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Theresa Merrill

6 Ways to Brand Yourself on Linkedin

12-14-2011

LinkedIn is free advertising for your favorite brandYOU!  As the worlds largest professional network, it provides a platform for sales executives to build  relationships with potential customers, clients and colleagues. A dynamic audience for you to engage, influence and leverage connections.  Your LinkedIn Profile is the equivalent of a digital first impressionoften the first thing people come across when Googling you.  Start controlling your online identity with these six steps to brand yourself on LinkedIn.

1. Build a relevant profile, not a resume.
Dont list each job youve had, but the ones most pertinent to your current business goals. Youre promoting a brand, make your text compelling using language that speaks to your audience; keeping your points powerful and succinct.  Dont skip the summary, but use it to highlight what makes you uniqueand in the skill section list your strengths/talents. Your profile should read like an ad for why someone should buy you!

2. Think SEO and add Google keywords to your profile.
If youre already on LinkedIn, go to the Home page and look at Whos Viewed Your Profile then Top Keywords Appear to see not only who is finding you, but how theyre finding you.  Check to see if these keywords match up with how your target clients would search for you.  If not, you need to insert the appropriate keywords throughout your profile:  in the heading, summary, skills, and experience sections.

3. Upload a photo. 
In this digital age of transparency, a blank photo is suspect.  It says youre trying to hide somethingeven when youre not.  Use a current professional photo, and keep it to a head shot.  Save the golf shots for Facebook.

4. Give access to everyone. 
Why be on LinkedIn if you dont want people to view your profile?  Its designed not to keep people out, but to encourage collaboration. Click on your name in the upper right corner of any page and pull down Settings.  Under the Profile tab go to Privacy Controls and choose to maintain a public profile, on as many fronts as possible. Dont choose to have your identity Anonymous when viewing other profiles.  Some of my best business connections came about when I reached out to individuals who viewed my profile, but didnt message me. Dont limit your connections by making it necessary for people to include your email address in the invite if they dont know you. You can always decline an invitewhy miss out on an opportunity to connect with a potential customer?

5. Import email contacts and start inviting people to join your network. 
Go to Contacts, then Connections and click on Import Connections.  You'll receive suggestions from LinkedIn as to people you might know.  One trick I use is to study the connections of my network to see who else I want to reach out to.  Then you can ask for an introduction or send an InMail.  Introduce like-minded professionals within your network to each other.  Reciprocity drives a successful LinkedIn networker. 

6. Ask for and give recommendations. 
Even with good intentions, former employers and clients often neglect getting that recommendation off to you.  Offer to assist by providing them with a brief outline of what you did to benefit their firm.  Then send them this along with a recommendation of them for their Profile. I guarantee this will increase your response rate.

Theresa Merrill is the Director of Business Development for Anovick Associates. She has more than 20 years of sales and marketing experience in NY, Boston and Atlanta working for Katz Communications, CBS, Tribune and Cablevision and can be reached at 201.444.2991 or by e-mail merrill.theresa@gmail.com




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