Episode 110: Are Personal Posts on LinkedIn Appropriate?
Our hosts Brynne and Bob tackle a highly relevant topic on the “Facebookification” of LinkedIn and whether it’s a good thing.
Listen as they try to navigate through the tricky conversation of what content to share or not to share on LinkedIn. Find out whether you’re one of those people who tend to overshare and what you can do to ensure you’re only posting what’s beneficial to your professional goals.
Learn to find the right balance between oversharing and being overly professional, which are both equally troublesome. Let Brynne and Bob explain the impact of sharing both personal and professional content and how it affects engagement.
Bob Woods 00:00
Hey, greetings everyone and welcome to Making Sales Social Live. I’m Bob Woods and with me today, as always is the LinkedIn Whisperer, Brynne Tillman. How’re you doing today, Brynne?
Brynne Tillman 00:10
Good, Bob. How are you?
Bob Woods 00:13
I am doing great and I am really excited about today’s topic.
Welcome to Making Sales Social Live, as we share LinkedIn and social selling training, strategies, and tips that will have an immediate impact on your business. Join Brynne Tillman, and me, Bob Woods, every week, Making Sales Social Live!
Bob Woods 00:36
Because it’s something that we normally don’t discuss and there’s a lot of stuff that’s like, literally currently going on right now with this and we always like to talk about top cool things. So that’s one of the reasons why I’m so excited to talk about what to share as LinkedIn content.
So up until recently, the types of content members have shared has largely been business-oriented. If you’ve been on LinkedIn long enough, you definitely know that. Lately, though, some on LinkedIn had been going in a different direction, towards the type of content you might see on say, you know, Facebook. So that’s led some on and off the platform to discuss whether this “Facebookification” of LinkedIn, and I’m glad I said that, like right the first time, because that’s incredibly hard to pronounce “Facebookification,” if that’s a good thing.
So as you’d expect, some say yes while others are mystified and even a little honked off by this shift. So when you toss in the influence of TikTok into the mix, which is huger and just getting bigger and bigger every day, the result has been much more varied types of content that I think, it’s pretty safe to say LinkedIn has never seen on this platform before.
Overall, I do think there’s no black or white going on here. What we have is a lot of gray and of course, the ultimate decision on your content is up to you. With that, Brynne, we’ve got a little bit of a daunting task ahead of us today but I’m definitely looking forward to it. So let’s get right into it.
Brynne Tillman 02:01
Yeah, I love this topic and I would say my answer might have been different three years ago than it is today. So I love that you started this out with it’s a little bit gray but what I want to start with from my perspective is we need to make sure we know what our objective is. What is our goal with LinkedIn? My goal with Facebook is extremely different than my goal with LinkedIn. With Facebook, I’m connecting with my friends and my family; I want to see my granddaughter’s pictures, I want to see my friends’ kids’ pictures, right? My goal is very, very personal.
My goal on LinkedIn is to connect with professionals very much like if I were to go to a chamber of commerce meeting, my goal is to meet lots of people, where we have some professional connection but when you think about it, when you go to these chambers of commerce meeting, you are not 100% talking about business, you are getting to know them as human beings one on one. And so when I sat back, you know when we decided last week that this was going to be our title, or our topic today is I really want to think about my position on personal-professional. And really, it’s this hybrid, but you don’t want to be an oversharer.
There are so many people on LinkedIn that I believe are oversharing, it’s too personal. The way I look at it is if you would not have a conversation with a networking partner, if you were out at a chamber event, or at a you know, a business card exchange. If you would not tell them the story, don’t post the story, right? Look at it, like what do we want our professional network to know about us?
Now the other thing is, we don’t want to be in such a personal conversation world where we may be making connections, but there’s no connection to your purpose for being on LinkedIn. So my purpose for being on LinkedIn is to meet other professionals, learn from them, share some insights, build a network, and ultimately grow a business, also found vendors that helped us grow our business, right? So this ecosystem of business where some personal is important, right? So I think when we come from that perspective, but you know, there’s a saying that we live by, which is lead to your solution, not with your solution.
