I talk a lot about the importance of being active on LinkedIn, but it’s not enough to have a killer LinkedIn profile and a lot of connections, you must be active on the platform with meaningful posts on a regular basis in order to really take advantage of all that LinkedIn has to offer.
In addition, your posts have to be helpful, interesting and frequent. As we settle into the extended period of social distancing and continue to rely on social media and content marketing to build our brands and businesses, the power and importance of LinkedIn as well as other social platforms continues to rise.
Many people decide that they’re going to use social media, and then quickly become frustrated at the lack of likes and engagement they receive. Or they don’t know on which platforms they should focus, and they have no strategy. Social media success is not just about the number of likes, comments and shares. It’s about bringing in business and leads and visibility opportunities such as speaking engagements, article writing invitations and perhaps even being asked to serve on a committee or to join a group.
I can’t stress enough that social media success takes time and sometimes can’t be measured. I know I get clients directly and indirectly based on my posts. But is it always possible to trace your content to new business? No. But I can tell you that having an active and consistent social media presence with helpful content only bolsters your business and brand.
Remember, you can’t post the same piece of content to every channel. Each social channel is very different in tone and voice, not to mention visual style, so one size doesn’t fit all. Social media success is much more about creating a content strategy focusing on the channels used by your clients, prospects and other target audiences.
In today’s digital world (especially during the time of social distancing) it is essential to have a strong social media presence especially if you are in a crowded professional services field such as law or accounting.
You actually have all of the tools you need in order to use social media to your advantage. The thing to keep in mind is that your level of advance planning determines your level of social media success – I can’t stress enough the importance of creating an editorial calendar and strategically planning your posts ahead of time.
Here are some tips on how to get more engagement (and success) from your posts.
- Create content that you would want to read. I always step into the shoes of my target audience. Address their pain points. Focus on what they care about. Write in their language. Post original content as well as curated content (articles you share from trusted news sources and colleagues). I use an editorial calendar to help me manage and space out my posts.
- Spotlight important connections and build stronger relationships by tagging others in your posts using the @ sign. Always do this if you mention someone’s work or their upcoming speaking engagement/article. No one dislikes a compliment ever. If you’re trying to forge closer relationships with a contact, a great way to do this is by highlighting them in a post. I try to dedicate at least one or two posts a week to others.
- Be vulnerable and authentic. Don’t be afraid to share personal experiences, stories of your successes and failures, and the challenges you have faced along the way. These stories make you stand out from others. They make you more relatable and human. And being vulnerable right now is more than okay. For example, I had a pretty crappy 2019, and I sometimes share what I learned to help others who are going through similar experiences.
- Teach and help others. Your connections and followers are on LinkedIn to learn how to advance their careers, brands and businesses. Give them practical tips they can use today. They’ll remember you as an expert in your field, and they’ll come to think of you as someone they should follow. Much of my personal brand has been built upon this principle. I’ve also always tried to give away as much knowledge as I can and help people. Being helpful to others is one of the most powerful things you can do to build your brand. For example, I have been doing donation-based webinars during the pandemic in order to raise money to support various causes such as the NAACP and Feeding America. To the extent that you can do good for your community with your brand, please do so.
- Have patience. Social media success won’t be achieved overnight. It takes time and commitment and regular participation as well as your employees’ help. Social media success is not just about likes. It’s about helping and engaging with your followers. I say that because I don’t want you to be hung up on the number of likes, shares and comments you receive as the only barometer of success.
- Use visuals: If your followers aren’t drawn into your posts at the beginning, they’ll scroll right past your post. A compelling visual will help to bring your post to life. I firmly believe that you should never post anything on social media without an accompanying visual. There’s a lot of research that backs me up on this point. It doesn’t take a lot of time or effort to create a visual. You can easily reuse headshots and utilize tools such as canva.com to create perfectly sized social media graphics with your logo and branding.
- Use (the right) hashtags. Hashtags help your content be found. This enables you to reach a wider audience than you would if you did not use them. So for example, if you use a hashtag (you should actually use 3 to 7 hashtags) your post can be seen by those individuals following the hashtag and 2nd and 3rd degree connections. Finding the right hashtags takes time and effort but is well worth it.
- Use LinkedIn’s new algorithm to your advantage (respond to all comments on your posts, ask others to like and share important posts within the first few hours of posting it). Is there a secret sauce to ensuring that all of your connections will see all of your posts all of the time? No. But early engagement signals to LinkedIn’s editors that this is a post worth spotlighting.
- Share your posts to LinkedIn groups to expand your network and reach. By joining relevant LinkedIn groups and sharing your content there, you instantly gain a wider audience for your posts. This is a great place to share articles and upcoming speaking engagements. LinkedIn groups has worked for me personally in terms of helping me build my brand and increase webinar participation. I really do believe that finding the right groups can lead to new business and referrals if you use them wisely.
- Post consistently with content of value of course (at least a few times a week – there is really no bad day to post now during the pandemic as many people are on social all the time) to stay top of mind with your network.
I hope these tips are helpful to you. I would love to hear how they work out with your own social strategy. Don’t hesitate to reach out to me with any questions or thoughts. Happy posting!