Getting Personal on LinkedIn
Despite concerns from users about the rising ‘Facebook-ification’ of LinkedIn, contributor John Nemo says that getting more personal on the platform (with a few important caveats) can be great for business.
Getting personal on LinkedIn . . . Does that idea make you cringe? Do you imagine a barrage of puppy photos and cat videos along with religious quotes and political rants? If so, good. That’s not exactly the level of “personal” you want to go for on LinkedIn, but there are good reasons, as John Nemo points out, to consider sharing a little more about your life outside the office.
Showing your personal side can help you stand out from the ever-growing crowd.
In late April 2016, Social Media Today reported that LinkedIn was up to 433 million members growing by 29 million users in the first quarter of 2016. LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner stated, “Members are engaging at record levels with the more relevant and comprehensive feed. During the quarter, viral actions increased more than 80%, daily shares were up nearly 40%, and traffic to third-party publishers grew more than 150%.”
Wow. Millions more people are hopping on board the LinkedIn train and many of them are your competitors. You know what they are doing? Probably many of the same things you are: tricking out their profiles, getting professional headshots, sharing the best content generated by their corporate marketing teams, curating other people’s industry content, and joining the same groups you are. As everyone strives to emulate the best of the best, the best will eventually become the norm.
Sharing a bit of your personality is a way to show how you are different, how you are an individual. Think about posting personal pursuits that are interesting and share worthy once or twice per week. If you volunteer for a local nonprofit, share about some of the projects you are working on for that group. If you’re a parent, it’s great to post a proud message about your child getting accepted into college or getting a prestigious job. These types of personal stories reflect your values and commitment to worthwhile efforts done well.
Sharing some personal content can make you more likable.
Remember: even in B2B selling, it’s still a human-to-human interaction. People want to do business with people they like and trust. While reading your updates on LinkedIn may not fully establish that like and trust, it can certainly go a long way in building a first impression with your prospective customers. If you are a naturally funny person, share some tasteful humor in your LinkedIn posts or updates. If you are an outdoors lover, share a photo of a breath-taking scene you encountered on a grueling hike. Think about how you can share these things with a lesson or perspective you gained that helped you in business. This makes you relatable and can make your sales message more relatable, too.
Are you ready to get personal?
Before you go sharing personal stories on LinkedIn, ask yourself these questions:
Am I comfortable sharing personal anecdotes in this professional forum? As with most things in life, if you aren’t comfortable with something, you probably won’t do it well. If you don’t feel comfortable getting personal on LinkedIn, don’t do it.
Am I prone to “oversharing” and TMI? If you tend to get on a “too much information” (TMI) kick when you delve into your personal life, don’t even open yourself up to a potential faux pas in this area.
Can I be funny without being offensive? Many of us like to think we are funny — and some of us actually are. However, there is a fine line to tread if you want to be humorous and professional at the same time. If you can’t do it in person, then certainly don’t commit it to writing on LinkedIn.
Do I have a good “controversy filter”? If you read controversial news stories or see certain posts online and wonder, “why are people so upset about this?” then you may not be in tune with the sensitivities of others. Keep it strictly business. The best bet is to stay away from religion and politics.
If you’ve been in your career for a few years, chances are you’ve learned how to act with prospects and clients in a professional yet personable manner. Take those lessons into your social selling world, too.
Read John Nemo’s full post on Social Media Today, and check out some of his examples of well-received personal stories and updates on LinkedIn.
Feature image source: Unsplash