How to Use LinkedIn to Grow Your Personal Brand and Scale Your B2B Company

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By Starling Social President, Alyson Shane

The key to success in business is trust. After all, people want to work with, and buy from, people who they know, like and trust - and LinkedIn is the best platform for business-to-business (B2B) brands to reinforce those connections. 

LinkedIn is also the best place for the people who run B2B businesses to grow their personal brands and reinforce their values and showcase the work they do to their communities.

In this post we’re going to be covering both of these topics: how to grow your personal brand, and scale up your B2B company, on this important and powerful platform.

Let’s start with the basics:

What’s a Personal Brand?

Let’s start with the basics: a “personal brand” is exactly what it sounds like!

Your “personal brand” is an extension of who you are. I love this description from Sprout Social that states: it’s the process of defining and promoting what you stand for as an individual. 

When people think about you or speak about you, it’s your personal brand that they’re talking about, so it’s important to define what makes you, you.

Some questions you can ask yourself include:

  • What are my values and how do I express them?
  • What do I want to be known for?
  • What’s my area of expertise and how can I share what I know?
  •  What makes me unique and sets me apart from others in my industry?

Once you’ve hammered out some answers to these questions, it’s time to start thinking about how to apply them to your LinkedIn presence.

How to Use LinkedIn to Grow Your Personal Brand

Let’s start with some actionable steps to level-up your personal brand on the platform:

1. Optimize your LinkedIn profile

Your profile is often the first thing people see when they find you on the platform, so this is an important first step. 

Basically, you want your profile to showcase who you are, what you do, and why people should connect with you at-a-glance. 

Here are a few things to keep in mind:

  • Use a square, professional picture. Make sure the image aspect ratio is 400 x 400 px (pixels) wide. It should clearly show your face and, ideally, not be a selfie.

    • You also have the option to post a profile video, but these are limited to 30 seconds so make sure to make them count!

  • Use your background image strategically. This is prime real estate, so something related to what you do, your business’ brand, or something similar is ideal here.

  • A headline that showcases your skills, and what makes you unique. This is the first thing most people will see, so make it memorable if you can! Here’s an example of what mine looks like:

  • Hashtags that mention what you do. These are debatable (I don’t like using them, personally) but experiment and see what works for you!

  • Links to relevant works in the Featured section. This could be places you’ve been published, your own published work (I do this a lot) or your resume, if you’re looking for work.

  • Make the most of your “About” section. Spend some time writing an engaging description of who you are and what you do. This area gives you the opportunity to dig into what’s in your headline, preemptively answer questions, and expand on the unique skills and experience you bring to the table. Here’s what mine looks like: 

Protip: take your personal branding a step further by customizing your LinkedIn URL. This can help you stand out in search results for your name and looks more professional than the generic URL LinkedIn generates for you. Here’s what mine looks like:

See? Short, snappy, and highly personalized!

2. Build Your Network + Start Engaging

Once you’ve got your profile properly set up, it’s time to start making connections and growing your network. To get started, focus on sending connection invites to people like:

  • Friends
  • Current and former colleagues
  • Old classmates
  • Industry leaders you respect
  • Vendors you’ve worked with
  • Other professionals in your city and network

That being said, when connecting with people on LinkedIn, there are some “best practices” to keep in mind: 

  • Personalize your connection request. You don’t have to do this, but taking an extra minute or two to write a short message explaining why you want to connect helps “humanize” your request and can make it look less spammy.

  • Start with people you already know. Before you start trying to connect with friends-of-friends, focus on building a strong network of people you already know, like, trust, and respect. Then you can move onto making broader connections with other people in their networks and your industry.

  • Join relevant LinkedIn groups. If you’re looking to connect with other people in your industry and “tap into” expertise on the platform, then Groups are the way to go. There are a few “ground rules” to follow, however:

    • Spend some time in the group before engaging. This will help you know if it’s the right fit for your goals, and help you avoid looking like you joined the group just to spam everyone.

    • Share relevant content and post useful, helpful comments. Remember: you’re not in a group to sell; you’re there to learn and be part of a community.

