Personal Branding: How to Leverage LinkedIn

As you know, the exploding popularity of social media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn has provided a valuable personal branding opportunity for business owners. Ten years ago, reaching an audience as vast as today’s social media members would have been quite costly. Today, business owners can connect with a potentially unlimited audience without any fees whatsoever.

Of course, access to social media doesn’t help you if you aren’t sure what to do with it. Today, we’re going to focus on LinkedIn—the dominant social network for professionals and business owners. While Facebook and Twitter are better platforms for reaching consumers, if you are marketing to businesses, you can’t beat LinkedIn. Below are four tips to help you utilize the platform more effectively.

1) Fill out your profile completely. Many business owners don’t take the time to fill out their profile completely—and as a result they miss the opportunity to “tell their story” to viewers of their profile. In addition to filling out your summary section with your biography, include past positions and other information that boosts your credibility.

2) Seek recommendations. Recommendations from others are LinkedIn gold. Anyone can write up a great biography for themselves—but recommendations from colleagues, customers, and friends carry great weight. If you don’t yet have any, just ask! Many off your connections will not only be glad to help out… they’ll be honored that you asked!

3) Participate in industry groups. LinkedIn features discussion groups for just about any topic you can imagine—and they’re sure to have one for your industry. If you’re a CPA, for instance, look for groups that feature discussion of tax policy or other relevant topics. By participating in these discussions, you are reinforcing your own qualifications as an expert on the subject.

4) Post content. If you’re regularly writing blog entries and articles (which you should be!), consider sharing them on LinkedIn just as you do on Twitter or Facebook. It exposes your audience to your ideas and subtly reminds them of your status as an industry expert.

LinkedIn is a great place for business owners to build their personal brand and market themselves to other business owners and professionals. Make sure you are taking full advantage!