How to Actually Get Noticed on LinkedIn
by Keehan Divant
The other day I had the pleasure of speaking with the students of Roanoke College. The talk was on how to ACTUALLY get noticed on LinkedIn. I say "actually" because there's still plenty of people out there who don't understand the platform. My goal was to make sure the students don't view LinkedIn as just a digital resume or virtual stuffy boardroom.
I decided to start my talk with something to shock them. It was a picture of Miss Universe wearing a bikini on a sunny beach. I have to admit, I was actually a little nervous showing the picture in a room full college kids along with faculty and staff. The nervousness probably showed as I asked the question. Is this appropriate for LinkedIn?
Almost immediately heads started shaking no. To my surprise it was the young millennials answering swiftly. Maybe the "more seasoned" attendees suspected that there was more to the question. Well, there was.LinkedIn's Most Controversial User?
I then introduce everyone to Candice Galek. To her LinkedIn profile, that is. If you're unfamiliar with the name, she's the founder of BikiniLuxe.com, a high end bikini company. She's also caused quite a stir on LinkedIn by talking about her swimwear. In fact, she was the first to challenge LinkedIn users with the question "is this appropriate for LinkedIn?"
I asked everyone the question a second time but with a small adjustment. Is it appropriate to post pictures of bikini's on LinkedIn when you sell bikini's? The reaction was completely different this time around. Of course she should be able to talk about her product. But, what does this have to do with college students who don't design swimwear?
The Problem With LinkedIn
We have a problem on LinkedIn and it's not people posting pictures of Miss Universe in a bikini. The problem is that even after 14 years we still don't get that LinkedIn is a social media platform. It's not meant to only be a place where you post your resume and hope that someday someone calls offering a job. It's a place to connect and build relationships.
You might be thinking "yes but those relationships need to be professional." Ok, but what professional relationship do you have that's completely devoid of anything personal?
Learn To Market And Sell YOU
I'm not sure what the actual numbers are, but I'm convinced that marketers and sales professionals are the most successful group on LinkedIn. Why? Because they understand that people do business with (and hire) people they know, like, and trust. And if you want people to know, like, and trust you, you're going to have to be yourself on LinkedIn. Let people get to know the real you. Use LinkedIn as the social media platform that it is.
I will give you the same caveat that I gave at the talk. Don't be shocking for shocking's sake and don't try to intentionally push the envelope. First, that won't attract any attention of substance. Second, you do need to be aware of your target audience.
I revisited the question a final time. Is it appropriate for LinkedIn? Not just about bikini's but about anything you're posting. The answer is, it depends. Ask, is it appropriate for you and your target audience. It comes down to who you are and who you're talking to.
Watch Out For The LinkedIn Police
At this point, I felt the talk was complete. But, there was one last thing they needed to know. They need to watch out for the LinkedIn Police. This is what I like to call the those that troll LinkedIn for anything that's unprofessional in their eyes. It's extremely important to me that these uptight users don't deter those that want to use LinkedIn as it should be used.
The point I wanted to get across is that you just need to use LinkedIn. Use it in the context of who your audience is, but just use. And by using LinkedIn, you'll likely be criticized. Just remember, the only way to avoid criticism is to say nothing, do nothing, and be nothing. At that point, why even use LinkedIn?
Published on September 29, 2016. To view the full presentation please click HERE.