Biz Tips: Plug in the power tool you’ve never used

Biz Tips: Plug in the power tool you’ve never used


Plug in the power tool you’ve never used

This shows how LinkedIn determines the value of your post to show to your network.

LinkedIn conjures different images among those who use it and those who know it by reputation. Is it best for professional networking or a place to find a job?

Bobby Umar has a different take. He sees and uses LinkedIn as a power tool. Umar capitalizes on the platform as one of Inc magazine’s Top 100 Speakers. He also is known as an author and networking, personal brand and parenting expert.

Umar, who lives in Toronto, is a LinkedIn fan who happily helps others keep up with changes so they also succeed with their business and personal goals.

“I use LinkedIn to build a stronger thought leadership personal brand as my main thing,” Umar said. “I also build relationships and set up calls with professionals who would make strategic connections for some of my objectives, one of which is to get a speaker gig in the United States.”

He noted that LinkedIn has changed, and most people are using it wrong. These changes have taken place since Microsoft bought out LinkedIn and took over.

“The first biggest change on the new LinkedIn is that the algorithm is promoting far more engagement and time spent on the platform,” Umar said. “When you post natively, you’d get 100 times more engagement than before.

“The second biggest change is native videos,” he said. “I have used this tool to generate over 2 million views and impressions in the last year. You can, too.”

Do it yourself

Users will benefit most by sharing their own creations.

“You will get far more traction by sharing your own content natively on the site,” Umar said. “If you do share an article, make sure you add your own value-added insights.

“It is still far better for traction to have text-only posts or a native video, not images or articles,” he said. “The new LinkedIn algorithm promotes and supports text-only updates and native videos, or a combination of both.”

As with any other marketing plan, know and support your audience.

“If you want more relevance with your content, get more engagement and build a strong thought leadership personal brand, be sure to create tremendous value in your content and serve your target audience or tribe,” Umar said.

What’s your hurry?

LinkedIn wants to encourage users not to hit and run.

“Focus more on the creating-value piece,” Umar said. “Some hubs are doing that, others are not. This is part of the deal. LinkedIn is encouraging more conversations and people staying on the platform longer.”

Overall time on LinkedIn has varied through the years. The new features make lingering a greater enticement.

“I was one of the first million users in 2004,” Umar said. “Then I just shared articles there four to six times per day. I spent about one hour per week on the site. Now I spend about 10 hours per week — if not more.

“My social media time spend last year was Facebook-Twitter-everything else — including LinkedIn and Instagram — 70–20–10,” he said. “This year it is LinkedIn-Facebook-Twitter-Instagram about 60–20–10–10.”

LinkedIn shares a negative common trait with other social networks — particularly for women — as an occasional toxic environment.

“I have found toxicity on there, but on Twitter and Facebook as well — mostly on Twitter, though,” Umar said. “If you curate the right audience, it will be less toxic. Give LinkedIn a try because the time is ideal now.

“LinkedIn definitely needs to own groups more and better,” he said. “It’s sad that Facebook is the place for the best professional business groups I am part of. Facebook owned it first. LinkedIn can do much better.”

Get personal

Among his hopes, Umar would like LinkedIn to add a personalization message for adding someone via their smartphone app.

“Now that LinkedIn has native videos to upload, they definitely need to have more livestream videos for professional events, just like Twitter, Facebook and Instagram have,” he said.

“Because LinkedIn is encouraging more engagement and thus more people spending time on the platform, it has increased the trolls,” Umar said. “So, those in charge need to address that.”

He assessed what LinkedIn would regard as “crap content,” saying these variables would determine quality:

  • Relevance to me.
  • Delivery.
  • Is it too salesy and promotional?
  • Is it all about them and nothing about serving others?
  • Sloppy, lazy or not well thought about.

Asked about why LinkedIn does not create a message list, Umar explained.

“Every group has their best way to support each other,” he said, giving these examples:

  • WhatsApp — often millennials.
  • Email — often GenX or Boomers.
  • LinkedIn message groups.
  • Facebook groups.
  • Slack.

“You have to work with the group or audience and how they prefer,” Umar said. “Some young person contacted me via WhatsApp. It worked for me, but not for all.”

As for handling connection requests from strangers, he advised considering these factors:

  • Are they a valuable connection? If so, then go for it.
  • What is your system for determining the best connections to add?
  • Think of it as someone coming up to you at a networking event. Would you engage?
  • Don’t feel bad to not accept a request.

Overall, Umar has these rules for social media connections and followers:

  • Facebook: Anyone I know personally.
  • LinkedIn: Personal and strategic connections.
  • Twitter and Instagram: Anyone who is interested and engaged appropriately.

“For LinkedIn, there is great value in the status update of less than 1,300 characters,” Umar said. “There is secondary value in an article of 1,000 or 2,000 words. It depends on the topic.

“I hope to do more inbound marketing on LinkedIn,” he said. “I’m not as good with the follow-up strategic messages. I want to manage my time better on there because I get overwhelmed.”

In general, he had this engagement and marketing advice:

  • Know your target.
  • Share tremendous value content.
  • Engage and follow up.
  • Ask for help when you need it, and maybe get a coach.

Umar also has encountered trolls on LinkedIn and explained how to handle them:

  • Have empathy, knowing they are projecting their pain or damage. Hurt people hurt people.
  • Assess severity of trolling.
  • Either report or block, delete, ignore or respond to call out for more professionalism.

“Trolls are everywhere where there are conversations, whether professional or personal,” Umar said. “Just keep in mind that at the end of the day, you don’t have to respond.”

He compared LinkedIn to real-life business events:

  • No headshot equals a bag over your head.
  • No response is the same as awkward silence with someone you are networking with.
  • Saying something inappropriate is bad everywhere.

For those who want to do social media videos or execute them better, Umar has created a video with a “Big Tip” on building a library of content, plus his 12-module course on how to master your video on LinkedIn.

About The Author

Jim Katzaman is a manager at Largo Financial Services and worked in public affairs for the Air Force and federal government. You can connect with him on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.

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