If you aren’t building your personal brand on LinkedIn, you are losing out on significant opportunities to grow your business. There are 61 million “Senior-Level Influencers” on LinkedIn. These aren’t the kind of “influencers” you’ll find on Instagram or YouTube. These are high-level corporate decision-makers that impact the direction of their organizations.
How would you benefit from connecting with more senior-level influencers from your target list of dream clients or customers?
In this post, I’m going to share with you:
- How to increase your access to senior-level influencers by growing your personal brand on LinkedIn.
- Why a personal brand is important no matter what industry you’re in.
- The three types of content proven to grow your following and build your personal branding on LinkedIn.
What Is a “Personal Brand?”
For the context of this article, we’ll define personal brand simply as the “online expression” of an individual. Your “online expression” can either work for you or against you. I’ll teach you how to get your personal branding on LinkedIn to work for you.
Where do my insights come from?
LinkedIn transformed my career. I went from working in the recruitment industry to becoming a sponsored podcaster, professionally represented actor/commercial model, keynote speaker, personal branding consultant, and media entrepreneur all because of my personal brand which emerged on LinkedIn. Say what?
Yes. It’s all true and 100% verifiable. Just look me up on LinkedIn, browse through my posts, and you’ll see the entire journey.
What made the difference was that I inadvertently built a personal brand by creating content about things I cared about. Over time, this content formed a body of work (or social footprint) where people could learn about who I was.
Here’s what really matters about that…
People were able to discover who I was, what I valued, and how I could help them without me actually telling them myself.
Creating content is like passive income for your online reputation. You create a piece of content once and it pays out over a lifetime in the form of social equity.
Much like you can get to know an artist through his or her portfolio, you can get to know a person by their online expression or “personal brand” that lives online.
As a recruiter, I’ve used Linkedin since 2006 as a sourcing tool to find candidates. Only in 2018 did I start using Linkedin as a publishing tool to create content. Creating content on Linkedin is what supercharged my personal brand and will supercharge yours as well.
What Will a Personal Brand Do For Me?
It will increase your visibility.
These days, if you don’t have an online presence, you are practically invisible to your clients, prospects, potential recruits, and referral partners.
It’s about using your online presence to create meaningful offline relationships that lead to business and opportunities.
The way I teach personal branding has nothing to do with vanity metrics and everything to do with strategically using social media marketing to close more business by developing authentic relationships.
Top 3 Benefits of Building a Personal Brand on LinkedIn
Having a personal brand can lead to a number of benefits, including:
- Increased Access to People (Access to People = Access to Opportunity)
- Enhanced Trust, Credibility & Authority
- Your Very Own “Media Network”
Let’s explore those in a little more detail.
1. A Personal Brand on LinkedIn Leads to Increased Access to People
When you have access to the right people (dictated by the kind of business you are in), you have access to opportunity.
In 2018, I oversaw talent acquisition for Bottle Rocket, one of the premier mobile software development firms in the world. Five years into the role, I’d been pitched literally hundreds of times by recruiting agencies. Most pitches and cold calls were pretty terrible, so I decided to make a video teaching recruiting agencies how (and how not) to make cold calls.
My video titled “3 Keys to Making Effective Cold Calls in Staffing Sales” generated 34,000 views in nine days.
Pretty soon, I started getting a deluge of comments, direct messages, and phone calls to make more videos. So I did!
Because my content was recruiting specific, I began to amass a following of recruiters and salespeople in the staffing industry from around the world. I was beginning to emerge as a recruiting and staffing thought leader because of the “online expression” created by my videos.
My personal brand increased my ability to access leaders in the recruiting and staffing industry. Two of those leaders from my following became my first clients — which launched my consulting company that set me on the path of full-time entrepreneurship which I’m on today.
All this to say, your personal branding on LinkedIn can lead you to connect with people who can open the door for new and exciting opportunities for your business.
2. Personal Branding on LinkedIn Builds Enhanced Trust, Credibility & Authority
Would you hire a plumber without first looking at their online reviews? Of course not! Because you want the job done right the first time. Every time we make a purchase decision, we take a risk. To mitigate that risk, we, as thoughtful consumers, do our due diligence by researching purchase options that we can trust.
You better believe that your prospects are doing the same thing!
What would you think about a company that didn’t have a website or social presence?
People work with, buy from, and hire people they know, like, and trust. Building your personal brand on Linkedin enhances your ability to win trust, establish credibility, and demonstrate authority.
This is the actual LinkedIn message I received which resulted in my last in-person (non-virtual) keynote before the pandemic.
Let’s analyze this message:
- Tim McPherson is the President of HSS, the largest hospitality staffing firm in the U.S.
- Lesson: Major corporate decision-makers from incredible companies engage on Linkedin. Tim is one of the 61-million senior-level influencers on Linkedin. He’s a great leader and has an amazing team. Shoutout to my friends at HSS!
- Before this message, I had never heard of Tim McPherson nor Hospitality Staffing Solutions. I had never reached out nor considered HSS as a prospect for my speaking business. Yet, they came to me.
- Lesson: Inbound leads are a result of building your personal brand on Linkedin.
- Why would Tim invite me to speak for his company even though we’d never met?
- Lesson: Although I didn’t know who Tim was, I’d been building trust and credibility with him through my content. Notice his wording, “I’ve been following some of your social media activity…” This implies he’s been consuming my content over a period of time. Through my content, he got a sense of who I was, what I valued, and how I could help his team.