So the over professional is very dangerous too, you over constantly pitching and sharing, you kno, how we help people. That’s as dangerous as oversharing personally, so I think that fine line is important and I’m going to throw in one more thing and then I’m going to ask you a question. One more piece around this professional-personal piece is have a little fun too, like, make sure your personality is coming through even if you’re not sharing really deeply personal things. You can make it personal by letting your personality show, video is a great way to do this. But for example, I hopped on a zoom call for a vendor the other day, and it said, meeting starts December 31, 1979, at 7 p.m., right, that has nothing to do with my business. That is not, but I thought it was funny. So I put out a little post that said I was late for a meeting and I got a lot of engagement, right? So it was, it was funny, it was more personal than “Hey, let me give you tips on social selling” and although I want to bring lots of value, there’s bringing in a normal conversation connection as well. But I want to ask you, as we share this personal stuff, and this professional stuff in this hybrid of stuff, how does that affect engagement in the algorithm? What are your thoughts around that?
Bob Woods 06:14
Yes, so with the algorithm, right now, it’s because so many people are doing this, I do think that they are discovering some kind of benefit from it. So they are getting probably more views and more likes, and probably more comments. So if you’re on there, you know, just if you’re on LinkedIn just for that, you know, it might be working for you but when it comes to what we believe, you know, having a goal having a purpose to be on specifically on LinkedIn, I think that it probably fails, because you’re not, you’re more than likely, I should say not meeting those goals.
So if you’re depending on the LinkedIn algorithm alone, to get your stuff out, you’re somewhat depending on what I call magic, basically, especially because we don’t really, we have an idea of what the LinkedIn algorithm does. We’re not really sure what the LinkedIn algorithm does. And if you want to see, if you want to read a really good story that for our live listeners just came out today, go to Axios and look up “sunset of the social network.” Even though LinkedIn isn’t mentioned in this article, you can put LinkedIn right in there as well.
So it’s basically all of these social platforms, lessening your actual social network and just putting in more algorithm-based content into your feeds and LinkedIn is definitely doing that to an extent as well. It’s a really fascinating article but anyhow, that’s why we believe in much more targeted sharing, and of course, keeping your goals in mind there. So a lot of times, that’s what we call getting content into the LinkedIn inbox so via messaging, in other words, you can still do that algorithm stuff and that’s nice and obviously, as Brynne said, be personable, while you’re being professional, I’m kind of a funny guy, I like to think anyhow, so even when I share that business stuff, a lot of that does have my humor in it. And I’m hoping that at least a quarter of the people find it funny when I do that type of thing.
And there are times when I do share maybe a little bit more personal stuff but I always try to tie that back into my professional goal of being there. So in other words, I’m not sharing purely personal stuff that has nothing to do with business. Like, for example, my Facebook is tightly locked down. If you’re not a friend of a friend of mine, you can’t get in. That’s because that’s the purely personal side of me.
Now, I just got over COVID, like, like last week, and I had a little bit longer so I shared about COVID and everything else and what I was going through on Facebook, I would never do that on LinkedIn. In fact, most people, if they’re connected with me right now, probably go, “oh, I have no idea COVID” There’s a reason for that. Because if anything, it knocked me out of business for a little while. So, you know, I think that you think about that type of thing while you’re sharing, keeping your personal goals in mind and no matter what you’re sharing, even if it is a little more personal. Having that goal in mind, I think can make you much more of a success on LinkedIn while you’re still getting a little more personal because just like Brynne said, You are a person even when you are out there personally networking, you do have your own stories, you do have your own point of view. It’s not a bad thing to share those, you’re not a robot, but you do have to worry about the oversharing thing.
Brynne Tillman 09:49
Yeah, so it’s interesting. I want to see what kind of people are saying I skipped the great majority of personal posts. So let’s think about this for a moment. We want to make sure that that personal post in some way would bring value to the reader as well, or even if the value is a giggle, but we want to make sure right that we’re not sharing our purposes of, we just want to tell everyone what we want to tell them, make sure their content that we are sharing is something that they’d be interested in reading.
This LinkedIn news, I’ve stayed away from personal posts. So I have mostly stayed away from personal posts, I will say, one of the three top posts I’ve ever made was my 10 year anniversary of breast cancer survival, it was very personal but it was also I talked about how that really created my vision of business and how I wanted to bring what I learned into the company. And so I don’t do a lot of personal things but every once in a while, but when I hit a milestone, a few milestones along the way, that I’ll share that are personal, but I’ll always bring it back to my goal, which is networking with other professionals.
