I’ve successfully helped thousands of professionals in the UK and beyond to find their voices on LinkedIn, create content that attracts their ideal clients, and grow their brand visibility and professional reputation. One of the most frequent obstacles I come up against is that professionals who have been boxed into a corporate cookie cutter feel restricted and thus parrot out beige content that is neither inspiring or engaging. It’s too often forgotten that LinkedIn is a platform intended for professional networking, and no one wants to network with Boring Barry who drones on for 3000 characters in corporate jargon.
If you’ve spent any time at all browsing LinkedIn over the past few years, you’ll no doubt have noticed the rapid evolution from it being a business-only platform. I say evolution, because I believe it to be hugely beneficial for not just the users, but for LinkedIn themselves, as it’s attracted a much wider audience and the growth since 2019 has been phenomenal.
The change was already coming, but Covid catalysed the transformation from corporate conversations to watercooler exchanges. While we were all stuck working from home in food stained pyjamas, picking rogue cornflakes from our hair, and trying to juggle client calls between episodes of CoComelon and Blippi, it provided a much needed source of adult socialisation and conversation.
I am unfairly credited (or blamed, depending on who you ask) for playing a large part in the more light hearted, personal, and casual approach that’s becoming increasingly popular on LinkedIn. In truth, it was just coincidental timing. I was looking for a way to market my small transcription business, and with no advertising budget, I stumbled upon an old LinkedIn profile I had. With no idea what I was doing, I started posting depressingly dry content, awkwardly attempting to sound like a white collar professional, and not the working class single mum with a little typing company that I really was.
The posts where I pretended I was something I’m not absolutely tanked. I was self-conscious, shy, embarrassed, and sure I’d be run out of the corporate village with flaming pitchforks when they realised I was an imposter. But I found my confidence in the comment sections, where I felt less exposed, and found it easier to relax and be funny (ish).
My confidence grew from engaging with others on their posts, and with that, I started posting content that was more personable, more relatable, more fun, and more me. And oh boy, did it FLY!
Now, I’d love to say it was down to my witty copywriting, and captivating storytelling, but it was a lot more than that. The main reason I was getting lots of traction on my posts is because I had spent time working the room before I asked for their attention.
Think about it; how often have you been to an in-person networking event, stood in the corner, not speaking to anyone, and just watching other people chat? If you say you’ve done that regularly then you may be the world’s worst networker. And I can’t imagine it got you much business.
Similarly, have you ever been to a conference full of strangers, got on stage, shouted your opinion at a room and left immediately?
It sounds ridiculous, doesn’t it? Yet, that’s how the vast majority of people still use LinkedIn. They post content, and disappear. They scroll endlessly, consuming content, but never leave a comment, never react, never acknowledge the writer or creator.
Or, even worse, they use automation to send hundreds of spammy, soulless cold pitching messages, which is akin to throwing undercooked spaghetti at a wall and praying something will stick. You wouldn’t send a manbot to a networking event to relationship-build with clients, so why do it on LinkedIn, a platform populated by human beings?!
And if we take the analogy further, your LinkedIn news feed is like your very own conference where you can hand select the people you want to attend. Your personal LinkedIn algorithm is your events coordinator, and unless you give him your guest list, how will he know who to invite? The more you engage with creators and content you enjoy, the more your algorithm learns what you like, and thus improves your news feed to show you more similar content and creators. If you enjoy your news feed, you’ll spend more time scrolling LinkedIn, engaging with people, sharing your thoughts, and thus become more visible to other users (this is where a great photo and headline are crucial, but we’ll cover that another time).
I know you’re busy. We all are. Believe me, growing a startup whilst running a household alone with a 6 year old wrecking ball and a dog who likes to wallow in muddy puddles more often than I take a shower, I can absolutely relate. But if you could spend 30 minutes in a networking event after work each day, sipping a gin and tonic while chatting to your dream clients, building positive relationships, whilst learning and enjoying yourself, why wouldn’t you make time for it? Used well, that’s exactly what LinkedIn can be for you, but in your jimjams with a coffee, if that’s more your pace.
LinkedIn isn’t like other social media. With a great profile, the right connections, and a well-planned strategy, everything you do on LinkedIn - every engagement, every post - you are marketing your business, building brand visibility, and strengthening professional relationships for FREE! And with consistency, it will bring a steady stream of clients and professional opportunities to your door.
Can you really say that’s not worth 30 minutes a day?