COVID-19 is raging again, but you would barely know it scrolling through LinkedIn. Inside the social network for business professionals, everyone is constantly humbled, thrilled or honoured. Occasionally, they’re all three at the very same time.
By what, exactly? Their latest promotion. Or their newest client. Sometimes their most-recent deal. They always want you to know they were “humbled by the opportunity” and “grateful for the experience.” Often they’ll attach a glamour shot so you can see for yourself. Won an internal award for overseeing a product launch? Better post a photo holding the plaque.
The humblebrags are just the start of it. On LinkedIn there’s now everything from pregnancy announcements to weight-loss achievements, and people you barely know will write mini-essays about getting fired. They’ll also pen public love letters explaining why they absolutely, positively adore their jobs.
I’ve spent the past few months scrolling through this jungle to decipher whether it was always like this, and I just hadn’t noticed, or if something truly had changed. The very non-academic verdict: There’s been a remarkable shift, and LinkedIn has morphed into one of the wildest places on the internet.
Much of it is thanks to the pandemic. Stuck working from home, white-collar workers have been desperate for stimulation. LinkedIn says user engagement nearly doubled in 2020, relative to the year prior, and in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2021 there was a 35-per-cent jump in public conversations – that is, posts, comments and reactions – relative to the same period in 2020.
Early in the pandemic, this was comforting. “When COVID hit and there was far less opportunity for social interaction – going out to conferences, meeting people, going to church – I was looking for a replacement,” says Richard Rémillard, a consultant and former executive director of the Canadian Venture Capital & Private Equity Association.
“I’ve got a Facebook account, too, but it’s me going mushroom hunting north of Ottawa.”
Mr. Rémillard is a LinkedIn power user who pops up in my news feed daily. He says his goal has been sensible debate about business issues. It’s a lost dream. “The celebratory aspect of Linkedin has taken over entirely.”
It’s been quite the evolution. In its early days, LinkedIn was seen as a simple way to keep in contact with people from your personal network. Barely anything happened on it. You’d get a request to connect, accept, and then it was mostly radio silence.
If you cared to search around, you could get a few brief updates on former colleagues or classmates who had started new jobs, but the updates were all made with tact. The real value in LinkedIn was for recruiters and headhunters, because it was their dream database.
Around 2014, there was a noticeable shift and the service started to look more like a social-media platform, with LinkedIn pushing a steady stream of content on its news feed to give users something to keep coming back for. Staying true to its roots, LinkedIn invited business leaders to participate by developing relationships with corporate communications teams, and CEOs started posting quarterly updates and personal stories.
Most were boring, likely because human-resources departments and lawyers love to suck the fun out of everything. CEOs also rarely seemed to write the posts themselves – that’s what communications teams are for. But LinkedIn took pride in being a place for civil discourse.
“When people start talking about politics, you see this flood of comments beneath what they are writing, saying, ‘This isn’t Facebook. Please don’t put that here,’ ” LinkedIn’s editor-in-chief Daniel Roth said on the Recode podcast five years ago.
He also noted that ordinary users tended to self-censor. “When you write or share or comment on LinkedIn, your boss sees it, your employees see it, your future business partners see it,” he added, “so people tend to be much more careful about what they say.”
A lot has changed since then, including ownership. Microsoft Corp. bought LinkedIn for US$26-billion in 2016, and there’s also been the influencer revolution, in which individuals promote brands through their social-media accounts. It’s more common now to blur personal and professional worlds.
And then there’s the pandemic. So much of the content LinkedIn users post is the stuff they used to brag or vent about in person, to a small group. Food courts used to be lovely hotbeds of gossip. But that’s been taken away, so now people post for the world to see – with their job titles and company names attached.
I know my frustration about this is child’s play relative to what hospital staff are dealing with right now. But it also feels as if LinkedIn is on the precipice of devolving into something very dark. Scroll through the news feed for long enough and it becomes pretty rage inducing, and there have already been instances of bragging causing outrages, such as when law students bragged about the summer jobs they snagged – leaving their classmates feeling like crap.
What used to be a recruiting platform is far from it today, and that vice-president you barely know, who’s acting like one of your aunties on Facebook who just can’t help but post, is probably affecting you more than you think.
