Simple Ways to Be Less Crap at LinkedIn
LinkedIn. Doesn’t really get the pulse racing, does it?
It even sounds stupid when you say it out loud.
It’s not got the instant gratification of Twitter or the mass market appeal of Facebook, but poor underrated LinkedIn has generated more business for me than any other social media site.
You just need to be less crap at it.
Curate Your Damn Network
If you’re accepting every LinkedIn request you get, you’re doing it wrong. You’re pouring a big fat helping of noise over the signal you desperately need.
So don’t do it.
Set yourself criteria for accepting. For example, I only accept connections from people who get a tick in one of these boxes:
☒ We’ve worked together
☒ I’d like to work with them in future
☒ We’ve had at least one conversation/email exchange
☒ I’ve heard of them by reputation
If they don’t hit those boxes, they’ve got no chance. Sorry, recruiters who don’t know me from Adam.
Once they’re in, that doesn’t mean a free pass. Keep track of your network. Someone keeps posting rubbish memes, poor quality content or inappropriate messages?
Click on my network, then see all, then just do this:
Sort Your Bloody Profile
Right. You’ve got a little network brewing. You’re reaching out to people you want to connect with, and slamming the door on those you don’t.
The problem is, you’re putting people off with your dull profile. It’s time to jazz that all the way up.
At the bare minimum, here’s what you need.
- Profile picture. Of you. Head and shoulders. Not holding a beer. Not showing off your cleavage/flexing into a mirror. Just a normal bloody picture, yeah?
- Headline. Make it good. Don’t waste time with some bullshit like “Free-thinking cashtrepreneur looking for deep business connections.” Sell yourself and your skills, with a touch of personality. This one’s going to crop up everywhere on LinkedIn, so for the love of all that’s good in the world, make it stand out.
- Current position. A brief outline of what you do, and what people who’ll connect with you will get.
For bonus points, add the following.:
- A full summary of who you are, touching on your specialities
- A nice banner image, preferably tied into your company
- Recommendations from clients and former co-workers
Post Good Stuff
The foundations are there. Time to start building something.
This isn’t Twitter. It’s not about short snippets on an hourly basis. Instead, craft a decent post once a week. A few hundred words of something to generate conversation.
Here’s a few ideas:
- Hijack a news story. Always works, and people are sure to have something to say.
- Help people out. John Espirian is the master of this technique, and I highly recommend following his blog.
- Kick in the head of a Sacred Cow. Find some shit bit of received wisdom and tear it apart. Satirise fools. Neil Simpson does this fantastically.
- Tell a story. Nobody cares about your opinions. Wrap that opinion in a story so that your brain-fart becomes an Aesop’s Fable, and you’ll connect. I love doing this one.
Mix those four types up a bit. Combine them. And whatever you choose to do, throw in some personality. LinkedIn’s got this reputation for being a stiff, uptight place where people stare straight-faced as they answer stock interview questions. It isn’t. Choose your network, and it’s like a slightly sweary after-work drinking session where ideas flow and advice is shared.
Cheap LinkedIn Trick: Like your own posts. It actually helps with visibility. It just makes you look a bit desperate.
Talk To People
Here’s the final thing to do. It’s bloody important.
If you want LinkedIn to raise your profile and generate business, stop using it as a one-way street. Reach out and talk to people.
Comment on posts. Agree, disagree, offer free help, offer free criticism. Like things, share things.
The more active you are, the more you appear. The more you appear, the more familiar you become.
The more familiar you become, the better chance of sparking a relationship with that all-important next client.
So what’s stopping you?
Get out there and stop being so crap at LinkedIn.
You’ll be glad you did.
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