Since LinkedIn was founded in 2002, it has grown to a community of 660 million-plus members. LinkedIn has opened new arenas of usability for professionals on the platform. Benefits of using LinkedIn extend beyond networking, increasing job opportunities, finding business leads as the platform creates several intangible benefits like creating a personal brand name and increasing credibility.
“Everyone is trying to build their personal brand on LinkedIn. It’s not just top level management and well established leaders, but also students, freelancers, start-up founders and hustlers. Everyone recognizes the benefits of a large following and high engagement on the platform and users want to leverage the platform to take advantage of the benefits of personal branding,” according to Tannisha Avarrsekar, founder of Lokavyuha Strategy and Communications.
Though the platform can be leveraged to create several benefits for its users, gaining visibility and personal marketing on the platform has become increasingly challenging. The most common tips given by personal branding experts include posting a professional personal profile picture on the platform, updating skills, education and work, and posting regularly and commenting.
Since most of the users are now aware of these basic tips, there is no real profile differentiation or branding created by incorporating these strategies on the platform. Posting regularly is not the ‘key mantra’ for personal branding on LinkedIn anymore, because posting regularly may not increase your visibility or network. LinkedIn marketing in 2020, in the era of COVID uncertainty calls for a different approach for building a personal brand on LinkedIn.
Create Content Which Serves your Followers, Educates Them and Increases Awareness
LinkedIn as a platform is not only used by professionals to network and further growth prospects, but it’s use has also extended to being a source of information to professionals about trends in businesses and industries worldwide. LinkedIn also has a dedicated news section on the homepage of the platform called ‘LinkedIn News’. Users on the platform are looking for insights about jobs, companies and industries alike.
According to Vipin Kumar, joint secretary at the ministry of human resource development, “Your value on any social platform comes from the value created by your content for others. Posting content which will educate people about things they are unlikely to hear otherwise creates a differentiating factor in your content and also plays an important role in increasing respect within your network.” Posting content which educates people about social issues, problems in the workplace and other relevant topics increases the likelihood of people commenting on the post and tagging other people within their network. Content of this nature also increases your credibility on the platform and creates a personal brand which is reliable.https://tpc.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-37/html/container.html
Around 87 million users on LinkedIn are millennials who are looking to learn more, gain insights and educate themselves. Hence, the niche for content which provides insights and boosts learning is large on the platform.
Share Posts of Other Influencers Which Are Relevant
Though most LinkedIn influencers recommend posting content on the platform regularly to increase engagement, often they take for granted that not everyone has the time to create original posts on the platform. Creating an original post or article may be time consuming and challenging to do on a daily basis. However, it may be easy for you to repost relevant content on the platform to keep your audience engaged.
“Sharing content of other influencers is a great way to leverage the platform to your advantage. You don’t need to have original content to post, reposting content which is different and giving the creator credit for it helps to boost your own profile. Your main aim should be posting great content, even if it means reposting articles, research papers or posts if you don’t have time to create content yourself,” says Avarrsekar. Reposting content of influencer’s also increases the quality of content on your feed itself, ensures high reach and engagement.
Moreover, sharing content of LinkedIn influencers increases your reach within the influencer’s network itself. Hence, the ‘share’ tool on LinkedIn is a quick way to increase engagement and build your network and it is definitely easier than posting original content.
On a Platform Where People are Trying to Specialize, be a Generalist
The best strategy to reach a wider audience on LinkedIn is to create content which resonates with a wider audience. Often, users try to create their own niche in a particular industry by only posting content related to that industry. Creating content which is not industry specific and can be applied by individuals in a variety of industries is a great strategy to increase engagement. In the COVID era, there are many professionals who are increasing their flexibility and are open to positions across industries. This has created a more flexible mindset among individuals looking for jobs on LinkedIn. Hence, generalized content will help you create your personal brand faster and connect with more people.
