Embrace the Awkwardness: My Guide to Self-Promotion on LinkedIn

LinkedIn is one of the world’s most popular professional networking sites, with over 850 million users. It’s a platform where professionals can network, build relationships, and grow their careers. Whether you’re a recent graduate, an established professional, or a business owner, LinkedIn offers many benefits for those looking to expand their professional network and build their personal brand.

Lots of people use LinkedIn as a way to share company news or repost other people’s content. Though that’s valuable in small doses, your LinkedIn profile should be about YOU! 

In this blog post, we’ll discuss how to embrace that awkward feeling you get when you talk about yourself online and move past it so you can create effective self-promotion on this critically important platform. 

To help you get the most out of LinkedIn, here are some best practices to follow:

Optimize Your Profile

Your LinkedIn profile is your digital business card and the first impression you’ll make on others. So it’s essential to take the time to optimize your profile and make sure it accurately reflects your skills, experiences, and personal brand. Here are some tips for optimizing your LinkedIn profile:

  • Use a professional headshot for your profile picture.
  • Write a compelling headline that summarizes what you do in a few words.
  • Fill out the summary section with a brief but detailed description of your background, skills, and goals.
  • List your current and previous positions and include details about your responsibilities and achievements.
  • Use keywords relevant to your industry and target audience in your profile to make it easier for others to find you.

Remember, this is often the first thing people will see when they Google you. 

So, how do you want to appear to the outside world? 

Create a profile that doesn’t just touch on your current position. Show all of the other elements of your work life, such as volunteering, organizations you’re involved in, and events you’ve been to recently. 

Network and Engage

Networking on LinkedIn by Midjourney - Prompt: "Networking on LinkedIn, Digital Illustration, Tinted Blue and Green, Handshakes, 4K"
Created by Midjourney. Prompt: “Networking on LinkedIn, Digital Illustration, Tinted Blue and Green, Handshakes, 4K”

Networking is one of the critical benefits of LinkedIn, and it’s a great way to build relationships with other professionals in your industry. 

On our recent Online Offscript podcast episode, I spoke about networking with Shana Sumers, Senior Manager of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion and Belonging Communities at HubSpot. She mentioned that LinkedIn DMs are one of her most valuable tools online. 

To network effectively on LinkedIn, you should:

  • Connect with people you know and trust. You can find people you know through email contacts, your school or company alums, or your current and past colleagues.
  • Join LinkedIn groups related to your industry or interests. You can participate in discussions, share your insights, and connect with others in the group.
  • Endorse and recommend others. Endorsements and recommendations can help build your credibility and establish you as an expert in your field.
  • Engage with others by commenting on their posts, liking and sharing their content, and sending messages to start conversations.

Sometimes, networking on LinkedIn can be as simple as liking someone’s post. But, more commonly, you can create valuable connections by commenting and starting public conversations on the comment section itself. 

Remember that there are real people behind every one of those profiles. They get the same excitement when they see a comment as you do — let them know you care about what they have to say. 

Share Valuable Content

Sharing valuable content is a great way to build your personal brand and establish yourself as an expert in your field. To share content effectively on LinkedIn, you should:

Sam LinkedIn post

  • Share articles, videos, and other relevant content your network might find interesting and valuable.
  • Use LinkedIn’s publishing platform to write long-form posts and share your thoughts and ideas with a larger audience.
  • Make sure your content is high-quality and relevant to your target audience.

The key to sharing valuable content is cultivating a consistent and cohesive profile, so your audience knows what to expect when you post. 

For example, I attend monthly events for New Orleans Regional Leadership Institute and post a recap of the events each month after our speakers present. As a result, my audience now knows that these are coming and have come to expect and anticipate them. 

Keep Your Profile Up-to-Date

Keeping your LinkedIn profile up-to-date is crucial for building your personal brand and staying relevant in your industry. Therefore, you should regularly update your profile with new experiences, skills, and accomplishments. Updating your profile will help you stay on top of the minds of your network and ensure that your profile accurately reflects your current professional status.

Everything I’ve discussed above can be summed up in this final tip: make sure your profile is as active as you are. 

You know the old saying, “If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?” The same could be said about your professional life. 

If a business person goes to a networking event and doesn’t post about it, does it make an impact? Well, of course, it does. But LinkedIn allows you to amplify that impact and reach thousands more people. 

Embracing the Awkwardness

LinkedIn is a powerful platform for professionals to network and build relationships. But promoting yourself is awkward, and everyone knows it. That’s the lesson to learn! If everyone knows it’s uncomfortable, why not lean into it and embrace it?