In this article you will learn how to comfortably shine brighter on LinkedIn. I’m observing an increased pressure for people to ‘put themselves’ out there on LinkedIn. Today’s tips will help you do this in a way that is comfortable and relevant for your professional goals.
If you are reading my thoughts on LinkedIn for the first time, thanks for dropping by. As a digital minimalist, I love LinkedIn and value technology that gives me the space and time to do deep work and helps me achieve the goals I set for myself and my business. I do not like spending too much time online. I read books, I garden, I travel and I like to spend time having deep conversations with my family and friends. The reason I choose to spend time on LinkedIn is because it helps me achieve my goals and it does not ask too much of my time or energy.
I’d like LinkedIn to play a similar role for you.
I help elevate the voices of quieter and more thoughtful folk like you on LinkedIn for one simple reason. There is an increasing trend for people who may not be as competent as you spending time talking about their successes on LinkedIn. Please do not let this put you off LinkedIn. Please let it be the reason why your industry would value hearing your perspective. Consider it part of helping your professional community and adding a more diverse perspective to the conversation. The world needs to hear what you have to say.
The problem with Linkedin is that it’s not the same as more traditional social media, and some LinkedIn members treat it like an opportunity to share a humble brag or a tool for self promotion. This type of approach puts the rest of us off. You are probably someone who helps solve the complex problems the world is facing right now. LinkedIn therefore seems self indulgent. You may not see the value of being on LinkedIn because you’ve been brought up to believe it’s not polite or appropriate to talk about your achievements. You believe in getting on with doing the work.
The Value of Sharing Your Perspective on LinkedIn
The good news is that LinkedIn is different to social media and there’s less pressure to show up by posting all the time, which is such a relief for so many professionals when I share this concept with them. LinkedIn plays an important role in helping share your professional perspective and it’s a place where you can get found online. Let’s consider what LinkedIn is and what LinkedIn is not to help you get comfortable with using it more as platform to meaningfully engage, on your terms, with other professionals and (perhaps) even share your perspectives with others (when you’re ready).
What LinkedIn Is
I believe LinkedIn is a great place to:
- Help you showcase your unique career story.
- Raise the profile of you, your team and your organisation.
- Get your next job.
- Get your next client or project.
- Remind people to refer / recommend you.
- ‘Be discovered’ by others.
- Stay informed of global trends and news.
- Continue face to face conversations online.
- Begin new conversations.
- Create opportunities for others.
- Add value to your community.
- Find great talent (if you’re responsible for hiring new team members).
And if you’re a B2B, business to business, focused organisation LinkedIn is most likely your first choice of digital platform, other than your website, and it can help educate your professional community about what you do and the stakeholders clients or professional communities you help / serve.
If you are in a client facing role, your LinkedIn presence can also help reduce risk in your potential client’s decision making process as they assess whether you, your team and your organisation are the right fit ‘ for them’.
What LinkedIn Is Not
In terms of what LinkedIn is not, I believe:
- LinkedIn is not social media. The behaviours look similar, but you are missing a lot of low hanging fruit if you simply see LinkedIn as a place where you post information about yourself. The #HumbleBrag is not the only way to leverage LinkedIn.
- It is not a shop front or a place to be transactional.
- LinkedIn is not Tinder. Yes – there’s occasionally some bad behaviour. Fortunately it’s very easy to report misconduct and block people who don’t play by the professional rules.
LinkedIn is also not a place to extract the email details of your connections and add them to your email list and it’s not an alternative to investing in a website (for a business) or an excuse to avoid in real life networking. I know this last one may be unsettling, but you do have to meet people at industry events sometimes!
How to Comfortably Shine Brighter on LinkedIn
Now that you understand what LinkedIn is and isn’t (in the world according to Karen), it may be helpful for you to understand the role your LinkedIn profile can play in your career. I covered some of these in the ‘What LinkedIn Is’ section above, but I’m going a little deeper here to help emphasise the importance of some of these elements to help you comfortably shine brighter on LinkedIn.
