In this article I consider the role of LinkedIn for business versus other more social platforms and explore a way to improve your LinkedIn experience that will ultimately also help you get better clients on LinkedIn.
With LinkedIn adopting social media features like LinkedIn stories, more and more people refer to LinkedIn as social media. I’ve traditionally referred to LinkedIn as a professional networking platform, because there are some behaviours on LinkedIn that are really different from social media. I also feel like LinkedIn doesn’t ask as much of you as some social media platforms, especially Instagram.
On LinkedIn you can like and comment on people’s updates, you can accept invitations to connect, you can read great articles, watch some videos, forward content to people in private messages and you can follow relevant hashtags. It’s like a virtual library for industry news and an office corridor where you’re constantly passing extremely interesting people and conversations. And it’s also where you can cheer people from the sidelines!
Not everyone gets as ‘excited’ about LinkedIn as I do. And I acknowledge that LinkedIn is a drier and perhaps more boring channel than the visually intoxicating platforms like Instagram and Pinterest.
But here’s the thing. I believe LinkedIn is a really, really important tool for busy business owners who are time poor. Because those ‘behaviours’ that I talked about ….. none of them involve you having to waste precious time thinking about what you’re going to have to post on LinkedIn every day, or even twice a day (as is recommended by some Instagram experts).
From your profile, the good news is that you can post once a week or once every two or three weeks and still show up meaningfully as long as you also regularly comment on other people’s content.
How to Get Better Updates in Your LinkedIn Newsfeed with Curation
Curating your newsfeed is the most popular topic I train because once you’ve done this step, your LinkedIn user experience and what you see in your newsfeed improves. Firstly, think about all the sources that you currently subscribe to, the people that you love reading, watching and listening to and make sure, at the very least, you are following them on LinkedIn.
Most global thought leaders are on LinkedIn. Many of them also have company pages. Make sure you’re following the relevant ones for your industry and areas of expertise. Consider the top 10 content sources you read all the time. Are you following them on LinkedIn?
You then need to narrow your focus and develop a really clear picture of the types of people you’re trying to influence on LinkedIn. Consider their role titles, industries, geographic locations, what they read, watch, care about and whatever else may be important.
Once you’ve got that picture in your mind, it’s helpful to frame the three topics or type of information that you’d like to engage with that’s relevant to those communities and is also broadly connected to your organisation’s service offerings and the problems you can help your clients solve. Think about the common more general conversations you have with your clients and the topics that these are related to. This is not about self promotion, it’s about considering the content pillars and narratives that are relevant to engage with via your LinkedIn profile.
If you have not yet curated your newsfeed it means that you see the updates from all of your connections. And that can be good and bad depending on how many people you’re connected to. Curating your newsfeed is about modifying that.
When you click on the right hand side of a promoted post you will get a drop down option.
You will not be able to stop seeing ads, because this is a for profit platform and it wants to target you. What I’m wanting you to do is click on these three dots and then choose ‘Improve my feed’. This step is best done from the desktop, but you can also do it from your phone.
This will show you the people you follow, the events you’ve attended or are running, the company pages, newsletters and hashtags you follow.
Once you click on any of the elements listed above, you’ll see what you’re following and have the option to unfollow. LinkedIn will also suggest you follow fresh perspectives, which can be helpful and is based on the content in your profile and what you’ve been engaging with. Use the filter option on the RH side of the image below, when in this section of your profile, to modify the view of what you’re following.
The Newsfeed of Glenda, Boutique Travel & Tours
Let’s use my client, Glenda, as an example. She runs a business here in Melbourne that offers boutique travel tours across the globe. In Glenda’s newsfeed she’d be following all the major airlines to make sure she’s regularly updated on what’s going on in with global travel requirements.
She’d also follow the Australian government in regards to all the latest updates and the news on travel restrictions, and she’d be looking for best practice examples for around the world as to how different countries, especially the destination countries, where she runs her tours to, are managing people’s traveller’s safety. Some of the broad topics she may look to follow, like and comment on might be the benefits of travel and trends in travel. And then she’d thinking about content sources that share amazing pictures of beautiful places so she can be engaging in imagery and content that emotes our desire for travel and discovering new places.
Glenda’s goal is to get you to take action and book that next trip!
Using Glenda’s newsfeed focus as a guide, you need to decide what you want to be known for, who are the clients you want to serve and influence on LinkedIn and what are the topics that you’re passionate about, as they relate to these considerations. These decisions then inform who you’re going to follow on LinkedIn.
If you can get this piece of the puzzle right, your time on LinkedIn is much better spent and your experience on LinkedIn is much more enjoyable. You can follow people, companies, educational institutions and hashtags. You might also choose to join LinkedIn groups.
Are You Worried About Unfollowing Your Colleagues?
Of all the people I’m connected to, I’m only actually following a percentage of those. If you choose to unfollow a connection, they will not be notified and you will still be connected to them. But it just means you won’t see their updates come through your news feed.
So one of the key steps to improve your LinkedIn user experience is to clean up your news feed and unfollow the organisation’s pages and hashtags that are no longer relevant for you and start following the ones that are.
Here’s What You can Look Forward to When You’ve Cleaned Up Your LinkedIn Newsfeed
One of the key steps in my my regular LinkedIn rituals is go through my news feed and like or comment on topics that are relevant to the community or provide an opportunity to cheer my connections from the sidelines.
The goal is to comment on things that are relevant to your brand and the communities you serve. Once you’ve cleared up your news feed, you can go through and comment on anything that’s particularly interesting or relevant.
Cleaning up your newsfeed doesn’t mean you have to spend hours unfollowing every single connection who shares content that’s not related to your focus. It means being more mindful and strategic about following the content and people that are commentating on these topic areas.
And when you follow people and company pages that write great content and are a wonderful read, and sharing this content privately can help you stay meaningfully connected to your community at times too. Let’s imagine you come across a really interesting article on LinkedIn but it’s not relevant to any of the topics you want to engage with on LinkedIn. Perhaps a colleague has shared a helpful resource or written a thought provoking article on a professional issue they are facing or a trend they’re noticing in their industry. And perhaps you’ve got a connection on LinkedIn who would personally value this particular article or resource that’s popped up in my newsfeed. You can share this privately via LinkedIn messaging by pressing send at the bottom of the update. Start typing your connection’s name and wait for it to pop, include a personalised message and press send.
Sharing content from LinkedIn privately this way in LinkedIn messaging is a really helpful networking tool. You may have had a recent conversation with a client about a particular topic and then great content comes through your LinkedIn newsfeed. You can send it to them privately via LinkedIn messaging.
It’s Time to Clean Up Your LinkedIn Newsfeed
Hopefully you now have a clearer picture about how cleaning up your news feed not only improves your own experience, but it allows you to like and comment on the content that’s relevant to your goals. It means that you’re more strategic about your actions when on LinkedIn.
It’s also reducing the pressure on you to produce content and it’s an opportunity for you to connect with your network, especially those connections you want to stay top of mind with.
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!