There are many ways to express your brand on your LinkedIn profile. Two important factors are the images and words you use to describe yourself. Below are five ideas to build a branded presence on LinkedIn.
1) Display a good headshot – As the saying goes, a picture is worth a thousand words, and this is also true for your profile picture on LinkedIn. To express your brand in a positive way, the picture should be up to date, in focus, and only of you from the neck up. To add aspects of personal branding, consider how you are dressed and what’s in the background. You should look approachable and professional.
2) Use a background image – This is the wide image that displays behind your headshot. You could brand yourself geographically by displaying a panoramic picture of a city skyline or a well-known nearby landscape feature. You could also create a word cloud using keywords related to your field. One idea that I implemented was a compilation of four images related to my business using canva.com. Anything professional is better than the generic default background. Note that keywords in this image will not be picked up by Search Engine Optimization (SEO).
3) Edit your Headline – This appears right below your name and is the most heavily weighted field on your profile. LinkedIn will default to show your current title, but you can edit this section of up to 220 characters. The keywords you employ can help you be found by SEO, but they can also give a quick indication of your professional skills to the human eye. You can list keywords related to your expertise using verbs or nouns (for example mine includes Global Career Coach and LinkedIn Expert). You can also share a tagline that speaks to who you are as a person. For example, my headline ends with, “Empowering mid-career to executive women”. I’ve seen other headlines that include humor (coffee aficionado) or share a passion (animal advocate). To jazz up your brand visually, add small icons in between words (such as a globe, a dollar sign, or a lightbulb). You can find a previous post on using symbols here.
4) Utilize the Featured section – Formerly called Media, this section is now bigger and allows you to highlight your previous posts too. For example, you could feature a blog you wrote on LinkedIn or a quick update you posted. This area displays as a fixed visual, near the top of your profile. You can also add other media by uploading a PDF, slideshow presentation, or other documents. Try adding URLs to articles you have published elsewhere online or where you have been quoted. Consider uploading links to videos, brochures, or professional pictures that showcase your brand.
5) Customize your URL – This is probably the quickest tip to implement. It should only take a few minutes if you don’t have a very common name. When someone opens a LinkedIn account, they are assigned a URL which becomes the internet address for your profile page. The assigned URL adds a series of letters and numbers after your name, but you can edit this. At a minimum, it’s best to remove the extra letters and numbers from the end of your URL. Having the URL show only your name will help you be found more easily. If your name is already in use, you will have to modify it in some way. You can add a middle name, maiden name, or a word that speaks to your profession. In my case, LinkedIn.com/in/paulabrand was taken so I created LinkedIn.com/in/paulabrandcareers. If you want to know more about why and how to change your URL, read this.