In this article we explore how to love LinkedIn more than social media with tips to help you use LinkedIn better. These tips will help you seriously contemplate the idea of spending more time on LinkedIn and less time on social media. At the end of this article you can also listen to a podcast episode on this topic.
LinkedIn is a professional networking platform and demands a lot less from you than social media from a content creation perspective. Many of the new clients we work with make a point of telling me they’re not really someone who uses social media. This is always music to my ears as I know they’ll be relieved when I encourage them to take a methodical approach to LinkedIn based on their specific professional goals.
LinkedIn rewards those who are curious and open to learning how to better connect with and help their community.
LinkedIn has so much to offer quieter and more thoughtful folk, especially if you wish to make positive change in the world, have limited resources and are prepared to think carefully about your professional goals. To get more from LinkedIn you need to decide which free profile and page features you wish to leverage to maximise your time, build awareness of your mission and engage in the topics you care about.
8 Ways to Use LinkedIn Better
Because so many professionals treat LinkedIn like social media, they do not get the most from this professional networking platform. Following are my tips for how to maximise your time (and protect your headspace) when on LinkedIn so you can love it more than social media.
1. Curate Your LinkedIn Newsfeed
The quality of your LinkedIn newsfeed is greatly influenced by the time you invest in curating who and what you follow. When I tune into my LinkedIn newsfeed I’m able get help with issues I may be facing right now, stay up to date with relevant professional news and learn more about trending topics relevant to my industry. And one of my favourite things to do on LinkedIn is celebrate and acknowledge the success of my community and connect people who are seeking talent to help them with their next project.
Tip: Curate your LinkedIn newsfeed.
If you’re yet to curate your LinkedIn profile’s newsfeed, read this article to learn how.
2. Connect with Subject Matter Experts
LinkedIn is also a place where you can reach out to subject matter experts in their field, either by inviting them to connect or following them on LinkedIn. This is especially useful if they post value adding content on LinkedIn in their area of expertise, which is possible via LinkedIn Profile updates, LinkedIn Newsletters and LinkedIn articles published via LinkedIn Profiles.
Tip: Explore Creator Mode.
Creator Mode has expanded the scope of topics being discussed on LinkedIn and improved the diversity of opinions. If you’d like to learn more about activating Creator Mode you can learn more about this feature here.
3. Connect Privately Via LinkedIn Messaging
If you imagine LinkedIn is like a virtual room and the LinkedIn newsfeed is the public corridor where you pass lots of interesting conversations, then LinkedIn messaging is the more private meeting room to chat with one or a few people. I have lots of conversations with colleagues via LinkedIn messages and see this as a wonderful way to stay more meaningfully connected with my LinkedIn community than public newsfeed banter that can be witnessed by all my LinkedIn connections.
Tip: Leverage LinkedIn messaging.
Consider how you can use the LinkedIn messaging feature to share interesting articles or job opportunities from your LinkedIn newsfeed privately with dormant connections, acknowledge you’ve seen connections viewing your profile, or introduce connections to each other for specific projects, or as a follow up to a conversation.
4. Be Active on LinkedIn
This sounds obvious, and is a reminder that if you want to get maximum value from LinkedIn then you need to spend time on the website or App every other week day. Checking your newsfeed three to five times a week is enough to stay on top of new invitations to connect, read the latest updates in your LinkedIn newsfeed and research specific companies or people you’ve crossed paths with recently.
“How often should I post on LinkedIn?” is a question I get asked often. It’s not mandatory to post updates and you can get a lot of value from your time on LinkedIn as a research tool or to network privately with new and current connections. You can like and comment on posts in your newsfeed and re-share updates from connections and LinkedIn pages with your commentary or perspective.
Tip: Make ‘time on LinkedIn’ part of your daily or weekly rituals.
There is value in posting an update from your profile at least once a week, but this does not always need to be content you have written or created. You can share an interesting article you’ve read, a freely available resource you discovered, a TED talk that inspired you or a photo of you and team members celebrating a recent milestone. Make sure you add a relevant commentary with your post to contextualise for the reader why you are sharing it on LinkedIn. You can also mention connections, companies and tag connections in photos. To find out more about these features, read this article on how to mention people in posts and comments and this article about how to tag people in photos on LinkedIn
By sharing resources like my LinkedIn newsletter, LinkedIn marketing podcast and this website blog on LinkedIn and reading, liking and commenting on the insights of other LinkedIn members, I actively engage in a professional pursuit to inform, educate, learn, reflect, re-think. celebrate and acknowledge my LinkedIn community.
