I have many engineers and financial professionals among my clients needing help to showcase their personal brand on their LinkedIn profile. It’s something of a shock to me to realize how many of my clients are marketing professionals. These are smart, successful marketers who have done amazing things for their clients. But somehow seem to get stuck when it comes to their own branding, especially on LinkedIn.
I can only think that part of the problem is something like the parable of the cobbler’s children having no shoes. Marketing professionals take care of themselves last.
Marketing professionals like to take care of every detail. They want their clients to look extraordinary, using design and content to show results. What if those clients looked at their marketing expert’s LinkedIn profile and saw something that didn’t look good? If it is scrappy or half-hearted, perhaps clients will believe that the marketer is just too busy to bother.
If your LinkedIn profile was “just okay,” perhaps clients would believe that’s the best you can do. That’s not very impressive.
Individual Brand vs. Company Brand
When you’re talking about your company it’s somehow easier to say “XYZ, Inc. delivers extraordinary results to their clients” than “Hey, look at me – I’m amazing!” or perhaps that’s how it feels. I think that’s why some people hide behind the resume-style, third-person format, e.g.:
“Highly effective leader with well-rounded sales, marketing, and management accomplishments backed by a relentless drive to succeed. Proven track record of success through high-level relationship building, effective prospecting, innovation and aggressive, out-of-the-box strategic thinking.”
Would you really walk up to someone at a networking event and say: “I am a highly effective leader with well-rounded sales, marketing and management accomplishments backed by a relentless drive to succeed. I have a proven track record of success through high-level relationship building, effective prospecting, innovation and aggressive, out-of-the-box strategic thinking”? Gag! I hope not!
Wouldn’t you be more likely to talk in a personal way about your excitement about what you can do for your clients and how you use your strengths to accomplish that? I’m guessing you could do that in person, so why is it so difficult to write the same kind of content for your LinkedIn profile?
There are so many shiny new things to do, to learn, to look at. And there are so many things to do for your clients – from handling email to designing new marketing efforts and figuring out which tools and strategies bring the greatest return on your investment. Maybe your LinkedIn profile doesn’t come high on your list. (“Hey, it’s there and I have a bunch of connections… Good enough!)
Maybe you’re not getting business from your LinkedIn profile, but you sure may be losing business when people look at it as representative of your marketing abilities.
Putting Everyone Else First
So many professionals, not just marketers, get used to putting others first. You have to take care of your clients, right? You have to take care of your employees to make sure they have the tools they need and the right support. You even have to take care of your marketing efforts — your website, SEO, newsletter, and ads — on a regular basis.
All of those things you “have” to do before you can do anything for yourself — it’s like needy children who can’t possibly be neglected so that you can take care of your own hair and makeup.
I propose to you that you can’t afford to neglect yourself.
Setting a Bad Example – Please Don’t!
It’s not uncommon that I talk to someone who is responsible for marketing for a company or business owner, yet they have a very poor LinkedIn profile. One client in the legal field hired me to help create a better LinkedIn profile and teach him how to use it so that he could better connect with other professionals.
He had his marketing consultant join our meeting so that she would know what he was doing and so that we could be sure our efforts were in sync. This marketer had a very poor LinkedIn profile. But was very proud of the great results she was getting from Google search for this company.
Yet she admitted that the vast majority of the business this company got (90+%) was from referrals. Somehow she didn’t seem to see the disparity between that and not putting more emphasis on his LinkedIn profile and use. Brilliance with SEO is not enough.
You don’t need to do everything perfectly. You do need to have a LinkedIn profile that looks professional and complete. I usually refer people by directing them to someone’s LinkedIn profile. But sometimes, I just can’t bring myself to do that because it represents them so poorly.
And that’s before we even get to all the great ways to market yourself on LinkedIn. Those marketing efforts bring people back to look at individual profiles. What does yours say about you?
Editor’s Note: For an in-depth conversation about how you can leverage your LinkedIn profile, be sure to listen to Sandra’s podcast, “LinkedIn: The Important Marketing Tool That’s Hiding in Plain Sight.”