Why LinkedIn, for me, is more a journal than it is a marketing tool
“You need to post less” said the LinkedIn expert I spoke to this week.
“The algorithm doesn’t like it when you post so much.”
He was referring to the fact that the previous week I had been posting on average 3 times a day.
Consideration of the algorithm may be important for some but it’s only really relevant if the only thing that is important to you is views, likes and other such aspects.
I long ago came to realise that there is more to life on LinkedIn than just trying to be the most popular person out there.
How my LinkedIn usage has evolved over time
When it comes to LinkedIn, there was my approach to using it before I started my own company and my approach to using it post-starting my own company.
Back when I was working in a big firm, my LinkedIn approach was basically to repost something that the company wanted marketed (it might have been a report, an award, etc). I didn’t think twice about doing this and it’s what I see a lot of folk on LinkedIn following the same approach of effectively being re-broadcasters for their companies.
That all changed when I started my own business in August 2019; initially I saw it as the means to market my company and try to find clients.
“If I just post interesting things, my clients will find me” was how my brain thought.
Yes, there are over a billion LinkedIn users so it might seem like a gateway to endless customers but the average user spends only 17 mins per month on LinkedIn and you are competing with the 3 million other people who post regularly (i.e. at least monthly) — that’s a lot of competition for attention even if it is only 0.3% of users that post regularly.
This competitive nature quickly hit home as my initial posts bombed and it didn’t lead to the phone buzzing with customer enquiries.
Still I persevered with my attempts to use LinkedIn for purely marketing posts, trying out different formats (from articles to vlogs, from funny photos to long posts).
If I’m honest these all had minimal traction and impact but still I ploughed on.
The impact of Covid on my use of LinkedIn
Then in March 2020, when Covid hit, LinkedIn took on another purpose for me.
Because of the pandemic, I was left with no work and nowhere to turn. I was living alone, with nothing meaningful to do each day and it all became quite lonely; I wasn’t the only one in that situation and I would spend hours each day scrolling the web seeing lots of people posting about similar topics to how I was feeling.
LinkedIn, along with Instagram and Facebook became a way to be more connected with others.
I read people’s articles about how they were coping, what they were doing and as a result I began posting much more personal posts and articles to share and connect — it really helped my mental health.
Admittedly, at this point in time I was sharing these personal posts across different social media but it also trickled onto LinkedIn.
My business picking up led to a new use of LinkedIn
Over the course of the next year, through graft and things beginning to click, my business began to take off.
Suddenly I was doing interesting work that was taking me all over the world; almost everyday there was a new experience (a new country, new client, new talk, etc) and I was keen to document it.
In the past, when I have had big life events, I have kept a handwritten journal. There’s one from time living in Nepal, one from my time working in Palestine and one from my time backpacking alone around South America.
I often love looking back through these, not just for the memories but to reignite ideas and remind myself of lessons learnt.
Since those days, the proliferation and improvement in mobile phones means that our journals are effectively the photos we take.
I realised this a long time ago and I got into the habit of taking at least one photo a day so that I could look back at the life I had led [it was also a way to inspire me to do at least one thing that was photo-worthy each day].
As my business picked up, these interesting photos became more and more forthcoming and I started posting them on LinkedIn as a way to remember the key business events from building a fast Moving start-up.
The final step to full on Journaling
Admittedly at this point, I was keeping my business Journaling to LinkedIn and my personal Journaling to Instagram or Facebook but as time wore on, I realised 3 things:
- My business life and my personal life were invariably inter-twined (that’s what happens when you have a start-up that you are passionate about)
- It was a massive extra amount of effort and duplication to post in different places
- I wasn’t keeping a complete journal of my life in any one place
Looking over this, it became an easy decision to pick one platform to hold my complete journal, and for that I chose LinkedIn.
What does that mean about how I now use LinkedIn?
If you fast forward to today, you will see that I share fairly openly on LinkedIn and can’t help posting frequently.
Basically, anytime something major happens in my business or life, I want to document it, hence why I post 3–5 times a day sometimes; it is my journal.
It just so happens that you can all look at it too.
This means that engagements and such are not my primary focus (plus I realised long ago that many people read your posts without ever formally engaging with them).
Looking back at old posts
Because it is a journal, I often look back at old posts.
Recently I have decided to undertake a cataloguing exercise so that I can easily find old individual posts [it’s not so easy with the functionality of LinkedIn].
This means trawling through hundreds of posts, articles, vlogs and such; it’s been a real joy and a trip down memory lane.
I hope to summarise and share some of that in a future blogs but for the time being here are a couple of initial observations about what has happened since I started my own business:
- A lot has happened to me in 4 years!
- My hair and weight have changed quite a lot in that time (one getting greyer, the other decreasing and then increasing)
- In terms of content I do a lot fewer long pieces to camera than I used to do and I summarise articles way less than I used to do
- I realise that I am not necessarily as funny as I think I am but I still make myself chuckle a lot when I read old posts
- [In terms of engagement, I get way more engagement per post nowadays but much less views — probably because I post so much]
There you go, that’s a little bit more insight into me and LinkedIn. As I say watch this space for more insights from my analysis of my old posts.
In the meantime, enjoy being able to get a peek into my journal; it’s a pleasure having you here 🙂
Success = IQ x EQ x FQ
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