LinkedIn is really finding a whole new platform path with their native video and additional tools they’re been bringing to market during 2018. I will give you some LinkedIn do’s and don’ts for 2018 and help you understand why it is not the platform it use to be, so keep on reading. All of this is making the LinkedIn platform more relative, dynamic, and interactive. This is especially true for content creators. Previously, they were strapped by limited written posts and video from outside sources. All of that has changed with the introduction of native video. LinkedIn’s marriage with Microsoft certainly started to pay off during Q4 of 2017 and is making for an interesting 2018 at the site.
Video is booming on LinkedIn! This year is on track for extreme changes towards higher active rather than passive engagement and a seismic video shift for the platform has already taken form. It is not just a recruiter and resume/CV graveyard site anymore. With this in mind if you’re new to the platform – simply start with video in mind. There are major advantages to video and one is the ability to show body language. and a deeper level of visual communication. This is no small thing as body language, tone, and content is key for building trust. Anyone can get someone to write great copy for them and look good on the outside – but if it isn’t coming out of the person with full head-to-toe body commitment of their message – something isn’t right. If a video is over edited it tells you a great deal about the person. Deductive reasoning doesn’t have to go too far if all we see is a polished corporate version on someone.
Over several years, I’ve worked with many individuals and companies on how to maximize social media assets with a focus on using them as tactics. These social media tactics help companies to better send a message to their potential customers that is focused, fast, and fun. Yet, I refuse to call myself a LinkedIn expert. I just don’t believe those exist in the social media realm. Everything simply changes too fast for someone to be an actual expert. To be honest – I don’t feel there are any social media experts. I do believe there are people whom have found smarter ways to use various platforms. That’s amazing and the smart ones monetize their unique approaches. However, in the end these are usually arbitrage opportunities with a short shelf life. This is easy to see with the posts of people trying to explain or expose the algorithm. Algorithm chasing is something that started back in the day when Google search tended to change their ranking math every 90 days. However, those days are long gone. Algorithm chasing serves zero purpose and wastes time because even if we figure it out once new adjustments are made the tactic is no longer valid. A massive amount of time wasting. It’s a hamster wheel that keeps people addicted to finding shortcuts versus simply just putting in the hard work of creating original content that actually has value for the end user.
Ygetarts works with B2B clients and the suggestions below are all geared towards creating that type of content.
- Content that is clear.
- Content that resonates with your actual target audience.
- Content that people will want to consume, share, and pass around.
Let’s talk about what a B2B person and or company that is and is not on LinkedIn. It’s not as simple as it sounds. It’s also why some of the older users are getting upset and feeling that LinkedIn is becoming more like Facebook. Those people tend to be older and have sold themselves on the idea that it was a global professional platform with a set of social rules and order. Umm, that’s never what online interaction has been in the social realm. What’s really upsetting them is that younger people are coming into the platform and testing it and to be honest that is the best damn thing to happen to LinkedIn since it was created. It’s also what will sustain LinkedIn as a viable platform in the decades to come. The older generation will need to adapt or go sit somewhere and complain about how things have changed too much for them.
Here are some examples of who are and who are not B2B content creators on LinkedIn and other social media platforms for that matter.
Let’s start with the nots. Meaning people and companies that we may think are business-to-business and in reality are business-to-consumer.
- Speakers. Gary V. would not be a B2B content creator. He’s a B2C that targets entrepreneurs – those are his consumers. They buy his books, attend his seminars, buy his sneakers, and either love to curse or complain about his cursing. Speakers are trying to build their audience – not their business. Why? The larger the audience the greater the speaking fee. Nothing wrong with that at all by the way. Think of LinkedIn as a global Open Mic night. There are some great speakers who aren’t known at critical mass, yet. They believe that using LinkedIn will get them to that level. Maybe they are right. Maybe they are wrong. Wouldn’t it be awesome if LinkedIn was the platform that helped them reach their goal.
- Ghost Written content – Another reason someone like Gary V., Simon Sinek, and other mass appeal speakers/authors/business leaders are not B2B content creators is because they’re using ghost writers. Nothing wrong with that at all. I used to joke with Ringo Starr about how amazing it was that he could find the time to keep up with his Facebook Page. That of course he would have to be the Beatle that would do the posting because Paul would be just too damn busy. Trust me these people are not writing their posts. There’s an irony here because so many of them talk about “authenticity” and how can we be authentic if we’re not writing our own material? We simply can’t be. Creating original content is hard. It isn’t easy. Takes time. Yet, once you find your voice; why in the world would you let anyone else write for you? Sure you would hire editors. I do. I do it because I want those other eyes on the content. Yet,they don’t change or come up with the content.
