While on LinkedIn, you may have seen battles surrounding what is considered appropriate content. You have likely seen the “Solve if you are a genius” posts, or posts about politics, or religion, or pictures of attractive women, followed by sporadic comments from people saying “This is Not Facebook,” and admonishing them for doing so.
I am not the LinkedIn Police, nor am I here to judge you.
But, rest assured, you ARE being judged.
As a marketing guy, I’m here to point out perception is reality. So, if you are on LinkedIn to network, keep your personal brand active, seek new employment opportunities, find new clients… you may want to keep the following tips in mind.
Be mindful of what you say and “Like”
Whenever you post a comment or like a post, your actions show in all of your connections homepage feed. Before you comment or like, consider… is this something you want everyone to see? Likewise, if you have a public profile, anyone can go to your profile page and see your recent activity. Current and potential employers and clients will be able to learn a lot more about you in an instant.
Personally, I know connections who tend to make strong comments about politics and religion. I know who “likes” every attractive woman’s posts. I know who spends time solving math problems and captioning photos. Do you think employers and clients will make their own conclusions on your personality or your work ethic? Right or wrong, they will.
Demonstrate your thought leadership
Since your potential employers and clients are seeing your activities, LinkedIn is the perfect place to share your expertise on various work-related topics. Write articles and originate posts that demonstrate your knowledge and your passion. Post intelligent comments on other people’s articles and posts that illustrate your expertise on the subject. Like and share articles and posts that relate to your field, or support people important to you – colleagues, clients, potential employers.
Find groups that share your interests and passion. The more specific you are in your search, the better the results (“marketing” found 45k groups, “marketing new jersey” found 31). Share your articles and posts with your groups. Ask questions and leave comments. The more you interact, the more connections you will make and the more opportunities you will find.
Don’t alienate half your connections
Unless you are in politics and have a public personality, I recommend you leave politics off LinkedIn. No matter who you voted for, roughly half are going to disagree with your choice. Most of us would not be able to make a living if we lost 25% of our customers, let alone half. People are passionate about their political beliefs, religious beliefs and sports teams. Debating them on LinkedIn won’t change their minds, but it will give them reason to judge you and the company you represent.
Frustrated with someone on LinkedIn? Keep in mind… commenting on a post you think is inappropriate for LinkedIn just shares that very same post on the feed of everyone of your connections, thereby providing the post an even greater audience. Instead, consider unfollowing that person. Not only is it much easier, but it looks better for you rather than trying to change their mind in a pointless debate.
Of course, not everyone is on LinkedIn for the same reasons. However, most of us can agree, LinkedIn was designed for people looking to network, learn work-related best practices and tips, seek employment opportunities or find customers. We each have our own brand. How does what you say and do on LinkedIn influence others’ perception of your brand?
Rick Verbanas has brought his passion for marketing to Fortune 500 companies, small businesses and not-for-profits. He strives to stay current in the latest marketing best practices, and provides a weekly roundup for your news and enjoyment. To subscribe to future blogs, please enter your email address on the left hand side of the page.