Why do I use LinkedIn – and other questions

I’ve been asked to talk about LinkedIn. This isn’t the first time. Most of the talks, I’ve given were about how to use LinkedIn “technically”. Given that LinkedIn has been available for over 15 years and there are many excellent online courses and webinars on how to use LinkedIn features, I suggested a session on “Why do I use LinkedIn?” instead.

From a more personal point of view.

I am planning to talk about my own use of LinkedIn.

Why I am using LinkedIn to build my personal network.

What the perceived added value is for me.

spiral up
Looking up

I think it’s about what works for me, what benefits me.

Sometimes platforms stick. Sometimes they don’t. Who knows, maybe Instagram is a better business platform for you?

to do list
To do list

Why do I use LinkedIn?

Here’s my list:

  1. Recruiting. LinkedIn started out as a recruiting platform. That’s still a large and important part. Example: I actively use LinkedIn to recruit.
  2. Networking. I use LinkedIn to build a net of business connections from my past, present, and future. Providers, external contractors, people I worked with. Example: a contact asked me where to find a UX designer and I shared 3 people that I thought could help her with her search, based on my LinkedIn network. I use the Direct Messaging area for this.
  3. Gathering information. Follow business topics, companies, magazines, and individuals. Example: I actively use LinkedIn to find information about the industry that I am in.
  4. Promoting and distributing information. I use LinkedIn to share info with relevant audiences. Example: A lot of energy is spent on creating content. In today’s world, it doesn’t stop there. Telling people via Paid and Organic that a piece of content exists is equally important as creating and writing the piece in the first place. Distribute everywhere. An Ahref study on 1 billion web pages says approximately 90% of pages do not get any traffic from Google. With a limited paid budget, telling people about the web pages I worked on is 1 way to promote new web pages. Expecting others, that don’t know my employer or my business area, to distribute B2B info, isn’t likely to happen. It starts with me. Raising awareness for the cool projects I work on.
  5. Learning and experimenting. Use LinkedIn to learn what kind of messages and formats work and what doesn’t resonate. Learn how often the organic algorithm shows the message. Which posts it currently prefers. See who interacts with a post. Example: Currently the LinkedIn algorithm favours longer posts with no external links, and a long thread of comments.

LinkedIn has the most accurate database of Job Titles.

Personal benefits:

Networking.

Posting on LinkedIn at regular intervals gets noticed. My LinkedIn activities help me to stand out. Semrush and other social media tools show my activity levels. It’s a way to stay top-of-mind.

Articles that I promote on LinkedIn have a better chance of ranking.

Sharing articles and posting messages gives me ideas on what topics will work.

My knowledge of Organic LinkedIn helps me with my Paid Advertising projects on LinkedIn.

social media decision tree
Social Media decision tree

My recommendations:

Think about your topics and your goal on LinkedIn. Do you want to add new skills? Do you want to learn about a new topic? Do you want to position yourself as an expert? Do research. Follow their streams. Attend their online events. Add useful comments or ask questions.

Don’t be a robot.

Try your own text.

Be personable.

Use your own voice.

Add value. Add comments. Contribute.

Be a human filter for your employer and your areas of expertise.

People buy from people.

fischer netz am rhein
Fishing net along the Rhine river

Words of caution:

Everything you share on LinkedIn is public or might become public. Don’t post about sensitive topics. Avoid referring to client projects or internal processes.

I would stick to business-related topics for the majority of the posts. There are other networks for your hobbies or your holiday plans. My litmus test is: Would I talk about this in a real-life, face-to-face business context?

You will get advertisers and providers trying to sell you stuff via Direct Messaging. It’s inevitable. Depending on your role, you may want to turn down these requests. Or, learn from them. Sending me a message to connect and then following up immediately with a direct sales request will not be successful. And, it’s an example of robotic behaviour.

michiru
The road ahead

Tips:

Use a tool like Buffer.com to schedule posts throughout the week. Free plan allows 10 posts.

Maintain your LinkedIn profile.

Map our your topics.

branches
Branches

Anecdote to remember

I was waiting at a red traffic light on my bicycle. I was the only bicycle waiting. No cars. And the red light phase was quite long.

After some time, another cyclist stopped next to me and immediately the traffic robot switched to green.

I joked out loud: “You saved my day. Without you I would have to stand there all day waiting for the light to change”. I explained my hypothesis that there are sensors that determine when traffic lights switch.

