One of the fantastic things about LinkedIn is that it offers two very distinct ways of sharing information with your network. If you want to keep your profile active (and most importantly, interesting) without having to pay, you can take advantage of the Status Updates and Long-form Posts options as the vessels of your message.
Knowing which and how to use these features is elemental in the success of your business’ LinkedIn presence. Here is what you need to know to determine which avenue is the best one to deliver your message, along with some tips on the do’s and don’ts that will help you create engaging LinkedIn content in each of them:
Also called Network Updates, these tidbits of communication can create real activity with your network if used thoughtfully. Below your picture in your homepage you will find a blank box where you can type your Status Update. LinkedIn has character counts; for Status Updates you may write up to 600 characters, and do remember that if you link your post to your Twitter account, only the first 140 characters will show on your Twitter post. According to Social Marketing Writing, posting in LinkedIn is most effective on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays from 7:00 a.m. to 9:00 a.m., and from 5:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.
Do: Nurture your relationships with your fellow business owners, entrepreneurs and potential clients with useful information that will help them. Use Status Updates as an opportunity to educate and involve your audience, both in your products and in other topics that may interest and edify them.
Don’t: Over-indulge in sales pitch posts too often. In LinkedIn, your intention mustn’t be to push your products ad nauseam, but rather to build a reputation of trust-worthiness so you can create a relationship with other users over time.
Do: Post interesting content, be it original or not. Share links to useful articles, videos or websites that are relevant to your post, and mention individuals that could be helpful to your readers in the matter.
Don’t: Plagiarize. If you use someone else’s words, make sure you give them credit for it. This enhances your credibility, and keeps you grounded in the humble truth that we are all students learning from greater minds.
Do: Share personal experiences that relate to your professional journey, such as conferences and trainings you have attended, or people you have met who have inspired and given you ideas to move forth in your business.
Don’t: Share personal information that you may normally share in other social networks, such as what and where you ate, your personal issues, or how cute your cat looks this morning. Remember that LinkedIn is a professional networking site.
Long-form Posts are a great way for you to share more elaborate insights with your network and followers. Aside from the latter, LinkedIn members outside your network can also search for your Long-form Posts within and outside LinkedIn, access them, and subscribe to be notified when you have published a new post. This feature holds great potential for the exposure of your business, your thoughts and ideas, and may broaden your circle of interest quite a bit, so we encourage you to use it – and to use it wisely.
If you want to make this form of publishing an integral part of your LinkedIn presence, it is important that you define a purpose for it, and keep your content focused on it. This platform offers you a space to share your professional expertise using your own voice; use it authentically, writing about what you know based on your experience, and speaking to your LinkedIn audience of fellow professionals, business owners and entrepreneurs.
Do: Engage in healthy debates. Allow others to share their thoughts as well and respond where you see fit, strike up a conversation with members who have requested connections, and show your audience that you’re actively listening and willing to connect.
Don’t: Discuss many topics in one post. Keep your articles focused, and add links, videos, pictures and infographics that build on your topic.
Do: Publish often to develop your credibility, and keep the dialogue with your following going.
Don’t: Sacrifice quality for the sake of quantity. You may often times feel that you’ve gone quiet for too long and you’ve exhausted your topic repertoire, but we assure you, this is not the case. If you’re on a serious writer’s block, turn to the news and find inspiration on the latest business success or failure story, and discuss what factors you think or know lie behind it. Also, think of your journey: what it has taken for you to be where you are today, what it takes from you and your team to maintain what you have, and what you do to continue growing. Your journey has been rich, and so can your posts be when you share about it.
Share with us in what ways you use LinkedIn to share valuable content, and what has worked for you – and what hasn’t too. Let’s strike up a conversation.