“Think before you share!”
It’s an important, reputation-saving tip when you’re on social media – especially LinkedIn – because whether you like it or not, everything LinkedIn post you share contributes to your reputation and how others see you.
Getting attention on LinkedIn is important to build your brand, but your goal should not purely be about big numbers. It also needs to be about the right type of attention from the right people.
It can be hard to know what content is smart for you to post on LinkedIn and what you should avoid – especially when the topic is current, relevant and perhaps even controversial. While controversial posts often get the most engagement and comments, do you really want people to associate that topic or content with you?
Remember, you might be happy with your friends seeing you be controversial or “crossing a line” with your sense of humor – but what about potential clients?
What if they don’t agree with your view or you’re attempts at humour?
If you’re unprofessional on LinkedIn, you will lose opportunity to build relationships and attract new clients – it’s as simple as that.
Before you post ANYTHING on LinkedIn, you must stop and think: “Will this hurt or improve my personal brand on LinkedIn?”
If in doubt, don’t post it!
You may even be thinking that if you just share the post and not give an opinion or comment that people won’t think that you are for or against a particular side. But often just by posting, your connections will make assumptions and form an opinion, which may or may not be in your favor.
In this article, I am going to show a number of example posts and share why you may or may not want to share these types of posts on LinkedIn.
When in doubt, the best rule of thumb is to always keep it professional and avoid all negativity.
Here are five types of LinkedIn posts you should avoid sharing as well as four examples that can help your engagement and build your personal brand.
5 Types of LinkedIn Posts That Can Hurt Your Brand
1. Controversial posts
The single fastest way to lose potential clients on LinkedIn is to be too polarizing, controversial or a generally unpleasant personality. Remember, people want to do business with those they know, like and trust. It’s hard to develop ‘like and trust’ with someone if they’re posting controversial content or extreme views.
LinkedIn is a professional network, which demands a higher level of behavior than your standard social network. It’s full of clients, potential clients, industry peers and other people in professional relationships with you.
So, it’s a good idea to avoid topics that polarize people, especially controversial ones with a negative connotation. Because these topics do polarize people, it can invoke the age old “you are either with us or against us”.
In these scenarios, if you fall on opposite sides of your clients or other professional relationships, this can hurt your business and your personal brand.
It is better to avoid posting (or even commenting) on these types of posts altogether.
Here are some examples of LinkedIn status updates with controversial or very negative material:
2. Political or Religious Posts
These are two topics that people feel extremely passionate about – and have caused an ugly end to many a family dinner! So just like around the dinner table, it’s best to avoid these topics on LinkedIn.
Politics and religion are the embodiment of “us vs. them” topics. Your connections can take great offense if you believe differently than they do.
So, avoid posting or commenting on these types of LinkedIn posts.
Here are some examples of politically oriented LinkedIn status updates.
3. Sales Pitch Posts
What do your eyes do when they see a blatant advert or sales pitch on LinkedIn? They look past it and you keep scrolling – you don’t want a sales pitch…
And neither do your connections and potential clients!
While LinkedIn is the best platform for B2B, it is most effective when you use it as a platform to build relationships, rather than as a place to broadcast your sales material.
While some businesses can make sales directly on the platform, most (especially B2B) will need to build relationships with their ideal clients so they can move the relationship to the place where you can have a sales conversation, usually offline.
Blatant sales pitches in status updates will often be ignored by your connections and can, in some cases hurt how they see your brand.
Focus on providing value and being the go-to resource for your ideal clients, so that when they need someone who does what you do, you are the first person that comes to mind.
Here are some examples of blatant sales related LinkedIn posts.
4. Too Much Personal Information Posts
I will say it again, LinkedIn is a professional social media platform. It is not Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or Snapchat.
While you should be social, you can be social AND professional at the same time. That means no cat memes, no posts of what you ate for lunch (unless it is relevant to your profession), no drinking/partying pics and absolutely no negativity.
In the example post below you will see as one commenter points out that the author of this LinkedIn post has given out sensitive information that allows viewers to determine her underage daughter’s age, name, city and industry of employment. This is information that she probably did not intend for the potentially hundreds (or more) strangers in her extended network to see.
5. Anything Negative or Unprofessional
Need I say more?
4 LinkedIn Posts That Can Help You Stand Out & Improve Engagement
1. Timely & Relevant LinkedIn Posts
There is no better way to create conversation with your connections (helping you to stay top of mind) and increase your engagement than to post on timely and relevant topics in your industry or the professional world in general.
The key is to pick topics that are generally positive in nature and that in some way affect you (and some of your connections).
Here are a couple of LinkedIn status update examples that share a relevant and timely topic that have received a lot of engagement.
2. Conversation Inspiring Posts
While you want to avoid negative, non-business-related topics, it can be good to post on topics that can inspire productive debate on important issues in your industry or the business world.
Both the content and how you present it should be thoughtful and inspire productive conversation rather than emotionally heated debates.
Here is an example of a LinkedIn status update that inspired conversation.
3. Professional Wins & Changes Posts
As this is a social network, and you are building relationships with people (which requires them to get to know, like and trust you), you do may want to include a personal element in some of your posts.
A great way to occasionally add a bit of yourself into your LinkedIn status updates, is to share relevant professional or work-related wins and changes.
This could be a new job, a promotion, getting a new client or a lesson learned.
Here are a couple of examples of people sharing a small bit of personal information where their connections can help them celebrate or engage with them in a positive way.
4. Personal Touch Posts
You might be thinking, but you just said to keep it professional.
And I did.
But very occasionally and done correctly, it can be beneficial to share a little piece of your life outside of your work with your connections.
While both this example and the earlier example with too much personal info have a work related theme (which is ideal), the difference between the examples is that in this one he does not give away information that could endanger his daughter. The post also leaves you with a great bit of wisdom (which could only come from a small child).
Good LinkedIn Posts, Bad LinkedIn Posts: How to Know the Difference
I hope you have found these examples of what not to post and what to post on LinkedIn helpful.
A great way to test if something would make a good LinkedIn post would be to ask yourself, “Is this something that I would want posted and associated with me on the front page of a large and popular newspaper?”
If you still feel passionately about posting something controversial, ask yourself if you are willing to lose customers or potential prospects who might disagree or be offended by your point of view.
Have you ever shared a LinkedIn post and received negative backlash from it? Let me know in the comments below.
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