Personal branding on LinkedIn: 10 steps to successful positioning

Personal branding on LinkedIn: 10 steps to successful positioning

Christoph Rüppel
Christoph Rüppel
published on April 6, 2022   
updated on July 4, 2023

Personal Branding on LinkedIn – The most important in a nutshell

  • The goal of personal branding is to give people a clear, distinguishable image.

  • One’s own positioning must be laid down somewhere and, if possible, always implemented – as on LinkedIn just as in a job interview.

  • The most important part of a social media profile is the photo – here it is worth investing time and money.

  • Content planning should take place regularly – it’s best to block out time for this.

  • It’s crucial to get things done: Better done than perfect.

Whether you’re a student, a founder, the CEO of a Dax company, or an employee, personal branding on LinkedIn is becoming increasingly important for both personal career development and corporate positioning. But how can I make my LinkedIn profile more than just an online business card? We show you best practices of successful personal branding on LinkedIn and give you 10 steps on how you too can position yourself as your own brand.

What is personal branding?

Personal branding is the application of branding tools to people. The goal is to give people a clear, distinguishable image in the eyes of their target groups. This is implemented by aligning the person’s decisions with their brand profile. Personal branding is most clearly visible in social media, especially on LinkedIn: someone who wants to stand for sustainability as a personal brand posts more about this topic – innovation experts are dedicated to innovation topics.

For whom is personal branding on LinkedIn worthwhile?

Personal branding is worthwhile for all people who want to convince other people of themselves and their content:

  • Students can convince desired employers of themselves and their skills at an early stage
  • Traditional employees can network within their industry and receive more frequent and better job offers
  • Executives can use their brand as a leadership tool to convince employees to transform and take them with them.
  • CEOs become their company’s poster child through personal branding on LinkedIn

10 steps for perfect personal branding on LinkedIn

These 10 steps will help you become a personal brand on LinkedIn yourself:

  1. Define your own positioning

    Personal branding on LinkedIn, like any branding, first needs a strategy. This describes the goal and the way to get there. For your goal, it is best to choose a strong image. I want to be the “Mr. Marketing of Siemens”, or the “Ms. Reliable in the solar industry”, etc. Be confident in your choice – and ignore what others would say about it. Because you can keep this goal to yourself.

  2. Retell your resume

    In the second step, start narrating your resume to fit the positioning. Instead of, “I’m Karl and I’m 30 years old,” you could say, “I’m Karl, born in the great days of television advertising; 30 years ago.” To do this, create a list of everything you already associate with your positioning. You can then use that not only for your personal branding on LinkedIn, but everywhere else.

  3. Tailor the profile to your own positioning

    Fill out your LinkedIn profile according to your own personal brand. Use the profile tagline, the “About” section, and the details of each career station to highlight activities that can be useful for personal branding on LinkedIn. Use “talking phrases” instead of officialese when doing so. For example, instead of writing “Marketing Manager, Industry Sector Siemens Drives” in the profile boxes, write “Marketing Expert who makes big machines palatable to customers” – or something similar.

  4. Invest in the profile picture

    When personal branding on LinkedIn, you should make sure to use a meaningful profile picture – this picture is more important than all other components of the profile. It should show you as people would see you on a good day at the office. Photos with a shirt and tie are only required here if you also wear them in the office on a daily basis. On the cover picture you can place information about your own positioning – as in the profile slogan; see point 3.

  5. Create a mind map to find ideas for content

    Following on from point 1, now create a mindmap of topics you could write about. These should of course fit your positioning to be successful with your personal branding on LinkedIn. In the case of “Ms. Reliable in the Solar Industry”, for example, this could be articles about the development of the solar industry, new funding opportunities, etc. as well as pleas for on-time delivery in projects or the consequences of disappointed expectations with employees, etc. For this you can simply take pen and paper, but there are also many helpful mind mapping tools.

  6. Plan your content with a content board

    To keep track of content, it’s best to create a content board on platforms like Trello & Co. with columns for:

    • potential topics
    • written posts in coordination
    • ready-to-post posts
    • posted contributions
    Example of a Trello board for content planning

    Example of a Trello board for content planning

    You can then simply push the topics along to match their status. This way you keep a good overview of the current status of your posts.

  7. Post regularly and block time for it

    So that you are not forgotten by your readers, you should post at least once a week. Ideally, you should choose a ready-made post with a current reference. To ensure that your posts for personal branding on LinkedIn go out regularly and your content board doesn’t empty out, you should schedule an hour once a week to maintain the mind map from point 5 and the content board from point 6.

  8. Be personal in your posts

    LinkedIn is so successful because content is posted there by people who are recognizable as such. Even if you are a founder or representative of a company: Show personality when personal branding on LinkedIn; in content as well as photos. The more often you are in the picture, the greater your chances of success.

  9. Networking: get out and about on the platform

    It’s not just active posting that will help you succeed on LinkedIn. Just as important for personal branding on LinkedIn is that you participate in discussions, thank people for their posts, and also engage with contacts in private messages. This creates a more sustainable relationship between you and your contacts.

  10. Just get started

    Much more important than you doing everything perfectly is to just get started. In this respect: Start with your engagement even before you have worked through all these points. Sign up, socialize, comment, like and post – and work through these points one by one. After all, personal branding on LinkedIn is like soccer: Only those who are on the pitch can score goals.

Best practices for personal brands on LinkedIn

There are quite a few people who are excelling on LinkedIn and co:

  • Tijen Onaran, founder Global Digital Women
    Tijen is one of the best-known diversity activists in Germany. With Global Digital Women, she advises companies on how to implement this – and is herself the best advertisement for her company.
  • Herbert Diess, CEO Volkswagen AG
    Herbert Diess is CEO of Volkswagen AG, one of the largest German companies. His main focus is on VW’s transformation into a future-oriented car manufacturer. He is thus a role model internally and an ambassador externally.
  • Katja Diehl, mobility expert
    Katja Diehl is one of the best-known mobility experts in Germany. She has established herself as a brand in this field for years without having a technical background herself. Her LinkedIn profile has certainly helped. An indication of her success is that her book “Autokorrektur” made it into the Spiegel bestseller list right when it was published in early 2022.
  • Mirko Kaminski, communications consultant
    There are quite a few advertising agency bosses on social media, but only a few do it as catchily as Mirko Kaminski. In particular, his regular posts from the island of Fehmarn give the Achtung agency boss a catchy look and a clear profile that he can then use to bring industry topics to his followers.
  • Jan Koch, Head of Operations at LocalUp
    Our Head of Operations Jan Koch has built a considerable reach on LinkedIn in just a few years. Today, he reaches most of his new clients through the platform.

Become a personal brand on LinkedIn!

Personal branding has become an absolute success model of communication and there are a lot of great examples. Becoming a LinkedIn brand yourself is not as complicated as you think – but it does require perseverance. If you succeed, you have created a valuable communication channel for yourself and your company.