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If you’re connected with me on LinkedIn, you’ll notice that I try to post a new piece of content every single day. I’ll admit, it’s definitely a commitment to add yet another social site to my daily “to-do” list, but of all the social sites I use to promote my services LinkedIn is where it’s at! LinkedIn is where you are building relationships with key decision makers. The head honchos. The big wigs. These are the people who ultimately control whether or not their company hires you or buys your product.

LinkedIn All-Star ProfileBeing seen and recognized on LinkedIn is important. Essentially it’s your online resume; a picture of your professional self. The last thing you want is for a potential employer, client or lead to visit your profile and see it half filled out or blank – this can leave a bad first impression. So your main goal when using LinkedIn is to get your profile to “All-Star” status. Don’t know what “All-Star” status means? When you look at your profile you will see a little circle in the top right-hand corner indicating your profile strength. You want the circle to be full to the top and say “all-star!”

So how do you build a profile that not only gets noticed, but reaches “All Star” status? By ensuring these 8 key profile sections are filled out:

Headline // This is the first thing a visitor will see when they land on your profile, make sure your job title tells them exactly what you do while keeping it fun and interesting.

Profile Picture // Get a professional headshot. Grainy photos from last summer’s BBQ are just not going to cut it on LinkedIn. You are 11 times more likely to have your profiled viewed if you have a high quality, professional photo.

Header Image // The header image option that LinkedIn recently introduced is a great way to illustrate and extend your personal branding. Make it eye-catching, and again, high quality.

Summary // This is often the most overlooked section of a LinkedIn profile because it’s intimating. Sometimes it can be hard to summarize yourself in a few short sentences, but trust me, it’s worth it! If the viewer has made it to this section you need to entice them to not only stay a little longer to read what you are all about, but to contact you.

Experience // Your current work experience should be upfront and center. Make sure the description is filled out in its entirety, and you use industry terminology to describe your position and services. Past experience is also important as it will make your profile look full and complete. Make sure your past positions include a thorough description and keywords.

Rich Media // Adding rich media content such as SlideShare presentations, videos, and infographics to your profile is a fantastic way to showcase visual assets to profile visitors.

Projects // Projects was originally introduced to LinkedIn as a way for students to share their projects, but more and more LinkedIn users are finding the projects section useful, using it to highlight products, services or other portfolio pieces. You can also include direct links to the team members who worked on the project, passing a little recognition their way!

Skills & Endorsements // Having a skill endorsed increases your level of social proof. You can now say, “see, Susie and 10 others say I am good at blogging, or painting, or training dogs” whatever your specialty may be. Make sure you have added a minimum of 10 relevant skills to your profile for your connections to endorse you on.

As you can see, what started as an online networking site has really grown to become a career management and personal branding platform. As an entrepreneur and business owner, you should most definitely be using LinkedIn! What’s stopping you from stepping up your LinkedIn game?

For young professionals who are just starting their careers, navigating the online world can sometimes be scary. What if that picture from last weekend’s bachelor party makes its way into the office? Should a personal Twitter account be used to interact with work colleagues? Should I put my social networks on my business cards? These are just some of the questions young professionals have when it comes to building a personal brand online and offline.

I’ve invited my friend Gillian Rees, who happens to be a branding expert, to speak alongside me on the topic of building a personal brand on tomorrow’s PMA Foundation Young Professionals Webinar. This is a free webinar series and seats are limited, so if you are interested register today!

Managing Your Personal Brand and Reputation, both Online and in Real Life

Branding-Professional-WebinarsHosts: Brittany Stager, GroupTalk & Gillian Rees, Confident Entrepreneurs
When: Thursday, June 18, 2015 | 12:00 p.m. Eastern Time

It’s important to act like a business leader, online and offline. In this one hour webinar Brittany Stager & Gillian Rees will show you how to properly establish a strong personal brand on social media and how to carry that branding through to real life situations such as business meetings, customer dinners, and social gatherings. You will delve into the proper uses and settings for LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. and share business etiquette tips that will be useful in building a strong, respectable reputation in the business community.

REGISTER FOR THE WEBINAR

Hope to see you there!

So you want to work with bloggers do you? Perhaps you saw the wonderful campaign Canadian Tire recently put together featuring decor bloggers. Or you read an article that said “influencers are the next big thing!” Or maybe your competitor just pulled off the most epic blogger campaign and you’re left in the dust thinking “why didn’t I think of that!”

Harnessing a blogger’s power and credibility is not as easy as sending them a press release or a basket of free product. You want bloggers to authentically tell your brand story in order to drive engagement, sales, and conversation within their community.

Here are five do’s and don’ts you should be aware of when working with bloggers:

The Do's and Don'ts of Influencer Marketing

1. Do Make Contact in Advance // Your relationship with key influencers & bloggers shouldn’t start as soon as you want something from them. Lay the groundwork a few months ahead of time. Start to build a relationship!

2. Do Your Research // Research the blogger before reaching out. Check out their media kit to gain insight into their reach/following and fees. See if they have used your product before. See if they are using your competitors products. Taking the time to read through their blog will give you plenty of answers.

3. Do Have Compensation in Mind // If you want high quality & authentic content created by your blogger partners, then it’s best to have a budget in mind before reaching out. You can either ask the blogger what their post rate is, or use your budget as a jumping off point.

4. Do Use a Creative Brief and Contract // Writing out the campaign details in a creative brief will ensure your vision is concise and well thought out. It will also help the blogger know what you are expecting out of the partnership. A contract signed by both parties will seal the deal, and ensure accountability.

5. Do Continue the Relationship // This is not a one night stand type of relationship. You put time, effort and money into building a relationship and a piece of content that you and the blogger should be proud of. Continue to converse with the blogger. Share their posts in the future.

The Do's and Don'ts of Influencer Marketing1. Don’t Send “Dear Blogger” Emails // Nothing says “I am not interested in getting to know you” like addressing a pitch email with “dear blogger.” Read the bloggers previous post, get to know them, address them by name.

2. Don’t Offer “Exposure” // Nothing turns a blogger off like the offer of exposure. Never tell a blogger that if they write a post about your product or service that you reward them by sharing it on Facebook and Twitter. This type of pitch is not only inconsiderate of a bloggers time and talent, it’s embarrassing.

3. Don’t Keep it to Yourself // You spent time and money to partner with a blogger to create an excellent piece of content, so don’t just keep it to yourself! Share it with your followers. Help spread their word of their amazing experience. Bloggers look to you to share their content!

4. Don’t Try to “Edit” a Post // It’s important to keep in mind that you selected and partnered with a blogger because you trusted them to carry your brand message in an authentic way. You want them to tell a personal story. Don’t ask to edit their post before it goes live – it destroys the trust you’ve built.

5. Don’t Close the Doors // Keeping the doors of opportunity open after that particular campaign has ended is a great way to build an ongoing relationship with your blogger partners. They should feel as though they can come to you with more great ideas for future partnerships and you’ll support them. Keep those doors open!

And while this whole outreach thing sounds easy, it’s important to note that if you don’t have the time or energy to build the relationships with bloggers, hire a professional that already has these trusting relationships built (like GroupTalk << shameless plug!).

You want your blogger outreach program and campaign to not only be a success, but truly reflect how great your product or service is!

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