Your brand is you. Your personal brand is everything you do to promote yourself and build your reputation.

There are literally thousands of personal branding activities you can engage in every day that will help in building your business. Does it sound overwhelming? Don’t worry, almost all of them can be accomplished through LinkedIn.

First introduced as little more than an online resume, LinkedIn has quickly transformed into a rich, customizable, multi-faceted personal branding platform. With a smart profile and a well-honed strategy, LinkedIn can become your powerful partner in building your personal brand.

LinkedIn is the digital hub for your experience and networks of past, present and future clients. You need to invest time into your profile because it is often the first thing that your contacts check. LinkedIn states that only about 50% of users have a completed profile. An incomplete profile is an enormous missed opportunity to be found and to position your personal brand.

Picture: The old adage is true. People remember faces more than names. This is why the picture should be of your face. Choose a simple headshot where you are looking straight ahead. Be professional and pleasant. Smile!

Headline: You have 120 characters at the top of your profile to describe to the world what you do. You can just place your official job title, or you can use some descriptive and compelling keywords that make you as marketable as possible and easily found by the right people. Remember, LinkedIn is a search engine.

Summary: It is well worth it to put in the effort to write a unique and captivating summary section. It could be a copy/paste of your resume’s summary section. Or it could read more like your bio. You can succinctly describe Who You Are, your VisionMission, and Value Proposition to differentiate yourself. You can take a core competencies approach and list the three or four key skills you bring to the table. And, you can take an accomplishments approach and list three or four big results you have achieved on behalf of your past employers or clients. Last but not least, call to action is welcome in this section.

Experience: It is the body of your profile, just like a resume, to demonstrate your experience, expertise and skills. Include both your current position and previous roles, which are handled in different ways. In your current role part, it is great to create consistent messaging among your team for your company. And, highlight your individual role building on your summary content. For your previous roles, you can adapt it from your resume, emphasize only the relevant responsibilities and accomplishments.

Keywords: What words and phrases might people in your target market use to search for your experience and service offering? You can use Google Trends to help you figure out the. And include keywords everywhere, especially in Summary and Experience sections, for (SEO) purposes, which will help you show up in search results within LinkedIn. 

Having a compelling LinkedIn profile is paramount to your success on LinkedIn and a great starting point in social media marketing. It’s your face to the online networking world and, often, the first point of contact. Keep adding content and optimizing for best results. In the next post, we will show you how to use LinkedIn as a networking tool to build your personal brand.