Do you ever pause just before hitting the Share button when posting on LinkedIn?
Have you ever wondered if what you're about to post will hurt or improve your personal brand and authority on LinkedIn?
It can be hard to know what are the best kinds of content to post and which you should avoid, especially when the topic is current, relevant and, perhaps, even controversial.
While controversial posts will often get the most engagement and comments, do you really want people to associate that topic or content with you?
You may even be thinking that if you just share the post and don't provide your own opinion or comment that people won't think that you're for or against a particular side. But often just by posting, your connections will make assumption and form an opinion, which may or may not be in your favor.
I am going to show a number of example posts and share why you may or may not want to share these types of posts on LinkedIn. Remember that LinkedIn is very different from Twitter or Facebook, it's a professional network, full of potential prospects who may not share your world view. And by posting in a way that conflicts with their views, you could hurt your ability to connect and build a relationship with them.
When in doubt, the best rule of thumb is to always keep it professional and avoid all negativity.
Here are five types of LinkedIn posts you should avoid sharing as well as four examples that can help your engagement and build your personal brand.
4 Types Of LinkedIn Posts That Can Hurt Your Brand
1. Controversial Posts
As LinkedIn is a professional network full of clients, potential clients, industry peers and other people in professional relationships with you, it's a good idea to avoid topics that tend to polarize people, especially controversial ones with a negative connotation.
This is not because these topics are not important or relevant, but because LinkedIn's not the correct platform for those discussions.
Because these topics do polarize people, it can invoke the age old "you are either with us or against us". In these scenarios, if you fall on opposite sides of your clients or other professional relationships, this can hurt your business and your personal brand.
It's better to avoid posting, or even commenting on, these types of posts altogether.
Here are some examples of LinkedIn status updates with controversial or very negative material:
2. Political or Religious Posts
These are two topics that people feel extremely passionate about. Just like with controversial topics, these types of posts tend to see people join one camp or another, and your connections can take great offense if you believe differently than they do.
Again I would recommend that you avoid posting or commenting on these types of posts.
Here are some examples of politically oriented LinkedIn status updates.
3. Sales Pitch Posts
While LinkedIn is the best platform for B2B, it's most effective when you use it as a platform to build relationships, rather than as a place to broadcast your sales material.
While some businesses can make sales directly on the platform, most will need to build relationships with clients so they can move the relationship to the place where they can have a sales conversation, usually offline.
Any ads and sales pitches in status updates will often be ignored by your connections and can, in some cases, hurt how they see your brand.
Focus on providing value and being the go to resource for your ideal clients, so that when they need someone who does what you do, you're the first person that comes to mind.
Here are some examples of blatant sales related LinkedIn posts.
4. Too Much Personal Information Posts
I'll say it again - LinkedIn is a professional social media platform. It's not Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest or Snapchat.
While you should be social, you can be social AND professional at the same time. That means no cat memes, no posts of what you ate for lunch (unless it's relevant to your profession), no drinking/partying pics and absolutely no negativity.
In the example post below you will see as one commenter points out that the author of the update has given out sensitive information that allows viewers to determine her underage daughter's age, name, city and industry of employment. This is information that she probably did not not intend for the potentially hundreds (or more) strangers in her extended network to see.
4 LinkedIn Posts That Can Help You Stand Out & Improve Engagement
1. Timely & Relevant Posts
There's no better way to create conversation with your connections (helping you to stay top of mind) and increase your engagement than to post on timely and relevant topics in your industry or the professional world in general.
The key is to pick topics that are generally positive in nature and that in some way affect you (and some of your connections).
Here are a couple of status update examples that share a relevant and timely topic that have received a lot of engagement.
2. Conversation Inspiring Posts
While you want to avoid negative, non-business related topics, it can be good to post on topics that can inspire productive debate on important issues in your industry or the business world.
Both the content and how you present it should be thoughtful and inspire productive conversation rather than emotionally heated debates.
Here is an example of a LinkedIn status update that inspired conversation.
3. Professional Wins & Changes Posts
As this is a social network, and you're looking to build relationships with people (which requires them to get to know, like and trust you), you also want to include a personal element in some of your posts.
A great way to occasionally add a bit of yourself into your LinkedIn status updates is to share relevant professional or work related wins and changes.
This could be a new job, a promotion, getting a new client or a lesson learned.
Here are a couple of examples of people sharing a small bit of personal information where their connections can help them celebrate or engage with them in a positive way.
4. Personal Touch Posts
You might be thinking, "but you just said to keep it professional".
And I did.
But very occasionally and done correctly, it can be beneficial to share a little piece of your life outside of your work with your connections.
While both this example and the earlier example with too much personal info have a work related theme (which is ideal), the difference between the examples is that in this one, the author doesn't give away information that could endanger his daughter. The post also leaves you with a great bit of wisdom (which could only come from a small child).
I hope you've found these examples of what not to post and what to post on LinkedIn helpful.
A great way to test if something would make a good update would be to ask yourself, "is this something that I would want posted and associated with me on the front of a large and popular newspaper?" If you still feel passionately about posting something controversial, ask yourself if you're willing to lose customers or potential prospects who might disagree or be offended by your point of view.
While opinions and experiences will vary, these general guides should help you stay on track to maximize your LinkedIn presence.
Have you ever posted something on LinkedIn and received negative backlash from it? Let me know in the comments below.