Tuesday, 05 March 2019
Are you selling your digital self in the best possible light? If your answer is “yes” you’re in the minority of Network members: only 10% of those who attended our recent webinar Establishing your personal brand online are ‘highly confident’ their web activities could attract attention for all the right reasons.
As an entrepreneur, you may no longer be using Linkedin to find new roles, but the same careful approach still should be taken. Potential clients, employees and investors may want to check you out online before agreeing to meet with you, so your profile should give a positive indication of the type of business owner you are,
It’s not just the digital newbie who’s guilty of undermining their online brand - even long-time LinkedInners might have fallen victim to these common pitfalls.
YOU HAVEN’T WRITTEN A SUMMARY FOR YOUR LINKEDIN PROFILE
In a bid to get yourself up and running on the world’s foremost professional social network, you filled in the bare minimum information required and started scouring the database for potential connections. But by not investing the time in fleshing out your profile – specifically the free text ‘summary’ – you’re making yourself up to seven times less discoverable.
The LinkedIn summary isn’t just about being found by connections or opportunity creators – it’s the core space where you can really imprint your personal brand and ensure your LinkedIn profile stands out from the incredibly large crowd of 364 million members and growing daily.
Action point: Think about the key qualities you want a profile passer-by to know about you and distil this into a story of a minimum 40 words. Diarise a regular review of your summary to ensure it’s not missing any timely, relevant essentials.
YOU’VE WRITTEN A SUMMARY BUT IT’S THE SAME AS EVERYONE ELSE’S!
Are you motivated? Passionate? Creative? Responsible? Driven? Experienced? Results-orientated? Well, we’ve got news for you: so is everyone else! LinkedIn’s list of most overused buzzwords reveals that millions of users are wasting precious summary space to churn out a list of meaningless adjectives.
Action point: Turn those buzzwords into compelling, real-life stories. Show don’t tell: “I put the same energy into writing captivating advertising slogans as I do into the crime writing workshops I run as a hobby,” doesn’t even contain one of those lazy adjectives, but it conveys ‘creativity’ in bucket loads.
YOU HAVEN’T WRITTEN YOUR OWN HEADLINE
LinkedIn has a headline feature? Yes indeed, and most users are neglecting to fill it with useful keywords, showcase new accolades or flesh out what it is they do and why. Such low uptake of this functionality means that spending time crafting that perfect strapline can elevate your profile head and shoulders above the rest – bringing you up to 15 times as many profile views in the process.
Action point: Consider what purpose you want your headline to serve. To shout about that employee of the month award? To make it easier for recruiters to find you in a busy job title pool? To embellish any qualities or abilities not immediately discernible from your work history? Communicate the message in as short and punchy a way as possible.
YOU’RE USING LINKEDIN LIKE A MEGAPHONE
In a bid to establish your personal brand outside your profile, you dip in occasionally to share an interesting article or tell everyone about the exclusive industry event you’re attending. But are you really engaging with your network at large? The star networker knows she doesn’t win many friends by holding one-way conversations around the conference room; likewise, the most successful digital networkers know that two-way dialogue applies equally to the virtual world.
Action point: Commit to dividing your attention between your newsfeed and your own status updates, commenting on the posts of others with insightful opinions and encouraging remarks. When sharing your own thoughts via a status update, look for ways to be inclusive – inviting opinions, asking questions, starting a debate or sharing useful insight that will benefit others.
YOUR PHOTOGRAPH ISN’T PROFESSIONAL
You don’t need to splash out on a studio photo shoot, but you do need to ensure that your photograph is an accurate representation of you at work. A wedding or holiday snap won’t cut it, but a good quality, industry-appropriate headshot could see you pull in 14 times more profile views, thus affording you increased exposure to more opportunities and network expansion.
Action point: Upload your image contenders to www.photofeeler.com to get the community’s advice on which scores higher for competency, reliability and likability – an insightful, unbiased opinion that costs you nothing.
YOUR WORK EXPERIENCE HAS HOLES
You wouldn’t send out a CV or resume with many months or years unaccounted for; ensure your LinkedIn profile tells the story of your entire career to date. Profiles with more than one position listed get accessed 12 times more often, so it’s worth the investment for the increased exposure.
Action point: If you’ve switched careers or set up a business and don’t want to indicate irrelevant past experiences, use the summary to tell your story, reasons behind your decision to switch and the skills you’re bringing with you from your past career. Focus on accolades and achievements in each of your work history insertions, as well as ways to make your profile complement rather than duplicate your CV.
YOU THINK YOUR LINKEDIN PROFILE IS THE ONLY ONE CHECKED OUT BY DECISION MAKERS
Your digital footprint – the entire mass of information held across the World Wide Web and accessible to anyone browsing or searching for you online – runs far deeper than your LinkedIn profile. A prospective client may look you up on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest or Reddit.
They may do a broader Google search which throws up Facebook comments you’ve left on news stories, details of competitions you’ve entered, reviews you’ve left for products or services purchased, forum threads you’ve created or contributed to, or details of major life events – engagements, marriages, births, milestone birthdays, charity appeals. This needn’t mean you have to scour every page of every website you might have left a trail on, but being mindful of what your digital contributions say about you in both a personal and professional capacity can help avoid potential issues.
Action point: Do a quick search for your name, combining it with your job title or industry, dealing quickly with anything you’d rather anyone didn’t see. Use a tool like secure.me to ensure your Facebook privacy settings don’t get reset when algorithms update. Put yourself in the shoes of a headhunter or future employer when regularly scanning your blog, Twitter profile or other social media activity – is everything reflecting you at your very best?