16x Engineer


2022-10-25 02:40:45 +0000 - Zhu Liang

Personal branding on LinkedIn is becoming increasingly more important for tech professionals.

For founders and people working in sales, it is a big lead generation funnel. For engineers, it is a public résumé to showcase your profile and experience.

Even if you don’t have a specific goal in mind, having a strong personal brand will help to expand your network and reach, opening up doors for new opportunities.

Having spent a few years experimenting on how to build a personal brand on LinkedIn, here are my top 6 tips for personal branding on LinkedIn.

1. Algorithm and Engagement

Underpinning everything else is the LinkedIn feed algorithm optimizing for engagements.

From my observation, the LinkedIn feed algorithm will initially show your post to a random set of people that either follows you or shows interest in the hashtags you use.

You can get 50 to 200 impressions from this initial pool easily. And this is where the engagement metrics come in to play.

LinkedIn will calculate the engagement rate from the initial impressions. And compare it to the standard benchmark for engagement rate, which is about 1%.

That means if your post has low engagement initially (less than 1%), LinkedIn will not show it to more people, as its engagement rate is not expected to improve when shown to a wider audience.

On the other hand, if the initial engagement rate is high, say 2%, LinkedIn will show it to more people and reach a wider audience, until it eventually reaches the 1% standard level.

For posts that perform extremely well, the final engagement rate can go down naturally to about 0.6%, as it is shown to a massive amount of people.

You can access engagement metrics of your posts by turning on the creator mode on LinkedIn. Note that doing this will turn the default action on your profile from “Connect” to “Follow”.

To connect with you, the viewer needs to click on “More” button besides the “Follow”. This might turn some people off if they are just looking to connect with you.

2. Have a Unique Headline

Headline is the single most important part of your profile. Your headline is shown besides your name in your posts, comments, profile search result. It is the best way to showcase your personal brand to your potential audience.

Everyone is a Data Scientist, Software Engineer at Amazon, CEO of PassionFruit, ex-Facebook or ex-Google, Building for a better world, or Revolutionizing Healthcare. Having a headline like that will not help you stand out from the crowd.

Instead, come up with something unique to highlight your strength or interesting experience. Having a catchy yet meaning headline will help to convert impressions from your comments or likes into profile visits and subsequently followers.

Also be mindful of the length of your headline. If your headline is too long, it will get cut-off at many places. This will make it look unprofessional, or in worse case truncate a key part of your message.

Having company names in headline is a double-edged sword. On one hand, the name of a respected company can help to build credibility and reputation. The downside is that people will associate your identity to the brand of the company, which diminishes your own personal brand. I recommend having big company names at early stages of your career, but slowly transition them out as you have a stronger personal brand.

3. Post consistently

As with many things in life, engagement on LinkedIn is a numbers game. Many factors affecting impressions and engagements are outside of your control. Luck pays a big part.

If your post is performing below your expectations, it might simply mean that luck is not on your side this time.

However, if you post quality content consistently, the compounded probability of one of them getting good engagements eventually goes up.

That’s when you can say “It’s my lucky day.”

4. Keep It Raw

We’ve all been there, you feel strongly about something, or desperately want to get something off your chest. But on second thought, you wonder if others feel the same way, or whether others will judge you for sharing it.

My suggestion: Just share it. Do not be afraid to share such thoughts publicly. Candid thoughts often attract empathy and positive responses from people who feel the same way.

And there will always be people who feel the same way as you. You may developer deeper relationship with your audience by sharing candidly.

5. Be Strategic about Activities

Likes and comments on other people’s posts are all part of public data and show up on your followers’ feed. Be strategic and keep your branding consistent in all your activities.

If your followers follow you for data science content, they are unlikely to be interested in your political stance on domestic elections and politics. You risk having less engagement or losing your audience.

There is case to be made for posting something you are passionate about (keep it raw), but don’t over-do it too frequently.

On the flip side, liking or commenting on others’ content that are highly relevant to your audience is a good way to build your audience. It helps to keep your audience engaged and expand your reach by tapping into other people’s network.

Another related point is language. I know that being able to speak multiple languages is an important skill, but posting or commenting in multiple languages can backfire on LinkedIn.

As of today, LinkedIn does not seem to filter feed based on the user’s language, that means no matter what language it is, your posts and comments will show up on your follows’ feed.

Therefore, unless all you audience are multilingual, you will get less engagement from those who don’t speak that language that you post in.

6. Account for Hidden Engagements

If your posts are not getting much engagements, don’t be discouraged. There might be hidden engagements that are not measured by LinkedIn.

I have encountered multiple occasions where people told me they enjoyed seeing what I post on LinkedIn, but never actually liked or commented on them.

I suspect this is common for your acquaintances or people who want to remain anonymous on social media.

These interactions as genuine and good engagements, even though they are not reflected on LinkedIn.

They help me discover new networking opportunities, serve as excellent conversation starters to break the ice and connect with people in a deeper way beyond engagements on LinkedIn.