“You can’t anticipate everything. You can’t prep for everything,” said LinkedIn co-founder and former CEO Reid Hoffman during an interview Thursday at the 2021 Inc. 5000 Vision Conference. Entrepreneurship, he adds, is like “running really fast through the fog,” so the best thing you can do is equip yourself with learned wisdom from others who have been down the path before you.
Hoffman, who today is a partner at the venture capital firm Greylock, has had a hand in many fast-growth companies that have achieved enormous scale. In addition to LinkedIn, he was a top executive at PayPal, along with Peter Thiel, Elon Musk, and others who’ve gone on to become household names. And he’s been an investor in Facebook and Airbnb, among others.
Hoffman also is a three-time bestselling author whose newest book, Masters of Scale: Surprising Truths From the World’s Most Successful Entrepreneurs, which he co-wrote with June Cohen and Deron Triff, builds on the success of their podcast by the same name. Both the podcast and the book feature stories and lessons drawn from deep interviews with dozens of famous founders, along with tales from Hoffman’s own career. In short: Few people understand the art of scaling a business better than Hoffman.
In his conference appearance, Hoffman highlighted a few of the top takeaways from the new book and discussed the ethics of Silicon Valley-style blitzscaling at a moment when the type of tech giants he has helped create have come under increasing scrutiny.
Beware unintended consequences
One of the most memorable moments of Hoffman’s presentation came when he addressed the ethical complications that can come when scaling as quickly as possible brings unintended consequences. Especially as a growing organization moves “from single-threaded to multi-threaded,” Hoffman says, it can be hard as a leader to both maintain the speed to scale and keep on top of all the new threads–let alone anticipate all potential scenarios.
He recommends hiring “somebody whose responsibility is to say, ‘What could possibly go wrong? What would have the wrong impact with our customers or with society, and what are the things we could do now to prep against it?'” Nothing is fail-safe, he cautions, but the more you think ahead, the more nimbly you can respond when necessary–“because if things start going wrong at scale, that can be even more challenging.”
Let some fires burn
As Hoffman knows well, running a fast-growth company can feel like an exercise in constant crisis management. Rather than trying to put out every fire immediately, he advises, establish a triage system that allows you to, in his words, “let some fires burn.” An entrepreneur should ask herself a series of questions: “Which thing is most likely to kill us first, or limit our scale? Which thing, if we don’t start now, won’t be controllable later?”
The answers aren’t always obvious, he points out–some fires, though harder to control later, will be manageable because you’ll have more resources as you grow. “Generally speaking, you have a limited amount of resources to focus on some fires,” he says. “If you try to do them all at the same time, maybe you won’t get any of them sufficiently.”
It all comes back to mission
It’s not enough, Hoffman says, for your company to provide jobs or for people to love your product. “Those are important things, true, but sometimes your product might be questionable–like cigarettes.” So you should also ask, “Why is society better with your product in it?”–and invest in growing that direction.
That isn’t anti-business, he adds, it’s long-term brand building. It builds cohesion and clarifies decision-making in the company. It’s great for attracting talent. “It can be great capitalism. I think it’s really fundamental to great entrepreneurship and helps through the entire company,” he says.
Improving on this subject is something we are constantly trying to do. Many times b2b clients reach out and want to build a solid presence on social. But here’s the harsh truth – building a community around a brand is almost impossible. However, positioning personas within the company, and leveraging their influence to grow the company page is way more feasible.
There are the rare examples of companies such as Gong and Zest who are knocking the ball out of the park with a killer company page, but they’re the exception to the rule (and they are also fueled by strong personas that have become authorities).
This post will focus on LinkedIn, however, there’s much to be said for Quora, Reddit and Twitter.
Here are experience-based tips on what works:
When posting make sure all posts are readable with white space out
Linkedin don’t appreciate linking out of the platform. Try to avoid it as much as possible. When you do, paste the link in the first comment (and mention “link in the first comment”)
The more people click on your posts the better – LinkedIn will get an indication of relevancy. So:
write texts that are long enough for people to need to click “see more”
for the same reason when posting images – aim for more than 5
Speaking about images – it’s always better to show people than scenery
Hashtags are important! – before using them check they have enough followers (hundreds and up)
Post in the morning when people get to work, noon when they’re on a break or afternoon as they head home
On top of the above: wadidigital published this fantastic breakdown on the types of posts the LinkedIn algorithm favors, keep it in mind.
