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How to reach your target group and build your personal brand on LinkedIn


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Business Spotlight - epaper ⋅ Ausgabe 8/2022 vom 27.07.2022

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Artikelbild für den Artikel "How to reach your target group and build your personal brand on LinkedIn" aus der Ausgabe 8/2022 von Business Spotlight. Dieses epaper sofort kaufen oder online lesen mit der Zeitschriften-Flatrate United Kiosk NEWS.

Bildquelle: Business Spotlight, Ausgabe 8/2022

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W asit really planned this way? When LinkedIn got started in Mountain View, California, in May 2003, the five creators of the online platform couldn’t possibly have known how much they would capture the zeitgeist with their invention almost 20 years later.

Officially, LinkedIn is called a social network. That doesn’t do justice to its potential. The platform can be understood as a global, digital trade fair and can be used that way — one with well over 800 million registered users (as of April 2022), more than 18 million of them in the DACH region. This means that about one in three professionals in German-speaking countries has a profile. Across the globe, 65 million decision makers are on LinkedIn, all of whom can be reached from the comfort of one’s own home — without any need to fly or worry about contact or travel restrictions.

Thanks to the many tracking possibilities, the ...

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... benefit for a company, but also for individuals, is measurable, which allows efficient and targeted work. This is why it can be proven that, worldwide, six employees find a new job every minute via the platform. Above all, LinkedIn is a gigantic lever to maximize reach, as well as a valuable address book, which makes it possibly the most important tool for business professionals, especially in the B2B sector.

In short, those who recognize LinkedIn’s potential can set themselves apart from the competition and gain a competitive advantage. In particular, not many industry leaders have yet recognized the possibilities of personal branding — even though, with enough expertise, it is relatively easy to gain the trust of the relevant target group and become an opinion leader in one’s own industry, possibly even worldwide.

Worldwide, six employees find a job every minute

How to gain the trust of your target group

1. Know your market! That sounds logical, but, looking closer, it involves a lot of research. The point is to understand how well represented your industry already is on LinkedIn. This includes a proper analysis of what competitors and role models (and even anti-role models) are doing online.

Experience shows that you don’t have to reinvent the wheel, but you often have to optimize it, so that it rolls faster than those of your competitors. This means being inspired by successful profiles while learning from other people’s mistakes.

2. Know your target group! Again, this seems obvious, but it’s something that’s easily underestimated. Particularly in the digital world, people’s attention span is sometimes very limited. That makes it all the more important to find out what resonates well with your target group. What’s often liked, commented on, maybe even shared? And, above all, why are these things well received?

Often, there’s even a way to engage with the target group on a personal level. You just have to pay attention to what you have in common and then communicate this to the outside world in the form of posts. Common ground creates a lot of trust.

Before your personal brand is ready to go, of course, your own profile must be polished to a high gloss — it is your digital business card. In any case, many people are shocked by how quickly their LinkedIn profiles can be found. Or they google their name and see how many direct links their accounts have had. It’s probably in the top seven, and maybe even at the top.

The trick is to create an inviting profile page without filling it with excessive text. Sometimes, less really is more, as long as the essentials are included. This is where understanding your target group comes into play: the more of their interests appear, the more common ground is revealed and the more comfortable they feel. And visitors will be receptive to (good) content.

Who decides what “good” content is?

The target group decides — but at this point, you (hopefully) already know what they find good. The art of writing content is to keep a clear focus in mind, to follow a central idea, at all times. Whether it’s a status update, an article, a video or even an image gallery, always keep the most important questions in mind: Why am I producing this? Who is my content for? Who should feel addressed? And what should my target group think of me?

Content must be relevant. Don’t deviate from your message

The good thing is that anything has the potential to become content. It can be about problems familiar to the group, a project you’re working on or an exciting business encounter. The important thing is that the content must be relevant to the target group and that you don’t deviate from your message or publish content on LinkedIn that actually belongs on other platforms. Looking at the interactions, tells you if your content was really good.

Involve your target group

Always start with a joke? Not necessarily, but it’s certainly imperative to end with a question. If you ask the group directly about their experiences or opinions at the end of a piece of content, you will get comments and, because of the way the algorithm works, the more people comment, the more widely the post is distributed and the more people it reaches. Above all, however, the comment function can also generate valuable discussions and even ideas for future content.

Of course, it takes time to build up a community that will be waiting for your next piece of content. So, it’s much better if there’s some variety: sometimes an explanatory video, sometimes a testimonial as a text, sometimes a nice photo. There should be relatively few limits to creativity. The most important thing is to post content regularly and make it relevant to the target group.

The power of classic media

As mentioned above, LinkedIn is a great opportunity to build trust. However, what’s even more credible than presenting one’s own expertise? Having someone else do it for you! In professional circles, it may be as good as a knighthood if, for example, the Handelsblatt writes an article about you. That’s why it’s worthwhile to have journalists in your own contact list, to cultivate these relationships — at some point, your expert opinion on a topic may be in demand. But that’s only possible if you’re present in the minds of media people as an opinion leader in your field.

LinkedIn is an opportunity for this because the traditional barriers to the media have almost disappeared. Relevant people can be contacted directly via the platform, and if an interesting conversation takes place with or about you, this is also excellent content for your next post.

Standstill is a step backwards

There’s no doubt that LinkedIn has immense potential. However, as is often the case in business, it’s also important to question oneself constantly, to analyse and improve oneself. LinkedIn offers valuable tools for tracking content and activities. What went well? What didn’t? And why? Which people interacted with you?

Who do you want to interact with more?

With the existing metrics, it’s easy to optimize what’s good and improve what can be improved. Standstill means you risk being overtaken by ever-increasing competition. Almost 20 years after LinkedIn began, more and more users are beginning to understand what it can do.

LinkedIn...

● went live on 5 May 2003

● is the world’s largest professional network

● was bought by Microsoft in 2016, adding the power of a global cloud provider

● has its headquarters in Sunnyvale, California

● has about 25,000 employees, including those in subsidiaries