First impressions matter. Try to recall the first time a larger-than-life character appeared on screen in your favorite movie and instantly stole the show.
Often your LinkedIn profile is how you make a first impression, allowing you to exude authority and expertise in your industry, even among people whom you’ve probably never even met. Here are 4 Ways To Ensure Your Profile Stands Out on LinkedIn:
#1 Create Original Content
If your LinkedIn posts consist exclusively of you sharing memes or quotations from Steve Jobs, your posts will disappear into the sea of thousands of LinkedIn profiles doing exactly the same thing. If you want to be seen as a thought leader and develop your own personal brand, you have to come up with content that’s your own.
As a blogger, this is also vital from an SEO perspective. Posting original content is also favored by LinkedIn algorithms to ensure your visibility on other users’ feeds, especially when you use video.
Now, not everyone is a writer. Fair enough. But that’s still no excuse. There’s nothing wrong with asking help from your writer friends or even seeking professional help in organizing your ideas into more carefully chosen words…as long as the ideas expressed are yours. Which brings me to the next point…
#2 Have an Opinion
Here’s a story shared by a colleague in the content marketing industry. A client asked her, “How can I become a thought leader?” She replied, “Well for starters, it would help if you actually have some thoughts.” This may sounds like a really sick burn, but this is actually solid and practical advice.
For most of our professional lives, we are cautioned not to express opinions that might offend or cause controversy, for you or for the company you represent. But then again, if you don’t have an opinion, how are people expected to remember you?
Remember that you are an expert in your field. And chances are, no matter what industry you’re in, you won’t have consensus on everything. There are always going to be issues where not everyone agrees. So…respect other people’s point of view but don’t be shy about expressing your own opinion.
Remember that brands that matter take a stand on even the most controversial issues. Personal brands are no different.
#3 Engage Your Audience
Now that you’re sharing thoughts and ideas through posts, articles and videos, don’t forgot to interact with the people who like, comment and share your content. It’s sometimes easy to forget that LinkedIn is a social network. That means people are there for the community, as much as the content.
If something someone else has shared on LinkedIn moves you, let them know. Add your ideas to the discussion. Most important, make sure to respond when someone comments on something you’ve shared. You’re letting people know that you’re up for a conversation and this will encourage them to look out for your future posts. LinkedIn’s algorithms will likewise reward you with more visibility on feeds.
#4 Stand Out in Real Life
Being a LinkedIn legend isn’t too bad but there’s really no substitute for being recognized in real life. In a practical sense, that means being visible at networking occasions, industry events and conferences.
In your industry, there are bound to be conferences looking for good speakers. If you’re feeling a little nervous, start with smaller events and work your way up to the bigger audiences. Develop an original talk or presentation that you are familiar with and can refine and develop over time. Don’t worry too much about presenting the same topic over and over.
Believe me, audiences won’t notice and you can always use the practice.
I like to approach public speaking the way stand-up comedians do. Stand-up comics practice their material by starting in smaller venues, reusing the jokes that get lots of laughs, refining or throwing away the material that audiences don’t respond to. By the time they get to the late night TV shows, you’re seeing their best material, the stuff they’ve performed hundreds of times and have been tested to work well with audiences.
Some public speakers stand out because of certain personality quirks or even their striking personal appearance. Now, of course, not everyone is ready to wear a mohawk and dress like they’re part of a punk rock band…but as Black Marketing’s Chris Reed likes to put it, each one of us has to find his own “mohawk,” that trait that distinguishes you from the others.
It need not be your looks or fashion sense. It could be a hobby you’re passionate about, your unique style of speaking or your dedication to a certain social issue. For me, I guess I’m the marketing guy who loves movies.
Whatever you decide, stick with it and make it your own.
If you need help with your content creation or want to consult on how to improve your LinkedIn presence, get in touch with me or anyone from the Black Marketing team.
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