LinkedIn Personal Branding Guide

Use this marketing guide for building your personal brand on LinkedIn.

Why use LinkedIn for Personal Branding?

Whether you are looking to network, find a job, or grow a business, LinkedIn presents itself as a valuable channel for developing a personal brand to service your professional goals. Among LinkedIn’s network of employees, employers, and potential customers are target audiences for every niche industry vertical imaginable. Marketers, healthcare professionals, fitness enthusiasts, restaurant and culinary business owners, you name it.

In order to leverage LinkedIn’s growing pool of professionals, you need to put effort and strategy into the way you present yourself on the platform. Follow the LinkedIn personal branding tips in this guide to create a LinkedIn profile and content strategy to support your professional ambitions.
LinkedIn personal branding graphic
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LinkedIn Profile Checklist

LinkedIn profile graphic
The first step in establishing a presence on LinkedIn is creating a LinkedIn profile. LinkedIn profiles give you the opportunity to tell people who you are, what your professional focus is, where you’ve worked, and other information about your professional background and acumen. 

Make sure you have fully completed your LinkedIn profile and take advantage of all of the personal branding opportunities it presents by following this checklist. 

Name

This will be the name associated with your LinkedIn profile.

Headline

Your profile headline is your opportunity to write a one-liner that explains who you are, what you do, or what you’re good at. As a baseline, try going with your job title at first, and you can get more creative from there. Examples of other ideas include explaining what value you bring to people / what problem you solve for them (ex. “Helping build high performing sales teams”), or explaining what you do directly vs. through your job role (ex. B2B marketing for SaaS products).

Current Position

List your current job role, as this is a field that will appear in previews for your profile in search results.Education - Include your education on your profile if applicable. 

Location

LinkedIn requires inputting the country where you reside, and leaves you the option to include the city you live in. Including the city you live in can be valuable, because it will display on your profile, and cause you to appear in LinkedIn search results for professionals in that city. For instance, someone could conduct a LinkedIn search for people who have indicated a certain industry and location on their profile, like Advertising and New York City, which would yield search results that list professionals in NY working in that industry. 

Industry

Select your industry from the drop down menu options. Industry is a required field for creating your profile, and a key field for gaining your profile exposure in search results as exemplified in the Advertising industry example above.

Profile URL

LinkedIn allows you to edit your profile URL. It is common for people to use their names in their URL as to best appear in search engine results when people search your name. 

Website or Portfolio Link

LinkedIn profiles feature a website URL section where you can list a link to your personal brand portfolio website.

About

The about section is where you can add a longer professional bio for yourself. 

Featured

The featured content section of your profile allows you to display a preview link to content that you want to highlight. Options include LinkedIn posts, LinkedIn articles, external links, and media files like images, documents, and presentations. Think of this section as a mini portfolio, and display content that showcases your work and highlights your credibility. This could include articles you’ve written, video interviews or webinars you’ve participated in, mentions you’ve received in the media, presentations or strategy decks you’ve created, or a portfolio document.

The About section on Gary Vaynerchuk's LinkedIn profile features his professional bio. In his featured section, he links to his businesses website to help promote it.
The About section on Gary Vaynerchuk's LinkedIn profile features his professional bio. In his featured section, he links to his businesses website to help promote it.

Experience

Add the places you’ve worked and your current job role to the experience section of your profile. This will demonstrate your credibility, and also improve your profile’s visibility in search results due to the keywords you include in the descriptions of each of your job roles, as well as your association with the companies you’ve worked for (ex. Company alumni searches, which is a function of LinkedIn showing past employees for an organization).

The experience section on Gary Vaynerchuk's LinkedIn profile features links and descriptions for each of the positions he currently holds, and has previously held.
The experience section on Gary Vaynerchuk's LinkedIn profile features links and descriptions for each of the positions he currently holds, and has previously held.

Skills & Endorsements

The skills section of your profile is where you can list soft skills you have like leadership, management, strategy, as well as technical skills like knowing how to use particular software platforms. Listing skills on your profile gives colleagues the opportunity to “endorse” you for them, or vouch for the fact that you have a particular skill. Listing skills on your profile will increase the likelihood that someone in your network endorses you for them and will also cause your profile to appear in search results when someone is looking for one of the skills you list on your profile. 

Recommendations

Any recommendations you receive from clients, colleagues, or classmates will appear on your profile. Try writing recommendations for people you’ve had positive professional interactions with (ex. Worked together on the same team or project) to encourage people to reciprocate.

Interests

Pages and popular LinkedIn profiles that you follow will appear in this section. Follow companies and organizations in your industry to have them appear here.

Profile Photo

Adding a professional headshot to your LinkedIn profile will help to personalize it, and add a visual element to your personal branding. 

Profile Cover Image

Your profile’s cover image is another opportunity for branding on LinkedIn. Include a photo or graphic that aligns with your personal brand. For example, this cover image could have your personal brand logo, and include colors you’ve established for your personal branding.

