“This isn’t Facebook!”. No shit, Sherlock…
Take a quick scroll through LinkedIn and you’ll see that phrase crop up many times in your feed.
But what does it actually mean? And should you be listening to these self-appointed content Nazis?
In its most basic functional form, LinkedIn is a platform primarily for networking, alongside traditional job searching.
But there are those out there who would say that LinkedIn most definitely not a social platform.
(I’m looking at you, Neil, Head Of Sales since 1979)
Networking is, at its core, targeted socialising. If LinkedIn is a follow-up, form of, or relation to networking, it follows that LinkedIn is a social platform.
Now, Neil probably posts about how his sales are the best sales, even though he’s not switched things up since Margaret Thatcher was elected, and is probably still wearing the same musty suit from the good old days.
Neil, unsurprisingly, also laments in his posts about the unprofessionalism of the young’uns, how the millennials are ruining LinkedIn and how it’s all just TOO darn casual!
Well, if you’re relating to Neil as you read this, I have one thing to say:
You’re absolutely out of your fucking mind!
(And get a new suit)
When we connect with people in life, we do so out of mutual behaviours, interests and curiosity. LinkedIn is no different. You’re going to connect with those who have content you resonate with.
Angela on reception probably loves people who repost funny cat videos and pictures of a 1 litre wine glass, captioned with ‘This only classes as ONE glass, lol xx’.
That is Angela’s prerogative.
Not everyone wants to follow Gary V, or feel so stifled creatively and socially, that they post the same company-guideline content that gets them no engagement or genuine enjoyment.
Connection isn’t belittled by sharing your real-life personality on LinkedIn. Your business successes are happening alongside your actual personality, and your ups and downs.
When Neil is sliding into people’s DM’s, sending messages to Dave saying “Hey, Janet, love your stuff, but I think you could really benefit from looking at our website that takes ten years to load! Many thanks!” he isn’t acting professionally either, and he probably isn’t making genuine connections.
When people in marketing say, “people buy from people,” what they mean is, nobody wants an automated, censored interaction with someone with a cold sale at the end.
When people are communicating their genuine opinions on LinkedIn, arguments will be had, connections will be made, and Neils everywhere will be frothing at the mouth because the people who post authentic content are actually making themselves and their business more profitable.
If 97% of people learn more about a local business online than anywhere else, you should be aiming to make yourself and your business accessible to people through good content that people are actually interested in and intrigued by.
The ‘Our company offers _______’ posts with no context, no additional commentary and a link right at bottom isn’t going to win over any potential customers.
In today’s marketing landscape, a bland, vanilla business simply isn’t going to cut it anymore. And just because you already have a customer base, that doesn’t mean they are going to be around forever.
You need to engage with the newer generations and adapt your approach to keep pace with the evolution of communication and customer engagement. Whether you like it or not, the buying power of these people grows every single day.
So, what does that mean for you?
Well, let me give you some benefits of not being a total Neil.
Letting your employees have the freedom to post what they truly want to on LinkedIn will undoubtedly increase employee satisfaction.
Happy employees means higher productivity, and there’s also the potential to see what it is about your business that your employees actually love.
If all your employees are gushing about #TherapyDogThursdays, not only does that make you aware that your office events are successful, but it also gives everyone looking at your business on LinkedIn a sneak peek at your office culture.
Allowing a little bit of creativity and adding a human element to your business can never be a bad thing.
If people like your content and engage with it, then they’re also likely to reach out to you and your employees for anything from a casual conversation, or for more information on what you do.
You never know when a casual conversation on LinkedIn may turn into a lead, but the potential is always there if you engage enough with other people’s content in the way they do with yours.
If you treat LinkedIn as a social platform, then all the connections that follow you can boost your business, your network and your overall potential.
You streamline your audience
Want to eliminate an audience you have no affinity with?
Add a swear word into a LinkedIn post and you’ve just cleansed a large portion of your original audience, started enough arguments to get some decent engagement, and made your tone of voice very fucking clear indeed.
If you’re regularly posting good content that suits your business and what your business promotes, the people who engage with this content through LinkedIn are the leads you wanted to begin with.
You’ve removed most of the hard work just by posting what you want to, rather than trying to please absolutely everyone.
(I hate to break it to you, but the odds of pleasing everyone on LinkedIn are very slim. Thank the LinkedIn Police for that.)
Long story short?
If you use LinkedIn as a social platform, which it is, you’re streamlining the process of networking, gaining new clients/customers and reaching an audience you actually want to reach.
There’s a reason the sales-heavy side of LinkedIn only has engagement from other salespeople, and it’s because they are hunched over their desktops, crying into their keyboards because Neil is convinced that their LinkedIn content strategy is ‘A-Okay, chaps!’.
Stop forcing yourself and your employees to follow strict guidelines on LinkedIn when they don’t result in any leads, employee satisfaction or beneficial brand awareness.
LinkedIn is a social platform, so use it that way.