Now let’s roll up our sleeves: Here’s a typical breakdown we try to stick to weekly for b2b c-levels who’s presence we manage.
Rule of thumb – we always try to strike emotions/ be controversial in the content, and to ADD VALUE:
1 Conversational type of post – ask a question “what music do you listen to when working”, “do you outsource tech or rely mostly on an inhouse team” etc
1 List type of post that end with a question “these are the top 5 books any tech pro should read, which would you add?”
1 Infographic with insights
(at least) 1 Share of a company blog post with a personal angle (we play around with these and sometimes also post entire blog posts as Linkedin articles, the jury is still out regarding the efficiency of this)
1 Viral type of post (the legendary Larry Kim does that so well we actually name those LK posts internally)
Daily Engage with peers, like comment and share
I hope this helps, if you have further tips to share, please let me know!
Market leaders have capitalized on digital marketing since the early 90s, but the current level of awareness toward the use of online tools for marketing has been unprecedented — here in Europe and elsewhere around the globe. The first half of 2020 has habituated many people to include online interactions and transactions in their business dealings as well as their consumer behavior. Many experts opine that the pandemic has reduced physical interactions and elevated online marketing to the role of a critical survival tool, i.e. protecting the business from uncertainties and risks of present and the future.
While many businesses and clients have been thrust into the online space, LinkedIn has emerged as trusted platform for networking, lead generation and sales. It can be an ideal place to get started, establish your lead generation funnel and future-proof your business. This is how I advise my clients to ensure that their business remains resilient:
1. Gain digital trust.
You may employ some of the same principles to gain digital trust for both your professional profile and company page. The objective of establishing a digitally trusted brand transcends all tips and tactics of LinkedIn marketing. It results in brand loyalty through participation in an online community, relevance, and shareability of content and the overall user experience of consuming information and interacting on your posts and articles.
2. Build the right network.
Like offline marketing, LinkedIn also depends on referrals and endorsements. Unlike offline activities, your interactions are in public view and have the potential to automatically imply a positive relationship with decision-makers, thought leaders and influencers.
3. Source strategic inputs.
A key input of future-proofing is to have the right strategy for the times ahead. Fortunately, LinkedIn is home to valuable content that is posted daily by credible industry experts and thought leaders.
Many influencers post the spontaneous versions of their articles on LinkedIn before they elaborate and repurpose it for journals. The timely and subscription-free access to such information could serve as valuable inputs to your business strategy as well as your content marketing.
4. Blend verifiable data with unique insights.
Verifiable data invites views and unique insights are instrumental in attracting engagement. If your content is visible to the right network of contributors — i.e. experts, influencers, and target audience — you not only gain their trust and insightful responses, but you also start to build a following that can help widen your distribution net exponentially.
Since LinkedIn is a content-driven social network, a lot of your data can be sourced from the content within LinkedIn and blended with your own insights to generate original content.
5. Optimize your content for searchability and utility.
There are simple ways to do search engine optimization (SEO) for any kind of content, such as profiles or company pages, text or video, data-driven or heartwarming or how-to posts. While anyone can acquire the traits to be SEO friendly, you must also create and optimise your content in such a way that it is refreshing, reliable, and useful.
In a few weeks, this can help refine the parameters of identifying your target audience and marketing your content to them. Assess where you fit in and how your brand can be more appealing. If you want to save the time and effort, you can opt for a paid membership plan like the Sales Navigator and also seek guidance from a LinkedIn consultant like myself.
Curate your feed by following and unfollowing people in order to “train” the LinkedIn algorithm to show you only posts you are interested in or from your “ideal client.”
6. Promote P2P content distribution.
LinkedIn Marketing isn’t just about creating a network of people who consume your content. It’s also about creating a community of users who distribute your content.
In other words, you have to foster a person-to-person (P2P) network by stimulating a quid-pro-quo relationship with active influencers and also encouraging the contribution of followers who enhance your visibility in their network. Even a like or comment can improve your visibility and if a follower sees engagement from their network, some of them may choose to re-share or distribute your content.
The inimitable “golden hour” in which you have one hour after a post is published to gain the most traction has just been abandoned by LinkedIn and posts are still shown to your network for up to a week after posting.
Remember: Future-proofing your business with social is all about committing to the long game. Develop your strategy now to help ensure your visability in and viability for the future.
