Building a Scientist's Personal Brand on LinkedIn: How and Why
Sergey Plis is a Professor of Computer Science at Georgia State University and a director of machine learning at the Center for Translational Research in Neuroimaging & Data Science (TReNDS). He and his collaborators are working on fascinating and ambitious research projects in the field of neuroimaging.
Sergey long had ideas about using his LinkedIn and Twitter profiles to share the work that he and his colleagues do and grow his public image as an expert in the field for future potential collaborations.

Maintaining an active social media profile takes time and effort, much more of it that Sergey could afford while also running a 20 people lab at the level of productivity worth talking about on Twitter and LinkedIn. And so, Sergey initially turned to the ModumUp Social Selling agency with the task of providing general support.
Our job was to provide assistance with various tools and techniques to help him grow his profile. In terms of content, together with Sergey, we brainstormed interesting topics to talk about during our weekly calls. Based on recordings of these sessions, we prepared drafts that he then edited to add more personality to them or reviewed the texts he wrote on a whim, making occasional changes to the style and structure to enhance text readability. Overall, the whole process is being built around co-creation.
Sergey is a very interesting and knowledgeable person and not just in his professional field. Just from our casual talks, there was a constant stream of content ideas and relevant news that it was becoming difficult to keep up with them. So, it didn't take long for us to abandon the initial content strategy.
Yelzhas Baktybayev
Project Manager at ModumUp agency

Social media platforms or where to find your crowd

We began by focusing on the development of a personal brand on LinkedIn and Twitter among individuals in the scientific and healthcare fields who could benefit from Sergey's research. This group comprised neuroscientists, machine and deep learning researchers, and professionals in hospitals and medical diagnostic labs, mainly from the USA and Western Europe.

It should be noted that LinkedIn was more appropriate for B2B communication, while Twitter was popular among the scientific community.
The audience is highly engaged on both platforms. On LinkedIn specifically, the Connection Rate (% of approved connections per sent requests) was around 60% throughout the entire project duration. In a bit over a year the network grew from 1,309 connections and followers to 6,504.
Yulia Ivanova
Social Selling Specialist at ModumUp agency

The power of co-creation: two heads are better than one

As we continued collaborating on content creation, we noticed a substantial increase in positive feedback. This response underscores the importance of including the client in the process. You can genuinely see and feel Sergey's individuality and expertise, which would've been impossible without his active participation.

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As an agency, our role was to help structure the information and present it in a format suitable for the specific social media platform.
Thanks to the co-creation approach, the posts turned out to be interesting and sincere, conveying Sergey's personality and at times provoking lively discussions.

Sergey's diverse professional interests and pursuits prevented boredom and staleness in his content. He shared updates on research and opinions on various scientific topics, told stories from trips to multiple conferences, and offered anecdotes from his teaching experiences, providing a steady flow of unique material that showcased his individuality in different ways.

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It depends on the person, but for me, the writing process feels much easier when done together with a partner. Not only is it more fun to discuss things as you go, but it also helps with organizing your thoughts and looking at ideas from a different point of view.

What seems interesting to me might be boring to others. Or vice versa. An outside perspective helps you notice unexpected and entertaining perspectives from which the idea could be presented.
Professor of Computer Science at Georgia State University

Improving texture and flavor with a 'personal' spice

Adding personal posts to the stream of professional content about scientific research and other professional topics brings freshness and helps establish a connection between the profile page and the person behind it. It also expands the options for showcasing the individual's personality and solidifying their online presence.
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Bringing the 'Social' to 'Networking': it's all about interactions

Publishing original content is only part of the battle when it comes to social media. They value interactions, conversations, and discussions. And since it's a network, it can't be bound to one place.
When it comes to comments from colleagues or questions from strangers Sergey is very open and always replies when he has something to say. He also interacts with other people's content, but not as regularly as someone that's part of the network.
Project Director, ModumUp Agency
So, ModumUp team regularly sends Sergey a list of interesting-looking content from other creators to provide him with more options. And it has an interesting side-effect of broadening Sergey's horizon, even if it's not part of the plan.
I work in somewhat of a rut, and usually interact only with particular types of work and people. But some of the suggested content helps to breathe fresh air into the rut and helps in overcoming potential viewpoint barriers.

I discovered some genuinely interesting news and information that I wouldn't have even thought of searching for. Maybe it doesn't help from the professional point of view, but I found the value in that as a person.
Professor of Computer Science at Georgia State University

Co-creating results or what we accomplished

Currently, the project is ongoing, and we have managed to help increase Sergey's LinkedIn followers and connections to 6,504 people with 70+ posts published. Additionally, his Twitter followers have increased from 103 to 1407.

Sergey also noticed that more people started to recognize the work that he and our ModumUp team do. The number of views on his content frequently outnumbered his connection and follower base by two to three times. For the top three posts they are 11,595, 10,684 and 9,854 views respectively, reaching out to tens of thousands of people.

Sergey stood out enough to be invited to a local podcast to share his thoughts and expertise, as well as several other events that he unfortunately couldn't attend.

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With Sergey as an example, we once again confirmed that co-creation and openness, as well as a balance of personal and expert content in the profile, work most effectively.
Project Director at ModumUp
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