At Zooma, we're big believers in LinkedIn. Although many users have mixed feelings about it, it's hard to deny that it's a fantastic platform for reaching an engaged, relevant audience. However, plenty of users get held back simply because they're unsure how to use it effectively. For these people, Anders has some tips.
Trends come and go on a weekly basis on LinkedIn, just like on all social platforms. Small groups of very active users figure out what content the algorithm promotes and go all-in to reach a wider audience. The result is that your feed will be full of videos one week and links in the week after that. People ask for comments to get access to content, and sometimes they want private messages. Sometimes you'll see a link to content in the comments of a post from a company, and other times, it'll be in the post itself. Suppose you're an ordinary user trying to give an accurate image of yourself and hopefully convince others that you're trustworthy and knowledgeable. In that case, it's hard to know what tactic you should take.
To find out, I had a discussion with Anders, a prolific LinkedIn user, and asked what he recommends. What should you do or not do if you want to use the platform in a better way and develop yourself and your image? The answers are fairly simple (and they generally don't involve jumping on the same trends as everyone else).
Whether you're a major LinkedIn influencer or you're taking your first steps, there's something in this episode for you. You can watch the video version of the podcast above, but if you prefer, you can listen on Spotify and Soundcloud using the links below. Enjoy!
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AE: [00:00:00] So hello Anders!
AB: [00:00:02] Hello, Alexander.
AE: [00:00:03] How are you today?
AB: [00:00:05] I'm very well, although it's a bit different today that the weatherman doesn't participate today.
AE: [00:00:13] I know, it's too bad. And I can see outside, though, that he would probably be a bit depressed, that's maybe why he's not here today.
AB: [00:00:24] Perhaps, you never know. When you're driven by weather you're not in control yourself.
AE: [00:00:30] That's true. So on today's show, we said that we were about to talk about LinkedIn presence.
AB: [00:00:38] And to be 100 percent honest, you have decided that we should talk about LinkedIn.
AE: [00:00:45] Yes, that's true. Have you had any feedback from any previous episode so far?
AB: [00:00:55] Yes, I have, both through online, where we have a couple of fantastic comments. But the funniest one actually happened a few days ago, the same day that the episode came out, I don't remember exactly the phrasing or the name of the episode, the episode with the decision-makers.
AE: [00:01:17] Yeah, 'What you would prioritize if you were a B2B decision maker.'
AB: [00:01:22] Yes, that's right. And one of our friends, one of our customers, I was at the computer very early that morning and I realized in the morning that the episode was already out, although it wasn't alerted yet through email or anything. And I had an SMS from this customer. And by the way, I haven't asked him if it's OK that I tell the story, but I'm brave enough to tell it. So I had a nice SMS in the morning around, I don't know, seven-thirty. Where he asked, "are you working early today?" And I answered, "yes." "Can I give you a ring?" And I said, "yes". And I heard that he was in his car, most likely commuting somewhere, perhaps to the office, and I said, "how are you?" And he said, "Well, but why are you so angry with me?" he said, and I said, "What are you talking about?" And he said, "I was just listening to the latest episode of the pod. And we have started doing things. We have done a lot of things, but it feels like you're angry with me." And I was sort of laughing because he was realizing that the pod wasn't exactly for him, but he in some way felt that it was to him.
So he was very serious at the same time that he was laughing. And a bit later on, I listened to that episode and I can understand his reaction because I did sound a little bit angry. I don't know if what he said affected that or the other way around, but only positive feedback so far. Did you get any feedback on any of the episodes internally or externally?
AE: [00:03:15] Yeah, I got some feedback from customers and friends. One was that in my introduction speech, I sounded a bit like Guy Ross, who makes the podcast How I Built This, in the same tonality. I took that as a compliment. I, I have listened to him a lot and it was not on purpose that I wanted to sound like him there. But that was fun.
AB: [00:03:52] I think that's positive. Let's decide it's positive.
AE: [00:03:55] Yeah. Yeah. So for you listeners who clicked on this title and want to hear more about LinkedIn, now we're going to get started. So, Anders, I know that you're a frequent user of LinkedIn. First of all, I wanna ask you, like what do you personally use it for?
AB: [00:04:14] There are so many dimensions of why I use it. One, I always want to get connected with all relevant contacts and people internally and externally. But I have this sort of golden rule that I only connect with people that I have met, and met is an interesting definition, 2021. But I use it the same way if I have met them, if I have interacted with them in some way where LinkedIn is not the first touchpoint to me, then I connect with them. Then it's also secondly, as a sort of the foundation of why I use LinkedIn to get work-related questions, that's definitely number two. And number three, to be able to verify others and for others to be able to verify me, which means, in my opinion, the most common usage of LinkedIn is verification, verification of people and companies.
If that is the foundation then there are other targets and reasons for being active on LinkedIn, which is I think it's an excellent knowledge base. And that depends a bit on that, that I'm a premium subscriber and therefore I can reach all premium content. There are certifications that you can take, not that advanced, but good to sort of take off. And if you follow the right people, you can stay updated in a very good way and a much better way than, for example, Twitter. So that's sort of the foundation and the extra stuff to why.
