Mastering LinkedIn: Rules and Tips for Effective Personal Branding

Personal branding also means taking control of your online reputation and shaping it. But think before you share! It is a simple yet career-saving rule to live by when operating on LinkedIn. For people who do not know you, reading your post is where they develop an opinion about you. That social reputation, whether correct or not, contributes to your professional reputation. Using the platform correctly can help build our professional brand, but we need to ensure that we are sharing relevant information that helps us get the desired attention from the right people. The least of our concerns is scripting a viral post that garners numerous likes. Humans are emotional beings; it is tricky to try to abide by a set of rules on what to post and what to avoid. Another simple rule is to attempt to encourage engagement with your network with your shared posts, and here are some tips on how you can do that:

1. Share accomplishments moderately.

You may have heard of the joke that LinkedIn is the Instagram for working professionals. While it's important to highlight your accomplishments and expertise, don't make every post about yourself or your company. Celebrating our success with our peers is edifying. It may also inspire us to strive for excellence, but sharing accomplishments ad nauseum may drive readers away! When in doubt, ask yourself if the post contains insights, tips, or information that benefits others. If not, ask again was the last post the same. Ideally, we should aim for 6-8 informative posts for every promotional post scheduled.

2. Be diplomatic. 

We should embrace positive and negative comments. While it is tempting to delete any negative comment your post gets, doing so, whatever the intention is, makes us look guilty. Use the opportunity to flex your diplomatic/PR skills; defend your standpoint optimistically. If the comments were unpleasant, reach out to the person in private. 

3. Context, context, context. 

LinkedIn is a professional social media platform. It is not Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or Snapchat. Just because a post is socially appropriate doesn't mean you are entitled to post or share it. Is the content relevant to your professional network? 

4. Share Relevant and Valuable Content

Sharing valuable content is essential to establishing yourself as a thought leader in your field. This can include sharing industry news, thought-provoking articles, or your own original content such as blog posts or whitepapers. Just be sure to give credit where credit is due and avoid plagiarism.

5. Shared Wins

A great way to occasionally add a bit of yourself into your LinkedIn status updates is to share relevant professional or work-related wins. Whether it is about a new project, getting a new client, or a new milestone, we can share our achievements by referencing our connections and collaborators. Make it about celebrating teamwork and positive organizational culture relevant to the win.

Now that you know the social rules to stick to when interacting on LinkedIn, here are some technical tips in optimizing your profile. It is important to include relevant keywords in your headline, summary, and experience sections. It also means using a professional headshot and customizing your LinkedIn URL to make it easy to find and remember.

Besides sharing content, don't forget to engage with your network. This involves regularly commenting on and sharing other people's posts, as well as responding to comments on your own posts. Consider joining LinkedIn groups that are related to your industry or interests and participate in discussions. Again, make sure the comments you posts bring value to the conversation or edifies good actions and professional practices. 

The purpose of humanizing your LinkedIn profile is to resonate with others in the platform. Don't be afraid to show your personality and sense of humor but always respect the invisible professional boundaries and contexts in the platform. While it is tempting to portray ourselves as the positive, successful, stong professional, a humanize profile is the key to deeper and more meaningful professional relationships. 

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