There seems to be an abundance of information on the Web suggesting that being ‘found’ on LinkedIn is the main goal, and if you can just achieve that, then everything will start working for you…
“Whew, LinkedIn would be so easy, if I could only get my Profile looking right!”
What utter rubbish. Given the opportunity, I try to share with everyone I meet and in groups & forums related to the subject, that I believe there is a disproportionate amount of information about using LinkedIn being published, that is about doing something Passive, in the hope that by doing it, people/opportunity will come to you without you having to do much else – the ‘Build it and they will come’ and ‘post & hope’ strategies. Just Google LinkedIn or visit LinkedIn use themed groups & Blogs, and you’ll see just how much we’re swamped with such advice.
I think it’s doing an incredible disservice to folks who are trying to work out what to do with LinkedIn, to focus so much on the passive parts of using (& setting up) LinkedIn and so I’ve begun to mention and Blog about it, and about Proactive LinkedIn use.
I often labor the point a bit, so to be clear regarding my thoughts on how people view you on Social Media; I do in fact recommend learning all you can about ‘Personal Branding’ – which is nothing more or less than what other people think of you AND your ability to influence that – because a minimal understanding of Personal Branding & a quick Google about (the logistics of) setting up your Profile on LinkedIn really is, IMHO, all the time you need spend on planning your LinkedIn ‘Profile’.*
[* Unless maybe you’re looking to become a LinkedIn guru, then as I understand it, every quarter or two you need to produce 2-3 articles about tweaking your profile on LinkedIn, about being found, and about lovingly crafting a ‘compelling reason’ for others to take action rather than you, based on your LinkedIn profile. Not sure why, but it must be frightfully important because so many LinkedIn teachers/trainers/Bloggers do it. 😉 ]
So as I mentioned, Personal Branding just means what people think of you, how you are perceived, how you come across – and for people who don’t yet know you at all, at least begins to answer the basic questions that initially come to all our minds:
- Who is this person?
- Are there any Red flags?
- Is he/she trying to sell me something?
- What does he/she want from me?
- How might this person help me?
- What do we have in common?
- Am I interested in anything he/she seems to be involved in?
LinkedIn is an extremely good platform and tool when used proactively, for presenting yourself the way you wish to be perceived and in answering the initial questions for people you approach or anyone who wants to know a little more about you.
From people who know you well, right through to those people who’ve just come across you, you will definitely be better prepared on Social Media if you understand at least the core aspects of Personal Branding. For this, there’s no better place to start than the Blog and perhaps the book written by Personal Branding expert; Dan Schawbel.
His Blog is http://www.personalbrandingblog.com/
His Book is Me 2.0: 4 Steps to Building Your Future.
A good little summary from Mashable: http://mashable.com/2009/02/05/personal-branding-101/
And here’s a famous article from 1997 by Tom Peters; The Brand Called You http://www.fastcompany.com/magazine/10/brandyou.html
Are you in Japan? Kansai, specifically? If so, why not reach out to Peter Sterlacci “Japan’s Personal Branding Pioneer *** Trailblazing a Culture Shift One Brand at a Time!” and follow him on Twitter for tips on Personal Branding with a Japan perspective @PeterSterlacci
A Profile on LinkedIn set up by someone who’s read a bit of information about Personal Branding and thought about what they want to achieve, will be absolutely fine, you can skip that Webinar on clicking through LinkedIn’s menu’s and working out which Keywords to use in which text field.
While others do that, you can instead dive into learning, or more correctly I mean becoming comfortable with, taking proactive action to identify people in your network, on LinkedIn and in the World that you’d like to sit down with, have an enjoyable conversation with, build some rapport and a relationship for the future.
To LinkedIn guru’s, Trainers & Consultants who might stumble upon this earnest post
Please, the bulk of us are not idiots, we can work that simple stuff out ourselves, honestly (especially anyone who can use Google at all lets say ;-)). Please, please, share with us your strategies on actually doing something proactive on LinkedIn. On doing something that isn’t just me editing some text, posting to a group & hoping, adding an application or my High School, then waiting to see who contacts me!
Please de-cloak the word ‘Engagement’ as you truly believe it to be, and somewhere between sitting back & waiting for others, and useless broadcasting into the cloud, there’s some solid opportunity among the people I know, and the people they know.
Please share your ideas on Proactive use of LinkedIn that not only creates space for opportunity, but puts myself & someone else firmly in that space together, to communicate.