LinkedIn Allows You to Take Control of Your Online Reputation
As your 24/7 online ambassador, LinkedIn is a great way to stay in control of the information available about you online. When you lock down your privacy settings on more ‘social’ media platforms and control some of your privacy settings on LinkedIn, you are in greater control of your online reputation. Even with a free LinkedIn account you can limit access to your email and mobile number, tinker with your public profile settings and block some members from viewing your profile.
If you’re an inherently private person, like me, or starting to research your next career move on LinkedIn, these profile (and the anonymous search) settings enable you to focus on sharing key elements of your professional life, while controlling specifics and who sees you looking at their profile.
LinkedIn Can Help You Showcase Your Unique Career Story
There is no one else like you on LinkedIn. But we’ll only know this when you take the time to embrace the key elements of your LinkedIn profile that allow you to tell your unique career story on LinkedIn. Unfortunately, LinkedIn can be a bit pushy and encourages you to fill in your LinkedIn profile in a certain way. When you understand how to use the relevant LinkedIn profile features for your professional goals, you will be more confident about how to write about yourself and which features to use, and which ones to ignore. As a general guide, here’s a list of some of my favourite features that help showcase your unique career story:
- Images (profile photo & background)
- Profile video
- Featured Section
- Experience Section
- Creator Mode
And the best part? They are all available with a free LinkedIn membership.
Tip: If you’d like to know more about these features and how to use them, please head to Think Bespoke’s knowledge base.
LinkedIn Can Help You Get Your Next Job
There is a specific feature in your LinkedIn Profile that can help you get found in searches, beyond the features I listed above. If you are yet to check out the Open To: Finding a Job feature on your LinkedIn profile, I highly recommend you do.
LinkedIn Can Help You Get Your Next Client or Project
There is a specific feature in your LinkedIn Profile that can help you get found when people on LinkedIn use the search for service providers feature on LinkedIn. If you are yet to check out the Open To: Providing Services feature on your LinkedIn profile, I highly recommend you do.
LinkedIn Can Keep You Informed of News & Trends
When you curate your LinkedIn newsfeed you are being more intentional and strategic about the information you see when you spend time on LinkedIn. Taking the time to do this is a game changer for your LinkedIn experience and the starting point for engaging with more meaningful content and getting more comfortable with the idea of perhaps sharing your own perspectives and thoughts from time to time.
See what I did there? I am planting a seed of the idea that you may one day (soon, I hope!) be more comfortable stepping out of the shade and sharing your perspective on LinkedIn.
By following the updates of pages and people, with perspectives you value or want to learn more about (note – no one says you have to agree with them), you will start to develop a sense of the wide variety of thought provoking conversations you can join, either in the LinkedIn newsfeed or, more privately, via LinkedIn messaging.
Get started by:
- Make a list of the people, companies, educational institutions, governing and peak bodies you are interested in.
- Search for them on LinkedIn.
- If they post regularly, follow them on LinkedIn.
- ‘Ring the bell’ on the intro card of the page or person (located in the top RH side of their page / profile) to let LinkedIn know if you want to be notified of all their updates, or just the highlights.
And when you’re ready and the post is relevant to your professional focus:
- React to the post (you have 7 reaction types).
- Re-post the post with your commentary.
- Send the post privately to a friend or colleague to start a conversation on LinkedIn.
LinkedIn Can Help You Get Found By Like-minded Individuals
A client recently launched a book, completely unrelated to her role at work. It was based on her experience with parenting strategies in a niche area. She posted one update about the book on LinkedIn via her profile and has been contacted by a prestigious university to come and speak to their community, demonstrating the potential power of LinkedIn.
There is no rush. It’s okay to take LinkedIn slowly. One step at a time.
Need help with LinkedIn?
Browse Think Bespoke’s website library and knowledge base for helpful articles about LinkedIn Training, LinkedIn Profile, LinkedIn Marketing and Career Management.