Social media has grown to become an indispensable tool in today’s world of business. Our online identities are a currency all their own and a lack of value driven content is a bane for many entrepreneurs.
As a corporate photographer and videographer, I enjoy the benefit of having a diverse collection of media from which to create content. Having an abundance of professional images allows me to start a nearly unlimited number of dialogues across any social media platform. Yet in still, I’ve often found it intimidating to create content specifically for LinkedIn.
Over the years, I’ve experimented with a number of ways of publishing content on LinkedIn. Yet in still, It was only recently that I began to feel comfortable creating content for this platform and I would like to share some of my tips to hopefully encourage you to publish more engaging content.
1. Bespoke Images Can Be Key
One of the pitfalls that many entrepreneurs face is a lack of bespoke imagery. While it’s not critical to have organic content, it is nearly impossible to generate a “buzz” with stock imagery. Stock images will never feature a company’s directors and they will never incorporate your business’ branding. Organic content is created to tell your story. Social media is about engaging in one another’s stories and when we create content based on generic images it communicates a less than inspiring narrative. Stock images have their place and for business aiming to simply look “professional” they can be key. But if you want to come across as anything beyond competent, investing in bespoke images and video are essential.
2. Keep Your Content Native
Creating “native” content has become my primary area of focus in terms of my social media marketing. A trusted friend and colleague recently recommended I read “Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook” by Gary Vaynerchuk and it has been pivotal in how I approach creating content. What I’ve taken from Vaynerchuk is simply that “while content is key, context is God”. LinkedIn has a certain look and feel that distinguish the platform from Facebook, Twitter, etc. As such, here are examples of how I would vary the title of a post using the image above on different platforms:
Facebook – “I had the most amazing stroll this morning along the coast of Broadstairs”
Twitter – “We were looking for the perfect scenic environment for our business’ quarterly retreat and Broadstairs was a real hit with our clients!”
LinkedIn – “Broadstairs offers the best breakfast networking opportunities in Kent.”
Sharing a post across platforms can be useful, but often times it can leave you looking out of touch with potential customers. Keep in mind that LinkedIn is about business relationships and your content should reflect how you handle your business.
3. Serving Useful Information
While attractive imagery and brand recognition are crucial, one of the more overlooked points that I see on LinkedIn is a tendency towards self-promotion. To be fair, we’re all guilty of the same. “Hey, look at this great image I created!”, “How awesome was this project we just completed!”. Like I mentioned above, LinkedIn is about building business relationships, and just like any other relationship, the exchange should be reciprocal. In fact, we should be creating content that consistently adds value to those within our network instead of consistently asking others to come and applaud us for being fantastic. Creating content that asks others to take note without offering anything in return says something very specific about your business. One thing about the image above is that it doesn’t need a bunch of self-promotion to tell how great their brand is. A strong, interesting image can communicate a great deal without being off-putting. An article with the title “Clean Eating: 6 Tips for Dining Out” sells your own standard while also adding value to your network.
4. Create Content For Your Network, Not For Yourself
There are four very important points that I believe every article on LinkedIn should adhere to. First, the content should be simple. Whilst we can’t all write copy, most of us can appreciate clear, concise communication. I am expected to be an expert in my field but I expect the opposite out of my customers and my network. Creating content is an opportunity to connect with those around us and we should always be mindful of communicating without alienating the people in our network.
Secondly, we should be creating memorable content. A great metric is that if it’s original it’s more likely to be memorable.
Third of all, our content should be inviting to look at. In many ways, this goes back to the section on bespoke imagery. It is nearly impossible to communicate a unique selling point using generic imagery. Unique and impactful images are paramount in creating distinguished content.
Last of all, our content should be fun to read. Look, we’re can’t all be astronauts and race car drivers, but there’s always a human side to how we do business. Social media is an opportunity to connect with the sentient side of our businesses and there’s always something relatable in our supply chain, morning briefings, commute from home, etc. If you think about your content in terms of a flowing conversation, few of us prefer to sit around spatting facts all day. While focusing on business, LinkedIn is still a “social” platform and the content that we create and share should reflect this.
5. Maintain A Tone Consistent That’s True To Your Business
One of the areas that I struggled with in learning to create content was this concept of sharing my “story”. I couldn’t buy into the need for sharing my life history nor how I came to be a commercial photographer with the people in my network. But once I made a commitment to creating content based on my experiences and the principles that my business is built upon, the story suddenly appeared. My story wasn’t some projection or a deduction based on how I wanted my business to be perceived. Instead, my story unfurled as the history of my completed projects and the way that I presented those projects in terms of content. The colour of my story is painted in different hues and vibrancies across differing platforms, but the brushstrokes come from the same pallet. In many ways, this notion is tied closely to the need for “native” content, but beyond ensuring that the content is formatted for success on this platform, it’s also necessary to ensure that that content speaks from the true voice of your business. If your business were a person, that person would use different jargon when speaking to colleagues than it would when speaking to their great Aunt Carol, but the dialogue would be true to their nature in both cases. And again, simply communicate to be understood. Avoid getting caught up in how you would like to be perceived
6. Arrange Your Content In A Way That Your Network Will Find Familiar
One nuance that I noticed recently with LinkedIn was the different layouts that LinkedIn assigns to content created within its platform versus content that is created and shared from another platform. LinkedIn gives a huge visual advantage to articles that are created natively and displayed on the LinkedIn wall as opposed to a post generated on WordPress per say. It’s the reason that I’ve chosen to write this article through LinkedIn as opposed to through my blog. While it is possible to receive strong engagement for content created outside of LinkedIn, their native content is formatted in such a way that it looks more authoritative, in essence.
7. Be Analytical In Terms Of The Format Of Your Content
Here is a checklist that I stumbled across recently that includes more detailed particulars on arranging your LinkedIn content:
- Your title should be 40-49 characters long.
- Include 8 images in your post.
- Don’t embed multimedia such as YouTube videos into your blog post.
- Write How-to posts. They perform the best. You may also write a List post, but they don’t perform nearly as well as How-to posts. Don’t write a question post.
- Divide your post into 5 sections with headings (h1, h2, h3, etc.)
- Write between 1,900 to 2,000 words.
- Your writing should have a neutral tone.
- Write your post so it can easily be understood by the masses, preferably with in an “Easy” readability score of 80-89 which is easily read by an 11-year-old.
- Publish your post on Thursday for maximum number of views.
- Cross-promote your LinkedIn posts on Twitter.
- LinkedIn post likes are the common denominator between the other LinkedIn metrics. More post likes should also get you LinkedIn shares, post views, and comments according to correlation data. You can encourage people to like your post with a call to action.
8. Get On With It
While generating content is key to growing your business, it shouldn’t be seen as overwhelming nor should it discourage you to create. One of the most disappointing things about LinkedIn is how little the majority of its users engage one another. LinkedIn shouldn’t be just another platform to collect contacts. It’s potentially a powerful tool for connecting and sharing and it’s only as useful as the people using the service. Start small, by sharing an update or a photo, but try to add value to your network in doing so. You may need to formulate an effective marketing strategy is first, and a good business strategist can help you focus on this along with your business’ vision. As I mentioned earlier, an invaluable tool lies in professional media, which can give you the flexibility of engaging in a number of different narratives. Using anything less than bespoke, high-quality media risks your business looking “good enough” at best, and more often gives the appearance of being generic or even cheap. But ultimately, what could prove even more damaging is simply being too afraid to let you network know who you are and what your business stands for.
If you found this article to be of use, I would be grateful for you to “like” it or “share” it to your network.