5. Use LinkedIn On Your Terms
Technology like LinkedIn is only useful when you become strategic about leveraging it to achieve your professional goals. If you are like some of my clients, and would prefer not to post content via your LinkedIn Profile, you can simply tailor your newsfeed with relevant insights, unfollow connections who share content you do not value and privately message your connections if you wish to converse with them.
Tip: Take control of your LinkedIn profile’s communication settings.
LinkedIn is a prolific over-communicator, with email and in App notifications. Take better control of how you use LinkedIn by reducing the number of emails LinkedIn sends* you and spending specific time each week on LinkedIn.
* Learn how to update your LinkedIn communication settings here.
6. Tackle Your Social Media Fatigue Head On
In this podcast episode I explore the increasing reports of social media fatigue I have observed and the subsequent benefits of choosing a primary platform for your social media efforts. Social media fatigue is the overwhelming feeling of having to decide ‘what to post on social media?’.
Tip: Choose a primary platform for your content marketing efforts.
If you’re responsible for the LinkedIn and / or social media presence for your B2B organisation, your start up, social enterprise or consultancy, please tune into this episode.
7. Everything Old is New Again
As a woman who’s sailing closer to 50 years of age than I’d like to admit, I enjoy the intersection of the “old school” and the “new school” of business networking that LinkedIn offers. If you’re familiar with this “old School” approach, you will take to networking on LinkedIn like a duck to water. None of the concepts I teach about networking on LinkedIn are new. They are proven concepts used by professionals for many years adapted to the functionality LinkedIn offers via invitations to connect, private messaging, posting, commenting and connecting conversations from email, website, online and face to face activities.
While I understand the importance of business cards and building relationships, I have also taught many people under the age of 25 how to locate their LinkedIn profile’s QR code. As a digital minimalist I value technology that saves me time and helps me reach professional goals from the comfort of my laptop or phone. As this is what LinkedIn offers anyone who’s willing to carefully consider how they can use their profile and page presence to elevate their voice online.
Tip: You can not live on a digital diet alone. LinkedIn is most effective when you combine your in real life connections with your online conversations and connections.
8. Ignore Bad Sales Behaviour on LinkedIn
Given that recruitment or sales leads are the focus for many LinkedIn members, you may dislike LinkedIn because some professionals try to sell to you via LinkedIn messaging. Please understand that recruiters use LinkedIn as a key talent pool for potential candidates for the roles they’re currently trying to fill for their clients. Sales people responsible for business development or a charity seeking strategic alliances and generous corporate sponsors use LinkedIn is a source of potential clients or patrons. They are as welcome as you are to use LinkedIn to help achieve their professional goals.
Tip: Ignore the bad behaviour on LinkedIn and focus on your goals.
Do not be put off by any bad sales behaviour you experience on LinkedIn. Whenever I attend networking events there’s always one or two people who come across as a bit pushy. It’s easy enough to side step these conversations and move on to seeking out more meaningful connections. I recommend you ignore any bad sales behaviour on LinkedIn, accept invitations to connect from recruiters (you may need them one day) and focus on connecting meaningfully with your LinkedIn connections.
Why I Love LinkedIn
I like to imagine LinkedIn is a virtual room where you can converse with your community and learn from others. I first started to be more active on LinkedIn when my two boys were very young and I had limited time to attend networking events for my business. As a corporate escapee focused on building my small business I credit LinkedIn for helping me stay meaningfully connected to my professional network, educating my community about my business services and encouraging referrals from people who’d worked with me or know me.
With an up to date LinkedIn profile and a company page*, your LinkedIn presence can play the role of a 24 / 7 online ambassador. For job seekers or individuals researching or considering a change in career direction, LinkedIn is also a place where you’re likely to find your next job or client or get head hunted.
* Learn how to create a company page in this article. You can create a LinkedIn company page for your business for free.
In an increasingly disconnected world, LinkedIn is a great place to stay in touch with your professional community. If you believe in good manners, diverse points of view and respectful debates, networking on LinkedIn can mean engaging with the insights of professionals and continuing conversations you’ve had at in real life or online events, conferences and social gatherings.
I’ve heard LinkedIn described as ‘the blue devil’ and it certainly acts like a pushy sales person, regularly prompting members to update their current membership. Please ignore LinkedIn’s extroverted tendencies. While there are advantages of investing in LinkedIn premium, there’s LOTS you can do on LinkedIn for free, and LinkedIn Learning can be accessed at no cost via most local library memberships.
Tip – ask your friendly local librarian to show you how to access Lynda (this is what LinkedIn Learning used to be called).