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Build Your Personal Brand (Linkedin)

Studied art and fashion design at Manchester then Westminster University. In the past 15 years Colin has been part of the buying team at Burberry, an Angel Investor, corporate film and TV producer, and for the last 6 years has run his own digital agency. An online social adoptee from 2005. He’s an exhibited artist.

Tonight I was invited to talk to some 25 attendees of the Junior Chamber International, looking at Linkedin as the main fulcrum for managing and building your personal brand.

There are loads of case studies where individuals have been head hunted or sponsored by big business due to their following or influence – their brand profile. Let’s look at a couple; my mate Hugh Macleod: Here’s a guy writing a blog, drawing cartoons, an advertising copywriter who built his profile to such an extent that he was on a retained agreement with Microsoft, offered the CEO of a Wine Business, published a book… all from building his personal brand. Or we could look at Gary Vaynerchuk; The guy who went up to his room above his off-license to film himself tasting all the product – once a day for a couple of minutes, passionately and with a bit of fun, but with the soul purpose of sharing his thoughts – he is now a phenomenon in video blogging.

I take it you’ve looked yourself up in Google? Have you noticed your Linkedin profile comes up twice – both the public and private link. Anyway, now Google listings is giving you an element of control over your personal Brand. You have the opportunity to bring real focus to what it is you do, what you love doing and the success you’ve had doing it. By integrating your personal site or blogs, slideshare, events, Twitter… using Linkedin Polls to asess your followers thoughts whilst gaining access to their traits particular to job types or locations… the opportunities are vast. Then approaching other people you look up to, or view as major influencers – all of a sudden you have a legitimate way of approaching them, building and joining groups to ask or seek their advice whilst sharing your experience in that field.

I have had the good fortune of working with a number of individuals and well known businesses with the soul purpose of building their profile and introducing them to businesses they would love to work with – and you know what, it works and works in a way never before available.

There are a couple of tips that I will keep to myself, however one that I have to share. Yes you can link up your Twitter account – however, those of you that allow every single tweet to show up in your status update will be dropped from connections very quickly unless you change this – you know who you are – it’s a serious pain if you have more than a few hundred connections – if you want to send a tweet and have it show up in your status update use #in.

So if you have identical qualifications to someone else yet your Linkedin profile is populated with inspired comment, numerous recommendations (although not from colleagues), influential groups… hell you get the picture. Not only do you stand out to your next employer but your existing employer is likely to give you that promotion before your colleague.

Oh and another interesting point to reiterate – if you are using your Linkedin account for business development within the company you work for – it is your company that own those contacts within your profile – legal precedent has been set.

Have a focus and connect carefully.

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