LinkedIn can be a great place to meet interesting people and share ideas.
But it can also be a total cringefest.
How bad your LinkedIn feed gets usually depends on how many random connections you’ve accepted over the years. If you’ve accepted loads, your timeline is probably full of people like this.
Or maybe even…
Credit: State of LinkedIn.
If Twitter is where people go to be mean to each other, then LinkedIn is where people go to heap praise on themselves.
Which is a shame because LinkedIn has so much going for it – not least of all, 610 million members, around half of which log in at least once a month.
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It can be a great place to raise your profile and meet interesting people. But you have to go about it in the right way.
If you’ve always wanted to make more of your LinkedIn profile but weren’t sure how to get started, here are a few tips and a template-able plan for your first two weeks.
Ask questions, share ideas and learn from others
All social networks want to keep users on their platform for as long as possible. They do this by identifying the best quality content (the content that’s getting the most engagement) and sharing it with other users.
If you want your post to appear in other people’s feeds you need to share interesting ideas, link to quality content, ask questions, respond to comments and get the conversation going.
If you’re going to post a link to a piece of content that you’ve found, make sure you provide a comment for context. You might even want to ask other people what they think.
LinkedIn is full of people who are experts in their fields and keen to share that knowledge.
Pick something you’ve been thinking about or grappling within your work, put it out there and see who responds.
You don’t have to talk about yourself
It’s a sad indictment of social media’s effect on society that we even have to say this but…
People that always talk about themselves are boring.
This is just as true online as it is offline.
A lot of professional grandstanding takes place on LinkedIn but you don’t need to take part.
It’s much better to talk about ideas, experiences or other people. If you are talking about others or asking someone a question, make sure you mention them so they get a notification.
“A client of mine recently asked me…”
If you do want to post about your work and expertise, this is a good format to use.
Clients ask us questions all the time. Think back over the last two weeks of work and I bet you’ll have countless different questions that you’ve been asked and have answered.
These stories make great LinkedIn posts and they demonstrate your expertise and the value you can add in a way that feels less self-centred.
Build a team
LinkedIn prioritises posts which are generating conversation and engagement.
If you can get the comments and likes flowing in the first few hours, that can have a massive impact on your reach. Plus, engagement is cumulative. The better your posts perform on average the more reach the platform will give you.
Having a small group of colleagues or contacts who are happy to share your posts or comment on them is a great way to get the ball rolling.
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Setting up a reciprocal Slack chat or email thread can be a good way to share links so you can all support one another.
How often should you post?
A good posting frequency is around two times a week. Quality always trumps quantity, but two times will be a good frequency to get you started.
Putting it into practice
I recently had one of my posts get over 3,000 views and 36 comments – which is way above average for me.
As mentioned earlier, I focused on asking a question, asked a few experts for their input, mentioned the experts in the post and diligently responded to all of the comments that came in.
And what do you know – it worked!
Over to you
Creating and sharing content can be a bit daunting at first. To make life a little easier for you, here are four post ideas for your first two weeks of LinkedIn posting. After that, it’s up to you.
- Kick things off by sharing a link to an interesting blog post or article that you’ve found. It could be from your company or another relevant site. Add a comment that unpacks some of the key ideas and relates them back to your experience. Finally, sign it off by asking others what they think.
- Find a connection who has shared something particularly insightful and share it with your followers. Add a quick comment to provide context and add your opinion to what they’ve said.
- Think of a question that a client recently asked you and the answer that you gave. Try to sum up the challenge the client had and your proposed solution in 100 words or less. If the client is on LinkedIn and you have a good relationship, you might even want to mention them. Finally, pick one or two experts in your connections and ask them what answer they would have given.
- Finally, think of something you’ve been trying to figure out in your own work and ask your LinkedIn followers for their input. Pick a topic that’s likely to stimulate debate and get some interesting answers. Don’t pick a topic that undermines your expertise or makes it seem like you need help to do your job. Make sure you mention a few experts who might want to join the conversation.
I’m a big believer in LinkedIn, I’ve met some great people on there and had tons of interesting conversations.
Remember: if you want to make better use of the platform but are unsure how to go about it, it’s just like real life. Be honest, be humble, ask questions and take a genuine interest in others and you can’t go wrong.
Feature image photo credit: Adobe Stock @Khosrock