How to Rock Your LinkedIn Activity Feed

When you scroll through your LinkedIn feed, do you have a strategy for engaging with content?

Here are a few things to think about as you bring social savvy to LinkedIn.

How is the way you like, comment on and share content strengthening your network and building on your areas of expertise?

Do you consider how this engagement shows up in your activity feed that day for people looking at your profile?

And do you think about who you’re meeting with that day or week, who you recently connected with and who you’d like to strengthen your connection with?

With those questions in mind, here are 3 easy ways to approach content engagement.

  • Like content that fits with your areas of expertise, interest and learning. Remember to look before you like, taking care to read the post and the link.

Be sure the content is aligned with your personal brand and your employer’s brand. Make sure the visuals are appropriate too.

Generally, stick with positive content. Don’t engage with negative or snarky items. Sure, you can read them to seek multiple points of view. But there isn’t much upside and there’s plenty of downside to engaging with them in a public way.

An exception to this is to provide a different point of view. Even then, however, think twice about whether it’s worth it.

Guidelines about liking content also apply to commenting on and sharing content – and with even more more rigor.

  • Comment on content where you want to further a relationship with a connection and/or share your point of view on a topic aligned with your areas of expertise, interest or learning.

Keep it brief – 3 short sentences, max. Be upbeat. Be specific. Tailor your comment to the post, rather than writing something generic.

If you liked content, consider posting a comment. Why? Comments show greater commitment than likes and give insight into your thinking on the subject.

And there’s the rule of reciprocity in play – your comments may influence others to comment more frequently on your content. And that’s what you want in social media – engagement and interaction.

  • Share content that is most closely aligned with your areas of expertise, interest or learning. This gives one of your network connections more visibility and it serves as valuable content in your activity feed. It’s a win for your connection and for you, plus everyone viewing your content.

It takes about “20 LinkedIn posts every month to reach 60 percent of your audience.” This is a data point that Carly Okyle cited in an Entrepreneur article about LinkedIn profiles.

Sharing content from your connections is an easy way to post frequently, reach more of your audience and benefit your connections – all at the same time.

What could be better?

Why You Should Thank People for Connecting on LinkedIn

In your growing LinkedIn network, how can you strengthen your professional relationships?

For starters, you can send a thank-you reply when someone invites you to connect or accepts your personalized (always personalize!) invitation.

Not many people do this (yet), so if you want to stand out in a new connection’s mind, send a thank you.

You can test this out on your own network. Tap on “messaging” at the bottom of your LinkedIn mobile app screen and scroll through your messages.

Notice how many people sent a personal reply to your connection request. Do they stand out among the messages that simply say, “Jennifer Smith is now a connection”? Absolutely they do.

To make it easy to reply on a regular basis, set aside a few minutes each week to respond to LinkedIn requests and to send personalized requests to people you met that week or anticipate meeting soon.

Scan the person’s profile to see what you have in common (e.g., employers, schools, activity, etc). and what piques your interest. Maybe they published something on a topic of interest to you or have successfully tackled a problem similar to one you’re grappling with.

You can create a standard, 3-sentence reply to tailor as appropriate for each connection. Try keeping it in an easily accessible place, whether it’s an Evernote entry, Notes on your phone, or a Word document.

And as with all networking, it’s important to focus on the other person, rather than on yourself. Be interested in learning more about them or in helping them in some way.

Thanking someone for inviting you connect

Here’s a sample thank you when someone invites you to connect. Content to customize is in parenthesis.

Hi (First Name) –

Thanks for reaching out. Glad to be in your network.

(Comment on something you have in common or something you’re interested in learning more about them)

Look forward to staying in touch. 

Thanks,

(Your First Name)

(Any relevant contact info, like your website or other active business-related social media handles such as Twitter)

Thanking someone for accepting your invitation

When you invite someone to connect and they accept, you might think your work is done.

But take advantage of the opportunity to further solidify the relationships by thanking the person for accepting your invitation.

Here’s a sample. Content to customize is in parenthesis.

Hi (First Name) –

Thanks for connecting.

(Comment on something you have in common, something you’re interested in learning more about them, or some way you might be of help to them)

Look forward to staying in touch. 

Thanks,

(Your First Name)

(Any relevant contact info, like your website or other active business-related social media handles such as Twitter)

How should you end your note?

