I have no desire to create and promote a “personal brand” on LinkedIn. I know, I know. For someone who writes a twice-monthly recruitment blog, this may sound like bullshit, but please, hear me out. I am not suggesting that I don’t have a personal brand. When you’re a recruiter who uses LinkedIn for 9 hours a day, and you’re inflicted with a chronic rage against modern life as I am, it’s impossible not to have a distinct personal brand. However, this brand was not created in a lab or by a committee. It is a result of my activities, and it is bestowed upon me, and encompasses both the good and the bad. Just work hard, try and be a good dude, and have some fun along the way. From this, a brand will be created. However, you are branded, you are not branding. Branding is sitting in a room with someone else who is paid to be there, deciding on what message to push out to the world. This is fine for businesses, even sole traders. Businesses aren’t sentient beings. You are. And you’re you, and you is enough. Let Robert Walters worry about branding (the business, not my dead uncle), you just fill some roles and see what happens.
According to LinkedIn, and the sheer number of people who now want to sell me personal Branding services, I’m wrong. I’ve been observing this phenomenon for sometime, and it appears to have something to do with raising your SSI, or “Social Selling Index“. Up until recently I had no idea what this was (nor did I care. Still don’t). But to those flogging Personal Branding, it seems to really make their dick hard. An explanation can be found here. Mine’s at 72, and I don’t know if that’s good or bad, but I’d piss my pants if it’s higher than one of these social media gurus. Go check yours and comment below. The commodification of ourselves, this desire to turn a person into a product, and then someone how profit from it, kinda grinds my gears. I shouldn’t care of course. Ain’t none of my business. I just think those who do it are vacuous and a bit sad. Using social media to connect and sell is fine, but can we just use a bit of authenticity instead of being so contrived? Do we have to waste half the week trying to crack LinkedIn’s algorithm just to look cool in front of someone who might buy or services? Anyway, if you want to give it a punt, here’s some things I’ve been told will raise your SSI. Results may vary as I wasn’t really paying attention:
1) Write posts with loads of weird spacing so you have to scroll….
2) Start a poll. Any poll. The more obvious or idiotic the better. Especially one which gives voters the chance to show how inclusive they are. How about “The best retention tool is a) training and development or b) Josef Fritzl’s basement?
3) Make videos where you “download some thoughts” whilst sitting in the driver’s seat of your car. Sitting in cars makes you look like a busy business person and not that you’re embarrassed about the decor in your mum’s box room where you still live.
4) Share non-work related tales about some triumph against some non-work related trials you’ve gone through. Make sure it’s detailed, gory, and a hot potato topic that no one will ever challenge. Disability, any “ism”, being a forces wife (US only) or any “journey” (to recovery, not Tesco’s) all go down well.
5) Comment incessantly on strangers’ posts. However, don’t say anything of value. “Awesome job!, “🙌”, “Thanks for sharing”, “go you!, and “God Bless/Amen” (US and sub-Sahara Africa only) all work well.
6) As a Recruitment Agency GM, get your marketing team, who clearly have the collective personality of one, terrified field mouse, to ghost write an article about one of the following: tips (of any kind), a recent SEEK award win (thank the team), the state of the market (TLDNR: It’s talent-short).
7) Be sure to post a pithy, saccharine, insincere comment and video on any “day”. Everything has a “day” these days, and some things even get a “week”. Be it the recent chance to celebrate all mothers out there (NZ/Au/US only), or reminiscing on your first sexual experience with Henry the Hoover on National Cleaning Week, celebrating a day or week positions you as kind, compassionate, and altruistic, not a self-serving, self-indulgent loser, chasing likes on LinkedIn.
Perhaps I should live and let live. Those who feel they need to be branded might get moist from watching their SSI increase. And those helping them get there are just trying to make a buck in tough times. However, I know, and know of, a lot of high billing recruiters. None of whom to my knowledge buy into this clap trap. Some even use LinkedIn as a “view only” platform and would have a single digit SSI, yet still bill a million dollars a year. Which means that a lot of these branding gurus are selling this dream to people who will never realise said “dream”. And that sucks.
Have a superb weekend.