LinkedIn is your online professional profile, CV, little black book, network, recruitment and business development tool all rolled into one. As in the real world, the professional online environment requires that you behave in an appropriate manner. Your audience on LinkedIn is business-orientated and so is the culture. As such, your contacts are looking for updates that are relevant and informative.
Professional etiquette on this channel – like in real life – requires a different style and approach than in a more social medium, such as Twitter. This is not to say that you can’t reuse/recycle information across both channels. Indeed, I often send out Tweets from my LinkedIn profile (they can be synced).
E.g.UK Courts going strong RT @Byfield_PR @FT Last year 3/4 London’s commercial court litigants from outside UK http://on.ft.com/1ttkdtR
This tweet is appropriate for my professional contacts on both LinkedIn and Twitter. And by sharing it on both platforms I increase my reach significantly.
However, there are some tweets that I will only send from my Twitter account. These are more likely to be chatty tweets where I am interacting directly with someone, or general tweets on life/lifestyle/weather or tweets about my interests:
Tweets that are more informal are not necessarily appropriate on LinkedIn. They can spam your networks’ walls and may potentially lead to them either disconnecting with you or hiding your updates. As previously mentioned, your audience on LinkedIn is looking for updates that are relevant and informative and may not appreciate regular updates on the weather or what you are doing at the weekend.
BUT, that is not to say that you can’t be personable or that you shouldn’t discuss your interests on LinkedIn. You just have to be more selective in how you do this.
When personable meets professional
I am an avid rugby fan and have started to post updates in my interest on LinkedIn – driven in part by the impending #RWC2015 #CarryThemHome. This is a topic that usually I would only discuss on Twitter as it is a more informal discussion topic.
However a recent PR stunt by @rugbyworldcup inspired me to share it on both LinkedIn and Twitter – when usually I would have simply re-tweeted it. I shared the update because I thought it was a great piece of PR and also highlighted my interest in the sport – the post had both a professional and social angle.
E.g. Not a legal update – but as a HUGE rugby fan, I’m getting more than a little excited!
This single update received over 500 views and multiple profile viewings.
I admit that was I stunned by the level of interest, but it highlights the value that can come from discussing your interests on LinkedIn. Indeed, just like you would in any other professional and networking forum!
Better yet, I followed up with several individuals who looked at my profile following the update and now have several new connections and potential new business opportunity meetings arranged.
So yes, you can be personal on LinkedIn, but you need to get the balance right. And here are my Top Tips on achieving this:
- Stay professional
o Remember, LinkedIn is still a professional network and your connections will not appreciate being bombarded with personal updates. Always remember who your audience is.
- Don’t make interests the focus of your updates
o The real added value and what your connections are most likely to be interested in will be related to your work/profession and expertise
- Keep to two – three interests
o Like your CV, keep your interests to a select few. Again you don’t want to spam your contacts with too much information
- Be genuinely interested in those subjects!
o Don’t pretend to be interested in something you actually aren’t! You don’t want to be caught out!