When I started Upmarketry in January, I wrote a post on LinkedIn that got 13,000 views, 189 likes and 36 comments. It also brought me eight leads which turned into three clients, four referrals and four highly valuable connections. Pretty good result from one post, eh? A mark of how to win on LinkedIn, you could say.
What I posted, in simple terms, was that I’d started a new marketing agency and if anyone wanted help please come to me. I just didn’t say it quite like that.
The post worked because of three simple things:
1. My network
There are people I’ve met on LinkedIn who boast about having a network of thousands of connections. That’s not the way to win on LinkedIn as it’s just a vanity metric. (One guy I met even tries to use his connections as currency, but more about that later.)
Unless they are a business ninja or an Uber-influencer, I can’t see how they achieved that powerful a network unless they just sat down at their computer for a week and connected with every 2nd connection they came across. And if that’s the case, then that big network means nothing as those individuals are unlikely to care about them as a person or their professional progress.
(Yes, there is absolute value in connecting with people you don’t know if you’re linked by industry and think you could help each other BUT connecting with people whose title sounds good is not going to drive engagement on your LinkedIn posts.)
I have a good amount of connections but I’ve gained them from moving around so much in my career to date. Therefore a large proportion of those connections know me well, know what my work means to me and support my future success.
Look after the valid connections you have on LinkedIn and work to develop stronger relationships with those you don’t know very well. Try to help them by doing them a favour; don’t just sell to them. You never know how much you could be helping them out. And when they return the favour in the future it could do wonders for you.
2. The purpose of the post
Like other social media channels, LinkedIn content requires some skill to get right. You don’t just post the same thing over and over again. Even the Kardashians, who could get millions of likes on Insta just for sneezing, know that.
You need to mix up your content so that by connecting with you, people know they’re going to get more than just links to your blog. This means updates on you, shared posts from relevant and interesting third parties, comments on things that have inspired/bothered you etc.
Think about who your audience is. In this case, I don’t mean who your target audience is. I mean your immediate LinkedIn audience. It’s most likely to be ex-colleagues, customers and peers, right? This means that a straight up sales post isn’t going to work. A comment on something funny or inspiring in the industry or something to help others learn, however, is.
One of the great things about LinkedIn is that a ‘like’ also means a share. So, create content that your immediate network will ‘like’ and it’ll be shared with their networks. A large proportion of whom will be your target audience. This means that if your post is liked then it will not only reach your target audience but it’ll also be endorsed by a source they trust.
3. The tone of the post
As I mentioned, the jist of my LinkedIn post was “I’ve started a digital marketing business, come work with me.” But I didn’t phrase it like that.
I told a story. I showed vulnerability. I asked for support. I spoke of my pride for doing something but it wasn’t done in a braggy way; it was more in an encouraging way for others.
Too often I’ve seen people brag about successes on Linkedin, or worse, criticise others for theirs. That’s NOT what LinkedIn is about.
The best way I can describe LinkedIn is as this:
Imagine the world almost came to an end. Huge proportions of the population died and we’re rebuilding the planet slowly but surely with the limited resources and support we have. What’s left are brilliant minds, a clear ambition to succeed, and a mixture of kind, ambitious people and a few idiots that somehow made it through the apocalypse and you’re not entirely sure how. (This is your network.)
If you overlook the one or two idiots that bizarrely made it on to your network, what you’ve got is a team of incredible people who are working hard to do better. And achieve more. They’re not in your local area, they may not possess the same skills as you or be contributing to rebuilding society in the same way as you, but you can help each other via LinkedIn and achieve more.
In this world, which of the following types of post would you like to see?
- Humorous posts that bring a little relief to your day
- Bragging posts about how many sales have been achieved
- Posts that criticise other people
- Announcement posts about business news that mean nothing to anyone but the business itself
- Insight about how to do things better
- A story about a struggle you’ve just overcome and what you’ve learned in order to do things better going forward
- An offer to help others
If you chose anything other than 1, 5, 6 and 7, then good luck in your little bizarre LinkedIn bubble. If you did choose them, then you’re well on your way to win on LinkedIn. Go forth and share.
My winning post
Here’s the post I shared on LinkedIn that did so well:
“Two weeks ago, I started my own business. It feels quite unbelievable but then so did the sudden news at Christmas that I was being made redundant.
I went through all of the usual emotions: anger, grief, denial and shame. But, to my surprise, I was also relieved. I didn’t hate my job before, far from it. But did I leap out of bed each morning, excited and scared in equal measure about the challenges I would face? Nope.
Since the age of 7 when I tried to sell all my toys so I could be “rich”, I knew I wanted to run my own business. I’ve had crazy ideas for inventions, devised business models too complicated to explain, and tried many side hustles. But none worked because they didn’t link to my skills or passions. And then last month, when I suddenly found myself with time on my hands and redundancy pay in my pocket, I knew it was now or never.
So I’ve launched Upmarketry to use my experience in marketing and PR to help fellow entrepreneurs find business success.
Will it be difficult? Yes. Will I come across a bit desperate at times? Perhaps at first. But am I excited about the year ahead? Hell yes.
If you know of any start ups or small businesses keen to grow quickly but uncertain of how to market themselves, please mention Upmarketry. I’d love to help.”
If you’d like help crafting a LinkedIn message like this, or more guidance on how to win on LinkedIn, please get in touch, here or on LinkedIn itself. I’ll happily give some tips.
Back to the story I referred to earlier about using LinkedIn connections as currency…. One guy tried to “pay” me for my services by giving me an introduction to his Linkedin network. Seriously. No financial payment. Just an introduction to his LinkedIn buddies. I declined as politely as I could.