With around 200 million users, LinkedIn is one of the most popular ways to showcase your academic and professional career milestones and to broaden your network with others in the same or different industries.
In a previous post – ‘Become a Local Blogging Celebrity with LinkedIn’, we see that LinkedIn can be an adequate tool to establish yourself as a local expert offering your skills and knowledge to those in need of it. By engaging with locals, for example via Facebook or Twitter, you can easily establish a community with loyal customers and relationships that are fostered by your expert advice and consultation. The article defined the outcome as a social brand on a local level by pointing out that “while a global network has endless contact possibilities, it is also filled with endless competition”.
In fact, individuals who are not able to stand out from the crowd by being unique or a true expert won’t be able to survive in the global cyberspace. Basing those statements on the concept of LinkedIn, it becomes evident that it doesn’t actually allow the individual to show off his or her unique selling points beyond local borders. By listing educational achievements and your career advancements throughout the past years, you won’t be able to communicate your real passion and expertise to the outside world, especially not internationally.
However, this does not imply that LinkedIn is obsolete. But in order to promote yourself, your work and expertise more successfully, this kind of resume needs to be just one part of your efforts. Particularly, with the increased competition in the marketplace, the increased number of freelancers and self-employed, self-promotion is a vital activity to stand out from the crowd to gain reputation and to network with relevant contacts. You need to present yourself as an expert online in order to stand out.
Just as companies manage their national, international or global brand, your own personal brand needs careful planning and maintenance, too. The process of personal branding starts with identifying your unique selling point – what makes you stand out from your competitors. This brand should be then communicated in a consistent and authentic way in order to be recognised as a true expert. You should, of course, take advantage of social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter to share your content and knowledge, and engage with others, but to be recognised as professional and reliable, you need to showcase your work, knowledge and even media coverage.
Some people are able to build their own websites, while others pick from a variety of free tools to create a personal ‘landing page’ to link out to their profiles on social media and blogging platforms. One new company in this space, enthuse.me, combines all elements of an professional online presence but does so in a simple and focused way: displaying just a few of your best examples of work and press appearances, rather than everything you’ve ever done, as LinkedIn or about.me would suggest you do.
It’s this focus and ability to concentrate on your present skills and expertise rather than past experience that will help you truly stand out from the crowd.
There is nothing wrong about being a local expert with a social brand. But when looking for greater recognition of your expertise while facing national and perhaps even international competition, professional self-promotion needs to reach further. It is about the right mixture of the previously mentioned elements, namely making effective use of social media platforms to communicate a consistent and authentic personal brand image, as well as to create an expert web presence to show off what you do best and promote it to the world.
About the Author
Stefanie supports the enthuse.me team in PR and marketing. The online tool was founded in 2012 by tech entrepreneur Dan Jacobs and is based in the heart of London’s vibrant ‘Tech City’ in Shoreditch. The team aims to provide a service to help its users showcase their expertise online and promote themselves in the best way possible.
Image via Student of Fortune