Chris Reed
Jan 7, 2014

What is a personal brand and how do you manage it on LinkedIn?

Are you too busy to manage and develop your own personal brand on LinkedIn? Everyone has a personal brand. Whether you like it or not it’s how you are perceived and just like a corporate brand it’s made up of various brand attributes and values, some of which you may not be aware of and some of which you may not like. But you do have a brand. Everybody does.

What is a personal brand and how do you manage it on LinkedIn?

If you want to know what your brand is randomly ask people on LinkedIn that you know and those that you don’t to describe you as they would a product or service in terms of a brand.

They will all describe you in different ways. You will be surprised by some answers and some will confirm your own self-perception.

Just as a trial you may want to write down 10 things that you think you are described as and then ask other people to do the same and see how many match. See what the gap is between your brand perception and the outside world’s view.

If some people just know you through your on line reputation, how do you think they would describe you? What brand values would they align with you? What are you most associated with? If you do blogging what do your blogs say about you? If you have a LinkedIn page (and if you don’t they should stop you leaving the house on your tricycle) what does that page say about you?

Many CEOs, MDs and CMOs are so busy focusing on their company brand website, LinkedIn company page and associated values that they forget about their own personal brand. Many just simply do not have the time.

Ask some friends to look at your profile and then ask some people you don’t know very well to do the same and see what your profile says to them about you. You will be shocked. See what your peers are doing on LinkedIn, how do you compare?

Do you have a summary section filled in with case studies, slides, websites and other visual brand communicators that many people don’t have time for? The saying that pictures say 1,000 words is never truer than on LinkedIn. Have you thought about what these pictures could say about you?

When you describe your role at your various jobs is it functionary or creative, is it outlandish or modest? Are you using pictures, slides, websites, case studies to highlight who you are and what you have done?

If people only look at your profile for a few seconds, they will see every picture but only read a few words, what then do the pictures say about you? What brand values do they communicate? What associations are you reaping the benefit of or are dragging your personal brand down?

What about your connections, recommendations and endorsements? Are they all filled in and do they all match your desired brand vision of yourself that you wish to present? If you have hardly any connections (i.e. less than 500), have no recommendations and endorsements what does that say about your brand? What does that tell people who look at your Linkedin page? How does it compare with peers that do?

In a world where people make snap judgements based on a few touchpoints and create a brand perception in their mind your LinkedIn profile is your most powerful tool than can be used positively or if unattended and left to itself can be a negative.

Don’t forget it’s your living breathing brand profile 24/7, globally. Your LinkedIn profile never sleeps!

What you post and share on LinkedIn also communicates your brand values. Is your material purely about selling your own company services or do you take a more holistic view and share general business news or helpful training materials or news about doing business in Asia or Singapore? Do you get complimented on your feed? That people find it useful and informative? How does that in turn benefit you in terms of people sharing your feed and the perception that gives of your all round brand?

Do you share your own content or your company’s content or blogs on your LinkedIn page to communicate more of your personality and more of your personal brand values? Do you even write a blog? If others do then what does it say about you that you don’t?

Do you have a company page on LinkedIn? If not why not? Where can people find about your company if you have no links on your page to your company page or your website? If you have none what does it say about your personal brand? If your links are out of date or don’t work what does that say about your brand?

You may not think your personal brand on LinkedIn is important but if you do business it simply is. It’s your 24 hour 7 day a week personal communicator. People look at your profile every day. What do they think of you?

At some point you will want to change jobs or gain promotion in your existing company, create a partnership with someone or win business or just connect with people you know and those in the same organisation as you or people you find interesting or who may be useful for your future business dealings. What does your LinkedIn profile say to all of these people?

Are you worth hiring? Are you worth promoting? Are you worth doing business with? Do I want to buy from this person? How seriously do I take this person? Does this person have what it takes? Do I want this person as a work colleague? Do I want to be associated with this person?

All these questions can be answered by your LinkedIn page positively or negatively. If you don’t manage and develop your page at least thrice weekly if not a daily basis you can assume it’s more negative than positive.

If you manage your profile with descriptive words, visuals and shared updates that are interesting to your wider business community, peers and associates you can assume that people are going to have a more positive perception of you brand. It’s worth taking the time to manage your LinkedIn personal brand. If you don’t do it who will?

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