Tips for Visual Branding on LinkedIn

As mentioned in the profile checklist above, LinkedIn profiles offer two personal branding opportunities with the profile image and cover image. The content you can share in LinkedIn posts offers another set of visual branding opportunities. 

Creating a consistent visual style across these LinkedIn branding opportunities will give your profile and content a cohesive look and feel, and come across as professional. Learn how to take advantage of the visual branding opportunities LinkedIn presents by understanding each of them below.
Gary Vaynerchuk's LinkedIn profile has a custom branded cover image, profile image, and has all of the key text fields completed, taking advantage of the personal branding opportunities offered on the platform.
Gary Vaynerchuk's LinkedIn profile has a custom branded cover image, profile image, and has all of the key text fields completed, taking advantage of the personal branding opportunities offered on the platform.
LinkedIn Profile Image

LinkedIn profile images give you the opportunity to show people who you are, and can play a factor in encouraging trust and positive connotations for the content you are sharing. Leaving this section blank may make your profile come off as suspicious or generic. 

For your LinkedIn headshot, a professional looking photo with business attire is standard, and should be viewed as the baseline for your own LinkedIn profile image. You can also get more creative or casual based on your industry and personal branding . Athlete or fitness instructor might wear athletic attire in their LinkedIn profile image, or a filmmaker might use an image that shows themselves working on a film set. 
If you don’t have any ideas for something that is on brand for your particular industry or profession, you can’t go wrong with the business or business casual attire approach. You can change your profile image at any time if another inspiration strikes. 

LinkedIn Cover Image

The other primary opportunity to incorporate some visual branding on LinkedIn is your profile’s cover image. This rectangular image sits behind your profile image at the top of your profile similar to cover images on other platforms like Twitter or Facebook. 

Take advantage of this space by utilizing an image that supports your personal brand messaging. This can be a photo that shows you in your element at work (ex. If you work in the restaurant industry it could be you working in a restaurant setting, or if you work in marketing it could be a picture of you at a conference). 
An alternative that is relatively easy to create, and a visual branding opportunity, is creating a branded graphic for your cover image. At some point, establishing visual branding for yourself will be beneficial. Selecting a color palette, font, and other visual elements to use regularly in the content you create will give you a simple set of rules when you create something, and give your content a consistent look that people recognize and associate with you. 
Create a graphic for your cover image that follows your personal brand’s color scheme and design style. This could be as simple as a solid colored background with your logo on it, or you could include another visual element or a quote that aligns with your personal brand messaging.

If you own a business, this cover image could also be branded with your company’s branding, and serve as a promotional element that helps to raise awareness for your company and your role in it as the founder. 

Content Tips for Building Your Personal Brand on LinkedIn

Developing a content strategy is important for better branding on LinkedIn, and expanding your audience. LinkedIn presents ample opportunities for visual storytelling to help promote your brand, as well as opportunities to create written thought leadership content.

LinkedIn Post Graphics

LinkedIn posts support images, and images represent some of the best performing content on the platform. When you share blog posts, insights, quotes, or other content, consider how that content could become a visual, or have an image to support it. 

Creating quote graphics out of quotes, infographics out of stats and insights, and giving blog posts and LinkedIn articles a header image are all examples of ways to add images to your LinkedIn content strategy. Brand these images with the rules and style you establish for you personal brand for consistency. 

LinkedIn mage posts are engaging, and offer an opportunity to use your personal brand's visual elements. In this image post from Gary Vaynerchuk, he includes his logo (bottom left signature), and uses his green, black and white brand colors.
LinkedIn mage posts are engaging, and offer an opportunity to use your personal brand's visual elements. In this image post from Gary Vaynerchuk, he includes his logo (bottom left signature), and uses his green, black and white brand colors.

Video Content

Video is another high performing content type on LinkedIn. Share videos that showcase your day-to-day life in your respective profession or entrepreneurial journey, share how-to videos and tips, and create webinars and interviews. These content types will give your LinkedIn content strategy an engaging visual element that will come across as personal. 

LinkedIn Stories

LinkedIn’s stories feature offers a new flexible content type and creation tool. Use it for quick, minor production time video updates that share information, insight, and behind-the-scenes content with your audience. Take advantage of visual branding opportunities in LinkedIn stories by adding your logo, or using branded graphics and elements where applicable. 

LinkedIn Articles

LinkedIn’s native blog publishing platform is a great way to add long form content to your LinkedIn content strategy. Share your perspective on news in your industry niche, write about trends, make future predictions, and teach people through how-to style content and collections of tips.

LinkedIn articles show up on your LinkedIn profile, and also can be shared with your audience in LinkedIn posts for more visibility. 

