By Bob McIntosh
Most people have a hard time engaging with the LinkedIn community, according to a poll I’m conducting on LinkedIn. Although the poll’s only on its second day, it reveals that 42% find it difficult to engage and 21% feel it’s somewhat difficult. Only 37% have no difficulty engaging with the LinkedIn community?
As someone who engages on LinkedIn on a daily basis, I find it hard to believe that others find it hard engaging with the LinkedIn community, but I’m the exception to the rule. This article is for job seekers (career advisors might learn a thing or two) and goes over the tips that will make it easier for them to engage with other members.
The first thing job seekers need to do is change their mindset and understand that engaging with LinkedIn members is no more than starting and nurturing communication with them. Think of engaging as conversations you gradually become immersed in.
Note: Don’t confine communication to your 1st degrees; communicate with your 2nd degrees, as well. Doing this can result in connecting with your 2nd degrees who could potentially be your best relationships.
Why it’s important
I’d be remiss in not telling you why it’s important to communicate with LinkedIn members. You know the old saying, “Out of sight, out of mind.” This is a good way to look at it. You want to stay top of mind, not be forgotten. In addition, recruiters and other hiring authorities will see you in their feed.
Follow these tips on how to make communication easier.
1. Start by following LinkedIn members
You might want to start following people before connecting with them. You will still see their content in your feed, but you won’t be able to communicate with them directly unless you have a premium account and use Inmail to send them a message.
Another benefit of following someone is getting on their radar for potentially connecting with them in the future. Some of the best invites I receive are those that say a person has been following me and enjoys my content. Would I like to connect with them.
Note: If you see a Connect button on their profile, click on the More drop-down and choose Follow. In some cases, people will prefer that you follow them and won’t be notified that you’ve started following them.
2. Actively search for content from LinkedIn members
Hopefully your first- and second-degree connections, and the people you’re following are like-minded and produce content that gels with you. For example, if you are in Supply Chain and want to read, view videos, or hear podcasts on this topic simply type “Supply Chain” in the Search field at the top left-hand corner of any page. Then select Posts.
I found 525 results for this topic, which is way too many to consume. By going to All Filters, one can select, Date posted, Sort by, Author industry, and Author company. I chose Past Week, Top Match, and typed in Pharmaceuticals. These filters garnered 21 results, including videos, posts, and an invite to join a webinar.
3. Search for content companies produce
Assuming you have a list of target companies, you can find content by visiting their LinkedIn page. I’m going to go to Fidelity to see what kind of content they’re producing.
On their page I see options for Posts which include All, Images, Documents, Videos, and Ads. Under All, there is a link for an article titled: Markets, emotions, and you. Currently there are 53 reactions and zero comments. This is your chance to react and comment on the article. (More on this later.)
Out of curiosity I select Videos, where I see that one was produced three months ago. It’s titled Mastering Stability Amid Change. I decide to watch it and am pleased that it’s only 31 seconds long. It’s obviously an advertisement. There are 138 reactions, five comments, and 5,190 views.
4. Use hashtags (#s) to find content
LinkedIn allows you to select hastags (#) which categorizes content. Instead of spending time on your feed searching for your desired topics, type in the Search engine #(topic). For example, if you want to read articles on digital marketing, type #digitalmarketing and select Posts.
How are hastags created? When people share content, they can choose existing hashtags or write their own within a post or at the end of it. Additionally, LinkedIn allows you to choose existing hashtags by clicking Discover More on the left of your homepage.
5. React and comment on what others write
Once you’ve chosen who to follow or connect with, their content will be displayed in your feed. However, LinkedIn doesn’t show all of the content that LinkedIn members you follow produces. You’ll have to actively search for it. This might seem like a needle in a haystack.
When you happen upon a long post, article, video, or podcast you read or listen to, choose one of the reaction buttons. They are: Like, Celebrate, Love, Support, Insightful, and Curious. Don’t leave it at that, though, write a thoughtful comment on something that resonated with you.
Here’s an example of a comment from someone who read one of my posts:
All are good points about resumes, Bob. I would say more important than anything about your formatting is the content. That is what the reader cares about above all else. Tell a compelling story that explains what value you bring to the employer. That is what will get you an interview.
Notice that my name is highlighted in blue and underlined. This commenter tagged me so I would be alerted in Notifications of her comment. More on this later.
6. Share articles of interest and comment on them
One of the benefits of using LinkedIn is that you can read, see, or hear content that is relevant to your occupation or industry and, in effect, learn from it. Many of my clients will share a post, podcast, or YouTube video with the people in my job club.
I began an assignment by sharing an article I read and asked the members of the group to do the same. There were two stipulations. First, they had to share the content with everyone. Second, they had to react and comment on what they shared.
Like commenting on a post, this is one of the easiest ways to communicate with your network and followers. I suggest to my clients who are just starting on LinkedIn that they do this on a regular basis. When they tell me they don’t have time to research topics on LinkedIn, I tell them it’s one of the best ways for them to use their time.
7. Write posts of your own
Once you’re use to commenting on other LinkedIn members’ posts, it’s time to write your own. I know what you’re thinking, “I’m out of work. What do I have to add?” You have a lot to add. Did you forget your expertise in marketing? No you didn’t. You are still an expert in your field.
My valued connection, Hannah Morgan, came up with a list of what you can write. She’s titled it: 25 Inspiring Ideas for What To Post On LinkedIn. Here are just a few of the ways you can communicate with your connections:
- Industry insights
- Tips and hacks
- Ask question
- Share what other LinkedIn members wrote (and comment on it)
- News about companies (mentioned above)
- Commenting on a photo
- Producing a video (for the more advanced)
These are just a few ways you can communicate with your connections. It’s up to you to determine at which level you want to go.
8. Tag people
There’s nothing I dislike more than coming across a comment or even a post in which I’m mentioned but not tagged. I’ve had people share my articles without letting me know. It’s like people talking behind your back.
When you comment on someone’s post, for example, do the following: type @Bob McIntosh. Before you write my last name, I’ll appear in a drop-down of names. Simply click on my name and I’ll be inserted into your comment.
As soon as you do this, I’ll see a number appear on my Notifications icon. I’ll click on the icon and see that “(someone) has mentioned you in a comment.” Thus begins the conversation with whomever tagged me in a post or shared article.
9. Be consistent
I was told years ago that the way to gain a following is by being consistent. So, what I try to do every week—I’m not always successful—is create a poll on Monday, publish an article on Tuesday, write a long post on Wednesday or Thursday, and publish what I call “Blast from the past Saturday.”
By no means am I saying you should do what I do. What you should do is try to communicate with your connections at least four days a week. Whether it’s commenting on posts or articles, writing your own posts, or even writing articles and producing video—it’s your call.
10. By no means, be negative
This should go without saying, but I’ve seen some pretty nasty comments on posts. My thought is that if you read something you don’t like, keep scrolling until you find something you do like.
This is not to say you can’t disagree with something someone wrote. Just do it in a diplomatic manner. You could write, “You make some excellent points, Bob. However, I don’t agree that the #resume Summary should be written in bullet format.”
I would be more likely to respond with “I can see your point, Cheryl. I just feel that too many bullets will confuse the reader.” No harm, no foul.
There you have it. My final tip is to simply do it. As I mention above, if you want to stay on your connections’ radar, you must communicate with them. I know if might be intimidating at first, but once you begin the process and maintain consistency, it’ll be come second nature.
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