Content marketing, thought leadership, and social media marketing are the top trends in marketing for professional services. There are countless articles, podcasts, and videos detailing why anyone selling professional services should have an online presence. It is crucial for anyone who is serious about expanding the reach of their business, professional services, or otherwise, to take online marketing seriously. However, most professionals don’t have the time or the wherewithal to effectively use online platforms like LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, or other online social media channels.
This is especially true for LinkedIn, where most people can be categorized in one of three general groups: spam, trying to sell you something, or just plain creepy. Most conversations skip traditional small talk and go right into, “would you like to buy insurance or refer others to me to buy insurance, by the way I sell insurance.” This handy guide will detail step-by-step how to systematically ruin LinkedIn for everyone. For those who wish to use LinkedIn effectively, this guide will also detail the proper steps you should take in effectively utilizing this platform.
The Copy Cat
Copy Cats are LinkedIn users who don’t actually post original content or status updates but simply copy and paste trending articles. Although sharing other people’s content, especially if it’s relevant to your industry, can be an effective way to market your expertise and knowledge, simply copying and pasting on LinkedIn doesn’t actually get you the traction you’re looking for. If anything, simply copying and pasting articles onto your LinkedIn feed makes your profile look lazy.
- The Ghost Copy Cat: Copy and paste links on LinkedIn without even putting a caption.
- The Business Copy Cat: Copy and paste links on LinkedIn and add a caption like, “This is a great article on why you should buy insurance, after you read it give me a call and I can sell you insurance.”
- The “I want to be LinkedIn famous” Copy Cat: Copy and paste someone else’s status update that went viral and wait for the likes and comments to come flooding in.
Curing The Copy Cat Syndrome
LinkedIn has several features that can cure the copy cat syndrome. You want to post a mix of original content as well as content from others that is going to be relevant to your network. Use the following steps to make sure your profile looks like a human being and not some evil LinkedIn robot: “I’ll be back… to sell you insurance”.
- Write original content: LinkedIn has a feature that allows you to write and publish original articles. This is a great way to showcase your knowledge and expertise.
- Like/Share/Comment: If you are not liking, sharing, or commenting on other user’s post then your LinkedIn profile is self-serving. Commenting on a post is especially crucial and is the most effective form of engagement.
- Share articles, but don’t forget a caption: If you must, share an article that you found insightful then post a caption about why it was insightful. Share your opinion on a particular subject and have the article be supplemental to your post.
The salesman has to be one of the worst user types on LinkedIn. These are people who claim LinkedIn should be all business and no play, “Status updates on your personal life and pictures of cats wearing ties should stay off LinkedIn, and should stay on Facebook where they belong.” However, they have no problem sending sales pitches via direct message to everyone in their network. To say LinkedIn is all about driving sales is like saying television is all about watching advertisements.
- Slides into your DM: These are people who direct message users with a sales pitch, “Hi, I’m John and I do taxes, sell real estate, financial planning, wedding photographer, DJ, and social media guru. Let me know if you want any of these services.”
- Does your boyfriend have a brother?: These are people who are all about referrals. You have no idea who they are and what services they provide but they’ll ask you to refer them services anyway.
Death of a Salesman (Literary reference and not a written threat)
Your services can be valuable and your expertise can save potential clients thousands of dollars but trying to directly sell people on LinkedIn is annoying. First of all, I don’t know who you are and I don’t know if you’re actually competent. Secondly, I don’t know who you are and therefore I would never refer a client to someone I have no experience with. And lastly, I don’t know who you are and my parents always told me not to talk to strangers (unless you have candy).
Follow these simple steps to drive business through LinkedIn while not sounding like a salesman (true story, a telemarketer called me while I was writing this paragraph… I’ll save you the suspense, I didn’t buy the vacation package.)
- Let your content speak for you: If you can save me thousands of dollars then write articles detailing how you’ll do just that.
- Share testimonials: If you saved a client from bankruptcy or helped them save thousands in taxes then have them share a recommendation on LinkedIn.
- Like/Comment/Share: Create conversations on LinkedIn that will be beneficial to potential clients and those in your referral network.
The Phony Celebrities
“Do you want to expand your network? Do you want to get thousands of followers? Do you want to give me thousands of dollars to tell you how to do just that? Sign up for my free webinar and I’ll show you how you too can be a LinkedIn celebrity.” These are the worst people on LinkedIn and it seems that being a LinkedIn celebrity is becoming its own industry.
- Trust me, I’m famous: These are users who try to monetize their following by showing you how to grow a following as well. Some of the best content and advice from the most successful leaders and business owners are free, or come at a low-cost. For example, Warren Buffet shares free advice on how to invest yet people fall for Facebook ads with titles like, “this totally legit investment will make you a millionaire overnight.”
- Checkout my free webinar: These are people who try to push “free” webinars that are basically sales pitches to buy into a $1,000 subscription. I’ll save you time and money, the subscription will detail how you too can make free webinars and scam others into subscribing to your “services”.
You don’t need to be famous
Don’t fall into the trap of trying to become a LinkedIn celebrity. Focus instead on providing meaningful content, engaging conversations, and creating personal connections on the platform. Sometimes depth is more important than reach – actually knowing 80% of your network is better than having thousands of followers.
- Share and create meaningful content: Focus on showing off your expertise, knowledge, and even your own personality through the content you share or create.
- Engagement is key: Don’t be afraid to comment on a post, like a post or even share another user’s post. Engagement is crucial to convincing other’s that you’re not an evil LinkedIn robot.
- Focus on meaningful connections, not faceless followers: Focus more on connecting with those who you want to engage with and stay away from people who abuse the platform. Having thousands of connections can lead to a ‘spammy’ LinkedIn feed with nothing but self-serving sales pitches.
Follow these tips and tricks and you too can ruin LinkedIn for everyone. Or, if you prefer to build meaningful and long-lasting connections while boosting your bottom line then start acting like a human being and not an evil LinkedIn sales robot destined to destroy the world (or even worse, my LinkedIn feed).