You're Not Building a Personal Brand; You're Just Posting on LinkedInby@deepikapundora
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8,421 reads

You're Not Building a Personal Brand; You're Just Posting on LinkedIn

by Deepika PundoraDecember 27th, 2023
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Posting on LinkedIn like it’s some type of ritual isn’t building a personal brand. It can get you to destination A, for sure, but you won’t go far.

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“I know you hate the idea of a personal brand, but it’s the best way to stand out and get noticed in a noisy crowd.”

I stand by the idea. It’s surely not easy or comfortable to put yourself out there – just as much for the attention as for the scrutiny of it all. But for the love of books, I can’t seem to understand how the term “personal branding” came to be equated with posting on LinkedIn.

I’ve seen people share endless frameworks. I’ve seen irrelevant pictures (read: fake candids at a cafe 🫠) attached to posts with regurgitated advice masked as unique insights. I’ve seen engagement tactics; a dime a dozen at that.

I’ve seen the self-proclaimed “LinkedIn experts” trying to convince people to use this trick or that trick to game the algorithm and boost credentials: more likes, more comments, more shares.

I may sound condescending here, but I don’t necessarily think there’s anything wrong with doing any of the above. Except for maybe the irrelevant pictures part. They need to go. Big Time.

Posting on LinkedIn like it’s some type of ritual isn’t building a personal brand. It can get you to destination A, for sure, but you won’t go far. And I’ll tell you why.

But What Even is a Personal Brand?

Personal brand is how you want your audience to see you and talk about you. Unlike reputation, it’s not about what others think of you. It’s about the image you’ve cultivated and how others relate to this image.

The idea is simple. You get to control the narrative about who you are, what you do, and the values you stand for. You’re the captain of the ship. You get to steer it in the direction you want to take it, instead of following the currents. And LinkedIn happens to provide a platform to do just that.

Pre-LinkedIn (or social media) days, networking events and conferences used to be the platform to develop your brand. Now, it’s social media, and especially LinkedIn on the professional front.

It’s a lot easier to develop your personal brand using social media. You can dictate and direct the way people perceive you and attract the right audience to win new business, get your dream job, and land other profitable gigs. The opportunities are endless.

At the same time, it’s a lot easier to fabricate and blow up the truth to sell a specific image. Because at the end of the day, LinkedIn is a social media site, no better than Instagram or Twitter. But if you’ve got no credentials to walk the talk, you’re just another copy of a copy.

I won’t take content strategy advice from someone who has zero experience scaling content teams. I won’t trust someone with a time-sensitive project if they’re always missing the deadlines. Would you?

What You’re Building is a Mirage

Erik Vesser, CEO of Hamlet Protein, has been consistently posting on LinkedIn since 2021. Of his many admirers and critics, many were wondering what someone like him was getting out of writing on LinkedIn.

Answering why he dedicates so much time and effort to the activity, Erik writes in a LinkedIn article:

"These posts aren’t about showing off or bragging. They’re instead about taking a personal approach from my position as CEO to drive brand awareness for Hamlet Protein……..I believe creating a personal connection with those within (and potentially outside) my network can and will help Hamlet Protein.”

His posts and insights are focused around leadership, company operations, and the area of agriculture; domains he has first-hand experience in. That’s why he’s a true thought leader. He can walk the talk.

You see, it’s never been about how many times you post in a week or at what time or how you engage with others’ posts or who you tag. These are tactics to get noticed by LinkedIn’s algorithm. Or as I like to call them: cheap tricks.

Please don’t mistake virality for authority or authenticity. It’s a vanity metric.

Wrapping Up

If you have ambition to become a thought leader, remember the proof is always in the pudding. Rather than sharing mediocre, regurgitated content to demonstrate expertise, let your body of work speak for your expertise. Talk from experience, share learnings from the work you’re doing, not Google’s top 10 results.

Because with LinkedIn, it’s always been about WHAT you post, and how you bring value and learnings to the people you’re targeting. It’s never been about the frequency or timing of the posts.

If you’re adding value to someone’s life, they’ll remember you the way you want. And that’s what personal branding is all about.