I only have time to get involved with one social network at a time. The rest of my day I spend actually generating money. A couple of posts ago I talked about deserting Twitter after six years of fun, to try business-led networking on LinkedIn. A few weeks down the line it’s time for a review. Here’s what it feels like so far.
Using LinkedIn for business networking
Having been posting on LinkedIn for a few weeks, the first thing I’ve noticed is that the interface is endlessly confusing, not very intuitive. On the other hand because I’m struggling to find things to say, maybe I haven’t had time to get used to it, time for it to bed in properly. We shall see.
Networking on LinkedIn – Business, not pleasure
LinkedIn is very obviously a business network. The majority of people post business-led content, and quite right too. On the other hand it means the network isn’t anywhere near as much fun, the opposite of chatty, and everything seems to move very slowly in comparison to Twitter – I find myself constantly refreshing my screen and being puzzled when no new posts show up.
This is not a place to make random observations, post funny stuff, make idle comments about politics, broadcast what I’ve been up to in my spare time or discuss what’s on telly. It’s all very earnest compared to Twitter, and as a result I’ve felt at a bit of a loss so far. I know I need to post business-led stuff, but as I mentioned I maybe write two blog posts a month these days. But I have just realised – duh – that with a stash of more than 600 posts in my blog, plenty of which are evergreen content, I can promote past posts rather than worry about creating an endless stream of new ones. That seems to be what other folk do.
When I do post a link, though, the results are impressive. A whole lot of people follow it, and presumably read what they find at the other end.
It’s a bit weird on the ‘following people’ front. I’ve come across advice that tells me not to hook up with people I don’t actually know. In fact LinkedIn says it too, which seems a bit odd since being picky seriously limits the ultimate reach of my network. I am not alone. As an article on inc.com says:
LinkedIn is giving its users bad advice. Especially if you want to generate more business or discover new sales opportunities using the platform. Here’s the rub: By suggesting users only connect with people they already know, LinkedIn is actually doing the opposite of what makes the platform so powerful – the depth and breadth of your connection list. Put simply, the more people you are connected to on LinkedIn, the more visibility and reach you have on the platform.
As inc.com also says, ‘unless the person inviting you to connect is an obvious spammer, you should accept his or her invite.’, something I’ll be doing in future.
There’s more annoying stuff. LinkedIn keeps asking me to set my location because ‘Members with an up-to-date location are up to 23x more likely to be found’. I’ve done exactly that several times but my details don’t get updated. It keeps on asking me to add my location, again and again.
The ‘recommendations’ area has been a big fail for me so far, but it’s my own fault. I don’t feel comfortable asking my clients to endorse me with a recommendation. Not because I think they’d refuse – they wouldn’t, as you can see from the customer feedback page on my site. I just feel sheepish about it. Silly woman. I can’t blame LinkedIn for my reserved nature!
LinkedIn networking – Judgement reserved
One last thing. While it’s nice having the option to talk longer than a mere 140 characters, so far it’s something I haven’t taken full advantage of, mostly for the reasons I’ve discussed above.
I admit I haven’t exactly warmed to the network. Yet. But it’s early days and as an ex-marketer I understand the value of persistence and proper testing. A few short weeks isn’t enough. I need to stick at LinkedIn networking for at least three months to get a proper feel for it, an accurate idea of how it performs in a brand building and sales conversion context.
All in all it has been an interesting experience so far. Not a pleasure, not inspirational, not fun. I am not sure, yet, whether it will prove useful in a marketing context, or whether it’ll suit the way I like to interact and engage with my audience. Possibly not. But I will soon find out, as long as I get to grips with it. It looks like it’s time to gird those slightly reluctant loins and get busy…