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Has LinkedIn Lost Its Way?

Spoiler: we don’t think so – you just need to think before you post!

As long-term LinkedIn members, we’ve noticed many changing trends across the platform. Not so long ago, LinkedIn coaches and trainers were advocating direct messaging your connections, with subjects like ‘let’s meet for coffee’ or ‘here’s a new product I think you’ll be interested in’. We were encouraged to share video on the platform and the number of clips of people sitting in their cars or walking in the great outdoors skyrocketed. Recently, we’ve seen some great parody videos of cringeworthy tactics that people admit being guilty of themselves and even a fake swimming certificate – as the LinkedIn user felt left out during the celebrations of graduation week! We’ve seen formulaic processes to ‘beat the algorithm’ and boost your presence in LinkedIn’s feed and should we even mention LinkedIn Polls?!

It’s all a bit of a minefield and you may well be asking yourself, “What should I be doing on LinkedIn?” Good question.

What is LinkedIn?

If you take a look at LinkedIn’s About page, the company’s Vision and Mission Statement are to “Create economic opportunity for every member of the global workforce” and to “Connect the world’s professionals to make them more productive and successful”.

LinkedIn is an online business networking tool. Treat it like you would an in-person networking event:

  • Be present – if you don’t network, no one will know you’re there.
  • Be yourself – as the saying goes, everyone else is taken!
  • Be kind – don’t say anything online that you wouldn’t be prepared to say to a person’s face.
  • Behave – there’s always a place for rules and etiquette.

What do you want from LinkedIn?

Think about what you want to use LinkedIn for. People have different approaches to using LinkedIn for business, all of which can be successful.

You may prefer to use it to build up a network of like-minded individuals, people you can learn from or bounce ideas off, or even people who challenge your thinking and who you won’t always agree with. Or your network may include people you can cross-refer business to, or you want to use it as a lead generation tool and identify new business opportunities. You might even be looking for a new job or simply want to keep up to date with industry news.

When you know what you want to get from LinkedIn, it’s easier to find your ‘tribe’.

What LinkedIn isn’t

This is definitely subjective! Is it OK to have a political opinion or to express a view on religion, race or sexuality on the platform? Is it a case of ‘anything goes’ and if you don’t like it, scroll past? LinkedIn has guidelines in place and any inappropriate behaviour and disrespectful content can be reported. You also have the power to block users.

Something for everyone

LinkedIn seems to be going through a bit of upheaval at present. It is full of trainers and ‘gurus’, all with their own views of how to make the platform work best for you. There really is something for everyone.

If you want to bring a more personal touch to your posts on LinkedIn, then you will, no doubt, have to invest some time. But it needn’t take up a large proportion of your day and it needn’t be difficult. There are lots of free resources out there to guide you in the right direction.

Getting help with LinkedIn

LinkedIn publishes its own blogs, which provide useful tips. This one on Messaging suggests using the group message function to make an introduction to someone of interest to your business. It’s no different to asking a business colleague to make an introduction for you during a networking event or via email – something that you may already do.

And this blog on Cover Stories shows you how to create a video that will help to “bring your professional story to life”. The blog also mentions Creator Mode, a relatively new feature which allows you to highlight the topics you talk about on LinkedIn and put more focus on articles or videos you’ve shared.

Tips from independent LinkedIn experts

LinkedIn trainer Bettina Siddiqi thinks “the connections on LinkedIn are amazing and you would never get this anywhere else”. Her top three tips for using LinkedIn are:

  1. Make your profile like your shop window, very marketable and credible, make it stand out!
  2. Connect with your ideal clients, be selective.
  3. Post content that resonates with your audience!

John Espirian, who describes himself as a “Relentlessly helpful LinkedIn nerd” shares his top three tips for getting noticed on LinkedIn:

  1. Get your headline right. He has a 3-part formula to help.
  2. Comment on others' posts. It’s the number one way to accelerate your visibility on LinkedIn.
  3. Chat to people in direct messages. Voice notes and personalised video messages get especially high response rates.

LinkedIn as part of a wider marketing strategy

Cal Partners is helping clients across the professional services and healthcare sectors to incorporate LinkedIn into their wider marketing strategy. Book your free consultation to see how we can help you.

About the author

Alison O'Neill

Account Manager, Alison, is a former Forensic Scientist who moved into professional services marketing in 2008 and is a Chartered Marketer and Member of the Chartered Institute of Marketing (MCIM).

Marketing for Professional Services

Cal Partners

The go-to strategic marketing partner for ambitious professional services