Nothing has the power to influence your professional image more than the content you share in your LinkedIn status update.
Don’t believe me? Think about it – most people in your network will look at your LinkedIn profile page once, and then forget you exist for a while. On the other hand, everyone in your network can potentially see the content you share in your status updates every time they log in or check out LinkedIn on their mobile app. It’s a tremendous opportunity to be noticed on a regular basis. It also directly affects the professional opinion your network forms about you, which in turn, affects how likely you are to get sales referrals and other opportunities.
Within the last several hours, a whopping 45 of my LinkedIn contacts shared at least one form of content in their LinkedIn news feed. The day before that, there were at least 60. I’m not counting the countless automated notifications about joining groups, following companies, getting endorsed or changing profile images. I mean things like sharing strategy articles, videos or commenting on business news.
LinkedIn may not be the new Twitter quite yet, but it’s garnering a lot of social participation for a site that, until fairly recently, most of its members thought of as just a place to build your online resume and look for jobs. Fortunately, our mobile product team saw this coming, and earlier this year launched the ability to see your contacts’ LinkedIn news feeds in RingDNA apps.
This level of LinkedIn engagement begs the question – what kinds of content should you, the sales guy, be sharing on LinkedIn? After all, your LinkedIn network is vitally important for sales referrals, prospecting and other activities. (By the way, if you haven’t already created an all-star LinkedIn profile, see our recommendations here).
In general, the content you should share content that positions you in at least one of three ways:
- a passionate expert in your industry
- a smart and approachable resource
- a social person that always adds value
Here’s how to do it.
Rule 1: Share More Than Just Your Own Company’s News
You’re already using LinkedIn as a sales channel, and it’s a given that you’re going to share some of your own company’s news. But if the only thing you share in your status update is your own company’s press releases and blog posts, you can come across as overly aggressive and maybe even one-dimensional. We’re all guilty of this at one time or another, especially during extremely busy times.
Mix it up by sharing:
- Studies and research that are at least somewhat relevant to your industry.
- Inspiring news or product launches from partners and the customers you already have
- Game-changer news in technology or regulations that affect your focus area
Above each link, take a few seconds to add an insightful comment. For example, if you share a press release that one of your customer’s earnings beat expectations, say how happy you are for them, and that they really deserve it. You can even congratulate the people you know personally in your comment (that makes the social network more “social”).
Rule #2 – Create Your Own Instant Content
The content you share doesn’t have to be a pre-packaged video, whitepaper or article. You can show people what you care about by rattling off a line or two. It’s especially great if it adds value to others. Examples:
- “My latest podcast addiction is Entrepreneur on Fire. The interview with Jon Ferrara is highly recommended for people in startups.”
- “Just heard Dreamforce is extending its early bird special on conference tickets another week. Who’s in this year? If you need a code, message me.”
- “We’re looking for outside sales reps. If you know a superstar looking for a great opp, please get in touch.”
Rule #3 – In LinkedIn Groups, Stick to Educational Content and Comments
By their very nature, groups appear to be prime social sales hunting grounds. If you sell chainsaws, then it’s very tempting to pound the “Logging Professionals” group with your company brochures. Unfortunately, this won’t be received well in most of the truly quality groups, where it would be considered spam.
In your status update, it’s fine to occasionally post a product release – especially if you give your team kudos for their brilliance in the process. In LinkedIn groups, it’s typically frowned upon. The more you keep your shares educational, and the more you comment on others’ shares, the more you’ll develop the referral network you’re hoping for.