I have to admit I’m loving LinkedIn. I’ve had a bit of crush on the platform for some time now. I like the fact that it is a social channel that has a definitive audience with a clear purpose.
There have been some fall outs over the years, as people have posted personal updates and others have made it their mission to ‘police’ the professional platform. However, I still feel it is a positive space to connect with others.
It is now very much a ‘go to’ for recruiters and individuals to showcase their talents, achievements and expertise.
Leaving the trolls behind
The conversations on LinkedIn focus on finding new contacts and sharing work-based content with a network that you have pre-approved. In order to share with someone, you first must make them a connection. This limits the amount of spam and unsolicited messages you receive.
As well as ensuring the information you access is interesting and relevant, this approach also leaves the trolls at the door. Twitter has become a breeding ground for bad behaviour, which requires governance and endless monitoring. In contrast, LinkedIn is able to build its credibility as a platform of choice for business.
Simple and effective
One of the first things I do each morning is scan through my LinkedIn feed. There is always an abundance of content and it varies depending on who has posted. Given the industry I work in, there is no consistency about who I follow; if I find a person or brand interesting then I will follow or connect.
It’s not unusual for me to wake up to someone posting an amazing view from a run or a report that looks at category insight about a given market. Both give me a reason to read, consider and reflect.
Posting to LinkedIn is simple and accessing a profile from the app has improved over the years. Reiterating it as a tool of choice for companies, at most events there is an option to scan a name badge and connect with someone through a QR code.
Not only does this reiterate the importance of LinkedIn for individuals and organisations but it also showcases how easy it is to use.
Posts and articles
What I like most about LinkedIn is the articles. As someone that writes for a living this will come as no surprise. What appeals to me most is that I can share my thoughts and opinions while also receiving clear analytics.
Unlike some social media channels, LinkedIn has the credibility that comes from relying on people to input their own professional information. This leads to fewer dormant or ‘fake’ accounts and more people that genuinely want to connect and converse.
Knowing those that I am connected with means that when someone leaves a comment or likes my article I will respond. This then leads to genuine and meaningful discussion. There is no harm in having a point of view and I find LinkedIn a more balanced place to do this.
I try to share an article at least once a month and have mixed them up a bit recently. Some focus on business and others are more personal. I don’t feel there is any harm in this as the objective is the same; people get to learn more about me and the way that I work.
Making the most of company pages
As an agency we manage company pages for our clients and provide advice and guidance on personal profiles. For me, once your profile is updated, it’s all about posting regular updates and spending five to ten minutes liking other information you have found useful.
I have met lots of people that have explained how they ‘don’t know how to do LinkedIn’ but the truth is that you don’t have to. The platform does much of it for you and will guide you through the steps to becoming an ‘All Star’.
You can then take your time working out the rest and can pay to become a premium member if you choose.
As well as updating your status, it is important to remember your company page. This is a reflection of your business to the outside world and gives employees a chance to share their thoughts and feelings about an organisation.
With this comes an authenticity that is rarely found elsewhere. Although company pages can be monitored and posts can be removed, they are often a true indication of the culture at a company. This is reflective of employees and what they share.
It is also a fantastic tool for building an employer brand and encouraging the best talent to your organisation. After all, if you employees are sharing the positives about your business, you don’t have to.
You can also join groups on LinkedIn, comment on articles and share links to external web pages that could add some value for those that are following you.
Again, the beauty about LinkedIn for me is that it is simple, effective and professional.
As someone that isn’t looking for a change of career or a new job, some people may ask why I bother with the platform. The truth is I know that many of my contacts visit the site and access the content that I share. As such, like any social channel, it is a valuable way for me to share news from the business.
Engaging with groups isn’t something I do as often as I should. I am a member of some groups but prefer to use them to read articles or links that are shared as opposed to creating relationships that are exclusively online.
One group I have been a member of for years is the Yorkshire Mafia. I joined because I thought it sounded interesting and slightly controversial. More importantly, the philosophy of the group that we are ‘stronger together’ also stood out for me.
With 22,000 pre-approved members it has a strong following and has been commended as one of the most productive groups on LinkedIn. I would recommend that anyone who just wants to join a positive and informative community of people takes the time to join.
Making the time
As with everything, updating LinkedIn takes time and any post that you share will be potentially available to world. So, while it may be easy to update your status, the same rules apply as to any channel.
My recommendation would be to set aside five or ten minutes a day and to review the content on your feed before liking, sharing and then updating your own status.
It doesn’t have to take hours and shouldn’t become a chore. If you set out with the mindset that it is part of your business processes, and a way to access information you may otherwise never have come across, then you lead with the benefits.
Looking to the future
I’m not sure what the future holds for LinkedIn. It is certainly a recruiters’ dream, and I can see why. Some of the updates I have had access to from the company, such as insights, have been developed with this audience in mind but there will be others in the pipeline.
Given I started this by saying I’m loving LinkedIn, I urge people to use the space to listen, learn and share. Given the updates that have been made to the functionality over the last year, I would expect further exciting features and updates are yet to come.
Only time will tell, but I believe LinkedIn has a great opportunity to take ownership and become the social channel for business. Whether a competitor comes along is to be debated, but it will take something special to catch my eye.