So, here’s another one, Theresa Merrill says, Nope, it’s inappropriate and changing the dynamics of the platform. So you know, that wouldn’t have been my answer three years ago, 100% would have said, this is a professional network. Again, there are over shares, I overshare on Facebook, it’s expected shares on LinkedIn that really I agree changes the dynamic of the platform, and for people that are only sharing personal stuff, that changes the dynamic, but I do believe that there is a place for personal you know, from a professional perspective, Stephen Farber, “I connect better with someone on a personal note than I ever would on what their business could do for me, I’ve bought from people simply because they were transparent about something in their life, aka people love to see personality.”
People do and, you know, the whole thing is people buy from people not, you know, not from companies. That’s a little bit of that personality coming out, for sure. So Bob, “I’m gonna sit back since I find it inappropriate if your goal is to establish business relationships, are you only going to extend that, to those believing as you do?” Yeah, like this is, you know, and again, you know, Bob, open this up with, you’re going to choose the way you share content, the way that it makes most sense for you. I would have said, three years ago that 99.9% of your content needs to be business oriented but I’m okay, now, like I’m, especially post pandemic, when we were all shut down, and it’s not even post pandemic, it’s post shutdown, where, you know, we were all looking for the humaneness in people.
Now, when I’ve connected with people on a business level, I like to get to know them personally, there just really has to be a very good balance. And again, you’ve got to get into the eyes of the beholder, the content, recipient, right, the person that’s consuming what you’ve put out there. And is this relevant to them? Does it enlighten them? Does it teach them a lesson or give them hope? Or do something that’s meaningful? And, you know, ultimately, it’s not about you and telling your story. It’s about connecting with other people, and even asking their story, right? There are some, for example, there’s a poll from months ago that got 1000s and 1000s of votes that talked about how important is your why in business? And tell us in comments, your why your why is the personal side of business, totally appropriate.
Bob Woods 14:00
but it is your business too at the same time. I mean, that’s one of those intersections of personal and professional that I was talking about before that can then I think, you know, it doesn’t promote you quote unquote, necessarily, but it does show the type of person that you are while you’re discussing business at the same time, so that gives people additional insight, not only into your business, but who you are and how you conduct that. I think that those types of posts are great.
Brynne Tillman 14:25
Yeah, I’d love to know who this LinkedIn user is. “You have your settings, so we can’t see your name. But since the focus on bringing creators to the platform, the feed has become so cluttered with noise and stuff that its clickbait virtual content, there is a lot of that now, closer examination of the profiles engaging with this type of content is suspect fake profiles.” I don’t know about the fake profile stuff. I mean, there might be some, but here’s the thing that I highly recommend, highly, highly recommend is use the bell feature. So if you are connected to Someone on their profile, you’ll see a bell or if you follow someone on, so if you don’t see the bell, follow them, and then you’ll see the bell. And then you can select what content goes into your notifications. It has a big difference.
Bob Woods 15:16
Yeah, it’s a good way to get notified about the people who you want to see post, actually post. That’s good, that’s a great thing that LinkedIn did.
Brynne Tillman 15:23
“Yeah, so attach your personal information to your profile. In my view, sometimes too much personal information will make some important information disappear and unnoticed.” I agree. The other thing is, like, I think there’s a level of vulnerability, that’s great but then there’s a level of vulnerability that makes you look weak and you want to make sure, like, here’s an example someone and this was again years ago, that was, you know, kind of in our circle, had a serious nervous breakdown, it was postpartum depression breakdown, talked about it a lot on LinkedIn, and then ultimately lost a lot of the following because people lost confidence, right? And so just be careful. I love vulnerability, but vulnerability to the point that you’re losing other people’s confidence in your competence can be a problem and a challenge as well. So that’s great. So at least we could get a break from telling people to wake up before 6am and take a cold shower. We have seen enough.
Bob Woods 16:32
Yeah, well, I think that what Husein was getting into a little bit more is some people are actually trying to fashion themselves a little bit as LinkedIn influencers without you know, being an actual influencer in the influencer program but you know how you got TikTok influencers and Instagram influencers? I do see some people on LinkedIn actually going that direction and wanting to just come more of a business influencer and I don’t think it’s working on some platform, it’s not the right platform for it. I would agree wholeheartedly. Sharon is next. “I’ve got it in there. I see all these videos that are funny or inspiring, that have tons of views and shares on them. What about those?” you could do funny videos, but you can educate at the same time while you’re doing those funny videos.
