by Rachel DiCaro Metscher
If you are not using LinkedIn to tell your personal brand story, you're missing an opportunity to promote your expertise in front of colleagues and future employers.
Your LinkedIn profile should paint a picture beyond your resume of who you are and what you bring to the table. When I look at your LinkedIn profile, what three things do you want me to take away? Who are you professionally? Are you a B2B rockstar? Content Marketing Mastermind?
Whether you are a 20-year professional or just starting out, you should consider how to promote yourself through LinkedIn. With more than 300 million users, it is becoming harder on LinkedIn to stand out from the crowd. With storytelling in mind, here are my seven steps to tell your personal brand story on LinkedIn.
Step One in Develop Brand Story: Create Dynamic Headlines
Much like storytelling, your personal brand story needs to make sense and persuade folks to read your profile. You can certainly use your current title; however, think about how someone potentially will search for you. Use keywords in your headline. For example, I highlight my broad range of marketing and communications skills, so my title is "Marketing Leader. Social Media Strategist. Communications & Public Relations. Speaker & Writer. Problem Solver." Jot down your ideas in terms of these areas to highlight what you want to your brand to stand for.
Step Two in Develop Brand Story: Craft a Well-Rounded Summary
What areas or expertise do you want to highlight? Be Strategic. You can use your summary section from your resume, but be short and sweet. This section should be your online elevator pitch. The summary area is also a great place to post all your SlideShare presentations or other multimedia content that provides the social proof that you are a great asset.
Recently, LinkedIn made it easier to create the best keywords for your profile by allowing you to access your data archive. Viveka von Rosen, host to one of the largest Twitter chats about LinkedIn #LinkedInChat, wrote a blog post about how to use the export tool to improve organization's marketing, but I believe you can also use it to improve the marketing of you.
Step Three in Develop Brand Story: Show Diversity in Your Experience
If you are the main character in your personal brand story, how will you support your central theme? For example, if I want to be known as a digital-marketing expert, how will I convey this information?
What do you want people to know? It's more than listing your accomplishments and responsibilities. Think about how you would describe your coherent roles and how the roles relate to your overall goal or next career move. All your roles should have a purpose. LinkedIn job positions should show progression and that through the years you have deepened your knowledge in a specific area.
Step Four in Develop Brand Story: Sharpen Your Skills
Did you know that LinkedIn allows users to add up to 50 skills to their profiles? Jennifer McClure, president of Unbridled Talent LLC, mentioned in her Mashable interview that listing relevant skills helps candidates differentiate themselves from their competition, "Often LinkedIn profiles aren't fully completed either because people are intimidated by the idea of writing a professional summary or aren't skilled at effectively summarizing their experience. LinkedIn profiles should be viewed as a personal marketing brochure, and as such, they need to be concise, informative, and compelling." Bottom line: Focus on your expertise, strengths, and skills to be more discoverable.
Step Five in Develop Brand Story: Showcase your Thought Leadership
Earlier this year, LinkedIn opened up its publishing platform to all its members. This move allowed members to publish content to their profile and share it among their network. Amazing when you can share your ideas and thoughts, folks seek you out for advice and expertise. Huzzah! This is the secret that every PR professional knows works well to build authority: use your works such as presentations, speeches, and other informative content to get noticed.
Step Six in Develop Brand Story: Prove It with Projects
Highlight projects that show strong results. Rachel Gillett recently wrote about killer techniques to build an outstanding profile and shared that adding compelling projects to your profile can demonstrate experience relevant to your professional goals. This is great advice for seasoned professionals and students. The best part about projects is you can add contributors to projects, and your colleagues can share in the success both at work and online.
Step Seven in Develop Brand Story: Support Your Awesomeness through Recommendations
Finished a successful project at work or school? Anyone with whom you have worked in the past should be on the short list to vouch for your talents. Adam Nash, president of Wealthfront, wrote on LinkedIn's blog about the importance of recommendations, "In this economy, more than ever, people are realizing that the most important assets they have are the skills and experiences they have earned, and the trusted relationships they have formed. LinkedIn Recommendations bring liquidity and transparency to the reputation economy."
Final Thoughts on Telling Your Brand Story on LinkedIn
Storytelling is about persuading and entertaining your audience. To cut through the noise, you need to differentiate yourself from others on LinkedIn -- and telling your brand story helps.
Questions about some of the terminology used in this article? Get more information (definitions and links) on key college, career, and job-search terms by going to our Job-Seeker's Glossary of Job-Hunting Terms.
This article is part of Job Action Day 2014.