Have you ever wondered if what you are posting is appropriate for LinkedIn? Did you know some posts may actually harm your personal brand?
If you are like most people, you probably use the other social networks, such as Facebook, Instagram or Twitter, far more frequently than you do LinkedIn. These networks are full of your friends, family and acquaintances, mostly posting very informal things, e.g., what they did on the weekend, a funny pic of their pet or a photo of their last meal.
While these things might be appreciated and engaged with on the other social platforms, such topics are often not appropriate on LinkedIn.
Why is that?
Because LinkedIn is a social platform for businesses and professionals.
In fact, it is a professional space, much the same as a business office, where you meet your potential prospects and clients. If something is not appropriate to be shared with prospects or clients face-to-face in your office, chances are, it is also inappropriate to be shared on LinkedIn.
This analogy works as a great test for deciding what to post.
Would I want my boss, clients or prospects to read this?
If the answer is no, this post could hurt your personal brand or credibility. Or, at the very least, it won’t help, which is a waste of your time, and I am assuming you value your time.
Some of you, depending on your industry and ideal clients, might even think this test doesn’t apply to you. But a certain level of professionalism is expected in all situations on the platform.
To make it easier for you, regardless of your industry and ideal clients, I have identified four types of LinkedIn posts that can hurt your personal brand and four types that will help it.
Rock Your Personal Brand: LinkedIn Posts That Can Hurt You and Help You
LinkedIn posts that can hurt your personal brand
1. Controversial posts
As LinkedIn is a professional network full of clients, prospects, industry peers and other people in professional relationships with you, it is a good idea to avoid topics that tend to polarize people, especially controversial ones with a negative undercurrent.
This is not because these topics are not important or relevant, but because this is not the correct platform for those discussions.
Because these topics polarize people, they can invoke the age-old “you are either with us or against us” attitude. In these scenarios, if you disagree with your clients or other professionals on the platform, you can hurt your ability to build relationships.
In most cases, it is better to avoid posting, and even commenting on, these types of posts altogether.
2. Political or religious posts
These are two topics people feel incredibly passionate about. Just like with controversial topics, these types of posts tend to push people to join one camp or another.
Your connections can take great offense if they see your beliefs differ from theirs.
This is one of the reasons why Facebook usage has started to decline, according to digital marketing expert Jay Baer. Baer believes users are growing weary of having to defend their opinions to so-called “friends,” who may now be part of the “opposition.”
3. Sales pitch posts
While LinkedIn is the best platform for B2B companies, 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 sell directly on the platform, most do not. The real success comes from building relationships with your ideal prospects and moving conversations with those prospects offline.
It’s offline that you get the chance first to speak with your prospect and get to know them and their problems better, and then discuss the solution you offer in an offline sales conversation with them.
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 they think of.
4. Inappropriate personal posts
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) and no drinking/partying pics.
And your LinkedIn connections certainly don’t need to know anything about your ex.
LinkedIn posts that help your personal brand
1. Timely and relevant posts
There is no better way to create a conversation with your connections and increase engagement than to post on timely, relevant to your network topics.
In addition to sharing this information, you want to include your perspective as additional commentary to the post. After all, they may see the same news shared by many people, but your perspective on it makes your post unique.
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 debates on critical issues in your industry or the business world.
Both the content and the way you present them should be thoughtful and inspiring productive conversations rather than emotionally-heated debates.
3. Professional changes or wins posts
A great way to occasionally add something more personal to 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.
Such posts will allow people to get to know you better and be aware of your professional successes.
4. Personal touch posts
You might be thinking, but you just said to keep it professional. And I did.
But occasionally and when done correctly, it can be beneficial to share something more personal with your connections.
It may be related to a cause you believe in, a philanthropic project, a personal lesson you learned or a story others can relate to.
Wrapping up: LinkedIn posts that can help or hurt your personal brand
I hope you now understand better what can help and hurt your personal brand on LinkedIn and you feel better equipped to decide which kinds of posts to share on LinkedIn and which not.
If you still feel passionately about posting something that could hurt your personal brand, ask yourself:
Am I willing to lose leads, prospects and clients who might disagree with me or be offended by my point of view?
If you are comfortable with that, go ahead and post.
Have I missed any other types of posts that can hurt your personal brand? Have you ever posted something on LinkedIn that received backlash? Let me know in the comments below.