3rd Party Thought Leadership Content

Share articles, blogs, videos, white papers, and other types of content from leading voices in your space, colleagues, and partners. This tactic has several benefits, including giving you a content type that you can quickly create and share at anytime (all you need is 1-2 lines of copy to accompany the link), it encourages engagement and cross promotion from the author / source, and it gives you the opportunity to add your own commentary and perspective to conversations unfolding in your industry.

When sharing content from a 3rd party, be sure to credit them in your post by tagging their profile or brand page, or writing out their name in the post copy. 

Learn more about LinkedIn content strategies that can grow your personal brand.

LinkedIn Profile SEO

LinkedIn SEO graphic
LinkedIn’s platform has a search function that is basically a search engine for surfacing pages, profiles, and content on the platform. LinkedIn profiles and company pages function as web pages on the platform, showing up in these search results based on the content they contain. For example, if someone searches for a specific job title, and you have this job title on your profile, you will appear in those search results. 

LinkedIn profiles and company pages also appear in search results within external search engines like Google as well. 
These factors mean it is advantageous to think about your LinkedIn profile as a web page, and to optimize it for search results within LinkedIn and external search engines.
Tips for Optimizing Your LinkedIn Profile for Search Results
Check out Brand Credential's blog post on LinkedIn profile SEO for more tips to help your profile and personal brand be found.

LinkedIn Personal Branding FAQs

Should I still make a LinkedIn account even if I want to focus on building my personal brand on another channel?

Even if you don’t intend to actively create and share content on LinkedIn, setting up and completing your profile is beneficial. In this case, think of your profile as another piece of digital real estate that can link back to the channels where you are more active. 

For example, if you are prioritizing your Twitter account and blog for building your personal brand, add your blog as a place you work on your LinkedIn profile, and include a link to your blog and your Twitter account. This will raise awareness for your primary brand channels, and drive traffic to them.

How many connections should I have on LinkedIn?

The number of LinkedIn connections you can have is limitless, but it is advantageous to be strategic about your connections list. When you are first building your LinkedIn profile, try limiting your connections to people you already know, and new people you intend to actually engage with. This will keep your LinkedIn feed relevant, and full of content from your actual community. 

Also, having a small number of connections you actually engage with regularly and exchange value with (ex. Sharing tips with each other, cross promoting each other, giving each other recommendations and endorsements, commenting on each other's posts, etc.) is far more beneficial than a large audience of connections that yield little engagement. Think of LinkedIn connections in terms of real life connections - a good friend you would do a favor for, or receive a favor from is likely more valuable to you than a stranger you only have one shallow conversation with and no follow up. 

How often should I post on LinkedIn? 

When you’re building a personal brand on LinkedIn, finding the sweet spot between content quality and publishing cadence is key. Posting every day or several times a day won’t be valuable if your content is low quality. Just as posting really great content infrequently will only have a marginal impact. 
Your best bet is establishing a realistic publishing cadence that you think you have time for, and striving to maintain that. For example, you could decide to post on LinkedIn once per week, and write a LinkedIn article once per month. Try sticking to your schedule for several weeks, and if you think you can do more, increase your publishing frequency, or if it’s too much and you can’t keep up, dial it back. 

Staying consistent is the key here so your audience knows what to expect from you.

Do I need to fill in every section on my LinkedIn profile?

The short answer is no. While it is advantageous to fill in every section of your profile, you should only do so if you have good content for each particular section that supports your goals on the platform. 
For example, a low quality cover image won’t leave much of an improved impression than a blank cover photo section would. The same idea goes for the written portions of your profile.

You don’t have to complete your profile all at once. Start with the easier / basic sections, and then slowly work on quality content for the bigger sections (like your profile bio).

Articles From Brand Credential With Tips for Building Your Personal Brand on LinkedIn

Check out these articles from Brand Credential for more LinkedIn personal branding tips.
Personal Branding Tips for College StudentsPersonal Branding Tips for College Students
January 28, 2023

These personal branding tips for college students explain how to get a head start on building a brand that will serve your career for life.

20 LinkedIn Personal Branding Tips 20 LinkedIn Personal Branding Tips
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LinkedIn personal branding tips to grow your following and optimize your profile.

10 Content Ideas For Building Your Personal Brand On LinkedIn10 Content Ideas For Building Your Personal Brand On LinkedIn
January 28, 2023

Try these content ideas in your LinkedIn personal branding strategy.

LinkedIn Marketing Tips: The Anatomy of a LinkedIn PostLinkedIn Marketing Tips: The Anatomy of a LinkedIn Post
January 23, 2023

What’s in a LinkedIn post? Check out this breakdown of LinkedIn post features in order to leverage each of them in your marketing strategy.

Best Search Engine Optimization Practices for More LinkedIn Profile ExposureBest Search Engine Optimization Practices for More LinkedIn Profile Exposure
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Leverage your LinkedIn profile as a marketing channel using these tips for better profile SEO.