In fact, you actually see that a lot more on TikTok LinkedIn is kind of encouraging crossover between LinkedIn and TikTok because there are educators on TikTok who do videos on TikTok that I think are appropriate for LinkedIn but they’re more funny, they’re more engaging, they’re more personal, not personal, but personable, (personality) Personality. Yeah, thank you. That’s it. That’s even a better word for it. And, you know, so I think that those types of videos as long as they’re bringing value, so that’s what you got to be ultimately concerned about is bringing value.
Brynne Tillman 17:59
So bringing value and in one way or another, attracting the right people to engage, because here’s the thing, if you’re using this from a business development, or a social selling perspective, we can, like I can put out a post and I can get hundreds or 1000s of engagement from IT specialists but that’s not who I sell to, or I could get right. So part of it is am I attracting the right people that helps me get to the right goals?
So this becomes like the challenge of, are we posting for likes and comments? Are we posting for engagement from the right people? This all goes back to what’s your goal? What’s your objective? So if your objective is, I want lots of likes and comments, great. If your objective is, you know, I want more targeted followers and engagers than we have to make sure we’re doing that to bounce it up. It should mostly Yeah, in some mild personal. I do like to see how we are the same and went through some, yes, how we’re the same. And we’ve gone through the same thing that relating is what creates relationships, when we can relate with other people. So that’s awesome. I love that.
Bob Woods 19:21
So the one thing that I wasn’t sure that we were going to get into I actually wanted someone from the audience to bring this up because I didn’t want to sound preachy. No religious, religious or political posts that crosses a line. I would agree with that. Whenever I see a political post, I click on the three dots and I click on whatever is called Hide post and they ask you why I put political posts. I do not do that on LinkedIn. I do think that crosses the line as well.
Brynne Tillman 19:49
And plus 50% of your future clients believe differently than you do and 50% Agree. So like you, the moment you do this, you isolate opportunities and unless you know unless you were running for office, it should not be there for sure. “Okay, oh God, we have a measure of control over our posts but not reacting. And by clicking on the three dots and saying I don’t want to see this, what are your thoughts?” (That’s just what I mentioned) yeah. Just get the person’s content so you can be connected to someone and unfollow them. And I know a lot. There are people I care about that I’m okay but I don’t want to see their stuff because it’s so personal. There is an influencer word 99.9% of her stuff is personal. And it makes me nuts but I don’t want to disconnect from her. I just don’t want to see the stuff right. Like she went viral on LinkedIn on “what city do you think I’m moving to?” right, like, stuff that does react? yeah, yeah. Yeah but those are the things but I still like, she has an enormous following. People love her. But all of her content is around, like stuff like that but she gets engagement. So again, you get to choose, I just unfollow, so don’t have to see it doesn’t mean I’m not connected to her.
Bob Woods 21:20
So this is one that I’ve seen a little bit of but this is interesting. So this LinkedIn user says “The stuff clogging the feed are stories that people are posting that aren’t even about themselves. And I have seen this, and it’s showing in my feed because someone in my 2nd-degree, 1st or 2nd-degree engaged with it and they’ll even credit the original person at the end of the post. I do think that this is just clickbait and just people trying, trying to get people on to see more” and yeah, it’s
Brynne Tillman 21:49
So I disagree. I love that. I agree. Okay. And I love, I love that we totally disagree and I love that
Bob Woods 21:58
You did disagree behind closed doors too. So I mean, it’s not like we’re completely simpatico.
Brynne Tillman 22:04
I love this because also, this is telling you guys, you could disagree with us, you could disagree with each other, and we can still love each other. But I like not so much of what I find so Bob liked this post. And if Bob liked it, I might like it and I start to find content, then I can reach out to Bob and say, “Hey, Bob, I really loved, you know, you came up in my feed as having liked this piece of content, I really enjoyed it. You know, I’d love to learn a little bit more about what you’re following” and who you’re going to. So I love seeing who liked it. The other thing is our content…
Bob Woods 22:47
This is people who are borrowing entire stories from someone else and posting it on their feed, even though it has nothing to do with the person who’s posting it.
Brynne Tillman 23:03
Oh wait, maybe I agree 100% So you mean they’re copying text and pasting it?
Bob Woods 23:10
They are copying. Maybe not word for word, but they are copying and sharing other people’s stories. Now a lot of times (Brynne: Not sharing the original post?) No, but they’re posting it as their own. But they’re publishing it.
Brynne Tillman 23:27
Okay, I agree with you 100%, I agree with the LinkedIn user. I misunderstood. If you share it with your own perspective, your own text, that’s great. If you are publishing it, you copy the text and post it with just a little at the end. Oh my gosh, I was totally wrong. Bob, I 100% agree with you and the LinkedIn user.
