How to talk to people like a human on LinkedIn

Too often people divorce from real life when they’re on LinkedIn, slipping into “social mode” and suddenly writing things in ways they would never do in #reallife!

Perhaps if you thought of LinkedIn more like a conversation with someone you know, it might work a lot better for you.

Posts are a great way of interacting with your connections, but first think about the posts you interact with. Are they from people you know, or posts you find interesting? If so, you should aim to be replicating this.

Status updates are the best way to remind your network what you do, keeping you at the forefront of contacts’ minds. Why bother you might think? Well we know brokers that have got clients from the back of them!

Now before you fall into a trap of ‘sharing content’ think instead of creating interesting conversations, in a conversational way – just written down.

Draw parallels between LinkedIn and normal work life.

How do you talk to people?
Try talking to them as if you were engaged in a conversation - think like you’re talking to somebody you know at an event, on a train or over coffee etc. This is the conversational tone you want in your posts and yes I am looking at you sales people with your call to action and special deals – I bet you don’t do that face to face so why on LinkedIn?

Be interesting.
Is your writing interesting? Imagine I met you and said, ‘buy my stuff’ and the next day ‘buy my stuff’.

Within a week you would actively avoid me as you know what I am going to say and it’s boring.

Think about the interesting conversations you have each day, the experiences that make you think differently, and share these.

Think about others perception of you.
Are you confusing LinkedIn with Facebook? LinkedIn is not the place to mention your weekend activities such as drinking, ‘funny’ videos, parties etc.

Are you expressing controversial opinions or strong political views? If so, you might want to reconsider as these can be taken the wrong way by some people and affect your professional standing. I find not being a football fan a real help with this one.

Are you using LinkedIn to moan and whinge about everything that’s annoyed you that day? Remember, no one likes a whinger and others will remember that you whine and not what you’re good at.

Be interested as well as interesting.
If someone has taken the time to interact with you or like your post take a little time to say thanks or respond. Not only does it increase their perception of you, but it also helps to get your message out again as all activity is shared to your connections.

The good news is, if someone comments or “likes” your status update, it gets shown to all their connections. And all your connections can also see their comments so it starts a conversation and spreads.

If you’re connected to 500 people and do a status message every working day for a month, you will have impressed your value and your message 10,000 times.

Bear in mind an update appears under your name so in my case “James Potter” so remember to start with “is” or something similar or it might look odd.

To share an update, article or photo from your PC/Mac you need to go to your homepage and you will see the following:

Click in the box above ‘Write an article’ and ‘Images’ and anything you type into the box will appear to all the people you are connected with at level one (people you’ve invited to connect) for them to choose to read.

You can even do them when your mobile, just open the app and hit the box with the pen inside, often bottom or top right (or the speech bubble on older versions), and you are off.

To make it an even richer source of insight about you and what you’re up to, you can also include a photograph (this is ideal if what you do is visual), a URL / web link, a blog post or an interesting website.

Once you have finished writing you then just need to click Post and this is what it will look like:

Think about who’s been looking at you on LinkedIn. Are there people there that you would like to talk to? Can you engage your own network to get introduced to them?

Conversational content is great for promoting your experience, generating word of mouth simply by talking to the people you know, but it is also a great way to meet some new people that engage with you or even look at you on LinkedIn.

So, go on be more conversational, more human and (hopefully) more successful on LinkedIn.