The rumbling upstairs was unmistakable - I heard stomping, shouting and banging on the floor above my home office. In fact, the whole house shook.
Given what was happening outside, I knew it could only mean one thing - our three boys (ages 14, 11 and 9) were gearing up to go sledding.
Because I've intentionally created and cultivated a business where I get to work from home, I decided, on a whim, to join them outside during a frigid, snow-filled Minneapolis morning.
A few hours later, a nine second video I shared of our outdoor adventure on LinkedIn had racked up nearly 5,000 views and more than 100 likes.
The Power of Moments and Your Personal Brand
I've spent the past 6 years studying what works (and what doesn't) when it comes to LinkedIn and lead generation, and right now what's working incredibly well, for me at least, is sharing slices of unexpected, enjoyable and personal moments with others on the platform.
This short, slo-mo video of my son launching himself off a jump and into the snow and ice is what I shared on LinkedIn.
As noted, the resulting engagement meant nearly 5,000 LinkedIn users saw a glimpse into both my personal life and brand, which showcases two of my biggest passions - work/life balance and family time.
Sharing Yourself on LinkedIn
LinkedIn has long been known as the "professional" social network - one where over 540 million members, in 200 different countries, come daily for industry news, insights, job opportunities, online training, networking and much more.
And, while the vast vajority of the content I create and share on LinkedIn is professionally-themed (tips and training, blog posts, etc.), a small percentage is not.
At least a few times a week I share a photo, story or video related to what's going on in my non-work life - and, more often than not, those posts get far more engagement and views than my "professional" content.
The reason is simple: Human beings want to share life with one another. We crave a sense of community, even online and even in a "professional" setting like LinkedIn.
From a business perspective as well, we want to feel like we "know, like and trust" the people we spend our time and money with.
Building The Bond
Opening a window into your personal life doesn't need to play out like an episode of Oprah or Dr. Phil - it just needs to showcase some of your personality, passion and life away from the office.
The more you do it, the more it attracts the type of client or customer you want to work with - people who enjoy your style of communication and personality or share similar hobbies and interests to you.
Even better, it repels the type of clients who aren't a good fit for your style of communication and business.
More than anything else, sharing these small, personal and real-life "moments" helps people get to know you - and, once people know you, they have a narrative and story which they can attach and remember you by.
For example, I'm the stay-at-home, entrepreneurial dad who took the morning off to go sledding with his wife, dog and three sons - that's a lifestyle my ideal clients (business coaches, consultants and other independently or self-employed professionals) gravitate toward and want for themselves.
Seeing that type of "lifestyle" content from me on LinkedIn reminds my audience that we're on the same trajectory, and that perhaps, on the "professional" side, my online courses on can help them get more of that same lifestyle and personal freedom that we're both striving for.
People Want What You Have
To quote a very successful entrepreneur and online business owner I know well, "To a lot of people, you're this character they see on the Internet." And, as that "character," you get to weave a narrative and tell a story about who you are, what you do and how you help others achieve their goals.
For me, it's about not having had to (willingly) put on a suit and tie since November 4, 2012, when I quit my day job, and working every single day since then at home, on my terms, creating and selling online training courses to professionals around the world.
Was it easy getting here? Of course not. Do I make millions, drive a fancy sports car and throw out phony Facebook Ads offering people instant success and easy income? No, I drive a 2012 Toyota Camry and share the business lessons I've learned.
But the point is simple: I'm sharing my real life in appropriate slices on LinkedIn, and seeing tremendous engagement - and building bonds with people a result.
In fact, I've had multiple new customers and clients in recent months tell me that something I've shared personally (my faith in Jesus Christ, stories about my kids or dog, etc.) have helped them feel like kindred spirits and made them excited to work with me professionally.
You want to do the same thing online - be it via LinkedIn (where that type of content will stand out in the sea of professionally-themed sameness) or any other social network.
You don't necessarily have to shoot cool action videos of your kids catching air on their sleds, but bonus points if you can.