    • Do not go heavy-handed on promoting yourself. Groups are communities of like-minded people and over-promoting yourself can come across the wrong way.
  • Engage with your connections. This is a no-brainer; spend time on the platform every day (Monday - Friday, anyway) leaving thoughtful, supportive, and insightful comments. Over time, others will see the way you interact and hopefully want to connect with you, too.

Important: Never Lead With a Personal Ask or Pitch

I mean it. Don’t do this in a comment, or in a DM, or anywhere.

Leading with an “ask” or a pitch feels slimy, because it is. It shows that you don’t actually value the person or the connection; all you’re out for is to benefit yourself, and that rubs people the wrong way and can sour the relationship from the get-go.

If you want to work with someone or pitch them on a service, you need to spend time getting to know them first and, eventually, message them and focus on how you can provide value for them.

3. Start Creating and Sharing Content

Now comes the fun part: creating content to share with your connections! 

LinkedIn offers lots of ways to showcase what you know and highlight what you do, including single-image posts, carousels, videos, and even newsletters.

Regularly sharing content on LinkedIn reinforces you as a subject matter expert, and helps you build a reputation as a go-to source for insights and information about your industry. The more you publish, the more credibility you can build for your personal brand.

Of course, if you’re new to the platform then this is easier said than done. Here are a few topics to consider to help you get started:

Identify the Framework of Your Personal Brand

Let’s start with the basics. Consider things like:

  • What do you want to accomplish with your personal brand? 
  • Which types of connections do you want to reach?
  • Which topics are you passionate about?
  • What’s your personal backstory?

Be as specific as possible in answering these questions, since they’ll provide the foundation for your personal brand.

For reference, here’s what the framework for my personal brand looks like:

My mission is to empower others by de-mystifying the complicated world of digital marketing and content strategy.

My target audience are marketers and business owners who are too busy (or overwhelmed) to keep up-to-date on the latest strategies, and who might be looking to outsource their digital marketing to a team of experts (aka, me and my team).

To help them reach their goals, the topics I talk about are:

  • Industry news and updates
  • Social media tips and strategies
  • Content marketing insights 
  • Business leadership and company culture

Sharing these kinds of updates positions me as a thought leader in my industry, and an expert that they feel they can trust to turn to when they need the services Starling Social offers.

The next step is to build out your personal backstory. 

Of course, everyone is different brings a unique blend of skills and perspectives to the table, so I can’t really dedicate what your backstory should look like, but some things to consider include:

  • How you got to where you are
  • Unique experiences that shaped who you are
  • Hands-on education and learning you’ve received
  • Achievements you’ve earned
  • How these elements help you bring a fresh take and expertise to the table

Don’t stress about nailing this right from the get-go; it’s normal to work to refine these stories over time, and over the course of multiple posts!

How to Use LinkedIn to Scale Your B2B Company

Let’s get into the nitty-gritty! Now that we’ve covered how to establish a presence on LinkedIn, it’s time to take what we’ve learned and apply it to scaling your B2B (business-to-business) company on the platform.

First Off: Why Use LinkedIn for B2B Marketing?

There are several reasons why you should be investing your time promoting your B2B company on LinkedIn, including:

Brand Awareness

Just like your personal brand, LinkedIn is a great place to magnify your company’s visibility and improve people’s perceptions of you and the work you do. 

4 out of 5 LinkedIn users are in decision-making roles, meaning that a strong presence here can help them learn about your work, successes, and generate high-level brand awareness that can lead to future opportunities. 

Lead Generation

Lead gen math is easy math: more leads = more opportunities for sales, and LinkedIn’s search filters make it super easy to identify potential leads in your target audience and develop personalized outreach campaigns to get them through the door.

Traffic Generation 

Driving Traffic

Whether you’re driving traffic back to your website, or keeping your followers within the LinkedIn ecosystem by directing them to articles you’ve published on the platform, maintaining an active presence on LinkedIn can help get those eyeballs on the material you’ve worked so hard on.