AE: [00:06:09] How much time would you say that you use on LinkedIn per day?
AB: [00:06:13] Nowadays? I think it's impossible to say how much time. And I would be surprised because it's such an integrated way of working to always have that as one thing, impossible to say in time, but say, focused on LinkedIn, nothing else, without having it in the calendar, at least 30 minutes a day, and taking some type of training or learning, perhaps half an hour a week. Other things related to LinkedIn, which is all the CRM data verifying people who have done something, for example, on a customer portal or given away that contact data, at least 20 to 50 people per day that I verify that way. But again, very difficult to give a certain time. But my basic advice for everyone is to have 15 minutes scheduled each week in the calendar to do their things on LinkedIn as a start. Over time, I think everyone should have 15 minutes per workday in their calendars to change their habits and make LinkedIn sort of a very, very natural part of a working day, whether it's about internal people or external people.
AE: [00:07:41] So if you have 15 minutes per day in your calendar, what do you do those 15 minutes on LinkedIn?
AB: [00:07:50] What I do or what I suggest others to do?
AE: [00:07:51] What you would suggest others do, listeners.
AB: [00:07:55] Again, depending on where you are, if you're on the level where sadly many people still are, which is: "OK, but I don't look for a job, why should I be active on LinkedIn?" That is still a very, very common feedback in B2B among the employees in the different companies that we work with. OK, so then you're at the level where you need to focus on one thing first, to be present on LinkedIn. And when it comes to being present on LinkedIn, it's everything from having a high-resolution profile image which people can say, why is that needed? Because almost everyone that checks someone on LinkedIn clicks on the image to see how people really look like, not only looking at sort of the small rounder image provided through LinkedIn if they have an image, because if you're at the level that where you still think, "yeah, but I don't look for a job, I think it's a CV database," then you need to put all the basic stuff in place. So if you're one of those, spend the 15 minutes per week for a couple of weeks to follow exactly what LinkedIn tells you through their help pages in how you should set your profile.
The only thing that I do not agree with so-called social selling experts and sometimes LinkedIn as well is that no, put your title in your profile on top, below your image. Do not start saying "motivational this and that, digital transformer, blah, blah, blah," and believe that you do more business or find nicer people through that, I think it's rubbish. Put what you do. If you go to school, put that you're a student. If you do this and that, be straightforward, no one is interested in reading the rubbish where you write about yourself, how fantastic you are. And if you're a, I would say in your case, Alexander, a great profile, interested in trying to be more and more active, I think you should spend your first 15 minutes on putting a, what should we call it, a plan on answering a couple of questions. And I'll give you not the answers, but the questions that I think you should focus on. Put with one sentence. I want to be perceived like this. That's one. Number two, what is it that I actively should be doing every week? Three, what should I not be doing on LinkedIn?
For how shall I measure how I'm doing on LinkedIn, why I say those four is because the first one for you, Alexander, who I would say is an upcoming LinkedIn person. The first one, how do I want to be perceived is because one of the techniques with online and how you do online is you can always ask someone before you publish. Perhaps you connect with Doug through Zoom and you say, "hey, Doug, this is the next thing I'm going to publish. Can you give me a second opinion on that?" And he can do that from his perspective. But if you add to that sentence, "I want to be perceived as a very knowledgeable person with a good sense of humor." Maybe he will answer you differently when it comes to how you are perceived in his opinion and what you actually should do.
AB: [00:11:47] Let's say in my case, which would be an advice for you, try to share and publish relevant and work-related knowledge content. And when I say knowledge content I don't talk about school, I talk about knowledge connected to what Zooma does and is credible to do. You should share your own as well as others' content, be active if you have something to say with commenting. And of course if you want, you can like as well, and remember the company you work for most likely has a policy and an agreement with you, follow that. Then coming to the third one, what you should not do, I cannot tell people what they shouldn't do, but I can tell that it's good to think through.
If I to you, Alexander exemplified with myself, you will never, ever see anything about my family or my private life online. Then that's a decision that I have made that I don't need to motivate for anyone else. But it's a decision I made. And then secondly, I try not to share or interact with anything that I can interpret as political content. It's sometimes a thin limit, but I have decided not to interact with any political content. And then fourthly, my advice when you are about at the stage where you are with LinkedIn, decide a couple of small things in how you should measure it. I think many that start with LinkedIn then compare it with interacting with their friends on whatever other social media networks like Facebook and Instagram and others.