The lady answered. “You’re the third person I saved today.” Turns out she is a train conductor for Deutsche Bahn. Two passengers had a 1st class ticket but were travelling 1 day earlier than their train ticket. Instead of charging a fine, she let goodwill prevail.

cycling

Jog log

Dear blog,

I am happy to report that I went running on 5 out of 7 days this past week.

The plan is to replace my daily outdoor swim with a slow jog.

Today I did the 2 hills tour. Starting at Bettingerstrasse, running along the Wiese river, via Sonnenhalde and Wenkenpark. More than 6 km long.

I will try to do the same again this week.

My goal at the moment is to run easy.

IMG_20201003_150629
Run easy

Favourite podcasts

The Hidden Brain by NPR:
https://www.npr.org/podcasts/510308/hidden-brain?t=1594925472583

I listened to this one all about debt:
https://www.npr.org/2020/06/15/877401074/buy-borrow-steal-how-debt-became-the-sugar-rush-solution-to-our-economic-woes

This episode all about scarcity was particularly impressive: https://www.npr.org/2019/08/05/748207152/you-2-0-tunnel-vision

podcast time

Ted Radio Hour by NPR:
https://www.npr.org/podcasts/510298/ted-radio-hour

About loneliness: https://www.npr.org/2020/07/01/886292087/listen-again-meditations-on-loneliness

How I built this by NPR:
https://www.npr.org/podcasts/510313/how-i-built-this

How Ben and Jerry Ice Cream was founded: https://www.npr.org/2020/03/20/818918341/ben-jerrys-ben-cohen-and-jerry-greenfield

The Story behind Recaptcha: https://www.npr.org/2020/05/22/860884062/recaptcha-and-duolingo-luis-von-ahn

ARD Radio Tatort (crime fiction in German):
https://beta.ardaudiothek.de/ard-radio-tatort/1998988

L’Italiano Vero:
https://www.litalianovero.it/wp/

The only language learning podcast that I like listening to.

Social Objects and how they help me to connect

In a recent offline conversation, I dropped a comment:

That’s my common social object with so-and-so.

Me in an informal conversation

I realized how much this old blog post from the beginnings of blogging has influenced me.

My observation: If I find a common social object, it helps me re-connect. If I find a common topic, sport, technology, political view, geographic place, hobby, shared past experiences, the depth of interactions changes.

Sounds obvious.

As 2020 has changed many social interactions, routines, and aspects. I am curious to see what will return and in which way.

2020 is a catalyst for changes that started happening already.

inner courtyard

I am curious how work will evolve. Language change is an indicator of societal change. I attended a meeting on Friday where one participant said to another:

I Slack-ed you.

ironically on a Teams call

The tools may change. But, the trajectory will probably remain the same.

Note to myself: My blogger skills are very useful.

roses
Photography is a social object

Keyword research in 2020: a brief answer

I received this question recently:

If I create content for our company (articles for magazines, social media posts, etc), do I need to try to use KEYWORDS within the text as much as possible? And if yes, is there an online tool / website to check how well I did my job before I publish it?

Here’s my answer:

  • Brainstorm and research as much as you can about your topic.
  • Ask your sales managers how they describe the service when they talk to people on the phone; write down all the phrases they mention.
  • Jot down all the phrases and questions you think people will enter into a search engine for your topic.
  • Check the monthly search volume of your phrases using a tool such as SEMRush or Searchmetrics or Ahrefs. Or use free SEO research tools.
  • Check search intent by entering the keyphrase into Google. Analyze the results you see:
    • Are you seeing some of your competitors? That’s good. You are in the right space.
    • Are you seeing dictionary or encyclopedia or university links? That’s not good, if you are a commercial company.
    • Look at the Google results and try to understand the search intent.
  • Map out the structure and SEO elements of your article.
    • Outline the topic you want to target.
    • Write a draft meta page title and meta description.
    • Write a draft Heading 1 (H1).
    • List out the questions you want to answer in your article.
      • Questions are typically Heading 2s (H2).
      • Answers are a paragraph or a bullet list.
    • List out the keyphrases you want to target in the body text.
    • List articles that you want to use as inspiration for your SEO writing process.
      • Avoid copy and paste. Google is not dumb and can find out if you copy and pasted from another site.
    • Review SEO research before starting to write.
    • Start SEO copywriting process and include all SEO elements.
      • Include main keyphrase in your meta title tag, meta description, H1, add complementary keyphrases in H2s and body of the text, add alt texts for your images.
  • There are several tools that you can use to check the keyword distribution and density in your article. I’ve used Ryte.com, Moz, and there’s a new AI tool called MarketMuse that I am testing.
  • Important: Write for humans. Make the article useful. Think about the phrases people will use to find this article.
  • Track traffic and keyphrases in a tool like SEMRush or SearchMetrics or Ahrefs or Ryte.com or similar. There’s quite a choice.

