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  • Personal Branding Weekly and LinkedIn Word of Mouth

    Personal Branding Weekly

    Editor’s Note:  Did you see the relevant and helpful posts about your brand at holiday parties? Or, how about the post that you still (and always) need a business card?  Do you agree?

     From securing a mentor to how to brand yourself when you have years of experience – take a look at last week’s insights:

    Next week, there are some great posts about subtle ways to look smart, how to save face when things go wrong and some stellar tips about getting that interview. Look forward to your comments!

    LinkedIn Word of Mouth

    LinkedIn is possibly one of the best social networks to develop your personal brand. While other sites such as Facebook and Twitter provide a platform for interaction, LinkedIn provides a place where building a professional image is the primary focus.

    This platform can be a powerful asset for any personal brand, as long as it’s used effectively. Needless to say, LinkedIn does have a few quirks that separate it from all other social sites. Some are good while others are bad, if you don’t know how to present yourself through this online medium.

    LinkedIn is a professional oriented site, so whatever you say will define you. Basically, don’t lie. Social sites make it easy to detect a lie, especially when it’s so easy to cross-reference accounts or make a simple Google search. Stick to the facts and present opinions as opinions. Your presence on LinkedIn will affect your professional image as a whole and make or break future networking relationships.

    Top (3) LinkedIn How To’s

    How to develop a professional profile?

    Initially, everything starts with your image. How do you present yourself? What can your potential contacts see about you? Your picture says a lot about your personal brand. Because LinkedIn is primarily about contacts as individual personal brands, it’s usually wise to use a professional photo of yourself. It is possible to use your brand’s image, such as a logo, though it may not be as effective as your professional photo.

    There is a potential problem with not providing a photo at all. It could be seen to be delivering a message that you either don’t take your social campaign seriously or you have something to hide. Either way, other networkers are less likely to consider you as a reliable expert in your field.

    Additionally, be sure that you include all your external brand sources. Facebook, Twitter, blogs, and website addresses should be a part of your LinkedIn profile; it is an important step to developing a complete profile.

    Then there is the importance of filling in all the blanks. As a professional, the worst thing you can do is fail to provide all the applicable profile data. Who you are, what you do, and a headline that defines your brand, all these are important places to start. Be sure to utilize all the fields effectively.

    How to connect effectively with ones contacts?

    Take the time to personalize invitations. When you invite for a contact or group, LinkedIn delivers a standardized message for you. What using such generic message really says is that you either didn’t have the time to consider the recipient individually or that the subject isn’t important enough for your attention. Either way, you’re less likely to be perceived as a valuable network resource and less professional. It only takes a few moments to construct a simple message that provides a little information that will go a long way to developing a quality contact.

    At the same time, it is important to avoid getting too personal through a business network. The “friend” option is available through LinkedIn, but should be avoided when it comes to brand related contacts. The goal of a personal brand is to generate a business oriented network, which is what other networkers are also looking for. Many will not want to be termed “friends,” so it’s best to keep that in mind when building a contact network.

    Additionally, don’t ask unfamiliar contacts to recommend you before you give them a reason to recommend you. This presents you as unprofessional, and their recommendation may not be effective or even valuable. Develop your contacts before you begin utilizing them to ensure authentic word of mouth marketing.

    How to interact professionally?

    Groups are a big part of LinkedIn, providing forums of all types and genres. This is a great place to begin developing your brand authenticity. You have to be cautious with how you go about it. Use LinkedIn groups effectively. Be sure that you don’t just use these groups to get link-backs to your website or blog, since you will likely be perceived as a spammer and lose credibility. Otherwise, maintain regular interaction (scheduled meetings and times for dedicated activity) and always keep an eye out for groups that cover new topics regularly.

    Be sure that you use LinkedIn the way it was designed to be used – as a professional social site dedicated to helping you develop your brand. As long as you understand how to approach this professionally oriented social platform, you will be able to make the most of your marketing campaign and develop a quality network of valuable contacts.


    Maria Elena Duron, is managing editor of the Personal Branding Blog, CEO (chief engagement officer) of buzz2bucks.com – a word of mouth marketing firm. She helps create conversation, connection, credibility, community and commerce around your brand. Maria Duron is co-founder  and moderator of #brandchat – a weekly Twitter chat focused on every aspect of branding that is recognized by Mashable as one the 15 Essential Twitter Chats for Social Media Marketers.

    Maria Elena Duron is a Marketing Coach and Strategist with Know, Like, + Ignite and @mariaduron on Twitter. Would you like practical tips to create and curate content and experiences worthy of being passed person-to-person? -Get exclusive access.

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