Are you active on LinkedIn YET? If you are in the B2B space, LinkedIn is the social media platform you want to be on. If you are in the B2C space, LinkedIn is also the platform to build up a network and participate in virtual networking.
There’s loads of information published on LinkedIn in the second half of 2017 — about how you should behave, what to do or say on LinkedIn. LinkedIn has been around for well over a decade and this professional platform has been undergoing a huge transformation especially this year.
LinkedIn today is not meant purely for recruiters and job seekers anymore. And I’m speaking from experience. Between August to October 2017, I wrote over 60,000 words, just by commenting and engaging with other LinkedIn users. From strangers, a great number of them have become my close supporters. One of my top articles – The Art of Standing Out and Building Relationships on LinkedIn – details my experience and how I 10x my LinkedIn reach from a mere 200 connections.
- Recruiters and companies to look for candidates
- Job seekers — graduates to look for new job
- Job seekers — existing workforce who want to seek greener pastures or those have to look for new employment.
Current objectives of using LinkedIn have stretched far beyond the original purpose of being on LinkedIn.
- Businesses looking for clients
- Clients looking for new partnerships
- Networking — to learn, to get support, get mentorship
On the surface, this look radical. The rules of engagement seems to have changed. And LinkedIn users who haven’t been as active before are now at a loss. They don’t seem to know what they do.
In my mind, it’s pretty straightforward.
No matter what you want to do here: this should be your primary objective on LinkedIn.
To stand out and build relationships.
Because once you achieved your primary objective, whatever secondary goals you are after — getting new clients, looking for new jobs, getting support etc — that will fall into place.
So how do you stand out effectively and let people remember you?
You have to open your mouth and talk. You have to sell yourself.
On LinkedIn, this means you voice your thoughts – whether it’s through publishing words or a video, you let people know you exist.
Whether you are on LinkedIn for virtual networking, looking for a new job or selling your services and products, you absolutely need to:
- Sell your personality, sell your strengths, sell your skills.
- If people like you, they want to connect & learn from you. If you are skilled, companies want to recruit you & customers want to buy from you.
If you are quiet, No one knows you SHINE! 🌞
Let us take a close look at two scenarios:
During a class, when the teacher poses a question, A frequently puts up the hand to ask & answer questions.
✔Result: Teachers like and remember A who speak up often!
At work meetings, B always has an opinion, idea, recommendations & ask questions.
✔Result: The manager sees B as a thought leader & peers go to B for advice. B is likely to be promoted.
So now you know speaking up works…
How do you apply this tactic on LinkedIn?
You can either start conversations or join in conversation. If you have a LARGE network on LinkedIn but have never been very active before, here are the options:
How to initiate conversations:
- Start a thread in a LinkedIn Group you’ve joined
- Write an article (like what I’m doing right here!)
- Write a post update — 1300 characters or less
- The engagement levels in LinkedIn Groups haven’t been catching on as fast as Facebook Groups (as of yet), I would recommend you to start with creating your own conversations.
Writing an article is fantastic to showcase your expertise and skills. However, keep this in mind: these are busy professionals on LinkedIn and many of them are time poor — that means they are selective on what they read.
If your network know you have a track record of quality content and they will learn something new, they would invest their time to read your long article. Else they will just skip through or ignore.
If you are starting out, writing a long article is not the best tactic.
Start with “showing off” snippets of your knowledge using post updates
Let me explain how it works:
A post update is limited to 1300 characters — that’s about 100 to 200 words.
An average reader will take about 1.5 minutes to read a post while a slow reader would spend about 2 minutes.
Everyone has a couple of minutes to spare in between transition of activities to read a quick post. That’s a small time commitment.
However, if your article takes about 5 to 10 minutes, it means the individual needs to allocate a time period to actually read your article. This is a big time commitment!
It’s also a win-win situation where your audience gets a flavour of who you are and what you know while you don’t have to spend a ton of time writing a 1000–2000 word essay that nobody is going to read!
Writing a post is cool for starting a conversation but…..this wouldn’t be as effective if you are starting out on LinkedIn and have a SMALL NETWORK to begin those conversations!
