Groups, Posts). Don’t forget to support your target audience with ‘Likes’ and ‘Shares’ to their material. Add value.
Use LinkedIn’s tools such as Status Updates, Publishing (Long form posts) and Projects to build and enhance your brand. Groups are also a powerful distribution network – providing a mass communication channel that targets subject matter experts with professional interests similar to your own.
5. Supporting Collateral
Consider the collateral you can use to support your brand and messaging – anything from video, graphs, reference material, pictures, to audio. By using supporting collateral you not only increase stickiness, but also enrich your content and add value. Graphics are a powerful addition to your profile.
6. Authoring your Profile:
After having developed your plan from the objectives through to you supporting collateral you can now start to author your content. This applies to your profile and to any posts you may add. In order to gain the cut through to build a recognised brand with your target audience your content needs to be consistent – your profile through to status updates and posts. Take your time and use an authoring tool such as MSWord, proof read, and then insert the content into your profile.
You’re ready to launch!
The type of content you push out to your audience when you launch your LinkedIn profile and posts can make the difference between zero views and referrals to many hundreds – even thousands. Your profile can flop or fly.
This is an important and recurring step – yet often forgotten. Your profile on LinkedIn should evolve with the growth of your own experience – and be forward thinking in its messaging. Regularly review LinkedIn’s functionality and your profile content to ensure you are leveraging the opportunity of the biggest online professional network and conveying up to date and compelling information.
What is your traction? Click here to find out your Social Selling Index and how you rank against professionals like you.
Finally – don’t forget to monitor and engage;
- Who’s viewing your profile?
- Who’s wanting to connect?
- Are they consistent with your brand?
If you’d like to discuss the 8 steps in more detail, feel free to connect with me and/or send me a LinkedIn in-mail.
Click on the following links for additional reading:
Wishpond: Graphics Make a difference
LinkedIn – Profile completeness
LinkedIn Social Selling Index
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