‘Are you on LinkedIn?’
I often ask this question to individuals that I speak with in person or connect with over email for the first time. Instead of asking for their business card, I refer them to connect with me on LinkedIn. If you are reading this, I will encourage you to connect with me as well. I also encourage you to consider building your brand through LinkedIn.
I joined LinkedIn in 2007 when I first learned about the platform during one of my MBA courses at Northeastern University. Yet, I did not begin actively using LinkedIn until three years ago in 2015. During these last few years, I’ve grown my personal connection base from under 500 connections to over 14,000. Beyond the numbers, the strategy I’ve developed and executed for LinkedIn has brought forth significant business opportunities. These opportunities include (but are not limited to) international and national speaking opportunities, requests for publications, new clients, and most importantly an opportunity to share my perspective to build a sustainable brand.
To build a sustainable brand on LinkedIn, there are five core categories to consider. In this post, I will share the five categories to consider in an effort to use LinkedIn for your professional and business goals.
1. Your Profile
Step 1 is to start at the beginning with your profile. If you do not have a LinkedIn account, now is the time to start. Think of your profile as your online resume. Put your best foot forward and let people know what you have to offer the world in your area of expertise. Below is a screen shot of my profile. You can use this as a guide to get started on yours.
2. Your Strategy
Once you have your profile set up, the next step is to formulate a strategy. Your strategy is how you will approach using LinkedIn to build your brand. Some questions to consider are:
- · What is your sphere of influence?
- · Who is your target audience?
- · Where is your audience located?
- · What is your area of expertise?
- · How do you want to approach your audience?
Consider answering each of these questions before moving on to steps three through five.
3. Your Network of Connections
Next, you’ll work to build your network of connections on LinkedIn. With LinkedIn there are connections and followers. Your connections will automatically become followers (unless they decide to unfollow you). You may also gain followers that do not actively connect with you through LinkedIn. The screen below depicts the total number of followers on my account as of 11/18/18. Through the strategy that you developed, you can then work to build your connection base.
4. Your Activity
While building your LinkedIn connections and followers, you’ll also want to leverage your established strategy for how you engage and contribute on LinkedIn. Your engagement and contributions will help you build your relationships with your LinkedIn connections.
Below is a screen shot of one of my recent posts on November 10th, 2018. In eight days, the post has over 3500 views with 6 comments and 11 likes. The views, comments and likes demonstrate that the post resonated with a large audience.
5. Your Voice
The last category of importance is your voice. This is the most important of all categories as it is what will make you stand out from others on LinkedIn. You are the only one with your voice. Knowing your voice means knowing what you want to share with others. For me, there are a few areas where I tend to focus my activity efforts on LinkedIn. These areas relate to nursing informatics, innovation and entrepreneurship. While there are other personal interests of mine, I keep my voice related to these areas to remain consistent for my audience of connections and followers.
This article should offer you some initial insights as to how you can approach LinkedIn to build your professional brand. Through iCare Nursing Solutions we have a comprehensive resource that offers step by step guidance for you to experience the opportunities that LinkedIn can bring you over time. For more information about that program, contact me directly at tiffany.kelley@icarenursingsolutions or email@example.com.