src=”https://buffer.com/resources/content/images/2023/01/pexels-pixabay-164444–1-.jpg” alt=”How I Got 10,000 Followers on LinkedIn by Being Myself”>
Revel Impact, which is a workplace inclusion consultancy, was founded by me. I knew that LinkedIn would play an important part in my marketing and business development strategies. LinkedIn is an ideal place to meet clients, as it’s a professional platform. LinkedIn had a profound impact on my business growth. I began to be authentic and put myself out there.
It was not a pleasant morning. As I was heading into a coffee shop to begin my work day, a woman began to make some very explicit and threatening remarks about me. This was not unusual–it wasn’t the first or last time it happened to me. But as I tried to work, I couldn’t get the words out of her head.
This morning, one of my tasks was to finish a LinkedIn post. Although I had already written one, I was unsure if I should post about it. It clearly affected my ability to work and was therefore relevant to LinkedIn. But was it too personal for me? Although I had posted about similar topics before, I had never shared anything about my personal life. I didn’t want sympathy so I had to post something that was useful. What would my clients think if they read it?
It was posted. The post started out as a normal post with a few comments and reactions. But within a few hours it had a few thousand responses, more than 500,000 impressions and hundreds of comments.
In the next four months, I plan to increase my LinkedIn followers from 1,000 to 10,000 within the next four months. (As of writing this, I have 14,000 followers and am a LinkedIn Top Voice for 2022. LinkedIn posts account for 90% of my business leads. LinkedIn has helped me secure over 40,000 speaking engagements. About a dozen podcasts have invited me to speak. In a LinkedIn message, I was invited to write for Harvard Business Review. My first article was published recently. LinkedIn even allowed me to reach out to a publisher to ask if I would like to write a book.
How did this all happen?
I am not a marketer or brand strategist. Other than LinkedIn, I don’t use any other social media platforms. My platform was built mainly by me being myself. These are the pillars of my content strategy. They can be as transformative for your business as mine.
Stories that connect to the larger picture are my focus
LinkedIn is a diversity, equity and inclusion consultancy. Our content highlights the importance to be who you are at work, and offers tangible resources and tips for creating workplaces that promote business and personal growth. But, storytelling is more effective than advice that is grounded in facts.
Recently, I wanted to write about stigma surrounding asking for accommodations for disabled people. It would have been easy to just write “give disabled people accommodations”, but that wouldn’t have resonated. My LinkedIn post was focused on one moment in which I was at the airport and used it to illustrate the point I was making. People are more likely to connect with me if they haven’t had the same experience as I do by sharing a story. This post has been viewed 950,000 times. I have received 8 inbound leads, 2500 new followers and 3 requests for speaking on podcasts based on this post.
When brainstorming LinkedIn posts, I pick one trend or point to highlight, and then I find a specific moment that exemplifies it. To be meaningful, it doesn’t need to be life-changing. Consider how you felt before and after you clicked publish. Consider a conversation that you had with the developer. Engage your audience in one moment.
LinkedIn is a professional network, but professionals can also be people. People connect to stories. They will connect with you and see themselves in the moments that you describe. You will get a lot of comments and reactions from them, which will help you gain more traction.
I have my own best practices
LinkedIn is full of “experts” who offer their top tips to get engagement. After following these people for a while, I noticed that many of them are white, neurotypical, cisgender men. LinkedIn posts won’t work well for me autistic, transgender, Jewish, or queer self.
My best strategy for success on LinkedIn was to develop my own best practices. This would allow me to show up consistently and in a way that is more practical for me. These are:
- Two postings per week:LinkedIn rewards users who are consistent, but I knew I couldn’t commit to posting every day. It would be stressful for me to figure out the best posting time. Because it works for me, I now post on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 11:30 AM. Even though it isn’t the best time for me, it works and it’s better than not doing it.
- Engaging in posts in time blocks: The LinkedIn algorithm considers how many engagements your post gets in the first two hours. This determines how much traction it will receive in the following days and weeks. It will get more attention the more people it receives. After reading the post for two hours, I respond to all comments. Then I take a break to rest my introverted, autistic self. I have time blocks that allow me to check LinkedIn and respond to messages and comments within the first two hours.
- Skipping a content schedule for observational note-taking: I have tried to keep an editorial calendar but it is not possible to do so. Instead, I find it easier to keep a track of my observations and notes for LinkedIn. When I am ready to write, my thoughts turn to the point I want to make. I then check my topic buckets and use my notes to create the post.
- Making a post template: To make it easier to create content, I designed my own structure for each one of my posts. The first step is to identify a meaningful moment. Next, I elaborate and give context. Next, I offer resources, tips or suggestions directly calling out my audience (e.g. for people who are navigating disabilities at work, or DEI professionals). The final step is a soft call for action. A simplified structure means that I spend less than two hours per week creating LinkedIn content.
These are my best practices, but they may not work for you. These are the best practices I have found to help me be consistent and produce content that feels right to me. These best practices can be used as a guide for creating your own.
I have rethought what LinkedIn should look like.
As I said, sharing my most intimate or private moments on LinkedIn was nerve-wracking at first. It didn’t feel right that those stories should be shared on this professional network. However, I have come to realize that the notion that there was a strict line between professional and personal lives is false. We brought our whole selves to work every day, but we didn’t talk about it.
My personal experiences have been a strength and not weakness. People hire me because of my story and values. They trust me because they can relate to my story.
It’s possible, I have found, to share your personal experiences while maintaining boundaries. When I write about being transgender, it is often about the obstacles I face, the reactions I get from people, and the resources that I have. It is rarely about my feelings about trans people or about my own experience with transitioning. Because I don’t feel vulnerable, my focus isn’t on me or my need to process. It’s about using my personal experiences and highlighting what people can do at work to support trans communities.
Each person has a different story. Perhaps you are a caregiver, or a parent. Perhaps you were raised in a small community. Perhaps you are the only woman in your team, and have been so for many decades. LinkedIn is the place to share your stories, no matter what they may be. These experiences will influence how you work. Your platform will grow and your business will thrive if you are yourself. It is impossible to be someone else than ourselves, so why not embrace it!
Did you miss our previous article…