Confidence and effectiveness on LinkedIn are about knowing the rules, having a clear personal brand, and making sure your communications fall within these boundaries. It’s also about having a clear reason and strategy for using LinkedIn, and letting that direct your efforts. Let’s go through each of these.
Confidence Booster #1: Understanding LinkedIn etiquette
Now opinions will vary here, but my personal opinion is that LinkedIn should be a professional space, and as such, wishing everyone you’re connected to a happy birthday, posting sexy selfies, or making offensive comments or jokes are not acceptable behaviours. You WILL see this type of thing, but it’s usually shot down pretty quickly (and does nothing for your professional image to be seen to be engaged with this). But this stuff is pretty obvious.
As a professional you will also want to keep your comments positive or constructive, backed by personal experience and knowledge, and more or less on topic (i.e. your area of expertise or your business interests). You may wish to stay away from politics, religion, or anything else that may polarise people when it has nothing to do with your professional space. You’ll want to use professional language or at least good grammar and you’ll want to double-check your spelling before hitting ‘Post’.
LinkedIn IS a space to promote your skills and the value you bring to your clients and stakeholders, and you should learn how to confidently communicate that. However, there is a difference between interspersing great content that is helpful with the odd promotion of a service or event, and blasting people with unsolicited advertising direct to their inbox.
The more you read the more ideas you’ll have.
In terms of what kinds of things to post, the more you read the more ideas you’ll have. Share some links to great blogs or articles, with your comments on the value readers will find there. Join quality LinkedIn groups if possible (there aren’t many left) or check up on your favourite organisations’ LinkedIn pages. Get in the habit of noting when you come across something interesting, and you’ll never be short of ideas.
Confidence Booster #2: To work your personal brand, work to your personal brand
To really work that professional image, you need to ensure all your communications work for and not against it. So whenever you are writing a post or an article, uploading a video or photo, or even just commenting on or liking someone else’s post, ask yourself: Does this support my personal professional image? If the answer is yes, go for it. If in doubt, leave it out.
Confidence Booster #3: Have a reason for being on LinkedIn, and a strategy to match
If you are on LinkedIn to find more clients, build a business, win more contracts, or attract a new role, your strategy should be about building a profile that communicates what you offer, building a network that will help you achieve your goal, and building interest by contributing relevant and valuable content. This is what’s known as a ‘pull’ or inbound marketing strategy, because it attracts people rather than slapping them in the face with your promotions, ‘pushing’ them to buy. Your content might be articles on topics relating to your expertise, posts sharing videos or webinars, or simply your comments and shares of other material you come across on LinkedIn.
If you remind yourself of your purpose for being on LinkedIn, and remember that it is a space to be professional, you should find yourself a confidently active member of this powerful online community. If in doubt, model someone on LinkedIn you really, really admire, that represents the type of professional you wish to be seen as.