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How To Build Your Personal Brand On LinkedIn (And Drive More Sales Conversations)
There’s a lot of buzz surrounding the LinkedIn Pulse articles; well is it buzz or noise? You tell me. I can promise you this – creating noise is NOT an effective way to build your personal brand on LinkedIn.
Here’s a simple rule of thumb to follow:
If your content doesn’t position you as visible, valuable, and connected – you’re just adding to the noise.
I’m not the only person that’s noticed the ruthless explosion of noise on LinkedIn.
It’s a very valid concern- and I think the sales community would agree.
So, How Do You Fight the Noise and Build a Personal Brand on LinkedIn?
I’ve been asked many times:
“How do you manage so much engagement in your posts, while fighting ‘The Noise’?”
A great question…
That’s why I’m going to share my secret sauce.
I’m sick of all the white noise, and I’d like to see you change the dial in my feed.
As a bonus, I was on the Salesman Podcast where I explain how to do this in more detail.
1. Learn How To Align Your Strengths And Credibility To Your Audience’s Needs
That’s right – understand your existing audience and write topics that they’ll care about.
Write to your core strengths, and focus on topics that you have credibility to speak on.
The worst mistake I see “thought leaders” making is one week they’re ranting about social selling, and the next week they’re ranting about cold calling.
My advice: pick a lane and stick with it.
As a side note – please do not blindly follow thought leaders on LinkedIn, or any other social platform for that matter.
2. Develop Your Tone / Voice
Don’t just start blabbering whatever comes to mind. I know that highly visible social experts like Gary V urge us to document versus create.
That said, be very careful about how you’re perceived.
Be selflessly realistic about how your audience perceives you, versus how you THINK they perceive you.
Remember what I said before about noise? That falls back to marketing 101: developing a tone / voice that you want to represent your brand.
Research similar existing thought leaders in your space – analyze their tone / voice. Review how it impacts their personal branding.
Don’t be afraid of controversy – but do what works best for you. Gary V curses a lot. If being brash and bold is your thing, then do you! But don’t try to be something you’re not.
3. Have a Personal Brand Objective
When I first began working in sales, I realized most B2B companies led with a self-serving sales process, but sales leadership wanted it that way.
So many sales reps were calling the same prospects over and over, using a ‘dial and smile’ mentality, to ask for business they hadn’t earned.
In sales, I was often told to just increase quantity, and then revenue would follow. In fact, all of my KPIs had been designed around this type of culture and process.
Well, your personal brand objective is really no different than the sales process. It’s a full social media content strategy. Everything should have a purpose.
Your goals should route back to your activities.
Engagement signals, topics, and frequency of posts should be tracked.
All of that should be aligned back to desired outcomes, which for most people are two core things:
- More brand opportunities – speaking at conferences, podcasts, etc.
- Real conversations with warm leads that are likely to become clients.
4. Discover & Unleash Your Competitive Advantage
My content is driven by something I find to be a competitive advantage.
In life, there are many things that are popular (especially if other “thought leaders” are doing it) but I’m always looking for a way to make it my own.
It’s not always necessary to reinvent the wheel. Often, I take what is already there, analyze it, test it, and find the value add everyone else is missing.
I seek to simplify complex problems and explain them in ways that are digestible to the common human ear.
But most importantly, aim to be 10x better than everything else that’s out.
Being good, and unique is no longer good enough.
If you want to stand out, you need to go above and beyond.
I’d urge you to rethink your content strategy and watch why good unique content needs to die.
5. Make Sure You Are Truly Providing Unique Value – Not Noise
The best advice I give about getting started on LinkedIn Pulse is to not get started; unless, you have some major value to add!
You are going to hurt more than help if you don’t bring content that educates, innovates, and adds massive value to your network.
DO NOT write content if you aren’t going to bring a new perspective. Ever. Those that regurgitate the obvious won’t get any traction, and Pulse will turn into a time suck- only adding to ‘The Noise’
Here is what true, unique value means:
- One Of A Kind
- Differentiated Style / Voice
Rand Fishkin explains how to provide truly unique value in your content.
6. Invest In Evaluating Your Industry
You must dive into understanding the audience you are trying to capture. The best way to see ‘what- works- and -what -doesn’t’ is to analyzing other’s content relating to your thought leadership.
Review and analyze who is having success, and who isn’t.
Once you determine the- good –and- bad, you need to scrutinize what is working- and what is not. Remember, you can analyze content through the level of engagement! Of course, there are fluffballs out there getting engagement… so be sure to use more than engagement for your metrics.
7. Connect With Influential Peers
I would also highly recommend connecting, engaging, and learning from those getting heavy engagement in your space.
Relationships should be worked immediately, and also moved offline to start the learning process (and get them to help you amplify!!!)
To maximize amplification, it is imperative you have them on your team.
People associate your value from a first impression standpoint by the audience that amplifies your message. This is an underutilized competitive advantage!
8. Practice What You Preach
You wouldn’t trust a doctor that doesn’t follow his/her own recommendations right?
It’s no different in business.
My goal every day is to be better at sales, and that comes through practicing what I preach. I am obsessed with the social aspect of sales- and the processes that render results (revenue).
People buy into your passion, not your content.
You can’t outsource passion. Unless a salesperson is highly motivated (maybe even obsessed) – they won’t invest the time in educating themselves.
This means they’re not learning, so how can have the audacity to try and teach their audience?
It’s no “coincidence” those who get heavy engagement are also amplifying value. The real competitive advantage here is those who “do”, then educate on the “how” will win.
The passion will pop-out at the reader, and hit them on an emotional level.
If you don’t get to the heart of the reader, you too will be ‘The Noise’ and not ‘The Value’.
Obsession here is not a negative thing… it is a mandatory thing.
9. Commit to Yourself AND Your Audience
Denzel Washington said it best here:
Between goals and achievement – are discipline and consistency.
This translates directly to business.
The moment you write your first post, it is imperative you make a commitment to your audience.
Commitment meaning – to provide consistent value.
This commitment should involve thinking like you are on the other side of your post.
Would you read this and get major value?
Not just value, but “MAJOR” value. If the answer is NO, simply don’t write it.
Never write something when you don’t feel a tingle in your soul about the value.
Anyone who is a successful content creator will understand the tingle piece.
You can’t always hit a home run, and that’s okay. All that matters is you’re building consistency, so you’ll know the tingle when it happens.
Consistency aligned with a targeted message is part of your commitment to personal brand development.
You can’t just write when you feel like it. You have to give your audience what they want, and make sure they get it consistently.
Consistency is the key to building an audience that will not only expect your content, but crave it.
It’s Not Rocket Science!
You can do whatever you want to do in life (this is not rocket science!!)
The rocket science piece is becoming obsessed with the available competitive advantages.
If you start consuming the right content from people who are doing what you want to do, and ACTING on it, you will be unstoppable.
Value is a competitive advantage only hard work and obsession can illuminate.
The time is now.
Quit talking and start writing…
Only if you are going to add value that is!
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