When I started working for myself fulltime in 2016 I made an announcement via a post on LinkedIn. That post received over 32,000 views and 500+ comments. Its evidence of two things for me. LinkedIn is powerful and when women are deliberate and intentional about their brand, they create impact. For themselves and their career. For me, LinkedIn is a powerful channel to manage my professional brand and my career.
Now I’m no Pollyanna. Social Media can be intimidating at best and pretty brutal at worst for women. But I have used social media, in particular LinkedIn, for more than a decade to successfully build my brand and demonstrate my value to my stakeholders. I want to show more women why LinkedIn is powerful and how they can leverage it to their advantage.
Where Are the Women?
Let’s call the elephant in the room. LinkedIn does feel dominated by male voices. But it is arguably under-utilised by women. Men represent 57% of users. When I compare this to Facebook (75% women) and Instagram (58% women) I reckon there is an opportunity to rethink where we put our social media effort.
I say this because there are some other key statistics* about LinkedIn that I want women to be aware of:
- 122 million people have been invited to a job interview through LinkedIn;
- 35.5 million people have been hired by a person they connected with on LinkedIn;
- I personally have been (successfully) headhunted for executive and board roles via LinkedIn connections.
- More than 65% of the speaking gigs I am contracted to do come from people on LinkedIn who are not current connections.
Things that Get in the Way
I have copped my fair share of negativity on social media (outspoken feminist women typically do.) But in general, I find LinkedIn less onerous for this kind of behaviour. There are also good tools for reporting and blocking, though my experience has been that whilst discussion and debate are often robust on LinkedIn, it is typically respectful.
Women have told me that other things get in the way of them utilising LinkedIn more fully:
- Women lack the time to use LinkedIn. TIP
- Women lack the confidence to use LinkedIn. TIP
- Women lack the skills to use LinkedIn. TIP
Prioritising time for oneself is an onerous task for many women. But given that LinkedIn is such a powerful channel, I’m hoping that I can inspire more women to take action.
Bonnie Power, a LinkedIn coach and marketing expert, says “LinkedIn is a great platform to build your brand as an executive woman and to start connecting with a wide range of decision-makers. Even if you feel you are secure in your current role, I want you to start attracting more opportunities over the next 6 – 12 months, so at the very least you can feel like you are in a powerful position to choose where you want your career to head. I’d like you to make it part of your daily routine to start using LinkedIn to build your personal brand and start connecting with the decision-makers within the organisations you’d like to work with.”
How to Take Action
You might be reading this article and thinking, but I am OK, I log onto or access LinkedIn pretty regularly. Or, I post some stuff from time to time. If you answer “No” to any of the dot points below, then you must take action and turn your attention to LinkedIn as soon as possible:
- I have reviewed my LinkedIn profile in the last 6 months to ensure it is up to date and represents my brand;
- I have updated my Headline to reflect my value proposition, not just my role title;
- I have a customised LinkedIn URL;
- I have an up to date, professional headshot on my LinkedIn profile;
- I have ‘liked’ and commented on a post by a strategic connection and tagged them in the past month;
- I have posted an interesting article, with a precis or commentary, to demonstrate my expertise and thought leadership in the past week;
- I have proactively invited people to connect with me to extend my strategic network;
- I have proactively provided a recommendation to a strategic contact in my network.
I am NOT a LinkedIn expert. I am self-taught. There is a plethora of free information about personal branding and LinkedIn, but if you want a coach or someone to help you in more depth with your LinkedIn strategy, then you cannot go past Bonnie Power.
Personal Branding for Free
I want women to be sought after experts in their field of choice and I want women to have choices about their careers. In my opinion, there is currently no better (FREE) public platform for building a professional brand in order to advance your career than LinkedIn. So why wouldn’t you take advantage of that platform to build your brand and as a result, your ability to have choices about the way you work and live?
Women, it is time to become deliberate and intentional about your brand, yourself and your career. its time to take action to prioritise your focus on LinkedIn and its time to have A Career that Soars!
Michelle is a woman who gets shit done! She is a passionate advocate for women, girls and inclusive workplaces in business and sport. She is determined to contribute to creating a gender-equal world and does through her businesses Advancing Women, Women Who Get It, CDW and A Career that Soars! Give her a shout if you think she can help you or your organisation.