- Corporate Content – This isn’t B2B content either – it is public relations and again targeted at consumers or investors that happen to be in the B2B space. LinkedIn itself isn’t B2B – they are selling products/services (good ones I might add) to all consumers. The mistake most people make with LinkedIn is not paying for their services. There is so much gold in the data – paying to get access is a small price to pay for the return. LinkedIn has done a fantastic job of allowing cheap Charlie’s to ride the ride.
- Life Coaches, After-Life Coaches, (insert any adjective here) Experts, Trainers, Self-Published Authors, Webinar Hosts, Retreat Facilitators, Event Coordinators, etc.- are not B2B, either. Why? Well, what are they trying to do? They are trying to reach potential customers that are consumers and strategically using LinkedIn to generate leads with the intent to sell something to – you get it – an entrepreneur or business owner. They want to get you into training or an event. Again nothing wrong with that but it is not original content.
- Personal Branding Preachers – are also not B2B. Why? Well, they’re again trying to tell people how to reach more people. How to look good? To present a certain image. To be more polished, etc.. That is not B2B – that is acting. Again nothing wrong with it and some of their advice is solid – but again it is not B2B content. It’s trying to get you as a consumer to buy their service.
Some of my most favorite (favourite) people on LinkedIn fit into the above categories and I love their content! Some of them have massive followings – yet massive is rarely what B2B is about at the core. Think about it does Boeing (a classic B2B and B2G business) have massive clients? No maybe 100. Business to Business is about smaller customer bases with larger price points for products and services.
Those would be the five main not B2B LinkedIn content styles and there is nothing wrong with them being on LinkedIn. It’s strategically the right place for them to be and some of their content is fantastic. If you’re in the above category then swap ideas with those people on what to do or not do on LinkedIn.
If on the other hand, you’re a business owner trying to get more clients then please continue reading the post because everything below has worked for myself and others.
That leads us to what are the key B2B content creator types then?
- Business Development Profiles – Those are straight up B2B content. They’re using LinkedIn for leads. They have a unique challenge of having to present who they are within the context of their corporate culture. That by the way is not easy. They will have to play within a certain set of boundaries. While they may be employees of a company guess what – they are 100% generating B2B content. That may be reposting something from their company or exposing who they are outside of their job. To me these are some of the best content creators on the platform right now. They’re helping develop the brand of their company and at the same time showing expertise in being fearless about being true to who they are as people.
- Startups – Are also straight up B2B content creators. Why? They are looking at generating business from LinkedIn or they’re trying to connect with venture capital and qualified investors. Startup content is some of the most fun to watch over time. I’ve never seen a founder come on and say, “Look my idea is probably not going to work but make sure you follow me.”
- Networkers – Are certainly another B2B content creator because they’re using LinkedIn for Business Marketing. Networking gets a bad name because it sounds bad. Yet networkers at their core love people. That’s why they love networking. Again, some fantastic examples on the platform.
- LinkedIn Locals – They are all B2B content because they’re trying to bring people together to find ways of doing business together. These people are working their asses off and not only are they great brand ambassadors for LinkedIn but fantastic cheerleaders for their cities. Takes a lot of heart to take this kind of unpaid commitment on and then to deliver results.
- Industry Leaders, Therapists, Doctors, Actual Experts, and anyone with a Strong Point-of-View – An industry leader can be anyone with extensive experience in their field or area of expertise. However, the main thing is they are not looking for massive amounts of clients. Think about it how many people can one financial advisor help? How many hours can a therapist work? A therapist would be B2B because they’re working 100% on mindset. No better business than a healthy mind.
The common thread with this group of five is that they are all using LinkedIn for leads, business development, and networking. That means creation of a different style of content. Content that is designed to connect offline rather than online.
Now with that cleared up let’s get into some of the tactics to use and avoid on LinkedIn for 2018. Feel free to add your own in the suggestions in the comments. If you troll the post – expect to be re-trolled. Remember making fun of other people’s original content is not actually creating original content of your own. It’s the same as being a heckler at a comedy club or the loud drunk in a fine dining establishment. You think you’re clever but actually you probably need a therapist to address the reason you enjoying knocking down others to build yourself up. Trolls of course are different than people with differing views or opinions. However, again they should take that difference, create content, and post it on their page not yours. It’s saying I’m too lazy to come up with my original ideas so I’m going to attack theirs or play devil’s advocate.
Let’s start with the things I think and feel people should do with their LinkedIn profile. The good news is there are more of those than the suggestions of what to avoid.
26 Things “To Do” on LinkedIn
- Write from your point-of-view – There is one you. What you say is important – to someone. That someone might become a client or know a person that should be a client.
- Never obsess about views – I’ll take 10 views and 1 sale over 1,000 views and 0 sales everyday.
- Don’t sweat the number of likes – Likes are good but unlike (pardon the pun) Facebook the LinkedIn likes send that post to your network. This creates a dilemma of “to like or not to like” a post.
