How to Engage on LinkedIn

“People don’t buy what you do; they buy why you do it. And what you do simply proves what you believe.” 

–Simon Sinek

Think about the last presentation you heard or book you read that really wowed you. How did you describe that speaker or author to another? You likely didn’t recite her name, job title, company. More likely, you relayed something about who that person is that drives what she does.

I wrote What Most People Miss on Linkedin to encourage each of us to describe ourselves beyond our name, job title, education and employment history. Those resume items are factual and necessary. But they aren’t what people remember.

In the post, I suggest three ways we can use our LinkedIn Profile to showcase not just what we’ve done, but who we are by sharing a:

  1. Vibrant LinkedIn Headline
  2. Telling Background Photo
  3. Compelling LinkedIn Summary

This is a great start. 

But LinkedIn truly gets powerful when used as an engagement tool—when your story, ideas and offerings are linked to those with the greatest interest. It’s the very definition of a social media. And the way we connect in the virtual world changes how we connect in the real one.

For that engagement magic to happen, we need to focus on how we CONNECT, SHARE, and AMPLIFY our ideas using LinkedIn. 

CONNECT

LinkedIn users are socially incentivized to keep their profile and contact info up-to-date.

That’s why LinkedIn has grown to be a key part of my contact management. I can sync my LinkedIn Contacts with my primary contact management tool (Outlook Google). If I switch jobs or contact systems in the future, the most up-to-date info on my contacts comes with me.

That’s great incentive to be sure I’m connected to my “real world” personal and professional contacts via LinkedIn.

Who should we connect to on LinkedIn?

As a personal preference, I only accept or extend LinkedIn Connection Requests to individuals with whom I have some sort of “real world” relationship. I find connecting on LinkedIn an excellent way of establishing credibility and rapport, while also making follow-up to “real world” conversations more efficient. 

Following are tips for using LinkedIn in introductions:

ONLINE INTRODUCTIONS

When sending someone an introductory email, I hyperlink to my own LinkedIn Profile and promise a forthcoming LinkedIn Connection Request. When sending the Request, I choose to include a brief message why I look forward to our connecting. With this personal note and a LinkedIn Profile that generously shares my “what” and “why,” I find most respond to my outreach. 

If my role is introducing two individuals via email, I make things easy for everyone by hyperlinking to their respective LinkedIn Profiles in the email. The more robust their Profiles, the more clear the rationale for the intro. Later, I take pride in seeing they are mutual connections, perhaps even engaging publicly on Linkedin.

FURTHERING IN-PERSON CONNECTIONS

Say I meet someone at a conference. At some point, one of us will ask the other “Do you have a business card?” 

Purposefully, I don’t have business cards. Instead, I pull out my phone. I type their name in my LinkedIn browser, visually confirm their profile, and send a LinkedIn Connection Request on the spot. 

Alternatively, I can share my LinkedIn profile via the LinkedIn QR Code. This is found via the four-square icon at the right of my LinkedIn browser. From their phone, my new friend can click Scan, immediately view my LinkedIn Profile, and send me a LinkedIn Connection Request.

Once we’re connected, I quickly send a “nice to meet you” LinkedIn Message. The following day, I find their email by clicking on Contact Info and follow-up more thoroughly on our conversation.

As with any aspect of life, we’re most efficient and effective when we establish routine.

Having moved LinkedIn to the front of my personal connection process, my engagement with people in my various circles is off to a great start.

SHARE

Several years ago, I had a friend who started a blog. He wasn’t a big user of LinkedIn or other social media. When he started sharing posts on LinkedIn, he was surprised at the limited reaction. Was there something wrong with his content? Did I have any tips for how to increase his engagement?

I had a hypothesis. It was that he rarely engaged with others in the virtual world. It’s like when we talk more than we listen in the “real world.” Generously reading, appreciating and engaging in others’ content is sharing your social capital. And on social media, that’s as important as sharing your own content.

Following are tips for engaging in others’ content and sharing your own.

ENGAGING IN OTHERS’ CONTENT

On LinkedIn, you can Like, Comment and Reshare others’ posts. When doing so, the author is alerted via the Notifications icon. Your action increases the post’s visibility, potentially bringing it into the feeds of all of your LinkedIn Connections (there’s a myriad of factors in the complex LinkedIn algorithm impacting where a post appears).

Of the three options—Like, Comment or Reshare—which should you choose?

A variety of all three.

  • Likes are simple and easy, but LinkedIn is at its best when personal engagement or added vantage points or resources are shared.
  • Comments can be as simple as “congratulations!” or “thank you for sharing,” but those that engage other individuals show the topic as one where you wish to be part of the dialogue. 
  • Resharing a post with your LinkedIn network is a powerful endorsement, but don’t waste the opportunity to reshare without explaining to your network why you found the post valuable (sample post).

