My Pulse post on using LinkedIn to prepare for an interview has attracted quite a bit of attention. The LinkedIn platform is a well known resource for many who are seeking employment. It’s a great platform for discovering job opportunities and job openings. Recruiters use the platform to search for talent and it’s a place to make connections that can help you find opportunities before they are published.
Building a personal brand is one of the most effective ways to discover opportunities. Building a personal brand will attract attention and recognition. Even if you are completely satisfied with your current situation, building your brand is important.
Three Brand Building Principles
1) Give More than You Take
People often misunderstand what I mean by building a personal brand. They think it’s narcissistic or selfish. Most of us are able to cite examples of takers, those who are only interested in using others to get what they want. While most of us are repulsed by takers, givers tend to have the opposite effect. We are drawn to them.
Often the smallest gesture can mean the difference in perception. For instance, if you are attending a networking event, make a conscious effort to help others connect with the people and businesses they are targeting.
BNI (Business Network International) has a slogan, “givers gain.” It’s based on the timeless principle that giving often results in receiving. It’s not a quid pro quo, it’s a principle. Giving is a solid foundation for developing and nurturing relationships. In a way, giving is like making deposits in a relational bank account. Perhaps you’ve read or watched “The Secret” which I have found to be helpful in my personal life.
2) Be Helpful
Helping is most effective when it’s personal. Whether it’s sharing the content of those in your network, making an introduction, creating content on relevant topics, or curating content you have discovered, find ways to add value to the members of your network.
Pay attention to the notifications, it’s the small flag in the upper right portion of your LinkedIn page. These notification alerts let you know that members of your network are publishing content. By clicking on these alerts you will be able to comment, like and share this content. If you feel some content might be of particular interest to members of your network, you can tag them when you share the content. https://help.linkedin.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/34936
3) Be Generous
Create content, make introductions, share the content of others. Do this often. For many of us generosity may require some intentionality. Depending on our past experiences, or the current culture, many of us have been trained to leverage information for our own advantage. Naturally we have to be wise. I am not talking about giving away trade secrets.
I have found that giving away some advice has more benefits than drawbacks.
Brand Building Practices
What’s the best way to incorporate the principles I outlined above?
Here are four specific suggestions that can help turn principles into practices.
Share Content with Your Network
I mentioned generosity as a principle. One way to intentionally apply this principle is to spend some time each week reviewing your update feeds. Like, comment and share this content with your network. Liking and commenting updates allows you to quickly endorse or add value to the content of others in your network and your connections will be grateful for your support. It’s also an effective way to stay current on the issues and topics that interest the members of your network.
In addition to the regular update feed, review the LinkedIn blog posts authored by those in your network. You can follow posts. Following posts will trigger a notification when someone publishes a new post so you’ll be able to stay current and connected.
When you discover content that is relevant for your network, include a link to that content in your update. Once you have pasted the link, you’ll see the article appear and then you can delete the link and write a brief comment in the update. Adding a comment tells your audience why you feel this content is useful.
Use the mention feature to attract the attention of specific individuals. It’s not much different than using the “cc” feature in an email.
Using the LinkedIn Pulse platform to share your original content and opinions is one of the most effective brand building practices because it showcases your expertise and personality. If you aren’t sure what to publish, refer to your updates and look for questions, topics, or issues that resonate with your connections.
Here is a Beginner’s Guide from the folks at Hub Spot; it’s a great resource. http://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/linkedin-publishing-beginner-guide
Adding connections is a powerful brand building technique. Focus on quality over quantity. Each time you attend an event or conference, make it a goal to connect with those you meet. Adding a personal invitation is a great way to follow-up and stay in touch with new contacts. Take time to craft a brief invitation message. Never send the impersonal generic message that LinkedIn provides. A personal message will set you apart from the typical non-personal invitation; it’s more memorable and a makes a strong first or second impression.
Building a brand takes time and consistency; so don’t be in a rush. Some tell me they are concerned this will require too much time and effort. LinkedIn doesn’t require a significant investment in time. Investing some time a couple of days a week can make a difference. I always recommend consistency over quantity. Set aside a half hour two or three times a week to curate and share. Try to write one Pulse post a month. You can also use this same content for your personal blog if you have one.