Rainmaking Recommendation #270: TMI on LinkedIn?

Image courtesy of Freedigitalphotos.net/Stuart Miles

A topic that is being hotly debated in several groups to which I belong is the change that LinkedIn has undergone since I began using it in December 2004. 

When I first began using the site, it was used almost exclusively for professional networking, career development, and recruiting for new jobs. And while that still is part of its DNA, what has been happening, particularly since the beginning of the pandemic in March 2020, is that more and more people are posting things that would be considered more appropriate on Facebook and less so on LinkedIn.  That is, they are posting a lot more about their personal and family lives; they are posting their political agendas and divisive issues. People also post non-stop sales pitches, hoping they will get new business.

Some will respond that these topics are inappropriate for LinkedIn, and others love it.

Additionally, I have many clients who initially balked at using LinkedIn, even though it is a site where many of their clients and prospective clients are and could be a boon to their business development because they are uncomfortable posting about themselves or their family.

Yes, LinkedIn has changed in the past 18 years. And it will continue to change. But that doesn’t mean you must follow what everyone is doing on the site. Unfortunately, what happens is that someone does something on LinkedIn that results in many likes and comments. Then others see that and start doing it themselves. And the next step is for the “LinkedIn Gurus” to begin teaching it to their students, and you see how it can change the site.

Instead, you can use LinkedIn in your own way to meet potential new clients and referral sources and to keep up with current clients. But there are a few things you need to do to be successful, and more importantly, there are ethics rules you must be mindful of when using LinkedIn or any social media site:

  • Showcase your knowledge – you have heard it from me many times (who stole it, with his blessing, from Cordell Parvin), it’s not what you know, it’s not even who you know; It’s who knows what you know. 
  • Connect with as many of your potential referral sources, prospective clients, former clients, and current clients as possible. 
  • Be authentic  – that word is so overused. But nevertheless, I want you to be you when you are on social media. Don’t follow what anyone else is doing, don’t pretend to be someone else, don’t do what everyone else is doing – particularly if you don’t want to do so. People want to get to know the real you but don’t need to know everything. 

Social media, and particularly LinkedIn is about being social. So be your charming self and let others know what you know.

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