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In the 4th installment we'll look at how your online and offline brands interact.

LinkedIn, if you think about it, is simply an offline idea implemented in an online manner. It takes advantage of the ease of communicating and interacting that the internet provides.

LinkedIn hasn’t changed or replaced the old way of networking. It’s just added a new dynamic to the mix. It’s made it easier to network with more people in less time. It’s expanded the typical network geographic restrictions. And it’s opened up new opportunities to showcase your business or yourself.

In the end there is only one you or one business. There’s just a new opportunity to build your brand. In my chamber I’ve attended over 90% of the alliance meeting over the past three years. Each meeting I have 60 seconds to get my message across. In addition I try to meet face to face with as many people as possible.

So understanding the offline opportunity, I have 60 seconds to brand myself to 40 or 50 people and about 30 minutes to do so in a one-on-one setting.

LinkedIn helps me super size that effort. On LinkedIn my message is available 24/7 for as long as the profile visitor is interested. I can present myself in a number of ways. How good of a job that I do will determine whether I have a sticky or slick profile. Sticky = stay. Slick = go.

You want your profile to be sticky so that people will stay for a while and come back to your profile. A sticky profile stays with your visitor after they have left.

So what are some components of a sticky profile?

1. You must have a well written and engaging summary
2. You must provide details about who you are and where you’ve been
3. There should be a reason for the person to return

How to get a sticky profile:

1. Have a well written and engaging summary
2. Provide a complete profile…past jobs, experiences, educational back ground, and interests
3. Defined URL’s (shows website address not just “Website” for your URL’s)
4. A personalized URL (not the standard public profile URL)
5. Incorporate your blog **one of the new LinkedIn Apps
6. Post documents and presentations **more of the new LinkedIn Apps
7. At least 10 recommendations (received)
8. At least 15 recommendations (given)
9. Answered questions (answers chosen as the best are even better)
10. Add interesting Polls to your profile **another new LinkedIn App

Doing some or all of these things will help you begin building your online brand. Many of these are part of the Credibility building process as well. When your offline connections look up your LinkedIn profile (and they will), they be able to see all of the things you didn’t have time to tell them in your 60 second spot or in the 30 minutes you met face to face. And you won’t have to be the one to tell them. Your profile does the work for you.

Eventually your offline and your online brands will converge to simply being your brand. Remember to keep it fresh and interesting. Give them a reason to come back.

Sean Nelson is the author of the Linked Intuition blog and helps business professionals, the Self-Employed and small businesses understand how to effectively use LinkedIn to expand their networking and grow their business.

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