As we know, social media is all about content. What we share and why we share it forms the very basis of our online identity. It’s about which photos we choose, the hashtags we opt for, and the memes we post.
For LinkedIn, more than any other social channel, it’s vital that we put a lot of conscious thought into what content we share with its 774 million users (an estimated eight million of these are in South Africa). After all, it’s a platform that creates our personal brand in the minds of our colleagues, business connections and prospective employers and is a space where we can share our views and insights with our professional community.
In this article, I’ll provide some guidance on how you should be building engaging content on LinkedIn that your readers will want to digest and ultimately engage with.
The first step to creating great content for LinkedIn is to be intentional. Think about noteworthy posts you have seen and browse through your connections to see who you find interesting and relevant. In this way, you’ll get inspiration from various elements of different people’s content and get an idea of the online presence you want to create.
Next, you should give some thought to what kind of topics you’d like to focus on in your content. What are you passionate about? What do you want to be known for? What piques your curiosity? Make a list of three to five themes that you’d like to stick to in your posts. When conceptualising these themes, keep in mind your purpose of being on the platform and what you think the people you are targeting want to read about.
Also, don’t be afraid to bring some personal elements into your content. For example, sharing a post about running your first half marathon speaks to perseverance, motivation and your interests. This is the type of content that people enjoy reading, as they are getting to know you and what you stand for.
When it comes to what you should be posting on LinkedIn, there are quite a few options to consider. If you’re just starting out, then sharing other people’s content that reflects your chosen themes is a good option. You can also consider posting links to interesting articles that you have read while scouring news about the sectors you enjoy.
When you feel a little braver, you can think about sharing your ideas on certain topics or your experiences. LinkedIn tends to prioritise this type of content as it keeps their users on the platform. It’s a good idea to include images or videos with these posts, as they generally get more engagement. If you really have a lot to say about a certain topic then consider writing an article on LinkedIn’s own publishing platform and then post it to your feed.
What’s most important about posting content, though, is that you always include a catchy and short introduction to your post. Never share content without telling your audience your thoughts on the topic. For example, when posting a link to an article, you can note what stood out for you in that piece or quote a thought-provoking line. Create a narrative and suggest how your audience should treat your content. This makes you more credible and visible.
It’s not enough to just share content, you need to share it in the right way. And if you’re doing LinkedIn right, then people will be interested in reading more about you. You must consider some basic principles though, such as whether your profile is optimised and true to who you are professionally. Think about your use of hashtags and how to bring in the individuals and companies or pages that you are writing about. But most importantly, be consistent in your posting and find time to engage with your connections. This relationship should be beneficial for all, so find time to comment on your connections’ posts rather than just always clicking on a thumbs up.
Above all, the one thing we tell all our clients is that it’s important to take the time to really invest in your LinkedIn presence. See it as a platform to build your personal brand that allows people to see who you are personally and professionally.
Curating various articles, videos and research — and developing content based on that information — is not an easy task. If you’re not sure where to start on improving your profile, our team of digital experts at Hill+Knowlton Strategies has put together a LinkedIn Executive Training masterclass to assist you. It’s designed to help business executives and CEOs understand the essentials of social media and how they can use it for business.
LinkedIn has moved beyond an online CV and become a platform where you can showcase your professional brand in the best way possible. In a world where every online interaction counts, can you truly afford not to put your best foot forward?
Sarah Wilson is head of content and publishing at Hill+Knowlton Strategies South Africa.