Don’t be afraid to engage or post on LinkedIn

Teddy Burriss - Engaging on LinkedIn

Most LinkedIn Members are afraid to post anything on LinkedIn. They fear sharing content and commenting with any meaningful response beyond, “Thanks” or “Good stuff.” They’re afraid to post something that others will laugh at.

  • They’re afraid to it may be fake news.
  • They’re afraid their boss will yell at them.
  • They’re afraid of violating some rule or privacy guideline.
  • They’re afraid of making a huge mistake.
  • They’re afraid of the monsters lurking behind the keyboard.

The reasons are broad, however, they can be overcome.

I’ve made those mistakes, and I’ve lived to tell it about it.

Once, years ago one of my clients posted a YouTube Video that I commented on. My comment started out appreciative and supportive. Then I made a ’snide’ remark about the number of Ums & Ahs my client made in the video. He called me up and asked me, “is this how you want to engage with your client in public?” I immediately realized I made a mistake. I apologized and then deleted the comment and posted a positive one with no snide remarks.   I learned from this mistake. I no longer criticize, condemn or complain on social media.

Another time I decided to get into an argument with someone on Facebook about a political issue. OMG, that failed miserably. I deleted all of my comments, took my public beating for running from the argument and, learned from my mistake. I no longer discuss politics or religion on social media.

“Live and learn, most importantly learn so you can live a better life.”Teddy Burriss Quote

I have three edicts I’ve adopted that help me to overcome some of these fears:

“Never do, say or engage in any way you don’t want to be seen, heard or perceived of in life.”

“Everything you post on social media must be TRUHE (Transparent, Relevant, Useful, Honest and Engaging or exciting, educational or entertaining.”

“It’s not all about you (Teddy), rather make it all about your target audience.”

Adopting these edicts have kept me from making more dumb mistakes on social media as well as in life.

Now, with these ideas, how do we help people who should be engaging more, yet are still a little afraid?

It’s not easy, but you can start practicing and in time all of your fears will go away.
Here are some more tactics that may help:

  • Listen to the words you say out loud when you are talking with a client, a prospect or someone else relevant to your business. Often what we say out loud could be a simple post on social media. The quote I wrote in this article, “Live and learn, most importantly learn so you can live a better life” became a graphic, Facebook and even LinkedIn Post.
  • Listen to what your target audience says and asks you. Again, often these words and/or your response to them could become a simple post, if not a full-fledge blog post. This article here came from a conversation with a client who asked me, “Teddy, how can I get more comfortable engaging on social media?”
  • Listen to the conversations at networking events, board meetings, conferences, symposiums, seminars, in the news, in trade magazines, industry websites, podcasts, and people on the street. When we discover the conversations going on around us, relevant to our businesses and our clients, these conversations can be sparks for your own posts, articles, videos, graphics and even a well-intentioned selfie.
  • Read what your target audience is talking about. Search for these conversations by keywords and/or by the individuals or brands. Read, or at least review the conversation and then imagine sitting at a coffee shop with a good friend and they just told you what you read. How would you reply back to them? What ideas come to mind? What words could you cobble together in a positive way and then respond? 
  • Read content on LinkedIn relevant to your business and your clients. If you liked it, maybe, just maybe, someone else in your network will like it. Hit the Share button and help someone else learn something. Always tell your viewer what you got from the article when you share it.
  • This is important, don’t overthink what you are going to post or comment. Think about it, but if you spend too much time noodling your post or comment, it’ll come out looking scripted and seem fake.
  • Don’t overdo it. You don’t need a new post, article, video, graphic or comment every hour or even every day. Practice slowly. Practice around the people you trust and respect. Engage on their content first.  Practice again on someone else’s content. Don’t try to create a post around every conversation you hear. Rather let your subconscious lead you with the most meaningful conversations you hear.

Practice does not make perfect. Practice makes permanent. I know this because I listened to a client ask me a question and it spurred me to write this article. I wrote what I thought was an interesting quote, and I took it to another level. Practice every day.

If you want my help, comment on my stuff and then message me and ask me, “Teddy, did I do OK?” I promise you as long as it was TRUHE and you did not overthink it, the answer will be Yes. 

If you want my help to guide your sales team on content creation and curation, let’s talk.

/Teddy

We are who we hang out with and because of our content.

Teddy Burriss - Tribe message

I recently was asked this question on Quora.com, “has LinkedIn become a toxic place or is it the same as ever?”

Let me first define Toxic: Webster says it’s Poisonous. The dumping of toxic waste. That sounds relevant to me.

I define Toxic in regards to social media, as any content filled with hate and attacking words which is detrimental to a positive society.

I don’t call content I disagree with Toxic. Just because I don’t agree does not make content toxic.

Only when it’s filled with ugliness, hatefulness, and attacking anyone or groups of people for any reason, does it get called Toxic by me.

Ok, this said, yes, LinkedIn is just as toxic as it has always been. Just like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, SnapChat, YouTube, etc, they all contain toxic content in some way or another.

It really has not changed much over time. Maybe more people adding to the toxicity and maybe a little more diversity in the toxicity. However, just as in life, hateful & attacking content has always been out there.

So, if it’s true that all social media, including LinkedIn, contains lots of toxic content, how come I almost never see any? My LinkedIn newsfeed is for the most part very enjoyable and useful.

The answer lies with us.

Our social media news feeds are filled with content from our networks that we engage on and look for. This is accomplished by the mystical news feed algorithms the social media platforms use.

They want us to see what we want to see, so we stay on their sites longer.

