I came across an article by Hiroshi Mikitani, a LinkedIn Influencer. His article, “3 Secrets of Global Branding,” explains simply how large, global brands maintain a consistent image. They do this by answering these three questions:
- Who are you?
- What do you do?
- Where are you going?
These are great questions for large and small businesses to answer to keep a consistent image, both to prospects and to internal employees. But, these are also really crucial questions for individuals to answer on their own personal social profiles. LinkedIn is the first social profile you’d think of to answer these questions on since it is all about your professional self, but don’t discount the importance of your other profiles. Being consistent across all your social profiles will greatly improve your credibility.
So, what are these questions actually asking?
Who are you?
This is a personal question. Don’t jump straight to what you do professionally—that’s the next question. This question is more about what makes you different from others who do the same thing you do. So, if you’ve been told that you’re super understanding or that you’re an incredibly hard-worker, say that. If family is a huge part of your life, make that known in your profile. If you’re one of those crazy people that runs 8 miles at 5:00am, again, point that out. When someone asks who you are, pick out those qualities or characteristics that has given you a competitive advantage over others. I really enjoy Gary Vaynerchuck's way of answering who he is (and what he does) on his Twitter profile:
On LinkedIn, your personal description would fit well in the Summary section. On Facebook and Twitter, these qualities or characteristics are shown more through your activity—your photos, your status updates/tweets and the content you share. However, you should follow Gary's lead and include at least some of this information in the short summary section on Twitter.
What do you do?
Now you can say who you are professionally. This is more than listing duties or tasks you’ve accomplished. With each position you’ve held or current hold, explain how you made an impact in that position. This will further explain what you actually did beyond a list of tasks you accomplished. If you increased sales by 50% last quarter, definitely list that. In that case, it’s likely that you listed you’re an incredibly hard-worker in the "who are you" section. Who you are and what you do tend to fit hand-in-hand.
LinkedIn is an especially good place to list all of the previous positions you’ve held in the Experience section. Also, include your current position title in your headline. This time, I'll use myself as an example (since Gary Vaynerchuck's LinkedIn and Facebook profiles are more robust). The image to the right is an example of how your current position is featured on LinkedIn vs. Facebook. On Facebook and Twitter, these titles are sometimes listed as part of a person’s profile, such as in the About section on Facebook. Twitter doesn't have a specific section for employment information, but some people have their professional title in the short summary section.
Where are you going?
This is a big question. You should answer this question from a personal standpoint and from a professional one. First, it’s a question about your goals. What current or future goals are you working towards, and where will those goals take you? For some, this might be opening your own agency. What goals are you working towards to achieve that? Listing these goals and aspirations in your profiles shows that you’re always working for something greater and that you care about growth in your professional and personal life.
The LinkedIn Summary section is a great place to briefly state your current or future goals. It makes more sense to put your professional goals on LinkedIn, while more personal goals, such as running a 5K, are shown on Facebook and Twitter. Again, goals on Facebook and Twitter become apparent in the things you share, rather than in list form like they are on LinkedIn.
What do you get out of this?
Once you’ve answered these three questions on your profiles, you’ll have a comprehensive presentation of yourself. With this, prospects will be able to immediately see how you can help them. Plus, especially in the insurance industry, clients now want to have a more personal relationship with their agents; they want to know they can come to them for advice. Putting a little more effort into your social profiles goes a long way in showing prospects and clients what you can offer them.
To get started, check out this infographic on how to get the most out of your LinkedIn profile.