The right way to do LinkedIn
How to supercharge your business development, find unexpected career opportunities, and make yourself super valuable without being cringey
This is part of series of posts about sales, marketing, and business development for paid subscribers. Learn more about my premium content here.
Many of you have been telling me that you want to be more active on LinkedIn to help with your business development. But you also don’t want to come across self aggrandizing or cringey.1 So you never post anything. Meanwhile all the other annoying, shameless self promoters put out bad content, and end up getting all this attention to help them win business away from you.
If this sounds familiar, I’ve got some good news. There is, in fact, a way for normal people to get active on LinkedIn, without coming across like a total tool. The secret? Don’t rush into posting from your main account. Engage with your community directly where they congregate instead. Use the feedback you receive there (and the connections you build) to launch your own personal brand and platform.
Like it or not, LinkedIn matters
LinkedIn is the preferred social media platform for the corporate world, and your profile is your personal “landing page” that lets you showcase your professional experience, education, and skills. It's super valuable for business development, enabling you to use it to send direct messages to potential buyers2 because your response rate will spike if you have a well developed LinkedIn presence (bolded for emphasis).
LinkedIn supercharges the reputation you build in public. For example, when you attend conferences, speak at events, or participate in webinars, your platform helps you efficiently build connections. Audience members will inevitably look you up to get a better understanding of your background and experience. If they like what they see they will connect with you. The best part? When you do it right, unexpected career opportunities will organically emerge.
“Ok I get it, but I still can’t bring myself to do it”
Why do people put out cringey content? I don’t think it’s because they’re all jerks. Maybe some of them. Anyways, my suspicion is that the terrible content comes from people not really understanding what resonates with others. So they post all sorts of outlandish hot takes, or humblebrags in the hopes that it will get attention. All of the likes they get serves as validation that they’re “doing it right.”
Problem is, if you really do put out cringey content, it *seems* like it’s working. Getting 10 likes on a humblebrag post feels more like success than say, getting 0 likes on some bland, generic message. So then you start getting trained and conditioned to put out even more cringey content. What feels like success according to the metrics ends up being you being incredibly annoying to the 99%+ of people who see your stuff but never engage with it.
That’s why otherwise normal people end up becoming monsters on LinkedIn. So if you’re normal, but still recognize the value of the platform, and want to build a presence yourself—what should you do instead? My suggestion:
Step 1: Engage directly with your target audience where they congregate
Step 2: Provide value through high quality comments
Step 3: Grow your network by connecting with others in the space
Step 4: Share posts on your profile page only after you’ve found your voice
I’ll share more details about these steps below.
Keep reading with a 7-day free trial
Subscribe to Off The Record to keep reading this post and get 7 days of free access to the full post archives.