Bob Woods 23:54
Next one, like the idea that “will this provide value to user ratio like 95% business and five personal.” Yeah, definitely. I mean, Brynnet showed that shared that one purely personal funny thing about the Zoom date thing. I think as long as you do that every just once in a while you’re fine. If you’re doing it as a large part of your content strategy. Maybe not so much.
Brynne Tillman 24:20
Yeah, like mine was in real time, right? Like it happened. It was funny. I will share it. It wasn’t personal, but it was not professional, personal. It doesn’t lead to my solution. It doesn’t get you to go oh, you know, she’s brilliant at LinkedIn. It was just fun. It was funny. And you know, it was five hours to the 80s. It was December 31, 1979. I love the 80’s
Bob Woods 24:49
That’s funny. We are both 80s kids…
Brynne Tillman 24:53
That is true.
Bob Woods 24:54
“What kinds of personal information would be okay to pose? Now that’s yeah…
Brynne Tillman 25:02
It depends, right. So I would you know, there are people that share when they’re you have to put their dog down and it’s devastating. I wouldn’t do that on LinkedI but I would do it on Facebook.
Bob Woods 25:13
Yeah, I would do that 100% I have bugged unfortunately had to do that on Facebook but you know, stuff like that stuff like my COVID thing that I just said, I did not post on LinkedIn. But I did post it on Facebook.
Brynne Tillman 25:26
And go back to if I were standing in a networking meeting, is this a conversation that I’d have? right, something that they’d have with someone?
Bob Woods 25:34
And that’s different from person to person. Yeah, we can’t just say yes, no to everyone. You know, that’s just a it’s, it’s, it’s a highly personal thing. Pardon the pun, or whatever you want to say there. Neil asked, “What do you say to people who say the personal is the professional?”
Brynne Tillman 25:48
Well, what are they selling? What? Yeah,
Bob Woods 25:52
yeah, context is probably needed there. I don’t think that there’s a pat answer to that.
Brynne Tillman 25:57
I mean, yeah, I think on LinkedIn, I mean, we sell us right, you buy Bob, you buy Brynne, I mean, even though whatever it is, but you know that we have an enormous amount of competition in a sense out there but people work with us because they connect with us because their personalities jive. Like Bob and I have been like, working together, I think probably eight years at this point, right? That we’ve been working, because we Jive right, like their personalities, and their personalities that we wouldn’t.
So you’ve got to find that having a little personality come out, is a good way to attract the right people that will drive with you but I don’t understand the person is the professional I mean, the person, it’s the same person but you know, when I go to a chamber meeting, it’s very different than when I go out to sushi with my girlfriends, which is very different when I go on a double date with my husband and another couple which is different than when I take my daughter and my grandbaby out to lunch, right. Like there’s it doesn’t make me I’m, I’m not being inauthentic. I just show up differently. Based on the audience I’m with. For example, I’m going to share this right now. I never curse professionally but at home, yeah, like, right or does that make it inauthentic? No. It’s just how I choose to show up in different places. “So personal is about me, professional’s about we” Oh, I love that.
Bob Woods 27:30
I love that, it’s another t-shirt one. This is probably the longest live that we’ve ever done. We’re over a half hour; it’s the longest we’ve ever done. Yes. So if we missed your comment, I apologize but I think that the old clock on the wall, as the old thing says probably is telling us that we should go ahead and wrap this up. So first of all, before I go on to the standard script, this was a fantastic one. We loved all of the comments. We tried to get to comments as much as we can. This one was just a Blitzer comment.
So again, apologize if we missed yours. And thanks again for joining us here on Making Sales Social live. If you’re with us live on LinkedIn right now. Bless you, Youtube, Facebook or Twitter because we go out to all those places too. We go and do this every week. So keep an eye out for our live sessions. Now if you’re listening to us on our podcast, so it’s recorded in other words, and you haven’t subscribed already, just go ahead and subscribe to us. We’d appreciate it. If you want more information about our podcast, go to socialsaleslink.com/podcast Easy as pie to do and remember when you’re out and about always make sure to make your sales social. Excellent. Thank you again, everybody. We really appreciate it.
Hit subscribe now and click the notification bell to get the latest videos from social sales. Give this video a like and comment down below. Register for free resources at LinkedInlibrary.com