Research by Boomerang shows that one of the most effective ways to close an email before typing in your name is simply, “Thanks.”

Specifically, the study looked at emails that got the most responses, based on the sign off. While you aren’t necessarily looking for a response, it can’t hurt to use one of the more effective ways to close.

Just as the study showed that “the best way to end an email is with gratitude,” what better way to end a thank-you message than to say thanks?

As a result, I’ve stopped using “Best” and “Best regards” to end emails and other messages. It’s also efficient because I don’t have to decide which sign-off to use with every message. It’s always “Thanks.”

What NOT to do

Don’t pitch anything – whether it’s to ask for a meeting, for business or for a job. The purpose of a thank you is to build a relationship for the future, so simply thank the person for connecting.

Don’t send a long message. You’re writing for mobile. Like you, other people are busy. So keep it to 3 sentences, max. Edit out extra words before you tap “send.”

 

Sending connection thank-you messages is new for me, so I’ll share what I learn in a future post.

How do you thank people for connecting with you on LinkedIn?

Analyze Your Analytics to Enhance Your LinkedIn Updates

Do you want to attract more views, likes, comments and shares of your LinkedIn posts? Do you want to increase your engagement with your network and beyond?

Of course you do. And to do that, you need to know what’s working and what’s not. Then you can create a hypothesis about why, and test it.

You can check out the analytics for your posts, also known as sharing an update, to see what content is resonating with your network.

There you’ll see the number of views, along with your viewers’ main employers, predominant titles and geographic locations.

Being a week into my month-long experiment of posting to LinkedIn every weekday, I turned to the analytics to see what I could learn.

Defining engagement broadly as a combination of views, likes, comments and shares, three types of posts rise to the top.

A view of a post is defined as someone seeing your post in their LinkedIn homepage feed. (Views are defined differently for articles, which will be a future blog post topic.)

Career strategies. My most-viewed posts were links to articles with career advice – including the biggest predictor of career success and LinkedIn profile updates for every career stage.

Given this blog’s focus on social media savvy for corporate professionals, I’ll keep an eye out for articles with career strategies that make use of social media.

Big news about the company. My fellow colleagues were understandably as proud as I was to see our company named to Fortune’s 100 Best Companies to Work For in 2017, as well as being named the #1 telecom globally in Fortune’s most admired companies.

(This is where I remind readers that opinions expressed here are my own.)

For upcoming posts, I’ll keep my eye out for milestone news and events to share about my employer. This is where an employee advocacy program is incredibly valuable.

Leadership quotes and eye-catching photos for major holidays. This one surprised me. On Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, New Year’s Day and Thanksgiving, I posted a beautiful picture from iStockPhoto along with a related leadership quote.

These turned out to be some of my most engaging posts. I’ll definitely add more of these to my editorial calendar. If I hadn’t looked at the analytics, this would have been a missed opportunity.

One thing I haven’t yet found in LinkedIn or through my research is an aggregated set of analytics. I’m creating an Excel spreadsheet to consolidate the analytics for this month’s posts.

It will include:

  • Post title
  • Post or article
  • Content type
  • Date
  • Day of the week
  • Time of day
  • Views
  • Likes
  • Comments
  • Shares
  • Employers
  • Titles
  • Geographic locations
  • First- or second-degree networks
  • Hypothesis about performance
  • Action indicated by the hypothesis

Then I’ll have greater insight at the end of the month to see how to develop and execute an editorial calendar going forward.

What posts get the greatest engagement with your network?

And how do you use analytics to amp up engagement with your posts?

What’s Your Strategy for Accepting LinkedIn Invitations?

When your LinkedIn app fills up with connection invitations, what’s your strategy for deciding yes or no?

If you set a general framework for which you’ll accept, it will save time and result in a better network.

LinkedIn’s Catherine Fisher recommends in Business Insider connecting only with people you know and trust.

If you want an even higher bar, try Alexandra Samuel‘s “favor test.” She recommends only connecting with people whom you’d be willing to ask a favor of or do a favor for. Check out more in Harvard Business Review.

If someone takes the time to personalize an invitation to me with a well-articulated reason for wanting to connect, however, I will generally accept it.

