In this article I consider the role of LinkedIn for business versus other more social media platforms and explore a way to improve your LinkedIn experience.
Here on LinkedIn you can like and comment on people’s updates, you can accept invitations to connect, you can read great articles, watch some videos, forward content to people in private messages and you can follow relevant hashtags. It’s like a virtual library for industry news and an office corridor where you’re constantly passing extremely interesting people and conversations. And it’s also where you can cheer people from the sidelines!
Not everyone gets as ‘excited’ about LinkedIn as I do. And I acknowledge that LinkedIn is a drier and perhaps more boring channel than visually intoxicating platforms like Instagram and Pinterest.
But here’s the thing. I believe LinkedIn is a really, really important tool for busy business leaders who are time poor. And the best part! You don’t have to waste precious time thinking about what you’re going to have to post on LinkedIn every day, or even twice a day (as is recommended for Instagram by some social media experts).
From your profile, the good news is that you can post once a week or once every two or three weeks and still show up, as long as you also regularly comment on other people’s content.
It’s about staying more meaningfully connected online via LinkedIn.
How to Curate Your LinkedIn Newsfeed
Curating your news feed is the most popular topic I train because once you’ve done this step, your LinkedIn user experience and what you see in your news feed improves. Firstly, think about all the sources that you currently subscribe to, the people who you love reading, watching and listening to and make sure, at the very least, you are following them on LinkedIn.
Most global thought leaders are on LinkedIn. Many of them also have company pages. Make sure you’re following the relevant ones for your industry and areas of expertise. Consider the top 10 content sources you read all the time. Are you following them on LinkedIn?
You then need to narrow your focus and develop a really clear picture of the types of people you’re trying to influence on LinkedIn. Consider their role titles, industries, geographic locations, what they read, watch, care about and whatever else may be important.
Once you’ve got that picture in your mind, it’s helpful to frame the three topics or type of information that you’d like to engage with that’s relevant to those communities and is also broadly connected to your organisation’s service offerings and the problems you can help your clients solve. Think about the common more general conversations you have with your clients and the topics that these are related to. This is not about self promotion, it’s about considering the content pillars and narratives that are relevant to engage with via your LinkedIn profile.
If you haven’t yet curated your newsfeed it means you’re seeing the updates from all of your connections who are active on LinkedIn. And that can be good, and bad, depending on how many people you’re connected to. Curating your newsfeed is about modifying that.
When you click on the right hand side of a promoted post you will get a drop down option.
You will not be able to stop seeing ads, because this is a for profit platform and it wants to target you. What I’m wanting you to do is click on these three dots and then choose ‘Improve my feed’. This step is best done from the desktop, but you can also do it from your phone.
This will show you the people you follow, the events you’ve attended or are running, the company pages, newsletters and hashtags you follow.
Once you click on any of the elements listed above, you’ll see what you’re following and have the option to unfollow. LinkedIn will also suggest you follow fresh perspectives, which can be helpful and is based on the content in your profile and what you’ve been engaging with.
Use the filter option on the RH side of the image below, next to the X, when in this section of your profile, to modify the view of what you’re following.
The Newsfeed of Glenda, Boutique Travel & Tours
Let’s use my client, Glenda, as an example. She runs a business here in Melbourne that offers boutique travel tours across the globe. In Glenda’s newsfeed she’d be following all the major airlines to make sure she’s regularly updated on what’s going on in with global travel requirements.
She’d also follow the Australian government for the latest updates and news on travel restrictions, and she’d be looking for best practice examples from around the world as to how different countries, especially the destination countries for her tours, are managing traveller’s safety. Some of the broad topics she may follow, like and comment on are the benefits of travel and trends in travel. And then she’d think about content sources that share amazing pictures of beautiful places so she can be engaging in imagery and content that emotes our desire for travel and discovering new places.
Glenda’s goal is to get you to take action and book that next trip!
Using Glenda’s newsfeed focus as a guide, you need to decide what you want to be known for, who are the clients and stakeholders you want to serve and influence on LinkedIn and what are the topics you’re passionate about, as they relate to these considerations. These decisions then inform who you’re going to follow on LinkedIn.
If you can get this piece of the puzzle right, your time on LinkedIn is much better spent and your experience on LinkedIn is much more enjoyable. You can follow people, companies, educational institutions and hashtags. You might also choose to join LinkedIn groups.
Are You Worried About Unfollowing Your Colleagues?
Of all the people I’m connected to, I’m only actually following a percentage of them. If you choose to unfollow a connection, they will not be notified and you will still be connected to them. But it just means you won’t see their updates come through your news feed.
One of the key steps to improve your LinkedIn user experience is to clean up your news feed and unfollow the organisation’s pages and hashtags that are no longer relevant for you, and start following the ones that are.
Here’s What You can Look Forward to When You’ve Cleaned Up Your LinkedIn Newsfeed
One of the key steps in my my regular LinkedIn rituals is to go through my news feed and like or comment on topics that are relevant to my community or provide an opportunity to cheer my connections from the sidelines.
The goal is to comment on things that are relevant to your brand and the communities you serve. Once you’ve cleaned up your news feed, it’s easier to see and comment on anything that’s particularly interesting or relevant.
Cleaning up your news feed doesn’t mean you have to spend hours unfollowing every single connection who shares content that’s not related to your focus. It means being more mindful and strategic about following the content and people who are commentating on relevant topic areas.
When you follow company pages and people who write great content and are a wonderful read, you can share this content privately which helps you stay meaningfully connected to your community at times too. How do you do this?
Let’s imagine you come across a really interesting article on LinkedIn but it’s not relevant to any of the topics you want to engage with on LinkedIn. Perhaps a colleague has shared a helpful resource or written a thought provoking article on a professional issue they are facing or a trend they’re noticing in their industry. And perhaps you’ve got a connection on LinkedIn who would personally value this particular article or resource that’s popped up in your news feed. You can share this privately via LinkedIn messaging by pressing send at the bottom of the update. Start typing your connection’s name and wait for it to pop up, include a personalised message and press send. Here’s an example of this in the image below.
Sharing content from LinkedIn privately this way in LinkedIn messaging is a really helpful networking tool. You may have had a recent conversation with a client about a particular topic and then great content comes through your LinkedIn newsfeed. You can send it to them privately via LinkedIn messaging.
It’s Time to Clean Up Your LinkedIn Newsfeed
Hopefully you now have a clearer picture about how cleaning up your news feed not only improves your own experience, but also allows you to like and comment on the content that’s relevant to your goals.
It means you’re being much more strategic about your actions when on LinkedIn.
It’s also reducing the pressure on you to produce content and it’s an opportunity for you to connect with your network, especially those connections you want to stay top of mind with.
About Karen Hollenbach
Karen is an Independent LinkedIn Specialist Trainer and the Founding Director of Think Bespoke. With over 10 years LinkedIn training experience, Karen is ranked in the top 10 LinkedIn experts for Asia Pacific by the Social Media Marketing Institute.