You might think that the first step to building a personal brand on LinkedIn is to start posting your own content on the platform.
But there are actually three steps that come before that.
Following these three steps first will ensure you get more engagement on LinkedIn and grow much faster once you do start posting your own content.
Let’s walk through each of these steps so you can avoid the biggest mistake most LinkedIn Newbies make that stops them from making the most of their time on the platform.
Let’s jump in.
Step 1: Optimize your LinkedIn profile.
Think about it: why do you want to post content on LinkedIn? It’s to:
- Grow your LinkedIn network (i.e. get more connections or followers)
- Get job opportunities
- Get speaking opportunities
- Drive traffic to their site
- Drive sales for their product or service business
All of this requires someone to go to your profile, understand who you are, and do something. This means your LinkedIn profile needs to be engaging, accurately represent who you are, and include a clear call to action.
Otherwise, you’re simply bleeding opportunities from your LinkedIn profile while pumping out content and burning out.
It’s not efficient.
So stop, read this post I wrote on how to optimize your LinkedIn profile and get your profile looking good. It’s the most important step to becoming someone worth engaging with on LinkedIn.
Alright, let’s go to step two.
Step 2: Grow your LinkedIn network with relevant connections.
The quality of your LinkedIn network pretty much dictates your success on the platform. You can’t expect to become an authority in your space or drive sales for your business if the bulk of your connections is old colleagues and classmates who are no longer relevant to your industry or niche.
Not all your LinkedIn connections will see all your posts in their feed, anyway. How much of your content will be shown to your LinkedIn connections depends on their preferences, how much time they spend in the feed, and how much you interact with them through direct messages or through their content (if they have any.)
The more relevant connections you have in your LinkedIn network, the faster you’ll grow once you start creating content on the platform.
Most importantly, you probably have many LinkedIn connections who are barely active on the platform — graveyard LinkedIn profiles. These profiles sit idle until they creep onto the platform to sniff around for a new job.
You can’t count on these LinkedIn connections to engage with your content. You need new LinkedIn friends.
To grow your LinkedIn network with relevant connections, focus on people who are:
- In your industry or niche
- Active on the platform (they at least comment on others’ posts even if they don’t create their own content)
- Can vouch for your skills
You’ll want to make sure that around 20% of these new connections you’re making are big accounts in your niche. Anyone with over 5,000 followers counts as a big account. Just make sure they’re active on LinkedIn.
Because I know y’all are so terrified of connecting with strangers on LinkedIn, I wrote a post on 5 Ways to Get More LinkedIn Connections Without Targeting Strangers. I even included real scripts I’ve used myself or seen people use to send good LinkedIn connection requests.
Excellent. Now you have a bangin’ LinkedIn profile AND your network is filled with people who will likely enjoy and engage with your content.
There’s just one last step before you unleash your content from the floodgates.
Let’s hop to it.
Step 3: Engage with everyone else’s content on LinkedIn
You’re probably thinking:
“Lena, you’ve told me my LinkedIn profile is looking fresh as heck and my LinkedIn network has all the relevant connections in it. Why can’t I take a hit of creating my own content yet?!”
Calm down, young padawan. I’m simply sparing you some heartache.
The third and final step before you start posting original content is to engage with other people’s content on LinkedIn, preferably via comments.
There are a few reasons you cannot miss this crucial step. Let’s sink our teeth into each and every one of these reasons.
1. You need to dip your toes into content creation on LinkedIn.
You may not have realized this until now, but writing comments is a form of creating original content. Just without the added pressure and overhead of creating your very own LinkedIn post. Which, if you’re new to it, can feel like walking naked across a football field pre-COVID.
Others’ LinkedIn posts can act almost as writing prompts. They give you an easy entry point into posting content on the platform.
It’s all about experimenting in the beginning.
2. You need to get acquainted with the LinkedIn platform.
This is something a lot of LinkedIn newbies fail to realize the importance of.
You need to learn what kind of LinkedIn posts perform well on the platform and in your desired niche.
As you gallivant the platform, pay close attention to how different people:
- Format their posts
- Use emojis
- Write text posts
- Put images in their posts
- Use polls to drive engagement (LinkedIn loves those!)
- Use of links in posts (LinkedIn hates those!)
The goal is to become familiar with the platform. This familiarity will lead to comfort, making you feel confident enough to post your original content on the platform.
3. You need to become discoverable on the LinkedIn platform.
Commenting on other people’s posts on LinkedIn will help you get discovered on LinkedIn ORGANICALLY.
What do I mean by “organically”? Basically, without taking educated stabs in the dark about who your target audience might be on LinkedIn.
When you’re growing your LinkedIn network in step 2, you’re sort of guessing who might enjoy your future content based on their LinkedIn profile (and maybe their content.)
But you simply don’t know.
Letting people discover you through your comments on others’ LinkedIn posts is a more effective way of finding your “tribe” on LinkedIn.
4. You need to figure out what topics you truly want to post about on LinkedIn.
You probably have a few ideas on what you might want to post about on LinkedIn. But those ideas are likely a little fuzzy, making it hard to pull the trigger.
When you engage with others’ content on LinkedIn, you get feedback. People may your comments and even respond to them, spurring a discussion. This will help you identify topics you’re able to provide particularly interesting insights on.
These interactions might help you uncover topics you didn’t think were worth writing about on LinkedIn but actually perform really well — good for you!
Or maybe you discover a brand new niche you didn’t know existed that’s garnering a growing interest on the platform and there isn’t much content about it yet on LinkedIn — double good for you!
Give yourself the time and freedom to get inspired by other creators, be creative and find your true calling. Don’t just go for the first shiny fruit that’s within reach. It’s boring.
Instead, learn by doing engaging.
Dig for gold.
Step 4: Hop on the content hamster wheel (finally)
Congratulations, you’ve made it. You’re ready to become a LinkedIn content creator!
Instead of being filled with dread and confusion at the thought of creating content, you now have:
- An awesome LinkedIn profile that uniquely describes who you are
- A strong network on LinkedIn, filled with people who you’ve already engaged with in the comments of others’ LinkedIn posts
- A feeling for what works well on the platform
- A set of topics you have a high chance of getting engagement around and you can’t wait to write about them
And most importantly, you’re not that new on the platform anymore. You feel more comfortable — and maybe even at home. Triple good for you, perennial padawan!
There’s just one last step left… mainly for good luck.
If you haven’t already, connect with me on LinkedIn. I’ll smash that like button and leave you encouraging comments once you start flowing your super-duper content on the platform.
I’m always rooting for you. See you in the feed! 😉