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How to write conversational status updates, posts and content on LinkedIn

Too often people divorce any thinking of real life when they get on LinkedIn, slipping into “social media mode” and suddenly do and write things in ways we would never do in #reallife!

Perhaps if you thought of LinkedIn more like a conversation with someone you know, like a connection (or all of your connections) it might work a lot better for you?

Pause for a moment and think about the posts on LinkedIn that you interact with … they tend to appeal to you on a more personal level, often from people you know in real life and occasionally just generally interesting posts. Now deconstruct that – people you know and interesting … hmm.

So as opposed to writing good content, perhaps we ought to create interesting conversations, in a conversational way – just written down instead. I like to call this conversational content.

Things to think about when creating quality conversational content are:

How you ‘talk’ to people in your post.

Do you lecture them with long (boring?) paragraphs, do you talk down to them or are you talking at them?

If so, you might want to try talking to them as if you were engaged in a two-way conversation (think about how you would talk to somebody you knew if you bumped into them at an event, on a train or buying coffee etc). This is the type of 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?

Look at your style of writing.

Could you improve on this by using spell checker (yup, we’ve all posted something before with spelling mistakes in it!)? If you want a giggle you might enjoy these two blogs here and here.

Maybe you struggle with grammar and the correct context in which to use a word? The internet is always available to check the definition of a word to ensure you are using it in the right context.

Are you using bad language? If so, you might want to stop! Don’t forget that LinkedIn is a business networking site, your clients and future clients might be looking at your post and be put off by the bad language you are using.

Be interesting.

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

Within a week you would actively avoid me, hide my updates or disconnect me as you know what I am going to say and its boring.

If it’s not interesting, you might want to look at how other people write posts and see what engages the most with audiences (although be aware that their style of writing might not necessarily work with your audience or be your style).

Think about those interesting conversations you have each day, those experiences that make you think differently and how you could share those.

Think about others perception of you.

Are you using LinkedIn to bad mouth somebody? Don’t!

Can I remind you that LinkedIn is a business networking site, and using it to vent about someone you work with or have met in a professional capacity will affect your professional reputation, possibly get you into trouble with your employer, and be seen by future potential customers, suppliers and employers.

Are you confusing LinkedIn with Facebook? LinkedIn is not the place to mention your weekend activities such as drink driving, drugs, anti-social behaviour, 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 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 (see 4 above) but also it helps to get your message out again, as all activity is shared to your direct connections and that persons too.

Photographs

Unprofessional photos on LinkedIn are a bad bad thing but if you want some more examples check out this blog of Twelve Profile Photographs I never want to see again (ever).

A picture says a lot about you, it is often the first thing we judge you on in under a second! So perhaps that nice picture of you with the family, having a nice break, sat in a bar or rock climbing would be better off somewhere else. Use a picture of you dressed like when you meet a client instead. After all LinkedIn is just you and most often it is you meeting someone across a desk from their screen or mobile.

Once you have got your conversational content out there, you are engaging with those people that interact with you and you think you’ve ‘cracked it’ just pause.

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

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.



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