“Only post news updates, career updates, share articles, publish articles; don’t post quotes & placards, don’t sell stuff, don’t post updates of sexual, religious or political nature etc. etc. etc.”
This is typical advice on what to post (or not) on LinkedIn (a business-oriented social networking service.) Truthfully, I’ve given similar guidance myself but as things evolve and change, so must we!
In my social media training sessions I’ve often used the phrase: “LinkedIn is not Facebook.” This includes (but isn’t limited to) drama, naked pics and trolling. It’s meant to get us thinking about our updates and posts which have no relationship to what we do and to get us to think about what value we’re bringing to LinkedIn. The reality is that everyone has a varying interpretation of what’s appropriate or not.
When I began using LinkedIn in 2008, my homepage was bare and boring (actually, I don’t even know if there was such a thing?); fast-forward to today and now it looks like a Twitter feed with constant posts and interesting updates.
‘LinkedIn is not Facebook’ pops up so frequently on a day-to-day basis, and it got me rethinking whether we really understand each social platform and the purpose.
LinkedIn as we know it today has been redesigned to bring business professionals together to learn, share and expand their minds & network all in the name of commerce.
From time-to-time, there are LinkedIn posts that take me by surprise (e.g.: a woman in her bra/undies.) So you can imagine the types of comments that ensue. Several times I have watched these conversations unfold in the comments. Not only did people slam the original poster, but they get really nasty (with their employers name linked to the comment!) In one particular case, I was curious to learn more about the poster and why they would share that particular piece of content. I learned that she was a fashion and fitness model; her body is literally her business and therefore, she was posting an update relative to business!
The second types of posts that get blasted on social (specifically LinkedIn) surround politics. In case you hadn’t realized, politics and business are very much intertwined. If you can respectfully discuss and debate issues, it’s OK to share your political opinions.
Before commenting, consider the following:
#1: What does this person do for a living? (Does this post apply to their business?)
#2: Does this post affect you? (Is it about you, your business, your livelihood?)
#3: Would it be unnecessarily rude? (Remember: being belligerent to someone is unbecoming of a business professional whether you’re online or offline and that sort of thing is what we really don’t expect to see on LinkedIn.)
#4: Are you LinkedIn’s Post-Police? (Often times, it seems like people are always out to school one-another on etiquette. If the post is really inappropriate, let LinkedIn take care of it.)
#5: Are you adding any value to the conversation?
If you’ve thought about it and still want to say something, consider privately messaging the individual. Sometimes people don’t know the etiquette of all the social sites (there’s a lot to know!) They may innocently post things without realizing that it’s public (this happened with many people on Instagram.) Help them out!
And for those of us who want to continue posting, here are some tips:
Do you have a good read on your audience (network) and what they expect to see from you?
Is this post relevant to your business or network?
Is this something you would be comfortable discussing offline?
As result of the flurry of “LinkedIn isn’t Facebook” comments, I’ve had to alter my training so people understand what we mean about posting online. Just remember that LinkedIn is an extension of yourself and your ‘personal brand’ – it’s really just giving people exactly what they expect of you, consistently. And the most important takeaways above all: think, before you think, before you post because what happens online doesn’t stay online!