Originally Published here
Social media can be a very powerful booster for your career and you don’t have to be in social media marketing or similar to reap the benefits of it. In particular, LinkedIn is becoming more and more powerful as a tool to build your personal brand and career in general.
LinkedIn is not only about hunting jobs
At the core, LinkedIn is a professional networking site where most people join thinking they will get spotted for their next job opportunity or knowing that regardless of what job they apply for someone will check their LinkedIn profile.
However, LinkedIn has become a lot more than that. It’s a site where business partners are found, deals are made and where previously unknown professionals can build a reputation within their field as an expert or at least someone who can bring different perspectives to the table.
Using myself as an example I can openly say that I have never gotten a job through LinkedIn. In fact, I can say that I am happily employed in a company where I have been for the past almost 9 years. So why bother with LinkedIn if you’re happy in your job and don’t even see yourself changing jobs?
Learning, development and building a reputation
I have followed a very specific strategy for more than 3 years now and it has certainly developed me as a person and a professional. It has also helped me perform even better in my job. My strategy has evolved as LinkedIn evolved so I wouldn’t have imagined when I started in 2012 where it has taken me now.
Let’s take a look at my strategy for career building on LinkedIn and later discuss how you can do it as well.
- Share content that I found interesting for my network
- Participate in group discussions where I could either learn about new topics or contribute with new knowledge to other professionals
- Start posting content on LinkedIn when it opened for publishing
- Build a following by engaging with the readers and learning about how to get the most exposure for each post
Sounds simple enough, right?
How do I execute this strategy?
As always there is strategy and execution. Above is not rocket science so it all lies in the execution.
A. First of all, you need to do a lot of reading,
and I suggest you build a reading list of various sites where interesting content is posted on a regular basis. No matter what industry you are in these sites are there and if you need help building your list give me a shout and I can give you a few tips. It’s also important that when you share content you write your opinion about it or do it by asking a question. Then you show your network what insights you have to offer in a very short form.
B. Second, you need to join as many relevant groups as possible.
Definitely exploit that you can join 50 groups. Joining groups gives you two distinct advantages. 1) you can learn from other members of the group and 2) you get to showcase your own knowledge when other members post questions or links to articles. Through active participation in groups, you will also build a larger network and form connections with professionals outside your immediate network.
C. Now for the big step i.e. publishing your thoughts on LinkedIn.
This is the scary part for many as first of all they don’t think they have anything relevant to say. One million publishers have already said it all, right?
While this might be true actually the same questions are asked over and over again so there are always new people to impress with your knowledge + you’re great at what you do so why not start there?
Write about something you feel at home in from work or otherwise in life (make sure it has professional relevance still).
Then once you’ve gotten started and gotten your content out to a couple of hundred people and gained a few followers you can broaden out the topics you write about. You don’t have to be an expert to have an opinion and you’ll find that people often value your opinion, expert or not.
I also suggest a regular posting schedule so your connections and followers know what to expect. It will also help you to be honest with yourself as you make a commitment to post weekly, monthly or whatever works for you.
D. Now you’re a writer and building a following.
Make sure to engage with every single person that engages with your content in the beginning. Later on if you start to receive many likes you should focus only on comments and shares. LinkedIn offers great tools to stay on top of this and your readers will value that you value them.
Of course, on LinkedIn what can really give you a breakthrough is getting featured on one of LinkedIn’s channels. Then you automatically transcend your network and reach the thousands or even million followers of the channel.
I can’t tell you exactly what you need to do to get featured but I have shared a handful of tips in some of my previous posts and latest in “How Is Your Social Media Business Going”.
Once featured it’s not a sure-fire ticket to stardom but featured posts get significantly more views, likes, comments and shares. My growth is close to exponential in all categories thanks to being featured often.
After a while or maybe immediately people will start reaching out to you for your input on their business model, how to tackle various problems or even ask you to publish articles in magazines or other sites. Sure people might also contact you with job opportunities and all that stuff you’re probably also dreaming about.
Rome wasn’t built in one day
All of this doesn’t come immediately and while today you might want to go straight to publishing you have to have enough confidence in yourself that you can keep up with your posting schedule. The worst thing that can happen is that you start out with a couple of posts and then nothing for months.
People don’t like quitters so make sure you can stick with it. Here you can really use a large network of professionals feeding you content and going through the full strategy will get you that. As said it’s taken more than 3 years for me to get to this point and there is so much more for me to do. I will soon reach 50,000 views in total on my posts. Some achieve that in a single post.
However, I have had the pleasure of speaking at conferences, writing articles for magazines, being referenced by other sites when topics I write about are being discussed etc. All of this because of LinkedIn and a clear strategy of what to use it for. So the question is what will you use it for?
Are you using LinkedIn to build your career or are you still uncertain on what you need to do? Let’s continue the talk when you leave a comment or if nothing else like or share to spread the word!