Not to worry — I have a solution for you.
Join in conversations that others have started by commenting on other people’s post updates.
Why commenting is an underrated strategy
Before I began logging into LinkedIn everyday, I only had 171 connections — people whom I’ve met, old classmates and ex-colleagues — majority of whom who were not active on LinkedIn.
There’s an underlying assumption that you can only write posts to grow your network. That’s B.S. When you start out, honestly — you are a nobody — why would people want to interact with your content? Who are you?
I came up with a solution to grow my network. I wanted people to notice me, know me, who I am, what I do and my expertise. The only way possible was for me to speak up and join ongoing dialogues.
Joining ongoing dialogues is the same as going for other mini virtual networking events. Talking to other attendees (commenters) and the host (author of the post) puts my name and my face in front of them!
If I don’t know much about a topic, I demonstrated interest in the topics by asking questions in the comments section. Showing interest is the opener to the initiation of a relationship.
Nobody opens up to someone who is talking about themselves — unless of course it’s a topic you know they are keen about.
I’m going to share with you my strategies to excel and build up your network.
Commenting Strategy Lesson 101:
Commenting is an art itself.
It’s not scientific. There are no magic formulas.
BUT if done right, commenting makes you stand out and people are keen to connect with you and know more about you!
What’s commenting about? After you’ve read a conversation opener — aka a post update:
Use my COMMENT framework:
CONVERSE — think of commenting on a post as talking to a friend — a reply — having a conversation.
OUTLOOK — give your outlook, your standpoint about the post
ME — talk about your experience or your knowledge or your skills and how it relates or even possibly contradict the author of the post. Do this RESPECTFULLY!!
MEANINGFUL — share a similar incident that happened before through empathy or add an alternative view or idea that will put the perspective under a different light.
ELABORATE — don’t stop at one or two sentences. When you share a story or anecdote, write it out. What happened, how you felt, what you learned!
NO — NO — avoid answering with just a no or yes.
THINK — how can you add value to the conversation?
Beginner tutorial for you: When you next read a post, here are four things you can do:
✔Agree, disagree & explain why.
✔ Talk about 1 thing you learned from the post.
✔ Pick up 1 part you relate to & explain WHY.
✔ Know nothing about the topic? Be curious and ask questions
Commenting Strategy Lesson 102:
#Linkedin is a virtual networking platform.
At any physical networking event, you talk to people, join in conversations & connect.
It’s precisely what you do here!
What happens if you see an interesting post & have no comments?
You might hit the “Like” button or you might say “Great post, thank you!”?
❌Stop doing that!
Rather than stopping at “great post!”, scroll through OTHER comments to see if there’s something you can add on. Even if you don’t know the commenter!
✔ Interact with a commenter who has a similar opinion, add to the viewpoint.
✔Ask a commenter if you want to know more about what he/she is talking about.
✔Or if you disagree with a commenter, politely explain your stand and why!
You exchange ideas, add dynamics to the dialogue & know new people!
Next time, don’t be shy, just jump right in!
Want to develop your people skills?
How do you bring professional relationships to the next level? Follow my approach:
Let’s say, last week — you talked to a new connection Z on LinkedIn.
During the chat, you found out Z is very interested in marketing hacks in the e-commerce space.
Coincidentally, when you log onto LinkedIn today, you found a very interesting post on this topic.
You realized: “Ah..Z would be very excited about this!” And you know Z doesn’t know about it! So you tag Z in the comment and invite Z into the conversation.
Or you PM Z and send the link to him/her.
It took you only 1 minute to do this.
But because you responded without asking, and offered a solution to Z.
✔ Z realizes you were genuinely interested in understanding him/her.
✔ Z feels supported and valued in the relationship.
And it helps to bring the relationship to the next level.
Building genuine relationships is about Listening and Responding.
If you want to stand out and initiate quality relationships on LinkedIn, sell yourself and combine Commenting Strategies 101 and 102 — you’ll reap intangible benefits.
Are you new to the “new” LinkedIn?
If you are committed to amping your professional presence, I offer a personalized approach to help bring your A-game to LinkedIn.