If you’ve ever poo-pooed LinkedIn and thought of it as a glorified job board, now might be the time to reconsider—actually, it’s definitely time to reconsider!
For a long time, I neglected LinkedIn because I wasn’t looking for a job. So I focused my efforts elsewhere. But three people changed my perception of the platform.
The first is Ilise Benun, of course. Through her 21-Day “Get Your First Writing Client” Challenge, she showed me how to use LinkedIn in a non-career-threatening way. She made me see how to use LinkedIn in a way that would not put my freelance writing career in danger—even if I made mistakes. And since I was sure to make mistakes along the way…
The second person who changed my way of looking at LinkedIn is Keith Trimels. Keith showed me how to use comments strategically, not only in posts, but also in ads. Who’da thunk it?
Finally, there’s David Cantin, a Quebec, Canada-based educator and self-professed LinkedIn über-fan. During a networking session, he shared some interesting insights about the platform. That 15-minute conversation finally convinced me to share some of what I’ve learned about LinkedIn over the past year.
LinkedIn is the garden, you provide the seeds and tend to them
You reap what you sow, on farmland, and on LinkedIn. If you sow no seeds, you will get poor results. If you sow seeds in the wrong soil, you will get poor results. If you sow seeds but don’t tend to them, you will get poor results.
But if you sow the right seeds in the right soil and tend to them patiently you will inevitably get results.
So here are some seeds to sow on LinkedIn to grow your business.
- The LinkedIn algorithm favors activity. Do something every day to show you are active. You can “like” a post, comment on a post, or publish a post.
- You don’t have to publish something every day. Just be active.
- The more active you are, the more you appear in other people’s feeds. That’s how you gain visibility.
- There are two ways to see people on LinkedIn: either as your audience or as your prospects.
- If you decide people are prospects, you can do commercial activities like push products and services as you would with any offline prospect.
- An audience holds more value, but it takes more time to build. Build an audience by remaining active on the platform.
- LinkedIn favors reciprocity. When you interact with someone, and that person interacts back with you, the algorithm gives those interactions a better score. And that helps to keep you visible in people’s feeds.
- The algorithm notifies you when another active participant has interacted with a post. When you see content in your feed from someone you don’t know, it’s the algorithm at work. The same process occurs when someone interacts with your posts. That helps to build your audience.
- LinkedIn groups are not as effective as Facebook groups. Instead, you should build an audience. (Yep, it’s a theme.)
- LinkedIn is a business platform where most people don’t discuss commerce. You build human connections on the platform, but you sell off the platform.
- If you want to understand someone on LinkedIn, click on the “all activity” link on their profile. It tells you whether the person creates content (about 5% of people on LinkedIn), is active, and what type of activity they perform on the platform.
- Hashtags don’t do much for you. If you’re trying to use hashtags as a marketing tool (like you would on Twitter or Instagram), it’s not very helpful. That is not LinkedIn’s focus.
- If you put more than 10 hashtags in a post, LinkedIn gets confused and doesn’t share your post appropriately.
- Three hashtags in a post is the sweet spot.
- Polls may get a lot of engagement and reach, but they leave little value for the reader. Nobody will think of you by saying, “Oh yeah, you created that awesome poll about your favorite Disney character!”
- LinkedIn likes it when you keep people on the platform. A post with a link, a picture, and no link preview will perform better than a post with a link, a link preview, and no picture. (When you add a link to a post, LinkedIn automatically shows you the content of the link. That’s the link preview.)
- If you spot ads for companies you want to work for, add an insightful comment about the ad. It makes you appear in the company’s feed. If they see your name regularly on LinkedIn, they will know who you are if you decide to pitch them your services later on.
- LinkedIn is like a laboratory for your business. With close to 800 million members, making a mistake with 2, 3, or even 100 of them is not fatal.
- You don’t need to spend more than 15-30 minutes per day on LinkedIn–unless you want to.
- If you have limited time, respond to messages first, then to connection requests, and then go through your feed to like and comment.
- Don’t pitch a product or service when you first connect to someone. It’s the LinkedIn cardinal sin. Share generously and build a relationship first.
Spread these LinkedIn seeds liberally, tend to them lovingly, and eventually, they will sprout results for your business.
Reap, baby, reap! 😁
This guest post was contributed by Laurent Duperval, a Bilingual Cybersecurity B2B Content Marketer & Copywriter (French/English)