Three Easy Methods to Be Social (With out Being Sleazy) on LinkedIn
January 7, 2021 6 min read
The opinions expressed by the entrepreneur’s contributors are their own.
One of the best ways to build your professional network (especially when so many of us don’t have to meet face-to-face) is to build your LinkedIn presence. But it can be intimidating: who do you connect with, what do you share, and how often should you post?
People tend to go astray when focusing on technology. Remember, there is a reason to include the word “social” on social media. In particular, LinkedIn is a platform on which you can connect with other people.
Here are three easy ways to be social (without being shoddy) on LinkedIn.
1. Establish (authentic) connections
Don’t be afraid to connect with people as long as you have an actual connection.
For example, if you’ve met someone at a conference or event (even a virtual one), work for the same company (or have worked in the past), or worked on a project through email, all of these are perfectly valid reasons to be invited to Send connection. Many webinar and online workshop moderators specifically invite attendees to connect with them on LinkedIn. And these days, it’s pretty common for people to include a link to their LinkedIn profile right in their email signature. Just make sure you always add a personalized note to refresh your memory and provide a little context.
If you’ve never interacted with a person but want to connect with them, this can still work – with one major caveat. You need to explain who you are and why you want to connect. Sending a standard LinkedIn request to a stranger without personalization is an invitation to be ignored. Make sure you spend some time composing your introductory message. Think about it from the other person’s point of view – why should they accept this connection from you? Instead of focusing on how it will help you, try to put it in the way that will benefit you. Remember to keep it short: you will only get 300 characters.
Related: The 7 Deadly LinkedIn Sins
2. Remember that communication is a one-way street
Here’s a classic beginner’s mistake on LinkedIn (and pretty much any social media platform): only use it to blow up your content. Take a quick look at your past activity. Is it a long list of your posts and not much more?
One easy change is to mix up the type of post you’re making. There’s nothing wrong with sharing your current project or insights, but also try to share interesting content from other sources. If you come across any news or thought guidance relevant to your role or industry, share it! Articles on general business topics like focus or productivity hacks can also be great for generating discussion.
To make it even better, there are several different ways you can connect with others on LinkedIn. If you enjoy scrolling through your feed, take a few seconds to respond to and comment on other people’s posts. You can also share the posts of others with your network. This is especially useful when hiring, looking for work, or trying to connect with others outside of their immediate network.
This is where the power of weak bonds really comes into play. Case in point: We hired an intern at one of my previous companies because I shared the job ad with my network, my friend shared it with her network, and her brother-in-law saw the position and applied. He would probably never have seen the post if my friend hadn’t shared it.
You can also help the people in your network by approving their skills or writing a recommendation for them. This is especially beneficial for those who are actively looking for work.
As in any community, it’s not just about taking, it’s also about give and take. Try to adopt the mindset of how to be helpful and encourage conversation instead of simply broadcasting your own agenda.
Related Topics: How Entrepreneurs Can Benefit From Weak Connections
3. Commit to a regular cadence
If you only search on LinkedIn when looking for a job, you will not be able to take full advantage of the platform. If you think of it more like a water cooler, where you can often have brief, professional interactions, you’ll get more out of it.
This small change in behavior can quickly increase your visibility and influence. A very small percentage of the people on LinkedIn – only about 1 percent of LinkedIn’s 260 million users – share content weekly.
It can be helpful to make LinkedIn a part of your regular work routine. You can spend 10 minutes each day scrolling through your platform, liking and commenting on other people’s posts. Or you spend 30 minutes every Thursday looking for ways to help people in your network by sharing their job vacancies or other inquiries.
To make your posts more likely to show up, you may want to try integrating your activity into the times when people in your network are most likely also active on LinkedIn. Research from HubSpot suggests that the best times to post on LinkedIn are between 8 a.m. and 2 p.m. Tuesday and Thursday.
However, there is no single “right” way to do this. It’s about finding a cadence that works for you and that doesn’t feel overwhelming. Try different approaches until you find one that feels comfortable and manageable.
Related: I posted on LinkedIn 90 times in 90 days. Here’s why you should too.
If you ever get stuck, remember to go back to the idea of being social. Think of LinkedIn like a low-key professional party (but not the year-end bash where people tend to overdo it). Look for ways to make connections. Have conversations. Help others whenever you can. When you consider these concepts, you will make great strides to get the most out of LinkedIn.