If you only visit LinkedIn to update your profile when you’re planning to move jobs, you’re barely scratching the surface of what the platform can do for your professional growth. LinkedIn is far from being just a job search or headhunting website. Over the years, it has steadily evolved into an integrated social network for professionals. In addition to being touted as a “powerful business networking tool”, LinkedIn is also building itself to become an unparalleled content hub. This is evidenced by the in-house resources it has devoted to developing and curating content, the content-first interface and features it keeps introducing, and assets like LinkedIn Top Voices that promote the platform’s most influential leaders and creators.
LinkedIn’s content ambitions have the backing of users as well. It has been named the “most trusted platform” for four consecutive years in Business Insider’s Digital Trust Report, which evaluates consumer perception of nine major social networks. More people are turning to LinkedIn for quality content, states the report. The opportunistic cherry on this cake is that supply is yet to match the growing demand. Only 1 percent of LinkedIn’s monthly users currently share weekly content – attracting 9 billion impressions! That’s an unmatchable opportunity waiting to be capitalized by those who haven’t started their personal branding journey on LinkedIn. Whether you’re a fresh graduate, self-employed, an entrepreneur, or cxo – using LinkedIn strategically can put your career on an upward trajectory.
An open-to-all virtual business conference
While an updated and flawless profile is essential, building your personal brand on LinkedIn goes beyond these hygiene factors. Think of LinkedIn as a business conference – but one that’s virtual, global and not contained within the walls of a convention centre. Sharing ideas and networking are the key motives of attending a business conference – and it’s no different on LinkedIn. While the former is the traditional way to build one’s personal brand in the physical world, the latter is the new-age digital solution.
Networking on LinkedIn doesn’t mean cold messaging your connections or spamming people you’ve never met with requests to connect. Cold approaches have a low success rate in the physical world and are even more dismal in the virtual world. Instead, it’s about methodically creating a fertile environment for meaningful engagement. This is achieved by generating and curating thought-leadership content that is relevant to your network and likely to inspire dialogue. It’s similar to being a speaker on a panel discussion, but LinkedIn makes it democratic by allowing anyone with great ideas to take the stage.
Dos and don’ts of sharing content on LinkedIn
The suggestion to ‘create’ content for a social network often freezes the best of us in our tracks, presuming one needs to be a wordsmith to do so. However, it’s simply about sharing thoughts and anecdotes from your professional experience. A helpful starting point is to consider the ‘value add’ you can bring to a discussion. Sharing insights that inform or inspire is the quickest way to earn visibility on LinkedIn and position yourself as a thought leader.
Focus your talking points on your expertise or career journey. Share insights, observations, and opinions that offer a fresh perspective. But be careful not to exaggerate or self-promote at the risk of appearing pompous. Showcasing your strengths and talents on LinkedIn with finesse is about striking a fine balance. Stick to a professional tone but one that’s friendly, approachable, and humble. The key is to remain authentic and consistent.
Apart from your niche and the current affairs relevant to your industry, another topic that attracts lively discussions on LinkedIn is talking about the work environment, culture, and corporate policies – whether it’s a personal experience or opinion. Sharing accounts of overcoming challenges or offering a useful ‘how to’ are appreciated as well. The key is to be genuine, authentic, and relatable which helps build trust and credibility.
Exploring new ideas and connections
In a physical-world business conference, attendees often approach speakers to further talk about a thought that resonated with them. Such interactions often lead to fruitful new connections, ideas, and partnerships. On LinkedIn, these conversations take the form of commenting on others’ posts and interacting with the opinions shared on your posts – which can always graduate to inbox messages later on.
LinkedIn’s algorithms are designed to encourage conversations. Posts with comments often receive a wider reach. So, whether it’s your post with several comments or your comment on someone else’s post, interacting on LinkedIn is an effective way to garner clout for your personal brand and build visibility. You can also give shout outs to peers and colleagues – either to appreciate, encourage or introduce them to your network. Such constructive exchanges are the building blocks that make your professional community on LinkedIn.
A strong personal brand on LinkedIn can serve as your virtual handshake that leads to exciting new partnerships and projects. While it’s not something that’s built overnight, it’s a continuous process that you can define and shape. All it takes is active participation in the ecosystem, sharing ideas and growing together to build your network and forge strategic associations.
Authored article by Zahara Kanchwalla, Co-Founder & CEO, Rite Knowledgelabs.