7 November 2023

Build Your Personal Brand on LinkedIn—Here’s How

Interview with Meredith Metsker of UConnect

In our conversation, Senior Content Marketing Manager at uConnect, Meredith Metsker discusses her foray into personal brand-building and why she thinks you should build your personal brand on LinkedIn.

She also offers her thoughts on how to overcome the 3 biggest challenges of building a personal brand—and details 5 steps for those looking to get started.

Meredith Metsker interview

Meredith Metsker, Senior Content Marketing Manager, uConnect tells us how to build your personal brand on LinkedIn

Name: Meredith Metsker
Job title: Senior Content Marketing Manager
Company: uConnect
Hometown: Berthoud, Colorado, USA
Degree: BA, Journalism

Fun facts about Meredith Metsker:

💖 The person you most admire is: My younger brother (he’s a smokejumper with the Forest Service)
🥙 Food you’re craving right now: Ice cream, always!
📺 The show you’re binging right now: My annual Fall rewatch of Gilmore Girls 😅
🎵 Your favorite musician/band is: On opposite ends of the spectrum, Machine Gun Kelly and Brandi Carlile
🎁 Your most treasured possession is: My bookcase full of books
📚 My late grandma had a room full of floor-to-ceiling bookshelves full of books, and someday I want a room just like hers 😊

Tell us about how your life’s journey has led you to your role at uConnect.

Meredith Metsker: I started my career as a journalist. But after a couple of years as a reporter at a daily newspaper, I was feeling really burnt out. I knew I couldn’t do it for the rest of my life; I needed to do something else where I could still tell stories, still do interviews, still read and write. 

Marketing was a natural fit—and it was the perfect transition. I still use all of my journalism skills to this day. 

Since I’ve been in the marketing field, I have worked at a university, a labor data analytics company and an international tech startup. And now I work for a small ed tech company based in Boston. I thrive when I can create different types of content and use those journalism skills to tell great stories.

You started to build your personal brand on LinkedIn about 4 years ago. What was your motivation?

Meredith Metsker: I saw other people having success on the platform—I was lurking on LinkedIn at first, like a lot of people do. I saw other marketers posting on LinkedIn like it was Facebook for business. I didn’t realize that you could post pictures and videos or just text only—it’s a true social networking platform. I was used to it just being a digital resume, which it was for a long time.

That got the gears turning. My boss didn’t really think that LinkedIn was the place for us to be; he didn’t see the potential ROI. But I thought it was that we could be reaching our customers directly on LinkedIn where they were already hanging out. 

I started to build a personal brand on LinkedIn almost as a way to prove him wrong. I started building relationships and networking with our customers, and they started engaging with my posts.

And soon, my posts were where our customers were getting information for our company. Then other people in the company started asking me for advice about how to get started on LinkedIn—or started getting more active on LinkedIn themselves. 

Also, I’ve lived in small towns my entire adult life. I knew that if I wanted to advance my career, I needed to make my world bigger. LinkedIn has allowed me to network and learn from millions of other professionals all over the world. If I had just stuck with in-person networking, I’d be limited.

Why did you build your personal brand on LinkedIn instead of another platform?

Meredith Metsker: Initially, it was because I saw a lot of thought leaders in marketing and sales using LinkedIn effectively and thinking, okay, I want to learn from these folks.

A lot of my early posts and styling was based on what I saw marketer Dave Gerhardt doing; he used to do walk-and-talk videos a couple of times a week. I realized you can be casual and personable on this platform too. You don’t have to be super laced-up, formal and professional all the time.

Customers at the companies I was working for were also active on the platform. It made sense for me to learn this platform a little better so I could reach those customers better. 

Also, I saw value in trying to build a personal brand on LinkedIn, that same platform where my professional profile/resume/portfolio lives, so people could get to know me as a person and a professional, and then also go to my profile. 

They can see my work experience, they can see work samples, they can learn about my skills and they can see recommendations I’ve gotten from other people. There’s a lot of value in all of that being in one spot. I didn’t want to build a professional brand on Twitter or Instagram and then make people go back to LinkedIn to see my profile. 

Should you build your personal brand on LinkedIn, even if you don’t anticipate moving up the ladder or changing jobs?

