Well All Have A Brand
Whether we realize it or not, we all have a personal brand. Nowhere is this more true than in the business world. We all know people who are “the great sales person”, “an all star”, “a great motivator” or even “lazy”.
Here’s the irony: although most workers in a corporate environment have a brand, very few them actually played a role in shaping it. Rather, most of the time it’s merely a label that others have assigned based on what they feel best describes someone.
YOU Must Be The One Who Defines You
If you want to move to the offensive in your career, you MUST be the one who defines your brand. The good news is that it’s a relatively simple process.
Brands Are All About Highlighting Qualities
A brand is really nothing more than qualities and attributes it wants to be known for. Once these traits are established, the brands entire focus is reinforcing them. We see this every day in the brands that surround us:
Mercedes Benz: Luxury
Budweiser: Fun and Friends
Apple: Simplicity and functionality
Google: Innovative/solution centric
Choose Your Brand Qualities
What traits or qualities do you want to be know for? They key is once you identify them, to reinforce these qualities in every interaction with your coworkers, managers, direct reports and people in your industry.
All Great Brands Have An Advertising Strategy
Truly great brand advertise to vast audience, utilizing radio, television and other forms of media. If you really wan to stand out from the crowd and be noticed, you have to do the same. However, instead of using ABC, CBS, ESPN, etc. your media channels are: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and of course – LinkedIn
Communicating Your Brand Through LinkedIn
LinkedIn has over 500 million users. It’s a powerful tool for communicating your brand to the business world. The best part is that it’s totally free.
So how do you take advantage of this great, free platform? That’s the easy part. There are six best practices that you can do almost every day which will exponentially grow your reach and reputation:
Write a blog using LinkedIn’s publishing tools. Share an article from your news feed, or simply provide a best practice/insight.
It is extremely easy to share valuable information on LinkedIn, and it takes less than 10 minutes per day (Ok blogging takes a bit longer but you get my point).
Just make sure that all of these activities relate back to the brand attributes you want to highlight.
Your home page on LinkedIn feeds you a variety of business related stories and features.
What’s really great is that you can customize this feed using LinkedinPluseDiscover . This feature allows you to follow topics and influencers that help illustrate your brand.
When you see a sharable story in your news feed, share it publicly with one or two sentences highlighting your opinion on the article.
Often times, articles you disagree with can be very powerful for building exposure because people comment back which builds engagement. LinkedIn rewards this type of engagement with more exposure for you and your person brand. Just make sure you always keep your comments professional and constructive.
Thanks to some changes LinkedIn has made, this is easier than ever. Think about a company or industry you’d like to be networked with and type the name it into the search box in the upper left of the home page (next to the “IN” logo) . LInkedIn will provide and extensive list people in that company or industry you can connect with.
Remember to always accompany your connection request with a message offering your network as way to help the other person build their connections. Most people are will to connect with someone who wants to help them.
Then once you connect, it’s really important for you to…..
4. Reach Out
Don’t just connect with people and walk away. You now have a great opportunity to highlight your brand, spread your influence and build legitimate relationships.
LinkedIn makes this really easy by notifying you of important events going on with people in your network.
Congratulate them on birthdays, work anniversary, promotion, new jobs, etc.
Occasionally, find an article or post that reinforces your brand, and share with that individual along with a few lines stating why you think they’ll find it interesting.
Again, LinkedIn rewards this activity by giving you visibility throughout the network.
5. Join Groups
The maximum number of groups you can join is 50, and it is in your best interest to join 50. It builds you profile which in turn allows you to show up in more searches.
To join a group, go to the “Work” button in the too bar at the top of the page (just off center) and click “groups”. Once in groups click “Discover”. LinkedIn will recommend groups consistent with your industry.
Join groups that will help you highlight the skills you want to reinforce and MOST IMPORTANT: participate in the group discussions.
6. Be an “All Star”
Finally, use LinkedIn’s “Profile Wizard” to build your profile to “All Star” status. Just follow the prompts, putting in all of your work history, groups (all 50…), recommendations (if you do not have any, solicited some from people that will support you), education, etc.
The “fuel” gauge at the right will tell you when you hit “All Star” level.
An All Star Profile combined with the other five items will tremendous increase your visibility to the LinkedIn Universe. You’ll see the results of this exposure through the amount of “connection” requests you start receiving – people will want an All Star like you in their network.
Be Seen, Not Labeled
Always remember – One the key elements of “Playing Offense” in life and business is not allowing anyone to define you.
Build your brand, “Advertise” it to the business community and you’ll always be in command of your image, career and opportunities.
Always Play Offense…..
Angelo Lombardo is a Fortune 500 executive who is dedicated to giving other business people the mentality, motivation, tools and processes to “Go On The Offensive” to create the career and/or life they choose.
Follow him at: www.angelolombardo.com