By Jane Deehan
Professionals – particularly salespeople – invest a lot of time and resource in building brands. We’re trained at it – and we’re good at it. But how often do we apply those skills to building our own personal brands? For many of us, it’s nothing like as often as we should. I know that there’s more that I could be doing to build my own profile on LinkedIn – and I know that I’m not alone.
We don’t get around to it because we’re busy, and because it can sometimes feel selfish or egotistical to invest time in marketing ourselves. However, when we neglect personal branding, we don’t just sell ourselves short – we also miss a big opportunity, from a sales perspective. The impact of employees who share content is huge. And the most effective employee sharers are those who’ve built their personal brand on LinkedIn.
The LinkedIn profile page is the foundation for your personal branding. And we regularly add features to increase its capabilities as a personal marketing platform and give you new ways to signal your skills and motivations. If you haven’t checked your profile page recently, you might well find new ways to build your personal brand.
Here are 20 profile features you should check and update for 2022. Some of them are very quick wins, some of them may take a little bit of time – but all of them are very worthwhile. They will help to give you the LinkedIn profile and personal brand that you deserve.
1. Choose the right profile picture for LinkedIn.
Your profile picture is your calling card on LinkedIn – it’s how people are introduced to you and (visual beings that we are) it governs their impressions from the start. There are some great posts explaining how to pick the right profile picture on LinkedIn – but here are some quick tips to start with: make sure the picture is recent and looks like you, make up your face takes up around 60% of it (long-distance shots don’t stand out), wear what you would like to wear to work, and smile with your eyes!
2. Add a background photo.
Your background photo is the second visual element at the top of your profile page. It grabs people’s attention, sets the context and shows a little more about what matters to you. More than anything, the right background photo helps your page stand out, engage attention and stay memorable.
3. Make your headline more than just a job title.
There’s no rule that says the description at the top of your profile page has to be just a job title. Use the headline field to say a bit more about how you see your role, why you do what you do, and what makes you tick. If you’ve got sales reps at your company who are on the ball with social selling, then take a quick look at their profile page headlines for inspiration. They will almost certainly have more than their job titles in there.
4. Turn your summary into your story.
The first thing to say about your LinkedIn summary is – make sure you have one! It’s amazing how many people still leave this field blank when creating their LinkedIn profile. Your summary is your chance to tell your own story – so don’t just use it to list your skills or the job titles you’ve had. Try to bring to life why those skills matter – and the difference they can make to the people you work with. Don’t be afraid to invest some time, try a few drafts, and run your summary past people you know. This is your most personal piece of content marketing – and it’s worth the effort.
5. Declare war on buzzwords.
Buzzwords are adjectives that are used so often in LinkedIn headlines and summaries that they become almost completely meaningless. Our regular rankings of the most over-used buzzwords include terms like ‘specialised’, ‘leadership’, ‘focused’, ‘strategic’, ‘experienced’, ‘passionate’, ‘expert’, ‘creative’, ‘innovative’ and ‘certified’. Now I’m not saying you can’t describe yourself as these things – or that they don’t matter. However, just using these words won’t convince people that you have these qualities. You need to demonstrate them as well – both in the way you describe yourself, and in the way you use LinkedIn profile features to show what you’re about.