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In many ways, LinkedIn has stood apart from the other major social networks – like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram – because it has always focused on career opportunities and business content rather than purely social experiences. As a result, the tendency for many people is to use LinkedIn as just another marketing promotion channel – and that’s doing LinkedIn all wrong.
The wrong way to use LinkedIn Groups
For example, consider LinkedIn Groups. In theory, these Groups should be thriving communities of like-minded individuals, all of whom are actively contributing to important business discussions happening within their industry. But what really happens in these Groups? Too often, the posts are purely promotional – a new offer, a new product launch or some other self-promotional topic.
Moreover, have you checked out the comments within many of these discussions? Again, it’s just more of the self-promotional mindset, with people leaving links to competitor products. Instead of leaving thoughtful, helpful commentary, many of the comments are usually just simple reactions that could have been written by a bot, like “Great post!” or “Thanks for posting!” Obviously, these responses are meant to create the illusion of participation and engagement – but just how effective are they, really?
This self-promotional tactic on LinkedIn – in which every post, every comment and every connection request is used to advance one’s own interests – is magnified even further when you realize that some people are simply signing up for as many Groups as they can, and blasting out the same articles, the same comments and the same updates to all of them. Not only is this deeply cynical, it’s also deeply corrosive to LinkedIn as a social community.
Use the 80/20 rule for better LinkedIn content
So what can be done to make LinkedIn a more vibrant community? One idea is to use the 80/20 rule. In other words, 80% of the content that you create should be used to improve the overall community, while the remaining 20% of the content that you post and create can err on the side of self-promotion.
The focus of any new content should be on sharing knowledge in an open and friendly way. Think about the tone and approach of any content that you create. Try to encourage others to achieve success. The spotlight doesn’t always need to be on you!
Remember – LinkedIn is a business site, not a dating app. What works for other social networking sites or dating apps isn’t going to work for LinkedIn. In many ways, this is just common sense, yet it’s a mistake that just about everyone makes sooner or later. When it’s your product, your service or your company, it doesn’t feel like “spam” when you tell the world about it. But what if everybody else on LinkedIn is doing the same thing? You can see very quickly that, if that’s the case, the entire experience is not very “social” – instead, checking your LinkedIn account becomes much like the rest of the web these days: full of spammy promotions and offers, with very little in the way of meaty, original content. But it doesn’t have to be that way.