3 Tips to Build Your Personal Brand on LinkedIn

It wasn't that long ago that LinkedIn seemed destined to be a perennial social third wheel behind Facebook and Twitter. And while Twitter has enjoyed explosive growth in 2012, Facebook has, for the most part, taken a beating. Its stock price has dropped 47% since its May IPO, as it struggles to accelerate sales growth and mobile advertising, and there's news spreading that 83 million of its users may come from dubious sources such as duplicate accounts and spam bots. 

LinkedIn, in spite of a data breach, has flourished in 2012. Its revamped home page has resulted in record levels of activity, LinkedIn said at a town hall event on Aug. 2, and its stock has risen 48% so far this year. Sales nearly doubled in Q2 2012 compared to a year ago, according to CNNMoney.

But what's important for the investor may be only indirectly important for the PR pro. It's safe to say that LinkedIn's value as communications platform continues to grow.

Consider that LinkedIn has become the most-used social network by journalists—92% are on LinkedIn, while 85% have Facebook accounts and 84% use Twitter, according to an Arketi Web Watch Media survey.

To maximize your presence on LinkedIn, Ann Andrews Morris, principal of AndMore Communications and a speaker at PR News' recent LinkedIn webinar, offers three tips for personal branding.

1) Maximize Your Personal Profile: 

  • Think of your personal profile as your virtual resume, and make it a finished and professional-looking profile, says Morris. List your current and past positions and education along with your tenure there. "This helps the right people and opportunities find you," says Morris. "Add a profile photo (people never forget a face), add a summary paragraph and think of it as your professional elevator pitch." 

  • Use Web mail import to see, in seconds, all the people you know who are already on LinkedIn. You can then select who you wish to invite to join your trusted network.

  • Get recommendations from colleagues, professors, current or past employers to solidify your track record. 

2) Put LinkedIn’s Research Capabilities to Work For You: 

  • Post a question on LinkedIn Answers and tap into the experts you’re connected to and the entire LinkedIn network.  

  • Look up someone’s profile before you meet with them, and learn about their background and see who you know in common to get off to a fast start.

  • Look up other LinkedIn profiles with similar terms and make any necessary edits to augment the term you use to describe your professional experience. 

3) Maximize LinkedIn’s Applications:

  • Add applications to your profile—Twitter, your blog, SlideShare, TripIt—and adjust your LinkedIn settings to connect with your Twitter account. Network IRL (in real life) and collect business cards; then connect with people via LinkedIn in short order after meeting them.

PR News' LinkedIn Webinar: How to Really Leverage LinkedIn for Media Relations, Branding and More is available on demand. 

Follow Bill Miltenberg: @bmiltenberg