- Never let the number of share’s drive you crazy – Again sharing isn’t as important as engagement.
- Block trolls 100% of the time – This is especially true on LinkedIn. Protect your page. It’s your stage. People don’t need to attack you. Engaging with them feeds their egos. Trolls on other social media are another thing because they can help drive traffic. Some make that argument for this platform as well. The goal of LinkedIn is to develop relationships not to defend yourself against random strangers.
- Engage with 1st and 2nd connections activity – What people forget is that when you comment on other people’s content it helps you on so many levels. It shows that you’re participating (giving not just taking). It shows that you pay attention. It helps other people to create more content. It motivates and inspires others in your network.
- Use video – I get it. You’re shy? Don’t feel you have anything to say? Nervous people won’t engage. Blah, blah, blah. Turn on your phone, talk into the phone, upload it, magic happens on so many levels. Each video will get better. Remember anyone that complains about your video probably hasn’t done one themselves.
- Commit to weekly content for 26 weeks straight – I am not a big fan of people committing to daily content. In my opinion, that is a setup to fail because they will eventually miss a day or two. Also, it usually takes a few days for a post to get some engagement going. Adding too much content can kill that exposure.
- Find what you enjoy – If you enjoy sharing about your area of expertise that’s fantastic. If you have something else that you’re passionate about outside of your work that is even better. Writing and creating videos about what you enjoy is so much easier. Share with us what you enjoy. Enjoying is different than the next one because we can take it or leave it.
- Share your passions – What makes you tick! Who are you? Show us…don’t tell us!
- Avoid joining pods – Again, this is for B2B. Pods are great for B2C because people are focused on building audience and reach. For B2B it will be fun at first and then we realize that our time is better spent creating original content.
- Make mistakes – Make them over and over. If someone doesn’t like our style don’t give them the power to change us. It’s one person and one that isn’t paying you by the way. Stick to your style. It will always connect with more people than those that don’t like it. There are no rules.
- Be adventurous – take risks. Do that post that you’re afraid of and see what really happens.
- Be true to yourself – sounds easy but I see many people stray away from who they are because the outside opinions of others begin to matter to them too much.
- Be honest – Easy to say. Hard to practice. When we make it our gold standard for content creation it makes magic.
- Don’t sell anything – LinkedIn is about connecting. If someone wants what you have they will buy from you. Patience pays off.
- Write articles on a regular basis – This is actually a great way for video shy people to start. Write an article. It won’t get as much activity as a post or video. However, it will build your confidence through engagement. Then take that and turn it into a video by expanding on what you wrote. You already know people will react in a positive manner.
- Compliment others – Encourage those that are doing.
- Thank people that engage with your content – it goes a long way!
- Reward people that inspire you by letting them and your network know – Never be afraid to promote people that you like to your network!
- Tag when it makes sense – Tagging is a good way to let people know that you mentioned and appreciate them.
- Hashtag # when it has a purpose – It makes it easier for people to find your content and allows people to expand on your idea.
- Take days off – Make sure you aren’t on 24/7.
- Have fun – Probably the most important tip!
- Play – This is a way to prevent us from taking ourselves too seriously.
- Viral is never a goal – It will organically happen when you least expect it.
Now let’s get into things that I think get people in trouble and that content creators should avoid.
- Overthinking your content – Keep it simple. Hit send.
- Patting yourself on the back content – This drives me crazy. It’s so transparent. People see through it and people that do this look stupid.
- Trying to figure out the algorithm – It is total b.s. – even the people creating the algorithms can’t beat them.
- Not knowing your audience – Without knowing who we are trying to reach we end up reaching nobody.
- Not telling your story – We must tell our story. Not someone else’s.
- Thinking too much about SEO – It is important but not critical.
- Being nice to trolls – I get it but trolls are abusers and unless we’re a trained psychologist it’s a setup to waste time and fail.
- Listening to unsolicited negative opinions – Deleting the trolls is one thing. Turning their bs into our personal doubts is when we need to book an appointment with a shrink.
- Trying to create a personal brand – Products and companies are brands. People are people not products or companies.
- Not engaging – Engagement is original content. It is more important than we realize.
- Taking and not giving – Just like the real world there are energy vampires that will drain you. Don’t be one of them.
- People pleasing content – Not everyone is going to like us. That’s excellent since there are billions of people on the planet.
- Not using video – it makes us real at a much deeper level than writing.
- Perfectionism in your content – There isn’t even a perfect diamond. Perfectionism tends to be about obsessive-compulsive disorders or a need to look good on the outside.
- Using a CTA (Call-To-Action) – If someone wants to work with us they will DM us.
I hope you keep these do’s and don’ts in mind when building your online presence. You can find me on LinkedIn here.
If your business is in need of some higher level international business consulting, analysis, training, or strategy reach out to Ygetarts for a chat.