Recruiters are all over the internet searching for the next employee or possible freelancers. The best way to make yourself known and to stand out from the billions of people fighting for that one career opportunity is to have a good LinkedIn presence. In order to do that you need to brand yourself. Join your host, Elizabeth Bachman as she speaks to an expert in building an online presence, the founder of Italina Image & Branding, Italina Kirknis. Learn the basics of online branding and start building your online presence today.
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Building Your Online Presence By Branding Yourself On LinkedIn With Italina Kirknis
This is the show where we interview experts from around the world on presentation skills, communication challenges, how to be visible and show up as a leader. If you’re curious how your presentation skills are going, I invite you to take our four-minute quiz at SpeakForResultsQuiz.com. There, in four minutes, you can see where your presentation skills are strong and where perhaps a little support might get you the results that you need. My guest is Italina Kirknis, who is an Online Presence and Branding Expert. I asked her specifically about LinkedIn and how to improve our presence and visibility on LinkedIn.
Italina has a very interesting history. She started out as a champion tennis player and represented America in international tournaments around the world. She went to law school and got a degree as a Juris Doctorate and worked in the legal field for a while, decided that it wasn’t for her and as she says, “I’m a recovering attorney.” Now, she is practicing her passion of online branding and marketing since 2012. She has been in the field for quite some time. She knows of what she speaks. She is a very interesting person. I had a great time talking with her. Now, to the interview with Italina Kirknis.
Italina Kirknis, I’m so happy to have you on Speakers Who Get Results finally. Please, welcome.
Thank you, Elizabeth.
I’m excited to ask you about all your expertise and the wonderful advice that you could give everybody. First, I would like to ask you a question I ask all my guests. If you could interview somebody who is no longer with us, who would it be? What would you ask them? Who should be listening?
Who’s no longer with us? It makes me so sad. Can it be someone who is still with us?
For you, yes, absolutely.
For me, it will be Jennifer Lopez. She went from being an individual solo artist, so you think about the individual entrepreneur or the individual person, professional, to turning into a corporation. She turned herself into a corporation, into a major brand. I think that is just phenomenal and that’s why I’d interview her.
Who should be listening?
I would say those who want to go from that first step, as I shared before, that solo individual to becoming that major brand, that major corporation, building something bigger than themselves.With all the online job opportunities out there, there are so many reasons to put your best virtual foot forward. Click To Tweet
You’ve had a career as an international tennis star and then you went to law school. Now, you are a consultant, helping people establish their brand on LinkedIn. How was that progression? How did that grow?
Naturally, tennis was technically my first career and that definitely carried over to help me build the successful company that I have now. You think about all of the disciplines, the practice, all of those skills that are developed as far as the inner character that’s required for building something bigger. It’s like each step prepared me for the next. I went on into the legal field. I worked in the legal field for a period and while I had the “dream job” I was miserable and I knew I couldn’t live the rest of my life in that way. I decided to make a career shift. I made that conscious decision to leave law. That’s why I went into LinkedIn to look for a job, to look for a new career path. That was how that evolved.
As a LinkedIn expert, you help people establish their brand and an online presence. I know we’re all online now. Why does it matter to have the right online presence? How can we be heard above all the noise?
The thing is, we’re in an online world. We’ve been living in a digital era and we’ve been pushed even further online last 2020. The truth is, people, they do their research. They like to Google and we want to put our best virtual foot forward because we know people are doing their research online. Whether you’re working for a company, my favorite example with this is within the company, you want to move up. You want to progress in that company. You don’t want to stay stuck where you are. The people within the company, higher-ups and fellow workers, they’re looking you up online and say, “Who’s that person? They’re in that department.” Therefore, you want people suggesting you for promotion or projects, etc. There are so many reasons to put your best virtual foot forward.
How often should we rethink or maybe redo our LinkedIn profile?
When there’s a major change, if you’ve got an award, if you’re looking to move up to a new position or if you’re looking for an opportunity to work on a major project, you want to look yourself up. You know that LinkedIn is going to be one of the things that come up because LinkedIn has what I call Google juice. That’s one of the first things that’s going to come up. You want to make sure that it fully represents all that you bring to the table, all that you’re doing in your position. The reason I say this is because most LinkedIn profiles I see are merely like a resume or a laundry list of companies in which the individuals worked.
When in fact, we want to use it more like a personal website that delineates all of these things about you as to why you should be considered. I would invite your audience to go ahead and connect with me on LinkedIn to see an example of this. You’ll see my LinkedIn profile is nicely fleshed out. I’m utilizing all of the newer features that LinkedIn has added, such as the ability to add visuals. Now, we’re showing people what you do and what you bring to the table, as opposed to merely telling people what you do. Connect with me on LinkedIn. It’s Italina Kirknis.