AB: [00:13:31] It's very easy to think, "oh, if I get a lot of likes then people enjoy what I do" and so on, that's not how it works. And depending on who you aim for, to interact with your content or read your content, consume your content or click on whatever you have to click on, I suggest don't look for the likes. So what do you look for? I look for other things, like, one, connected to why I am on LinkedIn, am I connected with 100 percent of my colleagues and 100 percent of the people that I have been interacting with at least once? Then I can measure because although it's my purpose, it's still my objectives. So with internals and externals, I want to publish one article on what was called Pulse before, that is Articles now, I want to do at least two shares a week. If I publish an article, and here we go, here's the difference. If I publish an article and I have 100 views on an article, that's real views on LinkedIn, that doesn't mean that people scrolled through it, they viewed the article. Then I want to have 25 percent interactions per article, and then I have one more figure in how I measure it, which is I want one percent interactions on a post that I post on LinkedIn. But if I get a point five or zero, I don't care. It's a fun thing to have one percent interactions.
AE: [00:15:16] And interaction is a comment or a like?.
AB: [00:15:22] Yes, but what do you compare with 100 percent? How many followers you have. So if you, for example, have a thousand followers and want one percent interactions based on your followers when it comes to posts, not based on the views, because it's not real views, but it's a fun extra thing that I have. And it's fantastic when one percent interaction happens. Why I pick one percent. It's very easy. If you look at some of the sort of really, really, really famous people in the world, let's take one of the most interesting individuals in the whole world, Zlatan Ibrahimovic. If you look at his number of followers and you look at the number of interactions, you can get back to me the next time and tell me how often he's over one percent in followers versus interactions. It's a huge difference with my wife who has a closed to Instagram account, where she can get close to 95 percent interactions on the post because for any reason, people want to interact with her on Instagram. But it's a closed account. Most of us have open accounts on LinkedIn, if people are present on LinkedIn, which is a huge difference.
AE: [00:16:47] So we're talking a bit about the engagement. I think that naturally leads us to the LinkedIn algorithm. Could you explain a bit how it works?
AB: [00:17:00] We have at least one article on The Onlinification Hub about it. If I take the common sense version and I'm not going to answer anything about how LinkedIn's algorithm really works, then my advice for anyone, whether you are a beginner or you look at yourself as a fantastic influence on LinkedIn, my basic advice is depending on who you're connected to and depending on your purpose of being on LinkedIn, make sure that you stay relevant for them. That is sort of, to think about the algorithm would make people crazy. It's like when people say, how do I get number one on on on Google? If you're number one, do you have anything to tell if they click on you? But I firmly believe, don't focus on the algorithm, focus on being, being or becoming relevant for the people that you are connected to, and put up goals that are the goals and objectives and KPIs than getting clicks or likes. That's other platforms in my world. And specifically, my advice would be, I would guess that the algorithm appreciates if you publish relevant content connected to the right context. One or two times per day, not more, but that is sort of, and then people can go to articles on The Onlinification Hub and read about the LinkedIn algorithm. But connected to that, we talk about sort of people's presence on LinkedIn. That's my advice.
AE: [00:18:53] You said in the beginning that you have a personal policy that you only connect with people that you met so far. And so then your follower base is people that you have met and so on. So is that is your purpose then, to kind of maintain that connection, or, because I think one thing that I think about LinkedIn is trying to get new sales opportunities, or spread the brand awareness of the company page and so on. How do you think about that? Is it not a platform for new contacts, or?
AB: [00:19:42] I absolutely think it's a place for getting new contacts and so on. But I also think it's a business platform which is one of the parts in any relation in any business journey together, it might be that you connected a couple of years ago and people have seen what you publish or what you interact with. And then suddenly you're top of mind when it comes to somebody trying to rebrand or whatever and they think, "Ah, good, I should contact Sanna, or whoever I should contact." I read a thing a while ago, I can say like this, I don't believe in that you should contact people and say, "hey, your profile looks interesting. Could we connect or could we have a meeting or do you want to buy?" But obviously there must be a market for that because in my inbox with connections, I get about ten of these per day, seven days a week, 365 days a year.
I have, up until a while ago, I always responded in a very nice and polite way. But the last couple of weeks I've been skipping that, it was too time-consuming. But I don't believe in it. But obviously, due to that so many companies and people spend time on doing so, there must be a market for it, or they just I don't know. But I, I do not think that you should, you can think top of mind, but you shouldn't think, "oh, I'm going to get three requests for an offer this week", but it happens, but I don't think it happens because you tried to sell. I think it happens if you are relevant and therefore are top of mind with someone.
AE: [00:21:36] So relevant for your follower base?
AB: [00:21:39] Yeah, and I don't have the LinkedIn statistics, but the usage of the messaging in LinkedIn, I would claim has increased. And it's now a natural part of a customer or potential customer relation when it comes to messages, they can come through WhatsApp, they can come through text message like the one I mentioned in the beginning with the feedback, they can come through LinkedIn messaging, they can come to the DM in Instagram, they can come anywhere. And I have a feeling that the number of messages from known contacts through the messaging in LinkedIn is increasing vastly.
AE: [00:22:25] Yeah, we said that before we started that we would end two minutes before and we are over time now, but you're so knowledgeable within this topic and I think I have so many more questions to ask, so I think we will break this up. This is the first LinkedIn podcast and then the next episode will be more about how to use LinkedIn, to build a LinkedIn presence for your company, which was the second topic here. Thank you very much for today, Anders.