Brand.com reviews the personal branding endeavors of professionals from all industries and all parts of the world. “Do you want to be portrayed and perceived as one of the movers and shakers of your industry—a true rock star within your respective line of work?” asks Brand.com president Michael Zammuto. “Well, the tools are all there for your disposal: Your resume, your social media sites, and—specifically—your LinkedIn profile.”
According to Zammuto, a good LinkedIn profile tells a story, and communicates the value that an individual can bring to a potential hiring manager. “When a recruiter or a hiring manager heads to your LinkedIn page, he or she wants to see a clear communication of ROI. Who are you, and what’s in it for them if they hire you? Those are the questions to address as your brand yourself through LinkedIn.”
Personal branding through LinkedIn may be important, then—even vital, according to Zammuto—but how is it done? Brand.com reviews some of the most significant tips and strategies, in the paragraphs that follow.
Brand.com Reviews Best Bets for LinkedIn Branding
Brand.com reviews the branding needs of companies and individuals alike, and when it comes to LinkedIn branding, there is much strategic overlap. “One thing that all LinkedIn accounts need is completeness,” Zammuto affirms. “If you went to a company’s LinkedIn page and saw that it was not totally filled-out or up-to-date, you would rightly assume that company to be fairly uninterested in social media. The same is true with personal branding. Completeness is key.”
A completed LinkedIn profile includes several different components, Zammuto explains—including industry and location; a current position; at least two past positions; educational background; and a minimum of three skills. Additionally, Zammuto says a professional picture is important, but that picture should represent the industry itself.
“Brand.com reviews many different LinkedIn pages, and we know that it’s important for the photo to reflect the industry in question,” Zammuto explains. “A creative professional may have a less formal image, whereas a CEO will likely want to appear clad in suit and tie.”
Still another component of completeness is the number of connections possessed. Zammuto says the bare minimum is 50. “Until you have at least 50 connections, don’t bother marketing your LinkedIn page, because it’s not ready,” he offers.
Brand.com reviews another important component of a branded LinkedIn page, and that is a vanity URL. “Having a vanity URL conveys authority and professionalism, but more than that’s, it’s critical for purposes of online reputation management,” Zammuto says. “You want the search engines to tie your name to your LinkedIn account—not to the account of someone who shares your name—and a vanity URL can help with that.”
Zammuto goes on to note that both recommendations and endorsements are important for successful LinkedIn branding. “Recommendations and endorsements are not the same thing, but they are both important,” he says. “Recommendations take priority, but do what you can do build these up, even directly soliciting them from those who have worked with you and who you know to have enjoyed the experience.”
Brand.com reviews another insider secret for LinkedIn branding, which is to customize link descriptions. “Let’s say you want to include a link to your blog,” Zammuto offers. “One approach would be to simply use the LinkedIn default description, referring to it as your ‘blog,’ that that’s not very attention-grabbing or unique. A better approach is to customize it, calling it your E-Commerce Marketing Blog, or your Real Estate Photography Portfolio, or whatever else it might be.”
Zammuto goes on to affirm the potential efficacy of rearranging a LinkedIn profile. “The platform will allow you to essentially drag and drop the elements of the profile so that you can put the most important elements—whatever you think those may be—at the top of the page,” he says. “This is especially useful for those who are shifting careers, because you can place the focus more on relevant skills rather than a chronological listing of your past jobs, not all of which will be relevant to your new career.”
The president of Brand.com reviews the need for search engine optimization in a LinkedIn page, too. “Branding yourself is not just about conveying a message, but also about ensuring that message is heard,” he notes. “This includes ensuring the message is heard among those who are searching for specific keywords.”
Zammuto notes that the executive summary of a LinkedIn profile allows for up to 2,000 characters, with other fields offering anywhere between 100 and 1,000 characters—leaving ample room for the insertion of some keywords.
Nowhere is SEO more important than in the headline, Zammuto continues. “The headline needs to be attention-getting and it needs to convey your value proposition—that is, to speak of the ROI you offer employers—but it also needs to include some terms that searchers will find, especially as more and more recruiters begin to use searches to find qualified candidates.”
Even the groups that an individual joins speak to his or her personal brand, Zammuto notes. “To be seen as an industry leader and authority, you need to make it clear that you’re actively involved with and interested in the industry,” he says. “This means joining some groups.”
A final tip from Zammuto? “Add some projects to your LinkedIn profile, because there is really no better way to communicate your specific achievements,” he says. “Brand.com recommends this for everyone, but for freelancers and consultants, in particular.”
Zammuto concludes by noting that a solid LinkedIn page is more than just an online resume. “It’s a fully optimized and carefully-voiced portrayal of your personal brand identity,” he says. “It speaks both to your achievements and to the value you can deliver.”
Brand.com reviews the personal messaging needs of professionals from all industries.