Monday, October 18, 2010

Personal & Professional Branding in the Age of Social Media - Part 2

LinkedIn and Personal Branding – Part 11

Once we’ve got a head shot that doesn’t make us cringe, we need to form a tagline that sums up who we are and why we’re different. Think ad slogan and summarize to recruiters why they should buy. This tagline can also reflect our most salient keywords to increase search effectiveness on LinkedIn. Once this is done, it’s time to get to the meat of our LinkedIn and professional brand.

One of the true beauties of LinkedIn is it takes what is usually relegated to only two pages and allows you to expand on that, offering virtually unlimited space to tell your story. Rules of tight, pithy writing still apply, but here our goal changes somewhat – taking what was a highly refined document designed to summarize what’s so great about us as quickly and as succinctly as possible to a page that not only tells our story, but also packs in keywords and keyword density to optimize our LinkedIn brand for search.

What was highly edited or even left off our print resume can now be extrapolated on, added to, embellished and packed full of keywords that target our desired career move. Whereas our print piece may have had to forego consulting work, we can now add in these career points, detailing this experience with core keywords that increase our keyword density and search results.

Aside from building our text-based persona, we can also supplement our LinkedIn profile with applications that can showcase other aspects of our abilities and accomplishments. I used a combination of Microsoft PowerPoint, with Google Documents and an application on LinkedIn that allows me to embed this presentation on my LinkedIn profile. As a creative type, this allowed me to showcase some of my creative work, without having to go through the process of building and hosting a web site. It’s easy to update and gives recruiters a one-stop shop to get a solid understanding of my work and my abilities.

As a blogger, I’m also able to use LinkedIn applications to post my latest blog postings on LinkedIn – these synopses show the blog headline, first few words of text and a link to my blog, which is directly related to my industry – it all comes together easily using a combination of Blogger, Twitter and LinkedIn applications. Combined, these tools further keep my profile fresh and show prospective clients and employers how I think and possibly why I’m a great for their organization.

Building your personal and professional brand is very much like building a product or company brand. It takes thoughtful positioning, differentiation and consistency, so it’s imperative that once you’ve built your brand you stick with it over time as any marketing program worth doing needs time to take root and grow. So, build your brand, start your blog and stick with it. You may think that no one’s reading or watching, but that’s not the point – it’s about engaging with your industry, your POTENTIAL audience and above all else, yourself.

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