How do we know what to post? I will say, as a presentation skills trainer, anytime you give a speech, you need to be talking about that. That’s one that I tell my clients, but if you’re not giving a speech every time, what can we post?
When I was shifting from the legal field to wanting a new career, what I was posting was my insights and knowledge. If you are someone who’s within a company, you’re sharing your insights and your knowledge. “What can you bring to the table? What can you contribute?” Instead of waiting for that opportunity to be able to display your knowledge, insights, expertise and why you would be perfect for X, Y, Z, you have your opportunity. You can go ahead and share on LinkedIn. When I was shifting from law to my next career path, that was what I was doing. As a result, I attracted my next career opportunity, which was starting my social media company. For you, sharing your insights, you’re now showing, “This person knows how to do this. They would be perfect for the project.” Now, you’re attracting those projects, new opportunities and higher promotions that you’re looking for because you’re showing all your awesomeness.
How do we find the time?
The truth is, if this is important to you, then you are going to take a few minutes to share, “If you have this knowledge, you know it.” That’s definitely, to me, worth a promotion, a higher opportunity or the opportunity to work on a project that I’ve been eyeballing.
Commenting on things, commenting on trending issues, etc., things like that?
I’m a big fan of starting the conversation versus coming in. Hearing your authority, sharing your expertise and that way, those higher-ups and your co-workers see, “We should invite her on this project. We should invite him on this project.”
What do you think about LinkedIn Groups? Are they worth it? I’ve heard a lot of people say yay or nay to LinkedIn Groups.
On any online platform, I like to view them as networking events. You can see your own LinkedIn profile and the connections that you have on your own page. That’s one networking event or one networking room in which you’re operating. The LinkedIn Groups, obviously you want to be in the right ones that are relevant to your expertise and knowledge. The LinkedIn Groups are another networking event because it’s a different room, different people. If what you’re seeking is within that group, as an example, I am in social media, so I’m going to go in groups with my target market. Let’s say you want to network with golfers or a certain profession, construction developers, whoever’s industry, and you’re joining those groups, then it makes sense because you’re wanting to rub elbows with those people. Just like you would go to cocktails or dinners with those people who you’re looking to work with, here’s an online networking platform in which you can do that.
Speaking of groups and connections, should we accept every connection that comes in?
I don’t do that. My philosophy is that, “I want my network to be composed of a rich network that contributes and we can see how we can be a resource to each other and how we can collaborate.” The way I weed them out is by doing one simple thing. In fact, I have over 8,000 connections on LinkedIn, all of which I’ve communicated in some form or fashion. All of which I either knew because I met them at an event or because when they reached out to me, I do one simple thing. You can do this without accepting them into your network. You can message them and find out where they’re coming from. I say, send them a message and say, “Hi, thank you for connecting. What made you want to connect with me?”
I show that appreciation for them wanting to connect and then ask them what prompted them to connect. What that does is they either respond to something, whether they’re soliciting, I don’t accept them or their response saying, “I came across your profile. I love what you’re doing. I love to see how we can network.” Now, we’ve got a conversation, “How might you think we could be a resource to each other? Let’s schedule a video call.” Now, that’s somebody I definitely want in my network. There are people who don’t respond and then I don’t accept those individuals.
I always check where they’re coming from. If they’re trying to sell me something without ever having a conversation or if I say, “What made you want to connect?” and they say, “I have a program that can 10X your business in ten days,” I find those difficult. Let’s see the other side of it. How can we expand our network in an ethical way without being that obnoxious salesy person?
I like to think of it as the person is right in front of me. What would you say if the person was right in front of you? It’s very easy to hide behind the computer and be spammy and salesy, but you wouldn’t do that in person. What I would like to do is say what I would say if I met a person in person. Let’s say there was someone I reached out to, if I see that, “Based on what’s on their profile, they’re somebody I definitely want to connect with,” I’ll say, “Hi, I came across your profile. I love that you do X, Y, Z. I see that you’re right.” I’m pulling directly from their profile on why I genuinely want to connect with them and say, “Let’s connect.”Attract new opportunities by showing all your awesomeness. Click To Tweet
How do you find the profiles that looked like they would be good ones for you?
Being clear on who you want to connect with. For example, your audience knows who they want to connect with. They would go ahead and see if they see that in someone’s profile, they connect with them. For my company, I know I want to connect with certain types of professions. What’s nice is I’ll write it on LinkedIn and it says what their profession is. It’s a no-brainer and you start a conversation. When I say, “Let’s connect,” and they accept, fantastic. “I would hop on a quick video call with you to see how we can be a resource to each other.” They are so open to networking.
