Using LinkedIn To Build Your Personal Brand

Here are a few things that will help you, and your employ­ees, grow a per­son­al brand that will help gen­er­ate great new busi­ness from LinkedIn.

Bas van den Beld By Bas van den Beld from State of Digital. Join the discussion » 0 comments

Linkedin might be even more suit­able for per­son­al brand­ing than it is for busi­ness brand­ing, but the two can very well be com­bined. Whether you have thou­sands of employ­ees or less than 50, you can use them to help your brand get great new busi­ness from LinkedIn. Here are a few things that will help you pro­mote your per­son­al brand on LinkedIn.

Your Profile

Just a few facts: the num­ber one activ­i­ty on Linkedin is check­ing out pro­files, when search­ing for people’s names almost every time the Linkedin pro­file will show up in the search results and when link­ing to a per­son, their Linkedin page is the most linked to page. So you bet­ter make sure your pro­file page is set up per­fect­ly!


Every­thing starts with design. It’s the first impres­sion peo­ple get about you in many cas­es. You know what they say: you can only make one first impres­sion.

So when it comes to design you want to do a few things right:

Make Your Profile Publicly Visible

Many peo­ple still for­get to do this. You want to make sure they can actu­al­ly see you.

In your pri­va­cy set­tings select “what oth­ers see when you’ve viewed their pro­file” and check off “Your name and head­line (Rec­om­mend­ed)”.

Have A Clear Profile Picture

Make sure peo­ple have a good view on who you are so make it a clear pic­ture where you can see your face, prefer­ably smil­ing. If peo­ple don’t see your face, they won’t click or con­nect.

Create A Nice Background Image

Again, like Face­book and Google+ you can now cre­ate a very nice back­ground image, a head­er. This is a huge one (like on Google+) and can real­ly make you stand out.

Be sure to design what you want to be seen as. For instance, in my case, I’m show­ing me speak­ing because this is busi­ness, where­as on my Face­book Page you can see a more per­son­al back­ground.


The descrip­tion is vital­ly impor­tant. This is what peo­ple will read first.

It starts with the head­line. You want to make sure that in the head­line peo­ple instant­ly know what they can expect from you. So instead of say­ing ‘Work­ing at com­pa­ny X as Y’, why not tell them what you actu­al­ly do?

In my case, I chose this head­line: “I help busi­ness­es get an under­stand­ing of their audi­ences by speak­ing, pub­lish­ing, train­ing and con­sult­ing.”

It helps peo­ple under­stand how I can help them and it at the same time tells peo­ple how I do that.

Then there is the actu­al descrip­tion. Again, you have to think audi­ence first. This means you want to make sure peo­ple quick­ly under­stand what they can expect from you and you try to keep them with you.

When it comes to the descrip­tion, the key is to speak to the audi­ence from their per­spec­tive and at the same time describe what you do, prefer­ably in a sto­ry. This can be a chal­lenge, but it is doable.

For exam­ple, I start by describ­ing the issue that many of my (poten­tial) clients run into. And that is exact­ly what I can help them with. I then describe in a nar­ra­tive how I do that. That way I keep peo­ple inter­est­ed and make them want to see more.

The Rest Of Your Profile

Nat­u­ral­ly the rest of your pro­file is impor­tant as well, but you will have to think about what is and what isn’t impor­tant for the read­er. Does it real­ly mat­ter where you worked 15 years ago or what type or your inter­ests? Or are awards more impor­tant? Or skills?

It might dif­fer from per­son to per­son and from the goal that you have with your brand­ing efforts. For exam­ple, I use the option to show videos right below my descrip­tion because it’s one of the most impor­tant things I do: speak­ing.

If peo­ple can see me speak on my LinkedIn pro­file, that’s great! But if I would focus on con­sult­ing I would prob­a­bly choose a dif­fer­ent order.


There are two types of updates you can use on LinkedIn. There is the pub­lish­er tool, which we’ll get to in a minute, and there are the updates.

LinkedIn updates are what peo­ple see when they log in. And an impor­tant thing to know here as well is that these updates are con­nect­ed with Pulse. Pulse, a dis­cov­ery tool, was acquired by LinkedIn and inte­grat­ed in the prod­uct, mak­ing your updates poten­tial­ly more vis­i­ble for your fol­low­ers and con­nec­tions.

This means you want to think about what you share: the changes in your pro­file are one, links to arti­cles you write anoth­er. There is no harm in post­ing these links there as long as they are rel­e­vant to your audi­ence. Only then peo­ple will like them or com­ment on them, which will make them more vis­i­ble.


When it comes to groups there is a dual “feel­ing” with me. I most­ly use groups for research (see my next arti­cle), but it can be used to show­case you as well. You just have to be very care­ful with it.

If you become a mem­ber of a group you can choose whether your mem­ber­ship is vis­i­ble in your pro­file. Being part of the right groups makes your pro­file more impres­sive.

When it comes to being more active with­in the groups you want to make sure you aren’t using it as a bill­board. Just post­ing your own links and shout­ing about your­self will only be bad for your per­son­al brand­ing. You want to get involved in dis­cus­sions and actu­al­ly help peo­ple, that’s how you can use LinkedIn Groups to build your per­son­al brand.

The Publisher Tool

Final­ly there is the pub­lish­er tool. This LinkedIn fea­ture was orig­i­nal­ly only giv­en to influ­encers, but has since opened to more of the pub­lic. If you haven’t got it yet you will prob­a­bly get it in due time, they are rolling it out slow­ly.

The pub­lish­er tool is very use­ful. Many see it as anoth­er place to pub­lish your con­tent, but when used prop­er­ly it can real­ly push your per­son­al brand.

What you don’t want to do is repeat your updates here. Peo­ple won’t want to read, com­ment, or share it. What you want to do is cre­ate spe­cif­ic con­tent for LinkedIn and in only some cas­es dupli­cate con­tent from else­where.

When you think about your audi­ence this will help you get a lot more vis­i­bil­i­ty. For one because the updates appear on top of your pub­lic pro­file, show­cas­ing your thought lead­er­ship and knowl­edge. Sec­ond­ly you can make sure it gets shared on Twit­ter as well, dri­ving more traf­fic to your LinkedIn pro­file.

When pub­lish­ing you will want to think about the same things as you have to when pub­lish­ing on a blog: write good con­tent, make sure you have a fea­tured image and images inside the con­tent, and think about what your audi­ence wants to read.

Have you used LinkedIn to grow your per­son­al brand, and in doing so grown your busi­ness? Share your suc­cess sto­ry in the com­ments!

Bas van den Beld

Written by Bas van den Beld

Digital Marketing Strategist, State of Digital

Bas van den Beld is an award winning Digital Marketing consultant, trainer and speaker. He is the founder of State of Digital and helps companies develop solid marketing strategies.

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