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How To Use LinkedIn For Business In 2020 Subscribe to my YouTube Channel for more social media for business video tips https://www.youtube.com/c/MarkWarncke… LinkedIn’s popularity continues to rise and rise and in 2020 in guessing it will tick over 700 million user and profiles. So it’s not going away and is now a must to use for everyone involved in B2B sales So in this video I explain 5 simple and easy tips to get started with on with LinkedIn for business in 2020 Tip 1 – Complete your profile 100% Tip 2 – Start posting on a regular basis Tip 3 – Engage with your network Tip 4 – start recording and posting video content Tip 5 – Use the search function to find your ideal lead or opportunity to reach out to. These are the basic fundamentals of using LinkedIn but the vast majority still use it.
If your just follow these simple and easy tips LinkedIn will open more opportunities than you ever thought possible. Some of the video references I mentioned in this video are listed here 5 Tips For a WOW LinkedIn Summary Section https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1EQcS… How To Setup a LinkedIn Company Page https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nfmNq… How To Connect LinkedIn and Twitter and Post To Both At Same Time https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cXPyk… To stay up to date with everything social media for business subscribe to my channel Social Media for business expert Mark Warncken – I’m the guy that makes social media for business owners and brands easy using YouTube, LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and a whole lot more.. Recommended Playlist for a full series of LinkedIn For Business Videos LinkedIn For Business Playlist https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list…
You may be working from home but for many professionals that doesn’t equate to hours of spare time. Conversely, as we start to emerge from the COVID-19 fog, you know that you need to start generating new business and promoting yourself.
LinkedIn is a great resource to leverage in order to market and position your brand when you are still remote working. Many people think they don’t have time for LinkedIn even when they understand it is an important social media tool. However, 20 minutes a day is actually sufficient time to build and engage your audience to build your brand and generate material business.
Here are the things that you should check each day to achieve great results. Even if you do only one of these consistently, you will rapidly see the fruits of your labour.
Home Page: As soon as you land on LinkedIn, the Home Page is the first thing that you see. As you scroll down the page, you will notice the activities related to your network. There are several tasks for you here: You may like to interact with friends and colleagues who are adding value. You may comment or share the activities you find helpful. Algorithm-wise, comments are worth more than shares on LinkedIn – people will appreciate them as they’ll drive the reach of their posts.
Who Viewed My Profile?: On the Home page just below your picture, you will notice “Who viewed your profile”, followed by the number of views. Check out who is viewing your profile.
You want to be found. That’s what LinkedIn is all about. If you are getting found at rather frequent intervals and are attaining substantial three-figure numbers, you are well on your way to this goal.
Review the person who stopped by as they are interested in you. If they fit your “ideal client” criteria reach out and invite them to join your network. If you say you noticed they veiwd your profile, they’re 10x more likely to accept your invitation.
My Network: The ‘My Network’ Menu is right at the top in the dark strip adjacent to ‘Home’.Below “invitations”, you will see the list of “People you may know”. You can process invitations and click on pictures of those people you may want to connect with to peruse their profiles to know more about them.
Invitations: Invite 10 targeted people to your network daily: Tell them how you know them, find something in common, be enthusiastic, reference their profile. Courtesy will get you far. I always thank the person in advance for agreeing to connect. When they connect, offer to introduce them to someone in your network if they wish. That way, your new contact feels they can benefit from the connection.
Notifications: You can see ‘Notifications’ in the top menu bar in dark colour alongside Home. Here lies a key opportunity to leverage a feature: You can connect with your network and initiate powerful interactions.
Has someone changed jobs? Send them a congratulatory message. Someone has a work anniversary? Send a quick message saying how impressed you are they’ve chalked up another year at XYZ limited and ask what’s happening there that they might like you to share with your network for them.
You can respond to the comments and do this consistently to let others know you value their feedback. You can briefly take a look at the profiles of those who follow you or like your content. You shouldn’t forget to thank those who endorsed you and also those who share your content. Appreciation helps build your image and brand.
Work: This is the place to see the activities going on in your LinkedIn groups. You may like to comment on something that interests you in a group where conversations are going on. You can message an unlimited number of people in LinkedIn groups regardless of whether you’ve connected with them.
The important point to note here is the flexible nature of LinkedIn. There is no fixed, right or wrong way of doing things on LinkedIn but with a short targeted daily strategy you can make the platform work for you and your business.
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