Friday, September 21, 2018Canada's Leading Online Business Magazine

Do Your LinkedIn Posts Help or Hurt Your Personal Brand?

By Melonie Dodaro

Have you ever wondered if what you are posting is appropriate for LinkedIn? Did you know that some postings make actually harm your personal brand?

If you are like most people, you probably use the other social networks such as Facebook, Instagram or Twitter far more frequently than you do LinkedIn. These networks are full of your friends, family and acquaintances and as such, most people post very informal things on them – things like what you did on the weekend, a funny pic of your pet or a picture of your last meal.

While these things might be appreciated, and engaged with on the other social platforms, such topics are often not appropriate on LinkedIn.

So why is that? Quite simply, LinkedIn is a social platform for businesses and professionals.

In fact, it is a professional space, much the same as a business office where you have potential prospects or clients meet with you. If something is not appropriate to be shared with prospects or clients face-to-face in your office, chances are, it is also inappropriate to be shared on LinkedIn as well. This actually works as a great filter when deciding what to post.

Ask yourself: would I want my boss, clients, or prospects to read this?

If the answer is no, then it is likely that this is something that could hurt your personal brand or credibility. Or at the very least, it won’t help, which is a waste of your time, and I am assuming you value your own time and don’t have time to waste.

Now some of you, depending on your industry and ideal clients, might even think this filter doesn’t apply to you, but a certain level of professionalism is expected in all situations on the platform.

To make it easier for you, regardless of your industry and ideal clients, I have identified four types of LinkedIn posts that can hurt your personal brand and four types that will help it.

POSTS THAT HURT

1. Controversial

As LinkedIn is a professional network full of clients, potential clients, industry peers and other people in professional relationships with you, it is a good idea to avoid topics that tend to polarize people, especially controversial ones with a negative connotation. This is not because these topics are not important or relevant, but because this is not the correct platform for those discussions.

Because these topics do polarize people, it can invoke the age-old “you are either with us or against us.” In these scenarios, if you fall on opposite sides of your clients or other professional relationships, this can hurt your ability to build relationships.

In most cases, it is better to avoid posting (or even commenting) on these types of posts altogether.

2. Political or Religious

These are two topics that people feel incredibly passionate about. Just like with controversial topics, these types of posts tend to see people join one camp or another.

Your connections can take great offense if you believe differently than they do.

This is one of the reasons why Facebook usage has started to decline, according to digital marketing expert Jay Baer. Baer believes users are growing weary of having to defend their opinions to so-called “friends” who may now be part of the “opposition.”

3. Sales Pitch

While LinkedIn is the best platform for B2B, it is most effective when you use it as a platform to build relationships, rather than as a place to broadcast your sales material.

While some businesses can make sales directly on the platform, most will not, and the real success comes from building relationships with your ideal clients and moving that conversation offline. It’s offline that you get the chance to speak with your prospect, get to know them and the problems they are facing and only then, discuss the solution you offer in a sales conversation.

Focus on providing value and being the go-to resource for your ideal clients, so that when they need someone who does what you do, you are the first person that comes to mind.

4. Inappropriate Personal

While you should be social, you can be social and professional at the same time.

That means no cat memes, no posts of what you ate for lunch (unless it is relevant to your profession), no drinking/partying pics, and your LinkedIn connections certainly don’t need to know anything about your ex.

POSTS THAT HELP

1. Timely and Relevant

There is no better way to create a conversation with your connections (helping you to stay top of mind) and increase engagement than to post on timely and relevant topics in the news that are relevant to your network.

In addition to sharing this information, you want to include your insights and perspective as additional commentary to the post. After all, they may see the same news shared by many people, but your perspective on it makes your post unique.

2. Conversation Inspiring

While you want to avoid negative, non-business related topics, it can be good to post on topics that can inspire productive debate on critical issues in your industry or the business world.

Both the content and how you present it should be thoughtful and inspire productive conversation rather than emotionally heated debates.

3. Professional Changes or Wins

A great way to occasionally add a bit of yourself into your LinkedIn status updates is to share relevant professional or work-related wins and changes. This could be a new job, a promotion, getting a new client or a lesson learned.

This is a great way to get people to know you better and learn what you are up to professionally.

4. Personal Touch

You might be thinking, but you just said to keep it professional. And I did.

But occasionally and done correctly, it can be beneficial to share something more personal with your connections.

It may be related to a cause you believe in, a philanthropic project, a personal lesson you learned or a story that is relatable to others.

Wrapping Up

I hope that you feel better equipped to decide what kinds of posts to share on LinkedIn and better understand what can help or hurt your personal brand. If you still feel passionately about posting something that could hurt your personal brand, ask yourself if you are willing to lose leads, prospects and clients who might disagree or be offended by your point of view. If you are comfortable with that, then go ahead and post.

Melonie Dodaro is founder of Top Dog Social Media that helps brands and businesses, use social media marketing and social selling to boost visibility, attract new customers and increase revenue. Dodaro is also the author of ‘The LinkedIn Code’ and the recently-released ‘LinkedIn Unlocked’. To learn more visit www.TopDogSocialMedia.com

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