Building Your Online Brand


f you’re an entrepreneur of any kind, the chances are someone’s said to you ‘You’ve got to get on LinkedIn’. And with good reason. As the world’s largest professional networking social media platform, ‘getting on LinkedIn’ is a good thing. But when you’re on there, what do you do and what value can it bring to you, your career and your business

As an entrepreneur and business owner, here are my thoughts on why LinkedIn should be the FIRST thing you do and more importantly, how to do it too.

What is LinkedIn and Why Does it Matter?

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ll have come across Microsoft’s contribution to the social media game called LinkedIn. There are currently around 775 million users on LinkedIn at the moment and this makes it the world’s foremost popular professional social media platform. It’s also the world’s most used professional platform and although it has quite a few similarities to Facebook, it’s quite different in who it attracts and how these people use it.

My Story

So you may be asking yourself, ‘who are you’ and why do I need to read this? Well, the first thing is, I’m not a LinkedIn expert. But for the last 3 years I’ve been using LinkedIn as my primary platform for my business; I’m a commercial photographer by trade and know that my most desired audience hangs out on LinkedIn over any other social platform.

As a result, that’s where I’ve been hanging out, doing most of my business and through my presence on LinkedIn I’ve only been able to have some conversations with new clients in person at trade shows because they, or their colleagues have recognised me from the content I’ve pushed into their LinkedIn feed.

This stuff works!


When I left the Army in 2019, my peer group didn’t mentioned LinkedIn to me. I already had an account although it was rarely used; I thought it was purely for job hunting and for ‘schnecking’ with future employers. Nothing more.

However, after a bit of a rough start to my business I soon realised that I needed to get involved with it more and become a visible player on LinkedIn so that I could get noticed more. The idea was simple. Getting noticed made it easier to be seen as an authority in my chosen niche and therefore more likely to be able to make sales.

So, the first learning point: LinkedIn is more than a job hunting platform. It’s a social network. Professional people use it to network for jobs, yes, but they also advertise jobs, build relationships with people in businesses they want to work with, become aware of events, find contact details for persons of interest before making targeted sales calls, sell their products and services AND chat with former colleagues and friends about personal stuff!

To do all that you first need a profile.

What’s a brand?

To make some of those aforementioned things happen, you’ve got to have a profile and you’ve got to make some connections. What makes the second part easier is by having a clearly identifiable brand.

For those who don’t know:

‘A brand is an intangible marketing or business concept that helps people identify a company, product, or individual.

Simply put, it’s more than just a logo or your appearance, it’s what causes each of these things to be what they are. It’s the morals and ethics, the appearance, the voice, the messaging, the why and the how of an individual or group and much more.

In a business sense, you’ll be able to recall lots of popular ones – because they’re very good… Apple, Lamborghini, Coca Cola, Madonna,The All Blacks, Walt Disney… etc. All very recognisable for the way they do things and what their core product/service is. This is the gold standard we should be aiming for.

Having a recognisable brand will help you become more identifiable for the thing you do best, it’ll open doors which might previously have been shut and it’ll allow you to charge more too. And it can all start onLinkedIn, if you want it to.

Building Your Brand

The first thing to note is, this isn’t going to happen overnight. Even if you’ve got your profile in good order and you’re ready to start selling/job hunting, you’re reliant upon other people seeing your brand and being exposed to it over a long period of time before you’ll notice the benefit. But, with persistence and consistency you’ll get there.

If you’re soon to be starting your resettlement,thinking about starting a business, or even if you’re not, get an account NOW and start reading, liking and most importantly ENGAGING. Trust me, you’ll thank me in the long run!

So how do you create your brand?

Make a plan

It is entirely possible not to make a plan and yet still create a brand, but it’ll be more difficult to remain consistent toit and that’s what helps you to become recognisable and familiar to your target audience. Therefore, make a plan. Work out:

  • what do you want to be known for?
  • what are your morals and how does that translate into the way you deliver your services?
  • how do you want to be seen?
  • do you have a logo or colour scheme that you want to use?
  • What kind of things do you want to talk about on LinkedIn? What’s your expertise in?How can you convey that expertise?
Build your profile

This is your ‘shop window’. Regardless of whether you’re looking to be employed or become the employer, if you’ve got a sub-standard profile it’s going to hurt your ability to do what you need. People won’t be able to find you, won’t know what you do and won’t know how your experience and expertise relates to solving their problem – because that’s what they’re there for, to make their lives easier! You may want to refer to this post to get your profile up and running quickly and effectively.

Your profile picture and profile banner images are some of the most important part of building this profile. Our brains are wired to look at faces. So in order to be remembered we've got to make our face stand out from the other hundreds of faces that they might see over that day. You can start doing this by making full use of these two image spaces.