Meredith Metsker: Yes. If you are interested in growing at all as a person or a professional, you should build your personal brand on LinkedIn. You never know. You might get laid off, especially if you’re working in tech. If you get laid off, if you get fired, or maybe there’s turnover at your company and all of a sudden it’s not a great place to work anymore and you want to leave, building your brand on LinkedIn gives you options. 

Because of the personal brand that I’ve built on LinkedIn, I am confident that if I were to get laid off or (hopefully not!) fired, I think I’d be fine. I think I’ve done enough work that I could find another job or go freelance full-time because I’ve built a lot of connections through LinkedIn. I have a big enough network that I think people would put in a good word. 

It’s thinking ahead, it’s giving yourself a little bit of a buffer, almost recession-proofing yourself because you never know what’s going to happen. 

What are 3 of the top challenges when you build a personal brand on LinkedIn?

1. People think they have nothing to contribute to the conversation

That’s wrong. You have a voice. It’s important and it matters. Everyone’s voice contributes something valuable to the conversation. It’s just a matter of having confidence and being willing to try. I know it takes courage and it’s hard, but you’ll figure out what resonates and there will be posts that fall flat. It happens to the best of us. 

2. People don’t know what to post 

I usually tell folks to post about a project they’re working on at work. Maybe it’s a lesson you’ve learned, maybe it’s a big win you just had or possibly an epic fail. Maybe it’s your favorite business book or podcast. And takeaways from each of those things. 

3. People don’t know which platform to build a brand on 

The answer depends on your goals. For example, maybe if you are an artist or in real estate or anything that’s highly visual, Instagram might be the platform for you. I think it’s a matter of figuring out where your target audience lives, and which platform makes sense for your content.

What are the steps to take to build your personal brand on LinkedIn?

1. Choose a platform that fits your goals 

For me, the platform that fits my goals is LinkedIn. I knew I wanted a professional social networking site that was also tied to my professional profile, resume and portfolio.

2. Decide which topics or niches you want to talk about 

This depends on your goals. I talk a lot about marketing. I’ll talk about the journalism-to-marketing transition. I talk about podcasting because that’s something I do in my job. I talk about a lot of different things just because I don’t really need to niche down just yet.

If I ever did want to freelance full-time, my strategy would change dramatically. I would start posting in a way that shows that I have subject matter expertise in certain topics. 

3. Post regularly

This will depend on your capacity. Some people will post every day. I usually post two to three times a week. Just try to be consistent and make it a habit. 

4. Focus on adding value

That doesn’t mean that you can’t be a little goofy or a little silly sometimes—that can be valuable as well. But, in general, I think we want to avoid being the LinkedIn bros with their single-line posts. It’s high-level fluffy. And that doesn’t add a ton of value. 

Whatever you post should showcase what you’re doing or your research or maybe teach something.

5. Engage with other people’s posts and leave thoughtful comments

This is especially important if you are having trouble writing your own posts. Commenting and engaging with other people’s posts can be a great way to be active on the platform, get your brand out there and maybe jog some ideas for your own posts.

Is there a distinction between personal posts and those made for a company?

Meredith Metsker: Yes. A company does not own your personal brand. They certainly can benefit from it, but they don’t own it. I feel like it’s okay to ask your team to like a company post and maybe comment on it if they want, but I don’t feel comfortable requiring someone to post about company-related items on their personal page—unless they want to.

I share company-related things on my personal page because a lot of the content work I do is for my company, and I want to show off what I’ve been doing. A lot of our uConnect target audience is on LinkedIn, and I know I can start building some personal relationships with them by sharing things I’m doing on LinkedIn.

Thanks for spending time with us!

Thanks to Meredith for taking us into the nuts and bolts of how to build your personal brand on LinkedIn—and thank you, reader, for spending part of your day with us. I hope you found my interview with Meredith as insightful as I did. 

I’d encourage you to connect with Meredith on LinkedIn.

Want to read more about personal brands and LinkedIn?

Check out these related Uplift blog posts:

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Emily Amos

As the founder of Uplift Content, Emily leads her team in creating done-for-you case studies, ebooks and blog posts for high-growth SaaS companies like ClickUp, Calendly and WalkMe. Connect with Emily on Linkedin

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