If you don’t have a plan for LinkedIn, but know your potential clients read their news or spend time on LinkedIn, or you see LinkedIn as an essential tool to help you further establish and grow your position as a thought leader in your industry, then today’s article is for you. My goal is to help you get more organised and create a discipline around how you spend time on LinkedIn to cultivate your personal brand and get into more conversations that matter!
Too many people I meet think LinkedIn is just about building connections, by inviting people who are in their target market that they don’t know to connect, and then following up with a sales message.
Hello! Where is the foreplay, and the slow dance? You need to warm your audience up. Being more active on LinkedIn by engaging with and potentially also posting and publishing content is the place to start. Side note – how you then leverage the increased traffic to your LinkedIn Profile is a topic I cover in 1:1 training sessions and our tailored corporate workshops.
I encourage you to have the mindset of ‘how can I serve my ideal client community’ before you post or share any content on LinkedIn. This will serve you well and is critical to your success if you’re in it for the long game, considering the future implications of current choices, thinking ahead, being deliberate and patient.
Decide Your Content Focus – Topics
To develop your plan, you must first know your content focus. What are you going to talk or write about? What other thought leaders around the world commentate on these topics? Are you following them on LinkedIn too?
The opportunity is to choose 3 key topics that are relevant to your personal brand and are interesting for your ideal client. This should be based on the community you want to influence on LinkedIn, which includes connections who will refer you and potential clients who will discover your content or look you up on LinkedIn via search or because they’ve heard someone mention you and your expertise. Depending on your settings, the activity you engage with is visible to others.
Let’s use the example of a People & Culture Manager wishing to raise the profile of their own personal brand within their industry. They may be keen to attract great talent to their organisation, and so the type of content they engage with is in many ways also significant in terms of their organisation and how they are perceived as a key influencer of this organisation’s culture.
Three topics that this People & Culture leader may choose to engage with are:
- Diversity in the workplace
- Wellbeing at work
- Innovation in HR process
Clean Up Your Newsfeed
Cleaning up your newsfeed and ensuring you follow relevant content that is aligned with your content focus is a very easy way to engage with content that’s relevant for your goals on LinkedIn. Remember that whenever you like or comment on your connection’s or company page updates, it’s seen by your connections if they’re on LinkedIn that particular day. Being active on LinkedIn isn’t just about posting your own original content all the time.
Being active on LinkedIn also involves:
- Liking your connection’s updates
- Commenting intelligently on updates and articles you’ve read via your LinkedIn newsfeed
- Sharing articles you’ve read and commentating on why it’s a useful resource for others
- Sharing photos from events you’ve attended and the insights you may have learnt
Go to your newsfeed on LinkedIn and click the 3 dots on the right hand side of a recent update. In this example my connection Karen has commented on one of Jessica’s updates. I can keep receiving these updates or I can choose to Unfollow Karen. My connection will not be notified of this, and we will remain connected.
I can also Send in a private message to another connection or click on Improve my feed which takes me to a page where LinkedIn suggests relevant hashtags, companies and people to follow based on the information in my profile and the type of content I engage with. It also shows me what I’m currently following via my LinkedIn Profile and allows me to unfollow these hashtags, people and companies. I encourage you to do this step from your desktop, but you can also do it from your mobile device. Please note – the 3 dots may be a downward arrow on some mobile devices.
Follow Your Content Topics via Hashtags
Once you have decided your content focus and the 3 relevant topics you wish to engage with, it’s then time to follow the organisations and people on LinkedIn who are leaders in this space and sharing relevant content on LinkedIn. You can also search these topics as hashtags and follow particular hashtags. For example, if I wanted to stay up to date with content being posted on LinkedIn about #personalbranding I would search this hashtag and follow it for the latest content being published.
Content Posting & Sharing Options via your LinkedIn Profile
If you’re not sure where to start with posting and sharing, here’s a summary of what you can do via your LinkedIn Profile:
- Publish articles
- Share photos and videos
- Share posts with our without videos, photos and links
- Share other LinkedIn member and LinkedIn Company Page posts from your organisation or other organisations you follow on LinkedIn
Read more about this in a recent article Your Personal Guide to Sharing and Creating Content on LinkedIn.
Have a Documented Plan & Analyse Your Results
To maximise their time online, best practice content marketers document their plan and analyse their results based on key metrics. In the case of LinkedIn you can track and measure:
- LinkedIn Profile Views
- Post Views, Likes, Comments & Shares
- Article Views, Likes, Comments and Shares
- Invitations to Connect
- Who’s Viewed Your Profile (no. of profile views)
- LinkedIn Social Selling Index
I hope this article has helped you on your LinkedIn journey.
As one of Asia Pacific’s Top 10 LinkedIn Experts I share fortnightly news with my global email community and run monthly online Lunch and Learns to teach professionals how to unlock LinkedIn. Sign up to my newsletter to help you learn LinkedIn – the right way!