Anita O’Malley, founder and CEO of the digital and social media marketing firm Leadarati (Lincroft), gave the attendees at a recent Jersey Shore Women in Tech meeting tips on building their brands on LinkedIn.
Jersey Shore Women in Tech is an organization created to support, educate, mentor and develop a network for women in the information technology industry. The group previously met at the Cowerks coworking space in Asbury Park, but since March 2020, organizers Jenna Gaudio, Alison Lamano and Brittany Jacobs have been holding virtual meetings monthly.
O’Malley has been helping people with their LinkedIn profiles for more than 10 years and, full disclosure, she is also a former contributing columnist at NJTechWeekly.com.
O’Malley began the meeting by discussing branding and how it works. “You to have to create an identifiable brand,” she told the group. “What’s the brand? It’s everything you say. It’s everything you write about. It’s what you look like. It’s what people think about you when they hear your name.”
LinkedIn, which specializes in business connections, is the ideal social networking space in which to create a profile that will present a 360-degree view of you as a person, O’Malley said. If you are looking for work, for example, you want people to think of your expertise. “Think a minute, and think about what your expertise is and lock it into your brain because, in branding yourself, everything you do has to point to that expertise.”
The tips O’Malley gave to the group were oriented towards helping people recognize their specific expertise and control how others see them online, rather than leaving it up to fate.
Here are just some of O’Malley’s tips:
- Start with a photo. You want to have a photo that is friendly, approachable, close and high resolution. Stay away from photos picturing you in attire that is inappropriate for business, screenshots and the like.
- Pay attention to the headline, the space under your name. “This is the number-one place that LinkedIn grabs key words from, for its algorithm search.” O’Malley’s own LinkedIn profile uses the following headline: Digital & Social Media Marketing | Content/PR | Demand Gen | IT Specialty | LinkedIn Brand Expert. “This is a very valuable piece of real estate that, if you don’t do anything with it, and you leave it up to default, the default is your title. … I encourage you to use it for key words,” she said.
- The first two lines are most important in the “About” area, she said, because this is what people see in the profile. “Probably the most common mistake that people make on LinkedIn is that they don’t use it at all. They waste the opportunity to put expertise in there and also be ranked higher in a search. But, number two, they’ll also use it to describe their company or will use it as a resume in the third person.” Don’t do that.
- Use the “About” section to tell a story about “you and your expertise,” but also a little bit “about you as a person.” Leadarati “often trains software engineers, architects and some C-level executives, and they always want to be seen as having gravitas, having that high-level brand. So, we very carefully go through this ‘About’ section and we tell a story.”
- When writing your profile, “don’t use jargon. This is [true] in any business writing, but especially in your profile. This profile is not a brochure about your company. It’s really about you. Remember, people are doing business with people that they like, and that they trust and that they feel are experts.” Write your profile in a conversational style, she added.
- Also make use of LinkedIn’s ability to add links, she said. You can and should upload documents that show a 360-degree view of your abilities, she noted.
For more information about the Jersey Shore Women in Tech organization, visit this website