Hope you find this list useful.

think make check
Continuous Improvement

Baking Banana Bread

3 mushy bananas means… It’s time for Banana Bread.

Today’s variation:

  • I used whole wheat flour
  • I added 150 grams of plain joghurt
  • I added lots of walnuts (omega 3 for the win)
  • I added nutmeg, kambuzi sauce, and vanilla sugar for taste

It’s in the oven, baking at a low heat.

When you have over 20 thousand photos on Flickr…

I’ve been on Flickr for over a decade.

And I have over 20 thousand photos.

Imagine.

I didn’t think this is possible.

Memories. Snapshots. Visual notes.

The primary beneficiary is… me.

I love browsing thru my photos.

I love seeing old snapshots emerge in the Flickr stats or in old links or chats.

I realize Flickr might be dying. I hope not. I hope the new owners find a sustainable business model soon. And ways to innovate.

sunset thru the curtain

Cyclists, beware of tram tracks. Dangerous spot on Elisabethenstrasse in Basel

I witnessed a motorbike crash this morning while cycling to work.

I was cycling up Elisabethenstrasse when I heard a loud crash.

A motorbiker had crashed on the other side of the street. At a place where the tram tracks and street don’t leave much space for cyclists and motorbikes.

At exactly the same spot which I’ve previously identified as being dangerous.

Not so long ago, the pavement at the tram stop was increased in height so that now the tram doors open at pavement level.

This means the curb is much higher and steeper.

At the same time, the space between curb and tram track is narrower than before and after the tram stop.

Which means on rainy days, you can easily slip on the wet and slippery tram tracks.

Dangerous.

I usually move to the middle of the tracks, away from the curb.

I think I will cycle a different route. Especially on rainy days.

Life is precious. Cycle safely.

As you can tell i am shocked.

Content distribution strategies on my mind

Brian Dean’s recent study confirmed what many Digital Marketing folks know intuitively.

(…) Brian Dean recently found that 94% of all content generates zero backlinks. And just 1.3% of articles gobble up 75% of all social shares.

Source: Brafton

It’s 2020 and we’ve have been pumping out content for many years.

Algorithms influence distribution.

How do you earn backlinks for your content?

As shown in the above article, the cost of content creation is increasing.

Distribution strategies matter.

schienen
Train tracks

I liked this tweet:

Well, maybe not Medium… Their technical SEO is broken. I personally think WordPress is still a good option.

The tweet conveys the importance. You need to increase visibility. You must find ways to connect.

Where's the zoo?
Bus and tram network

Consider distribution strategies early, ideally when you are planning and creating the content:

  • What keyphrases and questions will help this article to rank well in the SERPs?
  • Did you look closely at the search intent?
  • Always share the link on your social media properties (Organic Social).
  • Can you spend some money on Paid Search and Paid Social to promote the content to your target audience?
  • Can you add a podcast on the topic?
  • Are you planning a video?
  • Maybe, you could offer a webinar and share the slides and the recording?
  • Brainstorm for ideas: How can you earn backlinks on high-quality sites?
  • Build a simple newsletter and share new content with subscribers at regular intervals.
  • Consider contacting journalists and getting relevant publications to write about you.
  • Inform your sales team of new content. Encourage them to send out direct links to relevant content.
sbb train station
Velo courier at Basel’s main train station

Photowalk

I went photo-walking with the Basel Photography Meetup on Saturday. The theme was #Openings.

#opening

On my way into town, I saw this yellow monster. Nothing open about it. And very noisy.

loud machinery

I like this snapshot of openings within a gate:

#opening

This snapshot of some openings in this construction site scaffolding fits my likeable criteria equally well:

#opening

An enjoyable photo-walk thru Basel.

water fountain