Jag Panesar

13th May 2020 by Jag Panesar

LinkedIn Personal Brand Building: Engage, Engage, Engage!

Building your LinkedIn personal brand and being generally active on LinkedIn applies more now than ever before.

Why?

Let’s start by winding the clock back a little.

At the beginning of 2020, if somebody had told you that pretty much the whole world would be in lock down by the end of March, you probably would have laughed at them.

closed sign on shop window

There are some things we just can’t forecast, and Covid-19 is proof of this (if you’re not into conspiracy theories of course).

Marketing (amongst many other things) has suddenly become a new challenge and has to be approached from a variety of angles to ensure brand presence and ultimately, enquiries.

During Covid-19, search volume on Google has significantly decreased for most sectors and social media usage has sky rocketed.

Building your LinkedIn personal brand should be a high priority

If you are a B2B business, a regular networker or are dependent on building relationships to win business, building your LinkedIn personal brand should be a high priority.

There are all kind of things I could talk about when it comes to getting the best out of LinkedIn, but the bit I see people struggle with the most is engagement.

It doesn’t matter how good your profile looks if you’re not being social on a social media platform. The clue is in the title. 

If you went to a networking event in the real world, you wouldn’t hide in a corner and quietly listen in to what everyone is saying (I hope).

business networking event

Using LinkedIn and not engaging is the equivalent of doing just that. 

A key element to all business to business marketing in the SME sector in the current climate is personal brand. We have all come together as a people during such challenging times and are finding comfort in empathy.

Yes LinkedIn is a professional business platform.

What’s makes a business though? It’s people! And right now, it’s the human side of things that people need to see. 

Here are 3 LinkedIn engagement tips to help keep you on top of your business to business social media game:

#1 Write 5 posts a week. At least. 

Common question (in disbelief): ‘When am I going to get the time to post 5 times a week amongst all the other things I have to do??’

My answer: We all have the same amount of time in the day. Your competition manage to find the time for it and benefit from it so why can’t you? 

Okay, I’m guilty of not always posting regularly. Pre-lock down I would go in and out of phases depending on how well I was managing my time.

linkedin personal brand, person writing a post

The truth is that when I was going through a LinkedIn posting phase, I was getting more exposure that was benefiting my personal brand which in turn benefits my business brand.

I sometimes go to networking events and meet people for the first time to hear them say ‘we’ve not met before but I’ve seen you on LinkedIn’.

My personal brand has been present before I’ve even entered the room.

If you post regularly, this could also be the case for you, which is the start of the process of people getting to know you, like you and then refer you on to potential customers. 

Types of posts include:

  • Industry facts and stats: Say something factual about your industry. Maybe it’s a recent statistic in your sector that you are commenting on. This kind of post will show you are on the ball with the latest things happening in your sector so will show prospects that you know your stuff. It will also encourage engagement from your industry peers, which contributes to you being seen as an influential person in your sector. Tag specific people in the post to encourage them to comment. 
  • Success stories: Post about something good that has happened in your business. Tag people in your post that have contributed to this. It could be an employee, a client or a supplier. Positive news posts always get good engagement. 
  • Appreciation posts: Show your gratitude to someone or something. Tag the person that you are grateful towards. You are publicly thanking them for something and also giving their profile more exposure. They will be grateful to you for both. 
  • Emotive posts: Be human. Tell a short story and ask a question. During the May bank holiday I posted about key points in my life that I feel have helped me get to where I am and it got great engagement. Read it here.

I’ve just given you four types of posts.

Double one of these up and you have five posts per week.

Sit down once a week and plan out the five things you are going to post. I write notes on my notes app in my phone as and when ideas come to me.

If you do the same, you’ll build up a bank of ideas before you know it. 

Additional tip: Use any of the above to ask questions. That usually encourages people to engage. 

#2 Be a LinkedIn Liker, not a LinkedIn Lurker

Ok, so we’re all struggling for time. At the very least, log in to LinkedIn twice a day and click the like button on people’s posts. It’s as simple as that. By liking their post you are:

  1. Showing them appreciation and helping them get their message more exposure
  2. Showing LinkedIn that you are active. LinkedIn will notify your contacts that you have liked someone’s post. This is an opportunity for your name to be present at a time that your personal brand is crucial to your business brand.
linkedin personal brand, engage and comment

LinkedIn have recently extended the like button to also include a ‘love’ icon, a ‘clapping’ icon, a ‘light bulb’ icon and a ‘thinking’ icon.

So, if you’re feeling adventurous, try one of these. Personally, I prefer to stick to the ‘like’ icon, but that’s just my personal preference.

Liking people’s posts shows that you are engaging with them and also gives your name an opportunity to be seen by other people that follow the person whose post you have liked e.g. Joe Bloggs has liked Sarah Smith’s post.

#3 Comment on people’s posts. Try to add some value to the conversation

This, in my opinion, is the pinnacle of engagement on LinkedIn.

If you are talking to people and responding to their posts, it shows you are taking the time to listen to what they are saying and to respond. 

If you are only writing posts and liking other people’s posts (#1 and #2 in this blog), it’s a tell tale sign that you’re not really giving real time to them.

Of course, only comment if you have something to actually say. 

When you take the time to comment on someone’s post and do it regularly, people will reciprocate on your posts. It’s a cyclical process.

If you give people your time, they will you give you theirs and everyone becomes a winner by gaining more personal brand exposure.

There they are folks – 3 tips to improve your LinkedIn personal brand via engagement.

There are LinkedIn ‘purists’ that complain about how ‘LinkedIn is becoming too much like Facebook’ i.e. less business focussed and more ‘canteen chat’ focussed.

I agree with this but only very mildly.

I feel that right now, in such difficult circumstances, we need to be as human as possible.  By engaging with each other, we are doing just that. 

Connect with me on LinkedIn, I’d love to engage with you!

Jag Panesar

Jag Panesar runs Xpand, a digital marketing agency based in Saltaire, West Yorkshire. Since setting the agency up in 2007, Jag and his team have delivered marketing and communications projects for recognised brand names such as master chocolatiers Lindt & Sprungli, The Tetley brewery, HM Prison Service and Aagrah chain of restaurants.