But trust has to be built; it cannot be demanded. And building trust requires that other important T word . . . time.
It takes time for people to get to know who you are. They watch how you behave in different situations, how you treat others, how others treat you, how you handle both success and adversity, and so much more.
What are they looking for? They are trying to predict the future based on what they can glean from your actions: Are you competent? Are you a person of good character? Are your intentions (and motivations) clear and aligned with theirs?
All of that assessment takes time, sometimes a lot of time. And patience.
What if you could speed up the process? No, not a time machine, though that would be cool.
But, almost as cool and more real-world, you can use your LinkedIn profile and activity to make a history of all of these things easily visible to prospects. People can see in a few minutes what would normally take months or years to learn.
All of the elements that demonstrate your expertise are visible on LinkedIn ― your work history, your education, your certifications, awards, and accomplishments. People can see the way you handle yourself ― how you give back to the community or your industry, how you treat others, and how much they respect you. And you can be clear about what you are trying to accomplish and what matters to you.
When people know these things about you, they feel more comfortable about you. You get to a place of trust faster, and that serves you in many, many ways, including allowing you to make faster progress on your initiatives and goals.
LinkedIn offers this opportunity to all members, and CEOs should take advantage of LinkedIn because it pays off across multiple facets of business, especially when it comes to building trust among their stakeholders—leadership teams, employees, investors, partners, and even the media. Here are 25 ways to get started:
Before someone invests their time or money with you, they want to know that you know what you’re doing and that you’re good at it. And, as researchers say, the best predictor of future behavior is past behavior. Use your LinkedIn profile to clearly demonstrate your expertise and success to date.
#1 Quantify accomplishments in each of your roles.
Go beyond broad statements and include dollar amounts and percentages and time periods. Talk about ROI, increased revenue, decreased costs, number of employees, etc.
#2 Link to podcasts and articles where you were quoted in your Featured section.
These links show that people think you are worth listening to.
#3 Include case studies or testimonials from customers.
Let people see and hear about how you served your customers and helped them succeed.
#4 Use a photo of you giving a keynote or running a workshop as your header background.
A picture is worth a thousand words—these photos give real-world validity to your expertise.
#5 Include board and advisory roles in your Experience section.
Create a position description for each role, so people can easily see where you’re sharing your expertise at the highest levels.
#6 Add author or speaker to your Experience section.
Create a position description for your work as an author or speaker. Provide information about what you talk or write about, so people see your expertise in the industry and beyond.
#7 Upload articles by or about you in Publications.
What’s better than talking about yourself? Other legitimate sources talking about you! Share these links, so people see your contributions.
#8 List relevant certifications and licenses.
Add this section to your profile, so people see your hard work to get and stay on the learning edge of your industry.
#9 Include significant honors and awards.
Add this section and carefully curate it to demonstrate relevant honors and awards that show others see the results of your work.
#10 Accept quality recommendations.
Again, other people saying good things about you is a priceless gift toward building trust.
#11 Connect with respected thought leaders in your industry.
Yes, you are judged by the company you keep. Build a network—and start engaging through comments—with the people that your people respect.
#12 Post regularly about advanced topics in your industry.
Show that you are relevant, active, and available by posting about topics and events that are important to the people who are important to you. The more advanced the topics you post about, the more expertise people will believe you have.
Actions speak louder than self-declarations when it comes to demonstrating character. People need to see a history of someone who does the right thing, follows through on promises, and cares about things other than money and personal success. That’s a tall order, and LinkedIn can help you on multiple levels.
#13 Include what you learned in each role (in addition to your accomplishments) in your Experience section.
Succinctly share what you overcame or learned in your work life. Don’t wallow in struggles, but be honest and positive—let people see that you’ve grown and changed over the years.
#14 Add volunteer work to show you give back to the community.
Add the Volunteering section to your profile to let people see that you care about things outside of work.
#15 Share committee and nonprofit leadership roles in the Organizations section.
Add these entries to your LinkedIn profile, so people know that you use your expertise and time to help others.
#16 Post consistently, at the same time of day.
Be visible and predictable on LinkedIn. These habits demonstrate stability, reliability, and engagement—exactly what you’re trying to show.
#17 Say you are going to post something at a particular day/time, and then do it.
This offers one more way to show that you follow through on doing what you say you’ll do. Every time you deliver, you put another rung on the ladder of building trust. Pro Tip: Schedule the post to ensure you deliver as promised.
#18 Ask for feedback and let people see you take action on the recommendations.
This kind of post shows that you are listening—really hearing what people say—and when you act on the feedback you score again. The value of this kind of post and response cannot be overstated.
#19 Model the behavior you expect from your team.
People are watching you—always. And most times, what you do matters so much more than what you say. Use LinkedIn to show your team what you want them to do—by doing it yourself first.
#20 Allow people to see that you aren’t always right, and things don’t always go your way.
Similar to #13, let people see that you sometimes struggle or make mistakes. These posts make you real and relatable, and they show you’re human and not afraid to try and fail and learn from it.
#21 Be kind to everyone you interact with online.
People are always watching—online and in the real world, too. Posting negatively or losing your cool can wreck your credibility and wipe out all the work you’ve done to build trust.
Make Your Intentions Visible
The history of your jobs and accomplishments help people see what you’ve done and how you’ve grown professionally. Your engagement and extracurricular activities help them see how you treat others and that you are human and reliable, likable and interesting. But neither of those things gets to the deeper level of what motivates you and what you truly value. You need to be open and obvious to reveal your intentions.
#22 Share your vision and your “why” in your About section.
Talk about your origin story and why you do what you do—and why you keep on doing it. You don’t need to go into long detail, but go deep and be real.
#23 Talk about your mission.
What are you trying to accomplish now and why is it important to you? How will you know when you’ve achieved success? Speak honestly and often, so people see your commitment and passion.
#24 Tell stories that illustrate your values.
People love stories—a hero, a challenge, a victory. Share the stories that inspire you and that will inspire others.
#25 Like and comment on posts from others who share your mission and values.
Find your people and engage with them. You will be encouraged, they will, too, and people will see that you believe and follow through on your mission and values.
How Is LinkedIn Working for You?
Your LinkedIn profile and activity offer a window into your professional journey, showcasing your expertise, accomplishments, and the way you interact with others. It’s a condensed history that allows prospects to gain insights into your character, competence, and motivations within minutes, instead of months or years.
When people trust you, they will give you their loyalty, time, and money. Leads and referrals become customers; recruits become hires, investors become champions, and influencers become partners.
By leveraging LinkedIn, you can expedite the trust-building process, opening doors to new opportunities and faster progress toward your goals.
If you’re unsure about how to do this, we can help. Get a free CEO LinkedIn Audit to evaluate your profile, activity, and strategies. We’ll provide feedback on 10 different elements, highlighting areas where you’re doing well and identifying opportunities for improvement. Request your CEO LinkedIn Audit here.