My LinkedIn profile photo—my “pit pic”—was a (brief) sensation.
The article, “Dear LinkedIn: Is My Armpit Bad For Business?” achieved success because of my armpit. Yet, no pit is an island. Though it’s impossible to deny its allure, my armpit did not carry the article without help. I knew there had to be other defining factors that contributed to my post’s popularity, but I wasn’t clear what they were. I set out to discover the secrets of LinkedIn success.
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A year ago, while I was in the early stages of self-publishing my first book—Miss Matched at Midlife—my editor suggested I devise a plan to sell it. The time had come, she said, for me to build an author’s platform (fan base) on social media. I shut my eyes and groaned.
“I’m a ‘people person!’ I’m not a ‘computer person!’”
My online marketing skills were nil. Social media marketing sounded dreadful.
I pushed through my reluctance and subscribed to LinkedIn: a free, business-networking site that was a breeze for technology-challenged me. Then, I searched Google for blogging advice. I stumbled across a jewel: Expect to fail for a very long time. I was off to a dubious start.
I soon discovered that social media was not dreadful. It was fun! I never felt like a failure. Every baby step—a new connection, one more published post, ranking in the top 10 percent for profile views—brought me closer to success. I marveled at the volume of views, “likes,” and comments reeled in by the LI big dogs: professional blogger John White, author Dr. Travis Bradberry, and university student, Isvari Mohan.
Three weeks ago, I published a post: “Dear LinkedIn: Is My Armpit Bad For Business?” In seven days it attracted over five hundred views. Why had this particular article piqued reader interest when my previous posts had flopped? I sought answers. I logged on to the LinkedIn forum, “Step Into the Spotlight,” and posted my question:
What is the “secret formula” of a well-received LinkedIn post?
Responses trickled in. Group member Kat McKay isolated three factors that attract readers to LinkedIn posts: 1) Engaging title 2) Business spin 3) Lively content. Kat’s tips for blogging success made sense, but was something missing? I wasn’t sure. Meanwhile, my post’s popularity waned. I was grateful for my fifteen minutes of fame.
Buuut then . . .
Writer, Jim Murray, and customer relations’ guru, Paul Croubalian, read my article. Paul said it made him laugh. He promised to share it. Out of the blue, I was graced with a second wave of LinkedIn success. Top LinkedIn influencers Michael Webster and Joe Caruso—The Wonderful Wizard Of LinkedIn—featured my article on Franchise-Info’s company page. According to Michael, my post got 753 impressions (views) in less than twenty-four hours. The exposure my article received from optimal sources—LinkedIn’s heavy lifters—jump-started its sputtering popularity.
My formula for LinkedIn success was taking shape, but still incomplete. I dove back in. I read “A Fish Story” by Michael Webster, “100 Blogs on LinkedIn: The Good, The Bad, The Ugly, and The TRUTH,” by John White, and “Why Authentic Leaders Are Rare,” by career coach Jan Johnston Osburn.
Ms. Osburn claims: People crave authenticity. Mr. White wrote: Readers love a little vulnerability from the author. Michael’s post gifted me a Zen-like gem: So, when a lot of people do finally pay attention to a specific article, make sure you are giving them something in return. (Words to live by, wise grasshopper.)
At the time I published my pit post, I was unaware there were specific factors that determined LinkedIn success—I simply got lucky. But you don’t need to rely on luck, nor is it necessary you fail for a very long time. Here are eight “secrets” that will transform your LinkedIn experience from dull to dazzling.
8 Secrets Of LinkedIn Success
* Hook ‘em at hello. Your article’s title will grab your readers’ attention—or not. If you need help composing a title, Google “Free Headline Analyzer From CoSchedule.” The analyzer makes it easy and fun to create a title that’s juuust right. The best part? Never again will your amazing posts be saddled with mediocre headlines.
* Give it a business spin. LinkedIn is a business-networking site. Try to make your article’s topic appeal to other business-minded members. Btw, if your “business” is posting photos of scantily clad women on social media, go elsewhere. LinkedIn already has its fill.
* Write lively. Break free from boring! Business articles shouldn’t be dull, yet many are. Try opening your post with an anecdote that ties into your topic. Words are like colorful Skittles—eye candy. Whether your article is serious, lighthearted, or informational, make your writing yummy.
* Expose your tender underbelly. I exposed my tender armpit, and people loved it! You should never play the victim, but it’s beneficial to show a little vulnerability. When you lay bare your imperfections, you tap into a trait we all share: our humanness.
* Be true. Your readers crave authenticity. If you publish an article that criticizes fracking but you ignore a discarded Cheetos bag on the sidewalk, you’re a fake. Don’t be a fake! If you’re an environmentalist who regularly bypasses sidewalk trash, fess up! Your readers don’t expect you to be perfect but they do expect you to be “real.” So next time, pick up the damn Cheetos bag!
* Position for success. I’m a “people person” on social media. I add connections, join LinkedIn groups, and invite my connections to join. I read other’s posts; I “Like,” and comment. I strive to improve my writing skills. I publish my best work. I publish consistently. I thank my connections when they share my work. I share theirs too. I don’t quit (even when I’m dying to). I’m nice to the Wizard.
* No pit is an island. Nobody can do it alone. The success of my pit post was dependent on LinkedIn influencers who positioned it in front of a larger audience. However, I realize they wouldn’t have boosted my article’s visibility if it hadn’t first appealed to you, dear reader. To you, I’m much obliged.
* Give ‘em bang for their buck. Publish content that gives your readers a valuable take away. Engage them! Have fun! Your audience will support you with shouts for an encore. If you make your readers happy, you’ll be a success. And that’s no secret.
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What are your thoughts? Do you have a secret tip for LinkedIn success?
I welcome your “likes,” comments, and shares.
~ Rebecca “Armpit” Brockway