I’ve read that Likes and Comments are more likely than Reshares to get your engagement to show up in your Connections’ feeds. Is this true? Who really knows. It doesn’t really matter. The point is simply to engage!

Want to view your (or others’) recent LinkedIn activity?  On the LinkedIn Profile page, scroll down to Activity and click on See All to view the most recent Likes, Comments, Reshares and posts.

What we do proves what we believe.

Looking at an Activity feed is a great way to get to know someone. It’s a great way for them to get to know you, too.

SHARING YOUR CONTENT

To share a post or article, start at the top of your LinkedIn Home page above your feed. You may share text posts, links to articles, photos, videos, or publish LinkedIn Articles.

What should you share?

Ideally a variety of them all. 

To share a post, article, photo or video, click on Write A Post from your home page. If you wish to share an article, paste a hyperlink to the article in the text box. LinkedIn will convert it to a sharable format. If you wish to post a photo, video, or document, click on the appropriate icon and upload your media. Regardless of the content or format, provide some context as to why you find compelling to share.

The LinkedIn algorithm is known to favor original content that keeps the reader on the LinkedIn platform. In other words, a post linking to a third-party article or site may be less visible to your network than an uploaded photo or video, but it’s certainly among the most common way people share content on LinkedIn.

Should you be publishing LinkedIn Articles?

Maybe. By doing the above, you’re already actively sharing with your network. That said, Linkedin Publishing (learn more) offers a wonderful platform for article publishing. If you’re thinking of starting a blog, consider if it might make sense to simply publish articles on LinkedIn (and share the link on other platforms).

If you already have a blog site, I recommend sharing the blog link as a LinkedIn post, while also separately publishing as a LinkedIn Article (sample article). Articles are archived on your LinkedIn Profile. When I want to get to know someone, I always check their Profile for published LinkedIn Articles.

To me, sharing timely, relevant contentboth others’ and my ownfeels like giving a gift to my treasured network.

AMPLIFY

If you are doing the above, you’re doing more than 90% of LinkedIn users. In this final section, I offer three tips to amplify your shared content.

When I have a valuable gift to share, I want it to be received as widely as possible. 

I also want to constantly celebrate my network—their achievements, knowledge, and generosity. These extra steps help me do so.

TAGGING PEOPLE & ORGANIZATIONS

When writing a post or comment, type the @ symbol before typing the name of a person or organization. You’ll see their name appear in bold. LinkedIn will notify them of being tagged in your post, which potentially amplifies your engagement to an even broader network.

USE #HASHTAGS

Hashtags can bring your message to communities you are not currently connected to. Type the # symbol and a word and some suggested hashtags will appear. To broaden your post’s reach, you might chose a timely hashtag (#GivingTuesday) or topic category (#Leadership #Diversity #EmergingMarkets). If there is something you wish to be known for, you may consider adopting a favorite hashtag—for example, #LetsVenture and #ThinkDifferently make regular appearances on my posts.

USE PHOTOS & VIDEOS

Yes, the LinkedIn algorithm loves original content like uploaded photos and videos. But so do people.

Among my most viewed LinkedIn posts are those filled with colorful photos, faces and learnings from my Venture Travel (sample post). LinkedIn allows me to include up to nine photos and descriptive text up to 1300 characters (700 character limit for company page posts).

The LinkedIn algorithm likes my original content.

I love that I am able to celebrate the people and organizations we meet during our travels.

And an extended LinkedIn readership reached through tagging and hashtags enjoys a refreshing collage of people photos. While LinkedIn shows me the current number of views below each post, I can tell when a post is really connecting with my network by their engagement (Likes, Comments, Reshares).

It feels good to share gifts and celebrate those I value most.

SUMMARY

LinkedIn remains one of my favorite tools. It’s a powerful platform to show not only what we do, but who we are, what we believe, and the people and organizations we celebrate.

Here’s a cheat sheet for your LinkedIn profile and engagement:

  • LinkedIn Profile: Header, Photo & Summary that reflects you, both personally and professionally
  • Connect: Make it part of your process. LinkedIn connect with colleagues, clients, family, friends, board members, non-profits, leaders you admire
  • Share: Give gifts of Likes, Comments, Reshares, including why you find something important
  • Amplify: Celebrate people & organizations you care about through Posts, Photos, @Tagging & #Hashtags
  • LinkedIn Help: Find your topic (www.linkedin.com/help)

No social media can replace “real world” relationship building.

I hope we get back to more of it in the future. For now, it’s a great time to invest in your LinkedIn engagement strategy.

“The way we connect in the virtual world changes how we connect in the real one.”


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Jodi Morris Written by:

Venture Guide to High-Achieving Seekers. Success Coach. Venture Travel Curator. Impact Investor. Traveler. Writer. Global Connector. When we connect to others' stories it changes our own. Let's Venture!