The #1 Mistake Businesses Make on LinkedIn

Businesses love LinkedIn, and for obvious reasons. Unlike most social media platforms, LinkedIn embraces them. With the more traditional platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and the like successfully finding one’s place as a business can be challenging because these platforms, by their very nature, prioritize non-commercial content. That isn’t to say that businesses cannot or should not shoulder their way into public eye—successfully doing so is both possible and extremely beneficial—but the fact remains that these platforms are not as welcoming to commercial content as LinkedIn.

Ironically, however, the number one mistake many businesses make when posting on LinkedIn is taking this welcoming attitude for granted. LinkedIn was made for businesses and entrepreneurs, yes, but that does not mean it is wise to treat it like the classified section of a newspaper, with merely self-promotional interests. Promoting one’s own business on LinkedIn, and other social media platforms for that matter, does have its place, but it should not be the only or even primary focus. When approached strategically, LinkedIn can offer businesses a unique opportunity to stand out and be heard.

It is well-known that LinkedIn caters toward commercial audiences, but in order to capitalize on everything the platform has to offer it is helpful to refer to its foundational purpose. According to LinkedIn’s website, their mission is to “connect the world’s professionals to make them more productive and successful”—more productive and successful. Not only does LinkedIn craft their algorithm to further these aims, but most people use the social features of LinkedIn for these very reasons, too. If your business, therefore, is not helping others become more productive and/or successful, then you may need to reevaluate your LinkedIn strategy.

You don’t have to write an industry-related article worthy of the New York Times to provide value to your LinkedIn following (although that’s not a bad idea), but with every post you publish you should aim to provide users with some sort of value, however small. Usually, this value manifests itself as a unique perception towards an issue that your followers care about. A home-run LinkedIn post will make your followers think something along the lines of, “Huh. I’ve never thought it about it that way” or “That’s an interesting way to put that.” In other words, you should always strive to provide people with some sort of insight, and these insights should always tie back in some way to your specific industry.

How you provide these insights is entirely up to you. One effective way to create intriguing content is to creatively pair your text with images or videos. You may not be able to provide unique textual insights each post, but there are infinite ways to tie in your messaging with intriguing visual components. If your post is telling people the importance of standing out from their competition, for example, then ask yourself, “what does ‘standing out’ look like?” then find an image that encapsulates it.

The more you aim to arouse curiosity in LinkedIn users the more successful your page will be. Do not make the mistake of falling into complacency and merely using LinkedIn as a means for self-advertisement. Even though self-advertisement may be the underlying aim of your LinkedIn presence, this aim should not be your means. In other words, if your goal is to elevate your brand presence through LinkedIn, always try to create useful, valuable content for users. Merely promoting your business will only garner so much attention, but providing intriguing and insightful content removes the ceiling for your business’ social media presence.