I’ve learned that some of your most avid followers are people who don’t engage (like, comment, msg etc). You just never know who might be watching your content! Consistency is the key to building trust with your personal brand. As Reid Hoffman, Founder of Linkedin says, “Trust equals time plus consistency.”
3. Personal Branding on LinkedIn Creates Your Very Own “Media Network”
In 2021, does a social media following matter in business?
Many business leaders are skeptical about the benefits of a social following. Perhaps they associate it with vanity metrics or a purely entertainment-related focus.
The first time the utility of a social following became real to me was when I promoted my first live podcast recording.
In three days, I maxed out the venue’s RSVP cap by promoting the event to my following on Linkedin. Why does this matter?
I was able to get a group of people to take action by communicating a message to my social following.
I drove human beings into a physical space by asking them. You see, building your social following is not about vanity metrics, it’s about building a communication channel that’s made up of people who know, like, and trust you. A social media following is like having viewership for your own mini media network. A network where you have full control over what is broadcast.
Today, I use my social following to ask for referrals, promote events, make announcements, ask for advice, connect with thought leaders, etc. You are limited only by your own creativity on how you can use your social media marketing strategy to grow your business.
3 Types of Content Proven to Grow Your Following & Build Your Personal Brand
These are the three types of content proven to create trust, grow your following, and build your personal brand on Linkedin.
1. Educational Content
Think back to my earlier example of how I got my start on Linkedin with recruiting videos: What made that first video take off?
Cold calling is arguably the hardest and scariest thing salespeople do in the recruiting industry. My video, “3 Keys to Making Effective Cold Calling in Staffing Sales,” was a solution to their problem. It summarized the most common mistakes and best practices of what works and what doesn’t when it comes to cold calling.
Here are a few other titles from that video series:
- 3 Personal Development Tips to Accelerate Your Staffing Sales Career!
- How to Make a Killer MPC (Sales Script) in Staffing!
- How My Latest Staffing Vendor Won My Business! (Step by step instructions…)
- Can Staffing Companies Work With Corporate Recruiters?
- How to Transform Selling in Staffing
Given the content topics, what kind of audience do you think it attracted? Staffing sales professionals in the recruiting industry!
You attract the kind of audience that you educate. Create content that is educational and useful. Not only will you attract targeted prospects for your business but you will emerge as a thought leader in your industry.
Brainstorm topics, and ask yourself:
- Who is my customer?
- What are their biggest pain points?
- What are helpful tips?
- How can I answer the FAQs of my business through content?
2. Association Content
Why do companies check your references when you apply for a job? It’s because they are looking for social proof to validate (or invalidate) your credibility. They are looking for third-party sources that can speak to the caliber of individual you are. As part of your content marketing strategy, you can proactively build social proof around your personal brand by creating trust through association.
Any time I book a keynote speech, earn press, book a high-profile client, get invited to moderate a conference, or interview a well-known guest, I make sure to promote each event on Linkedin and thank who I’m collaborating with for the opportunity.
You experience a boost in your own credibility by promoting the people, brands, and events you associate with. You win when they win. It’s a beautiful reciprocation. Add as much value to your collaboration partners as possible.
Brainstorm topics, and ask yourself:
- Where am I speaking next?
- What organizations do I belong to that I could promote?
- Which of my clients could I shoot a video testimonial with?
- What industry leader could I interview?
- What conference am I excited about attending?
3. Content that Promotes Likability
If you find two plumbers that are equal in price, quality, speed, and customer service, which one do you go with?
More than likely, the one you have a personal connection with. In some cases, gut feeling or personal connection can weigh more than traditional buying variables.
The same applies to content creation and building your personal brand on Linkedin. People don’t want to connect with a salesperson, consultant, manager, or business entity. They want to connect with a relatable human being who can help them with a problem.
How do you project likability and humanize your content?
If you are just getting started on Linkedin, I’d recommend at least 80% of the content you create to be focused on education and association.
That being said, some of the most impactful pieces of content I’ve created were of a personal nature.
My faith, family, and business are my life’s highest values. In December 2018, I posted a video of our family Christmas party and shared my values in the post.
Not only did it get tremendous engagement, but I began to attract others on Linkedin with similar values. This is when I realized that not only was it okay to post content of a personal nature, but it was useful in creating authentic connections with others on the platform. Since then, I’ve shared stories of adversities in my business, posted workout videos showcasing my passion for fitness, and even my proposal to my now fiance!
Like with all platforms, use your best judgment as to what is and what is not appropriate to post for your personal brand on Linkedin. I will say, all of my likability-related content leans towards the inspirational and ties in somehow to the needs of my audience.
Brainstorm topics, and ask yourself:
- What’s an inspiring story I can share?
- What adversity have I recently overcome?
- What lessons can I share about a recent failure?
- What’s a cause I’m passionate about drawing attention to?
Get Started Building Your Personal Brand on LinkedIn
Your personal brand on Linkedin is an incredible asset that can open doors for you. If you are intentional about building it, it could very well transform your life as well as your business. In light of everything we experienced because of the pandemic, building trust online through content marketing is more important now than ever. It’s no longer acceptable to be invisible online — especially in an increasingly virtual society. Be known as a person who creates value, serves greatly, and is excellent at their craft. Remember, you attract the kind of audience you educate, inspire, and entertain.