Boost your personal brand and showcase your expertise on LinkedIn
Updated: Feb 17
You probably have a LinkedIn profile. You may be posting and engaging with others regularly. Or maybe it's been collecting some digital dust. No matter which describes you, there’s much to be gained by expanding your presence on the platform.
Here's my story: With the help of LinkedIn, my professional network has grown 20x. I’m connected to nearly 5,000 professionals from a variety of industries on five continents, most of whom I’d likely never otherwise meet.
Here are just a few of the amazing things that have happened to me:
Received invitations to speak at virtual events and on podcasts.
Helped jobseekers in other countries to better position themselves.
Fielded journalists’ queries, leading to media mentions.
Recognized as one of just 50 global Remote Innovators for 2022.
Secured opportunities to author reports and articles for outlets like Inside Higher Ed and Harvard Business Review.
I have even landed a six-figure contract via DM. (Over 3x the annual salary of my first-ever job at a university.)
No, I’m not an influencer. I’m not involved in any exclusive creator groups.
What I have done is write—about my experience as an employee and an entrepreneur, about my team’s projects, about my company’s growth over the years, about my personal and professional challenges, and about my hopes for the future of work and how it has progressed.
You’ve likely noticed others in your feed who are posting regularly as well.
I chose to do this on LinkedIn for several reasons. With over 830 million users worldwide, it’s arguably the world’s most powerful platform for virtual networking. It is also a (comparatively) safe space online where you can showcase your expertise, make new connections and, yes, boost your personal brand without encountering online bullying. (Unlike the ‘Wild West’ that is Twitter, where you’ll find plenty of trolls.)
Only around 3 million users share content on a weekly basis. So a huge opportunity to build your credibility and visibility remains in a not-yet-overly noisy space. If you’re not one of the one percent of monthly users publishing posts, what’s holding you back?
Tips for Sharing Your Work on LinkedIn Effectively
Others have told me:
“I’m not sure what to share.”
“I’m not comfortable tooting my own horn.”
“I have no idea how the post should look.”
Here's how to do it effectively.
Tell your story. Have writer's block? Look no further than Jonathan Raveh of AppsFlyer. He’s a friend and colleague who has written hundreds of posts for others in his company, from junior employees to the C-suite.
In fact, storytelling on LinkedIn is his entire gig. It has taught him how to identify and share the most compelling nuggets of others’ personal experiences—the kind that provide the most value to others.
See his prompts below when you find yourself wondering what to write. You can easily adapt these to fit your context if you're an independent consultant or entrepreneur.
You can branch out and highlight others' work, too. When you share relevant and timely articles, blog posts, presentations, etc., that you've found useful, you're showing your network that you're staying current on the issues that matter in your field. Doing so may not position you as an expert. But what it will do is demonstrate your ability to curate useful content. And the person whose content you’re sharing may very well notice it and appreciate the nod...a win-win!
Rethink self-promotion. There are very few newsletters I read through to the end. The one by author and marketing expert Dorie Clark (you can sign up here) is an exception. Clark recently shared this evergreen HBR article she co-wrote with Andy Molinsky, a professor at Brandeis University’s International Business School.
They advise a simple yet powerful reframing of your concept of personal branding: “If you think of it as phony show-boating, you’re never going to want to even attempt it, which means you’re missing out on the professional benefits of being recognized by others. Instead, focus on the big picture—such as making a difference and helping your company—and you’re far more likely to want to make an honest effort.”
Boom. Can you feel your comfort level rising?
Use clear formatting. Best practices on LinkedIn posts are fairly straightforward. Don’t overuse hashtags (three at most are recommended); be mindful of how many people and organizations you’re tagging (it’s not necessary to always do this), and avoid writing in large paragraphs, which can be difficult for readers to digest. Instead, separate your ideas into bullets or standalone lines. And be sure to vary sentence length.
As Gary Provost says: “Don’t write words. Write music.”
Last but not least, make your posts into the start of a conversation. Add a call-to-action inviting others to share their experiences, thoughts, concerns, or insights.
The Advantages of Repurposing Content
What if you’re already creating content like blog posts, podcasts and newsletters? Take content marketer and agency founder Ross Simmonds' advice:
“Create once. Distribute forever.”
(Yep, he has said the same on LinkedIn.)
Take this example: A Founders client sends out a monthly newsletter with a welcome message. We then publish that message as a blog post, which lives on their website in perpetuity. Next, we break it into a series of LinkedIn posts that offer insights for their many followers and connections. (And of course, we link back to their blog for folks to dig deeper.)
This will help you stand out from the crowd, making it more likely that others will remember you when they need someone with your expertise. Regularly posting on LinkedIn is a great way to signal to your network that you're actively solving problems relevant to your industry and the 21st century workforce. (This can be especially helpful if you're in a field like edtech, HRtech or workforce development, where change is happening rapidly and it can be hard to keep up.)
Of course, there's a right way and a wrong way to go about sharing your work on LinkedIn. The key lies in striking the right balance between self-promotion and helpfulness. Nobody wants to be bombarded with constant humble-bragging or boastful posts, so make sure that the majority of what you share is actually helpful and informative to the reader. That said, don't be afraid to mix in the occasional mention of your own work—as long as it's brief and compelling.
Consider creating themes for the reader to follow. This should be the stuff that keeps them up at night. For example, if you're an education expert, you might want to share blog posts about the latest trends in education technology or how to prepare students for the workforce of the future. Whatever themes you choose, make sure they're relevant to your audience and something that they'll actually find useful.
If you're not already sharing your work on LinkedIn, now is a great time to start. By providing useful, insightful content related to your field, you can help others, build your credibility, and signal to your network that you're an expert who is actively solving problems relevant to the 21st century workforce. Just remember not to go overboard with the self-promotion – keep most of what you share focused on providing value, and let your work speak for itself.