Range: Why generalists triumph in a specialised world by David Epstein highlights how generalists stand out from the crowd where individuals are focused on specializing. According to Epstein, generalists have a variety of interests and skills which they can leverage to form connections. While specialists can only comment on a narrow topic, generalists have more diverse experiences which make them winners in this world.https://tpc.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-37/html/container.html
Posting content on LinkedIn which can be applied to a variety of fields and resonates with people across industries is a clear way to win over a larger audience and build a stronger personal brand. It is also an efficient way to connect with people across industries and tap new networks.
Leverage The Power of Storytelling to Enhance Your Personal Brand
Sharing your personal story on the platform creates a more human touch and makes your personal brand relatable to other users on the platform. Moreover, this strategy is easy to use because writing about your own experiences from memory takes less time than doing research to create a post.
Harsh Karamchandani, co-founder of ed-tech start-up Edunify, explains “You don’t need to be a popular personality to establish your personal brand on the platform. The platform empowers everyone because it gives everyone a voice. You can use the power of storytelling on the platform to highlight your personal life experiences which other people can learn from. Being the co-founder of a start-up, I use the power of storytelling to narrate my journey, experience and challenges, and my stories resonate with other aspiring start-up entrepreneurs which increases my engagement.” Storytelling also creates a personal brand which is more genuine and real because users can see the real person behind the LinkedIn profile.
Most often people hesitate before posting their failure stories on LinkedIn. Posting about failures on LinkedIn can increase engagement and depict a strong personality based on constant learning. According to an article written by Vani Kola, managing director of Kalaari on LinkedIn “Is failure the new success?”, failure creates constant learning in one’s life and reflecting on failure is the path to improvement. Owning up to your failure’s on LinkedIn shows that you are willing to own up to your mistakes, learn from them and grow.
Posting about failures is an important part of personal brand building because it resonates with the audience via storytelling. Personal stories are likely to get more engagement and reach on the platform because they directly connect with the audience and display the real person behind the LinkedIn profile.https://tpc.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-37/html/container.html
The power of storytelling can also be extended to highlighting the stories of people associated with your brand. Prerna Mukharya, founder of Outline India, a data firm focused on ground level impact, explains how Linkedin can be a powerful tool to meet the right people. “One of our initial projects at Outline India was through linkedin and I have not forgotten that. It is essential to stay authentic as one tries to make a point. Personal stories (stories from the field in our case about data collection), have been instrumental in reaching out to our target audience. I receive about 7-10 messages each week from people across the spectrum, sharing appreciation, kind words or looking to contribute to our greater goal of – creating social impact through data. In most cases, I do not know these people, but they are willing to offer their expertise, and their time to know about our story at Outline India.” Mukharya says. Hence highlighting stories of people who you are working with and interacting with is a part of your own storytelling and can be leveraged to create your personal brand.
Don’t Forget to Leverage the Power of a LinkedIn Article
While communication experts recommend making posts on LinkedIn regularly, very few focus on the power of writing articles on the platform. Around 45 per cent of the article readers on LinkedIn comprise upper level management. Hence, writing articles on the platform increases the possibility of you connecting with upper level management which increases your rating on the platform and boosts your following. Moreover, building relationships of increased engagement by top level management and getting their comments on your posts ensures more credibility towards your personal brand.
Though it may be challenging to increase the visibility of your posts, increasing visibility in an article can be much easier because only 0.2 per cent users on LinkedIn have published articles on the platform.
Here are a few general tips you can keep in mind when you are writing an article to create your personal brand on the platform. The tips are based on research conducted on LinkedIn publisher statistics:
– Write long form articles, around 1,900 words to get the best engagement.
– Post “how-to” and list format articles because they get higher number of shares
– Split the article into 5, 7 or 9 sub headings
– Ensure that the article title is 40-49 characters
– Do not add videos to the article unless absolutely necessary
– Try to add exactly 8 photos to the article
– Post some original images with people’s faces in the article