Think about this for a minute. Social media platforms make money when their members are viewing the newsfeed and seeing and/or clicking on the social media ads they share with us. If your newsfeed contains content that is toxic in your mind, you’ll minimize the time you spend on that site.

There are three primary reasons you are or are not seeing toxic content in your LinkedIn newsfeed.

#1 – Your LinkedIn Network, hopefully, chosen by you and you alone does not share much if any toxic content at all. Therefore, who you decide to connect with on LinkedIn will have a direct impact on the types of content you see in your newsfeed. Connect with a lot of hate spewing LinkedIn Members (and I don’t doubt they exist), and you’ll see more toxic content.

#2 – Your LinkedIn Newsfeed contains the types of content you like to engage on. I proved this a few months ago when I stopped engaging on content about LinkedIn and started searching for and engaging on content related to sales leadership. The more I shared and engaged on sales leadership content, the more my newsfeed became filled with sales leadership content. Slowly this replaced the content about LinkedIn.

Eventually, I returned my focus to content about LinkedIn and sales leadership content slowly began going away from my LinkedIn newsfeed.
This fact of ‘what you touch is what you see‘ is why I developed the edict, “Never do, say or engage on social media in any way you don’t want to be seen, heard or perceived of in life.” It’s real.

#3 – You can influence your LinkedIn newsfeed based on many different things. Hiding specific content, reporting content, unfollowing or following people or companies, viewing the newsfeed by Top or Most Recent, your LinkedIn Group activity, and following content #Hashtags, are just a few of the ways you can influence your LinkedIn newsfeed content. 

In summary, we can control the visibility of toxic content in LinkedIn by adjusting our network, the content we engage on and the activities we do on LinkedIn.

Now, will this make toxic content go away? Maybe not by the actions of a few, but I’m certain if more people were deliberate about their LinkedIn Networks and what they do on LinkedIn, the toxic content will be kept from growing even more.

We are who we hang out and what we do and say in life, as well as on LinkedIn.  

Lead with Give when using LinkedIn

Recently someone asked me, what do you mean by “Lead with Give” and how does it help you grow your business.

I am very purposeful to focus my Lead with Give activities on my Most Important Viewers, i.e. my target audience. However, whenever possible I will use these philosophies and tactics with anyone in my LinkedIn Network.

I started developing this philosophy after studying Dale Carnegie’s book How to Win Friends and Influence People.

A few of Dale Carnegie’s principles that impacted me in a positive way, outlined in his book, are;

Principle #2Give honest, sincere appreciation. This is a form of giving that’s easily applied to LinkedIn. One way I do this is with my first message after we connect. I always thank my new connection for accepting my invite or sending me an invite to connect. I also use sincere appreciation after receiving endorsements, recommendations, and introductions.

Principle #4Become genuinely interested in the other person. In LinkedIn, this can be done by purposefully reviewing your new connection’s Profile, and/or asking them questions about themselves, their business role and/or their business in a phone call, coffee meeting and/or in a message. This is an easy way to give.

Principle #6 – Remember that a person’s name is to that person the sweetest and most important sound in any language. When you use someone’s name in the conversation, even in your messaging, it shows you care enough to address them properly. When you message on LinkedIn use their name. When you are in a phone or face-face conversation confirm the pronunciation of their name if you are even the slightest unsure. It’s a simple, but a purposeful way of giving.

Principle #7 – Be a good listener. Encourage others to talk about themselves. Encouraging your LinkedIn Connection to share about themselves, their role and their business show’s you care about them beyond simply a connection. This is easily done with your LinkedIn Connections in a phone conversation and or in person.

Principle #8 – Talk in terms of the other person’s interests. How do you feel when a LinkedIn Connection jumps into the conversation or messaging, all about themselves, before you even inquire about them or their business? It can be frustrating. Rather than be this person, start the conversation in context to your LinkedIn Connection and you’ll quickly get permission to talk about your self and/or your business. This is another simple way to give using LinkedIn.

Principle #9 – Make the other person feel important – and do it sincerely. Being attentive, listening to understand and asking your LinkedIn Connection open-ended questions is an easy way to make your LinkedIn connection feel important. Doing so can lead them to reciprocate as well.

I’ve also incorporated other tactics into my “Lead with Give” philosophy when using LinkedIn. Here are a few:

A – Pay attention to your target audience’s birthdays and their career pivots. Not everyone’s, just your Most Important Viewers. Send them a direct message, call them or send a card when appropriate. Most of your LinkedIn Connections will be appreciative of this.

– Engage on your Most Important Viewers content where relevant. Those of us who share stuff on LinkedIn appreciate having our content Liked, Commented on and/or Shared forward.

C – Share content your LinkedIn Network will find useful and interesting. Not just about your business or products/services. When you bring content and/or a relevant conversation to LinkedIn, your Most Important Viewers will be appreciative.

D– Introduce your LinkedIn Network to each other when relevant and mutually beneficial. We all love to be introduced to others when we can find potential benefit from the introduction.

E– Invite your Most Important Viewers to lunch, coffee or after work networking events when appropriate. Moving the LinkedIn Connection to IRL (in real life) is a powerful way to network and give.

F– Alert your Most Important Viewers to the upcoming community and industry events. Especially when they can benefit from the events.

When you “Lead with Give” using LinkedIn, it develops trust, respect and even to some degree Like, from your LinkedIn Network. These relationship-building activities are what create new and uncover hidden opportunities for us.

Lead with Give as often as you can when using LinkedIn as a business tool.  It can create great rewards and feels good to do as well.

I hope this article is helpful to you.

/Teddy