Are you afraid to share your professional opinions on LinkedIn?
You’re not alone.
At a recent LinkedIn training I led for job seekers, I emphasized the importance of circulating in LinkedIn’s ecosystem: Sharing articles, commenting on Long Form Posts, offering industry insights.
“Anyone have any hesitation about sharing your Thought Leadership on LinkedIn?” I asked.
Hands shot up.
“I’m out of a job! Who will take me seriously?”
“What do I know, compared to others out there? I feel like an imposter!”
“What if I say something wrong? There’s no recovering from that!”
The people I trained weren’t recent college graduates with limited experience. Many were seasoned CFOs and CEOs who’ve made millions of dollars for companies. They’ve got skills. And yet on LinkedIn, they’re afraid to express their hard-earned, proven wisdom.
I call it LinkedIn Stage Fright: The fear that you’ll say something wrong and end up with egg on your face. While there are “Negative Nellies” out there who pounce with lip-smacking glee on people whose opinions they dislike, I would argue:
- Their bad form reflects much worse on them than you
- LinkedIn is more forgiving than you might think
Last year, I wrote a blog in which I exposed my ignorance about how to detect Spammers on LinkedIn. One of my readers graciously educated me by providing information, both on my blog thread and privately. Did my followers think me a fool? Maybe. Did anything terrible happen as a result of my “oops?” Nope.
Actively circulating on LinkedIn matters, a lot. By sharing what you know, you can quickly establish your reputation as an authority in your industry, which is catnip to hiring managers and recruiters. LinkedIn is a relationship-building tool above all else, tailor-made for developing the “know, like, trust” factor people need in order to do business with you. Being active increases your profile views, and helps you get found faster.
How to hurdle the fear of blowing it? Take these 3 steps:
Set up a Google Alert, entering topics you care most about in your industry. (i.e. Business Development, Leadership, Change Management, whatever’s in your wheelhouse). Several times a day Google will send you curated articles on those topics. Select the juiciest one, and share it in the “Status Update” feature on LinkedIn, writing a lead that entices your network to read the article, and lets them know how they’ll benefit from reading it:
Example of a lead: “Excellent article on Informational Interviewing – concise & very helpful. Doing them will ramp up your job search.”
I share about 1-2 articles a day with my network. Next . . .
Practice commenting in Groups, testing the waters further.
Jeff Haden offers this advice for selecting Groups on LinkedIn. Participate there with people sharing a particular interest. It’s a smaller pond, where people tend to engage more and let their hair down. As Haden says, observe the rules of engagement, then dive in. Groups can be an excellent place to find your feet beneath you and gain confidence. Once you’re comfortable there . . .
Comment on LinkedIn Blogs, aka Long Form Posts.
Next, move into the larger pond, and comment on Long Form Posts. Find something to affirm about the article, and then offer your own unique twist. Not only will your name and headline be visible to the blogger’s network, but so will your unique insights.
I’ve obtained new followers, connections, prospects and clients by commenting on someone’s blog on LinkedIn. By daring to engage, I initiate the “know, like, trust” factor for viewers who, after reading my comment, head over to my profile,which is exactly what I want.
Reframing the Critic
Months ago I spoke with my artist/writer friend Stefanie Newman about my own fear of blogging. I confessed I spend hours writing blogs, and many of them end up sitting in my Draft file, because they’re not “quite right.”
“That’s too bad, Julie,” she said. “The world is littered with unfinished manuscripts and blank canvases because someone gave a critic too much power.”
The fact is, it is risky to offer your opinion, since someone might disagree, or judge you unkindly for having an opinion. It’s risky to share articles that some people may find uninteresting or unwelcome. You may disappoint someone out there.
While my “inner pleaser” cares what critics think, my inner educator, inspirer, and helper-of-job seekers do not care. I say let the majority rule.
Seth Godin says, “Playing it safe may be the riskiest strategy of all.” I invite you to step on the LinkedIn stage. Tell us what’s important to you, and teach us something new. We are listening.
Julie Bondy Roberts, MA, GCDF is a LinkedIn™ Profile Writer and LinkedIn trainer. She is the founder of Coming Alive Career Coaching, and loves teaching people how to get found on LinkedIn. A participant in one of her workshops recently wrote: “Julie’s LinkedIn class took me from a skeptical LinkedIn novice to a believer in the power of LinkedIn!”
To learn more about LinkedIn™ Profile Makeover packages & training your group or organization on growing your business through LinkedIn, contact Julie at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also follow Julie onTwitter and Facebook.