Updated: Nov 19, 2021
Table of Contents
What Is (Digital) Personal Branding?
The term “Personal Branding” has been around for quite a while, but I feel even more “personal branding experts” and “personal branding agencies” have been popping up all over social media lately. My favourite definition of personal branding is by Neil Patel: “Personal branding is the process of intentionally creating and influencing the public perception of an individual. This is done by positioning them as an authority in an industry or differentiating them from the competition and increasing their reputation.” Also on another note: If you don’t take ownership of your personal brand, other people will do it for you. It’s a way to influence what is out there on the web about you and in my opinion you should use this opportunity!
In this blog post, we will talk more about the digital aspects of personal branding, especially on Linkedin. You could build your digital personal brand on any platform - it depends on what kind of goal you want to achieve.
A Powerful Personal Brand Can Open Many Doors for You
People who start building their personal brand online are usually pursuing some kind of goal. Here are some reasons why you might want to build your personal brand on LinkedIn:
grow your professional network
get found by recruiters, receive job opportunities or get noticed by a particular company
become a thought leader in your industry or area of expertise
grow your visibility as a freelancer and land more freelancing jobs through it
grow your visibility as a business owner and attract more potential customers to your business
The list goes on and on – the important thing here is that you think thoroughly about your goals before you start building your personal brand. A personal branding strategy has a lot of similarities with a marketing strategy, but it is a marketing strategy for yourself. I recommend you make your goals specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-bound (SMART) if you want to start building a great and successful strategy.
I will talk to you about my first goal in the beginning: As an aspiring digital marketer with an interest in social media, I didn’t get the chance to grow a social media channel at the previous companies I had worked at. I felt like this was a relevant skill to have for future job opportunities so I created my own project to showcase that.
Get to LinkedIn All Star Status
There’s a step-by-step guide of how to get to All Star status on LinkedIn and I highly recommend you go through these steps before you do anything else on the platform. It will be easier for you to get found on the platform if you get to All Star status
Basically, you will need…
a profile picture
industry & location filled out
some experience (at least 3 positions)
And that’s it! The most time-consuming part will probably be the summary, but you can always come back to it later and work on it again.
Determine Your Personal Branding Strategy
Take a few weeks to work on your personal branding strategy. It also helps to get some experience with content creation beforehand – Canva is a great tool for that. As mentioned before, a personal branding strategy has many things in common with a marketing strategy. Here are a few questions you should think about:
What are your goals (see above)?
What is your area of expertise / niche?
Who is your audience?
Which topics do you want to talk about? Are these in your area of expertise?
Which topics do you not want to talk about?
How will you deliver your content (text, documents, video, live talks)?
How much time do you have for content creation and how often do you want to post?
What is the tonality of your content?
How do you measure if your personal branding strategy is successful?
Write all these answers down, I’d even suggest you make some nice slides out of them that you want to refer to in the future. The most important thing at this step: don’t procrastinate. I know it can be daunting to post on social media, but it’s really important that you just start. Your first few posts might not get as much attention as you had hoped for, but if you keep putting it off, you will never get the chance to get better at it in the first place.
Start a Content Collection
Personally, I can’t sit down and just start writing content. That’s not how my brain works. Content ideas will hit me during random times of the day, usually when I take breaks and don’t think about them actively. I find it helpful to write these ideas down when they come up. In my opinion, coming up with the idea or getting an impulse is the more difficult part of creating content - writing the post itself or creating a visual for it will be easier later. I create a “content collection” with this approach and usually finish a few posts in advance in batches. This makes the content creation part more efficient and you won’t struggle as much with coming up with ideas!
Another tip: Take some time to look at content on LinkedIn – what do you like about other people’s posts? Which kind of posts work well on the platform? I do encourage you to just try out different things and see what works for you - but analyzing other people’s content can definitely be a great starting point.
My Top 3 Tips: Add Value, Post Continuously & Strategically Grow your Network
Read this again: Add value, post continuously and strategically grow your network – these are my top 3 tips for building your personal brand in a sustainable way on LinkedIn. Let’s dive in:
If somebody asked me for my content strategy on LinkedIn, the first thing I’d say would be “I try to add value”. LinkedIn is not like Instagram where you can post a photo of a beautiful sunset at a beach in Thailand with one sentence and you’ll get many likes for it. LinkedIn is more about sharing deeper knowledge and valuable information which can really help you a) build your personal brand with the knowledge you have or b) even become a thought leader in your area of expertise.
This goes without saying – don’t just put out a few posts and then stop (what I did this summer, unfortunately). Growing your personal brand is like compound interest: If you start investing time in it now and don’t give up at some point, you will see the benefits for your professional life in the future. My friend Elizabeth Morgan (who is a great content creator on LinkedIn) once described personal branding as “Taking care of your future self” and I loved that.
Strategically Grow your Network
Don’t just send everyone you find interesting on LinkedIn a connection request. Don’t just accept any connection request from others. Building relationships takes time. I only add people to my network that have similar aspirations or interests, work in the same industry or publish inspiring content. Always send a personalized invitation and be intentional about the ones you do send out!
So that's everything I've learned about building my personal brand on LinkedIn! I hope this is helpful for you and if you have any more tips, share them in the comments!