I must say that when I started this show last 2019, it took me an embarrassingly long time. It was several weeks before I went, “I should put this in my LinkedIn profile.” I put it in the title and I got nothing but people who wanted to sell me podcast services. It was a major change, exactly as you said. This is exciting and fun, all the cool stuff that you are doing. What makes you different from other LinkedIn consultants?
What’s so great is that I started my company back in 2012, back before the Facebook business page even rolled out, before people were even posting on LinkedIn. I was learning about LinkedIn back in 2010 when I was looking to make a career shift myself. As a result, I spent so much time there. I learned so much about it. As a result of sharing my insights and knowledge, just like I shared this with your audience, I was attracting these companies that are messaging me, saying, “Italina, we see you everywhere. We love what you’re doing. We want you to do it for us.” This was back in 2010. They didn’t even know what to call it, whether it be posting or social media manager. If you Google “social media manager” at that time, nothing came out. There was no such thing as that industry.
I thought, “I guess I can do this on the side while I look for a job.” Another company wanted me to do the same thing, putting a more human, personable touch to their corporate image, promoting and advertising for them on LinkedIn, and then another company and then a small business and another small business and then an individual business owner and then an individual person who wanted their corporate image to be revamped for their company. I was like, “I don’t have time to go on interviews anymore and look for a job,” and realizing, “This seems to be a real need.” It took me some guts and then I went ahead and officially started my company in 2012.
One of the things I love about having someone like you to help you manage your social media or advise you is because they’re changing the algorithms all the time. How do you know if I count on someone like you to be able to tell me, “They’ve changed things again and here’s what you should be doing,” so that I don’t have to? Hallelujah, there’s an Italina in the world who can help me with that thing.
To further address your question, people love that I’ve been there, done that. I had my own experience and I was able to start a company based on that. I made my first hire that year and built up my team. We celebrated our work anniversary.
Thank you. For people to appreciate that, I’m not some teenager or a twenty-year-old just playing around on social. We actually get it for corporate, for professional purposes.
We’re all busy people. If we were to add one thing to our routine around LinkedIn, what would it be? Where could we start?
We tend to take our knowledge for granted. We know all these things about our field and industry and we take that for granted. One little piece, 1, 2, 3 sentences, sharing a piece of our knowledge once a week, that’s huge.
You just have to say, “This is the day that I’m going to spend that half an hour doing that.”
It doesn’t take half an hour. As an example, I’m going to share two things about this. One, you have a couple of options of doing what I call a brain dump, where you say, “On this day, I’m going to talk about XYZ.” It doesn’t have to be something super long. It’s just 1 or 2 sentences because your expertise and knowledge are not going to take you a long time. You’re going to whip that out. You can do that all at once if you like. Brain dump on a Word document and that way, you can pull, copy and paste. Once a week, take two minutes. I’m going to give you an example. It was time for me to send out my email newsletter and I thought, “I don’t have anything to talk about. Of course, you do.” I came up with, “Have you googled yourself lately? Have you googled yourself seeing what comes up? Is that a good representation of you?” Boom, done. That’s it. One little tinting in the aspect of your knowledge, share that and you’re done.
Italina, this has been such a delight. Everybody, you should go look her up, Italina Kirknis on LinkedIn. This has been incredibly helpful. It’s such a joy. We’ve known each other for years. I always admire you and all the wonderful things that you were doing. I’m delighted to have you as a guest.
I appreciate that. I would love for your audience to let me know that they knew me here with you and I cherished our time together. Thank you, Elizabeth.
Thank you. Let me remind you that if you want to know how your presentation skills are, where you’re strong, you can take our four-minute quiz at SpeakForResultsQuiz.com. That’s where you can see where you’re strong and where a little bit of support might help you get the results you need. Italina, it’s been a delight to have you as a guest. Thank you, everybody, for joining us. We’ll see you on the next one.
- Italina Kirknis
- Italina Kirknis – LinkedIn
- Italina Kirknis – Instagram
- Italina Kirknis – Youtube Channel
About Italina Kirknis
As an Online Presence Expert & Speaker, Italina helps you upgrade your presence online through LinkedIn, Facebook, and Instagram. Italina and her team of Social Media Managers, help you gain more visibility online, driving a steady stream of clients to your business.
You should know Italina is trained as an attorney; she has a Juris Doctorate Degree and has a legal background. However, like many recovering attorneys, Italina is now practicing her passion, Online Branding & Marketing. Since 2012, her business has been the vehicle for her personal and spiritual growth, while she creates value for each of her clients.
Italina was a championship tennis player, competing all over the world, representing our country in tennis tournaments abroad.