This is also true for generating traffic to landing pages for campaigns you’re running, new product or service offerings, and anything else you want to promote. 

Thought Leadership

It’s important to position yourself as a subject matter expert, but don’t sleep on the chance to reinforce your business’ expertise, unique value proposition (UVP), and the skills you bring to the table.

If potential leads see your company sharing relevant, interesting, and thought-provoking content, it reinforces the narrative that you’re at the bleeding edge of your industry and can move more leads through the pipeline.

This goes beyond just publishing your own posts, too. Make sure that your B2B brand is also answering questions “as” your brand in groups and on other people’s posts, too. 

Strategies for Scaling Your B2B Brand on LinkedIn

Besides organic (unpaid) posting and replying in the comments section, there are several things you can do to elevate your B2B brand on the platform. Let’s explore a few: 

Lead Gen Forms

Lead gen forms are exactly what they sound like: they’re lead generation forms that you can use to collect data without a landing page and amplify your sales efforts by connecting with people who are interested enough in what you offer to fill out a form.

LinkedIn Ads

This tip probably comes as no surprise to anyone. If you have an optimized business profile and are already posting organic content on a regular basis, then ads are a great way to amplify your reach and connect with an even wider target audience.

Be aware that LinkedIn ads are the most expensive type of advertising, so it’s important to be prepared and have all your campaign details (budget, timeline, targeting, goals, etc.) hammered out in advance.

LinkedIn Ad Campaign Groups

A “campaign group” is also exactly what it sounds like: it refers to groups of LinkedIn ad campaigns that you can manage at scale.

This approach isn’t something that’s widely discussed (I don’t know a lot of marketers who know about this feature, to be honest) but by placing related campaigns in the same “campaign group” you can:

  • Set objectives that apply to all campaigns in the group
  • Set budgets and schedules that apply to all campaigns in the group
  • Manage the status of every campaign in the group in one place
  • Review and export campaign metrics from the campaigns in the group

If you plan to run lots of different ad campaigns at once, this “protip” will make your life a million times easier, trust me!

Optimizing Your Company Page

We actually published a longer article about this back in late 2023 which you can find here, but here are some of the most important takeaways:

Schedule Your Posts in Advance

We’re big advocates of “batching content”, which refers to the process of creating a “batch” of content at once, then pre-scheduling it so you don’t have any gaps in your content schedule.

LinkedIn has a built-in scheduler, or you can use tools like Buffer or Sprout Social if you prefer to use a 3rd party option.

Follow Company Pages “As” Your Page

You can Follow company pages from your personal profile (and I encourage it) but a power move to generate more brand awareness for your business is to make a point to follow them “as” your company page, too.

This tactic adds greater viability for your Company Page, specifically, and encourages the people who manage the other Company Pages to follow you back, too.

Invite Your Connections to Follow Your Page

 This is another one of my favourite B2B brand awareness tactics. You can use your personal profile to send invites to your connections to encourage them to follow your Company Page.

While this is an effective tactic, there are some basic ground rules to follow to not come across as spammy (which we don’t want):

  • Don’t invite people you just connected with. Wait until they know you a bit better before making the “ask” of them.

  • Send personalized invites when appropriate. This isn’t a hard-and-fast rule, but a little context and a personalized note makes people feel important and not like you’re just spamming them with invites.

  • Re-up your invites as they happen. LinkedIn allows you to send up to 250 requests per month, and while that might seem like a lot it’s actually easy to hit the limit if you’ve got lots of connections. Luckily, as people accept your connection requests you “get” those invites back and can re-issue them to more people in your network, allowing you to exceed the 250 invite limit if your follow requests are accepted throughout the month. 

These are just a few tactics available to you! Like I said above, you can dig into more strategies in this post about LinkedIn Company Page features you need to be using. 

Start Making the Most Out of LinkedIn Today

We’ve covered a whole lot in this piece (it’s +2400 words, whoops!) so I hope this gives you a strong jumping-off point to start getting active and promoting yourself and your B2B business on this powerful platform.

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