But what about the ones with no personal note? The majority of these come from people I don’t know. Short of simply deleting all of them, sight unseen (which is certainly an efficient option), here’s my strategy:

 

ACCEPT

  • People who are fellow colleagues at my current or former employers (opinions expressed in this blog are my own)
  • People from my alma maters – students, alums, professors or staff members
  • People who belong to the same professional, community or civic groups that I do
  • People I attended a conference with, such as MAKERS or  TED
  • People who add to the diversity of my network on various dimensions, including industry, geography, career stage, functional area and so on

Personal branding expert William Arruda recommends diversity in a LinkedIn network, which links to a great perspective on its value.

  • People with an interesting background that catches my eye. It’s hard to articulate this one, but I know it when I see it.

 

CONSIDER

  • People who have common connections. This comes with a big caveat. An underlying rationale for the connections has to be evident.

Recently I declined invitations from people who had a high number of shared connections, but for which I couldn’t discern a compelling reason why. Often it was because they didn’t work in the same industry or even one that could be considered in some way related.

 

DECLINE

  • People with no clear connection to any areas of my work
  • Lack of clarity about what the person or their company does
  • A suspicious-looking profile, such as no last name listed or little information included in the profile
  • Anything appearing the slightest bit sales related. If I’m looking for a new vendor partner, I’ll go to my trusted network first for recommendations, not to random connections in LinkedIn.

 

This is my decision matrix, and it may give you some ideas for creating your own. This lets you quickly go through incoming invitations.

It frees up time to proactively create and cultivate your network by sending personalized invitations to a focused group of people.

What’s your strategy?

Be Bold in Your LinkedIn Profile

What’s one action you can take today to kick-start your career?

Tell a bold story in your LinkedIn profile.

Here are powerful strategies from this month’s MAKERS Conference. LinkedIn career expert Catherine Fisher and Landit CEO Lisa Skeete Tatum led a standing-room-only session on managing your personal brand.

What is a personal brand? The presenters cited Jeff Bezos, who says “your brand is what people say about you when you leave the room.”

To define your brand they asked a key question: what do people want you in the room for? Put another way: what is the best of you?

How you answer these questions will shape the story you tell about yourself in social media and in real life. (And if you’re looking to reinvent your brand, there are great ideas from bestselling author Dorie Clark.)

While a brand – for a corporation, a product or a professional – is built over time, here are actions you can take today for a bolder LinkedIn profile.

They’re from the LinkedIn tip sheet above, along with how I’ve made them work for me. (Opinions expressed in this blog are my own.)

  • Include a professional photo. According to LinkedIn, your profile is 14 times more likely to be viewed if you have a photo. Here’s how to take a great headshot. If you don’t have a high-quality recent headshot, get one done this month.
  • Personalize your headline. Don’t use the default of your current job title. Show what you do and what makes you unique. Look at a variety of headlines for inspiration to see what catches your eye.
  • Add visuals. There are 20 million pieces of content on member profiles. Is your content among those? Post videos and pictures of your best work. Upload relevant presentations that can be shared with the public.
  • Post a compelling summary. Make it 40 words or more. Include keywords for your industry. Read others’ summaries to see what appeals to you. Writing in first person is stronger and bolder than third person.
  • Cover your past work experience. Your profile is 12 times more likely to be viewed if you list more than one position. If you’ve been working for several years, though, you can omit earlier positions that don’t add to your story.
  • Include volunteer experience and causes. This information increases profile views 6 times. If you’re looking for areas to engage, get involved with your company’s philanthropic causes and volunteer opportunities.
  • Check out LinkedIn Learning. We all get to be lifelong learners, and this feature offers hundreds of online courses. It’s a great reason to become a premium subscriber, which I did a few years ago for the analytics.
  • Share your contact information. Make it easy for people to get in touch with you. Include your email address, your blog, your Twitter handle and your company’s website. However, consider omitting your cellphone number.
  • Customize your public URL. Here are easy instructions. For consistent branding, use your name in the URL the same way you use it in other social profiles. Put it on your resume, business card and email signature.
  • Add skills and get endorsements. Be deliberate about skills you list. Your top 3 skill endorsements display in mobile search, so reorder them to show the ones that best tell your story. Give back to your network by endorsing others’ skills.

One of my goals for the MAKERS conference was to meet new people in every session. At the end of each day, I looked them up in LinkedIn. If I only had a first name and a company, I was able to search with that and find the right profile.

Then I sent personalized invitations (don’t send the default invitation!). Now we’re connected and can easily keep in touch as we build on the conference learnings.

How have you been bold in your LinkedIn profile?