I can still remember my well-meaning grandmother wagging her finger at me and issuing a stern warning: "Self-praise stinks!"
Good thing for Grandma Nemo (may she rest in peace), she wasn't trying to use LinkedIn for business back then.
All joking aside, there can be a fine line between shameless self-promotion and building a powerful, client-attracting personal brand on LinkedIn that helps you generate sales leads, clients and revenue.
And, whether you want to think about it or not, you do have a Personal Brand actively working for (or against) you over on LinkedIn right now.
Here's the good news: If you follow the tips I share in this post, you can quickly emerge with the same type of powerful personal brand that successful professionals are utilizing to create business opportunities and generate real results over on LinkedIn.
Tip 1: Your LinkedIn Summary is Your Biggest Opportunity!
I've talked before about how important it is to make your LinkedIn Summary what I call "client-facing," and in fact you can use this fill-in-the-blank template to ensure your LinkedIn summary section comes across that way.
It's critical, because one of the keys to crafting a killer LinkedIn profile is making it clear who you are, what type of product or service you provide and how it will benefit your ideal client or customer as a result.
We need to make sure the brand of you shines through in this section, and that it does so in a way that potential customers can immediately see how connecting with someone like you can bring value and benefit to them.
Tip 2: Personal vs. Professional - Find the Right Balance!
At the end of the day, no matter how buttoned-up or "professional" your industry is, you still do business with human beings. And, at the end of the day, people want to do business with someone they Know, Trust and Like.
One of the great selling secrets I've learned is that people need a simple way to remember you. Not your product, not your service, but you - the person trying to sell the actual product or service.
Selling, at its core, is relational.
This is where personal sharing comes in. When you share the appropriate amount of personal information and "your story" on LinkedIn, it builds an immediate bond with potential customers and helps them to remember you.
When you do this well, a mental hook and foundation for non-work, non-sales conversation is lodged into their brain, so that the next time you interact, a prospect will remember you're that guy who wants to buy the New York Jets, or loves fly fishing in Colorado or something similar. (And, oh the by the way, you also have product or service XYZ that they might be interested in utilizing.)
Think about how, in the process of a business meeting or encounter at a trade show, you chat up a prospect about his or her life away from work, looking for common interests, passions or themes to bond around. The same principle is at work here.
Tip 3: Be Clear, Consistent and Active!
Above all else, you must have a clear and consistent "personal brand" that you're sharing and reinforcing on LinkedIn.
That means sharing status updates, creating content and offering insights on the network that are consistent with your personal and professional brand - whatever it might be.
Again, don't be afraid to mix in your personality with your business-related content. Have some fun - be human! Share anecdotes or personal stories to illustrate a point or reinforce a concept related to your product or service.
Most important, be active. If you're not sharing and posting content on LinkedIn, you might as well be invisible.
Best of all, if you take advantage of some of the amazing automation tools and software that you can now integrate into your LinkedIn marketing efforts, it won't take you much time at all to accomplish it.
Additional Thoughts on Personal Branding
There's much more to say on the topic of personal branding and LinkedIn. In fact, I recently highlighted the topic more in-depth during a 1-on-1 conversation with Personal Branding Consultant Paul Copcutt on my LinkedIn Riches Podcast.
Paul is a Personal Branding Trainer and Consultant who has clients including Microsoft, Pepsi and many others. I pulled some of his top tips into this post, in fact, and we also covered even more ground on the Podcast if you want to listen in.