Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

According to LinkedIn, the platform has 800 million members in more than 200 countries and territories worldwide. It’s the home for decision-makers, corporate executives, entrepreneurs and employers to connect, collaborate, recruit and share their thought leadership in a particular industry or area of expertise.

But did you know that typically when someone does an online search for an individual, their LinkedIn profile shows up as the first online link in those search results or the top five links on the first page of those results? This simply means that your LinkedIn profile page could be the first and last impression that someone — a potential client, investor, employer, mentor or friend — could have of your personal brand.

You may already have a LinkedIn page, but could be still using this only as a placeholder for your online resume, which may or may not have an updated profile image, headline statement or even updated work experience. This simple link could be putting your brand at risk if you are not optimizing all of the features the platform provides and updating your content to make your brand stand out. 

You have to remember that every day, even without you realizing it, your name is already showing up in searches within LinkedIn for individuals and companies looking for people with your knowledge, skills, education and expertise. Since LinkedIn is the platform for professionals, you should utilize the platform to promote your personal and professional brand.

Here are seven ways you can start using your LinkedIn profile page like your own personal brand website to enhance your personal brand.

1. Update your stuff

This is the first and most important step. You have to update the existing content on your page as it should be an accurate representation of your brand today, and not three years ago:

  • This means updating your profile photo to look like the person you are today. Get a professional headshot done with a clean background or use your brand color.
  • Include a background photo. This could be a call to action, a list of your services or your website. 
  • Update your headline statement. Do not just include your job title — tell people what you do, how do you do it and for whom.
  • Turn creator mode on — include your key topics of focus and expertise 

Related: How To Quickly Update Your LinkedIn Profile

2. Add a welcome video or voice recording introduction

Yes, you can now add a video to your profile image and you can also record an audio greeting that lives on your profile page. This allows someone to virtually meet you, get a feel about your personality and learn about what to expect on your page.

3. Utilize featured posts

When you start sharing content on LinkedIn, you can turn your posts into “featured” posts, which enables specific posts to show up on your profile page. If you post content that has valuable information or showcases your thought leadership, feature it so that anyone that comes across your page for the first time can access it.

4. Show your value in the “about” section

Don’t just list your expertise and credentials in this section. Use the “about” section for potential viewers to learn more about who you are. Showcase how you add value and how you help your ideal audience. I also recommend adding your website links and direct contact information in this section.

Related: Who Are LinkedIn Content Creators?

5. Maximize your experience

LinkedIn allows you to add supporting media files to your experience. This could be in the form of video, images, podcast episodes, certifications, case studies, presentations, you name it — you can add anything that can provide social proof of the work that you have done during your experience.

6. Create a newsletter

An awesome and relatively new feature in LinkedIn is the ability to create your own subscription-based newsletter on the platform. Choose your area of focus and start creating a weekly or monthly newsletter to share with your existing followers and subscribers. This also helps you to gain thought leadership and be discovered by other members on the platform.

7. Ask for recommendations

LinkedIn makes it easy to ask for recommendations from other users of the platform who have experience working with you. Start reaching out to past clients who had a great experience working with you and request a recommendation. You should also give recommendations too — it is, after all, a community.

With these seven steps, you can start to feel more confident about your online brand and start leveraging your brand across the LinkedIn network. But more importantly, you will know that an online search will now produce updated and accurate information about you and your brand to start attracting the right individuals, brands and companies to your profile.

Related: 7 Ways You Can Use LinkedIn To Blow Up Your Brand

Source link