First, your profile image. Of course, you can grab you phone, stand in front of a plain background and click away a selfie, but is that right? If you do want to go down the self-help route then perhaps check out this article on taking your own profile picture.

Engage with the platform and its users

This doesn’t just mean posting on the platform,I mean you should use it to solve your problems and achieve your aims. If that means to search and apply for jobs then you’ve gotta do it (NB, recruiters still use LinkedIn for finding candidates and most of that comes from finding people from a well-considered and executed personal profile). But, if you’re a business owner, salesman, marketer, business development officer or any other position within a business then the more you put in the more you get out. FACT.

Only 7% of people who have an account on LinkedIn actually post on it. That means 93% are receiving significantly less eyeballs on their profiles because they’re not drawing people in to show case their expertise.

Like most platforms, LinkedIn rewards those who post and engage on it’s platform regularly. However, there’s a difference.Firstly, it tells you how you can do better (see the adjacent box on yourSocial Selling Index) and also it doesn’t need you to be posting every waking moment of the day in order to do well. This isn’t Twitter or Instagram. If you’re posting 3 times a week you’re doing more than enough and in fact,posting more than that can actually harm your reach. Consistency is your biggest ally, not quantity.

What to post

Knowing what to post is usually the biggest problem people have. I certainly still struggle from time to time and I’m sure I’m not the only one.

There’s a simple way to deal with this. If you’re looking to build a brand,base your content on ‘content pillars’. These are essentially categories which your ideas sit within. So, for instance, as a photographer I could have photography tips, equipment reviews, case studies of work I’ve done and my thoughts on what’s happening within my industry. All posts then fall out from one of these categories.


But, let’s say you’re a service leaver you may find that more difficult to do. So what do you do? If you’ve got an idea of what industry or role you want to go into pick your content pillars around establishing yourself as an expert within that industry or doing the kind of job you want todo. An example could be, if you want to become a Leadership Coach or consultant, you content pillars might be: talking about leadership styles,discussions on historical leaders, conversations on current affairs and how their leadership styles are good or bad, top tips for improving your reader’s leadership abilities. Hopefully you get the idea.

What should you actually do on LinkedIn?

Now you’re set up, what do you actually do? Here are my top 5 things to do on LinkedIn on a routine basis:

  1. Check to see who’s viewed your profile (see notifications) and if interested, check out their profiles. Look to see who they’re connected to and explore their connections. Respond to any connection request – don’t accept a request unless they can help you get achieve your top level goals. Less is more!
  2. Find and connect with 5 people per day you’d appreciate having in your network who could help you achieve your top level goals. Personalise your connection request with a personalised message(LinkedIn frowns upon copy & paste activity of any kind) – better still,send a voice or video message to do this. DO NOT TRY TO SELL TO THEM IN THE FIRST FEW MESSAGES! Build a professional relationship over time with them.
  3. Check out your feed and comment on at least 5 posts which are written or commented on by people who you want to know. Again,try to avoid direct salesy language unless it’s specifically asked for.
  4. Post about things that you’re an ‘expert’ in that will help other people. You’ll get a lot more benefit from the platform if you’re seen to be a ‘helper’ rather than just posting about how great you are all the time.
  5. [Job Seekers] – Use the job search facility to find a job [Entrepreneurs] – Use the search facility to find people and businesses you want to sell to. Find your ideal clients, find their details and pick up the phone and call them. Cold calling is not dead and the more you do it, the better you’ll get at it.

Going further

Doing these things already? Want a bit more? Here are some resources which will help you get on better with LinkedIn.

Your Social Selling Index

I won’t try to explain it. Just Google it. It will help you be better on LinkedIn. The bigger the score the better. Use the hints to work out what kind of activity you need to be doing in order to improve it.

Check out the following people

  • Richard Van Dem Blom – Linkedin consultant and responsible for a quarterly LinkedIn Algorithm Research report that is free to download and take advantage of. This stuff is gold and should be the first follow you look for.
  • Michael Stelzner – Owner of Social Media Examiner and authority on all things Social. He has a podcast call the Social Media Marketing Podcast and covers all sorts. Their website should be the top of your reading list in the morning and his podcast is fantastic. I couldn’t do without it.
  • Louise Brogan – Another consultant who has a podcast – ‘LinkedIn with Louise’. She offers consultancy but also tips on how to get the most out of the platform for free. Mum and business owner, lives inN Ireland, chats a lot. Provides a good amount of tutorials in video form on her YouTube channel too. Has featured on Social Media Market Podcast also.
It will take time but the important things are: Engagement, Consistency and Persistence.

If you want an example, feel free to check out my own profile at can’t promise it’s perfect but it’s worked for me and has helped me to become a recognisable and trusted provider of adventure themed photo content for the UK outdoor industry over the last 3 years.

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Portrait image of Lake District photographer, Al Topping Photos & Film
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