This Isn’t Facebook? The Arguments For And Against Getting Personal On LinkedIn

Lately, it can seem like it’s difficult to move on LinkedIn without seeing someone’s new baby announcement. Though many people share in the delight of happy news, a lot of these posts have been met with the comment ‘This isn’t Facebook’ – but content of this nature is only on the rise.

Like many aspects of our lives, one of the biggest reasons behind the shift in our approach to LinkedIn could be – unsurprisingly – the global pandemic. Both during and in the wake of COVID-19, people all over the world experienced a change, not just in where they worked – but how they worked, too.

All things considered, it’s easy to see why there’s been a move towards a more casual atmosphere – a look behind the curtain, if you will. But just how personal is too personal? And where do we draw the line?

Leave it at home?

The ever-evolving social media landscape – paired with the increased pressure to build a ‘personal brand’ rather than a business one – can make it seem like resorting to sharing the ups and downs of your personal life is one of the easiest ways to boost your posts’ popularity.

But just because something is the easier option doesn’t always mean it’s the right one. If you’re keen to grow your online presence as a brand while maintaining professionalism, there are tons of great alternatives to reach for before the Kleenex.

For instance, what are your business values? LinkedIn is a platform designed for networking with like-minded professionals, after all. Before sharing your thoughts, bear in mind your audience and ensure your tone of voice matches your company’s. Sharing considered, branded content like this adds consistency and credibility to your profile.

Another great way to increase your LinkedIn popularity is by leading conversations. What’s happening in your industry right now? Do you have something to say about it? Will your followers be engaged? Will your post attract new followers? How can you keep the discussion going? Remember, you aren’t blasting your latest personal achievement to your 400 Facebook friends, but creating insightful, industry-specific content for professional purposes. 

The benefits of getting personal

Typically, on LinkedIn, a user is defined by their profession, with a top line in their bio, and a list of previous positions in their profile. But people buy from people, so does it not make sense to include the other aspects of our lives that make us who we are? For instance – a parent, a survivor, or a carer.

Our Director, Kelly, recently went viral on LinkedIn with a personal post detailing her decision to quit drinking. The post amassed more than one million views, thousands of likes, and hundreds of new followers, connection requests, comments, and direct messages – as well as six leads from prospective clients.

Kelly wasn’t looking to go viral when she wrote her post, but it goes without saying that the content generated so much engagement because of its personal nature. The majority of commenters said Kelly’s thoughts had resonated with them; they shared their own experiences, and even offered book recommendations. 

Interestingly, one person related Kelly’s post directly to working in the advertising space – explaining how the friendly office environment influenced a ‘work hard, play harder’ attitude towards his career.

This is a prime example of how getting personal pays off. We’re pretty certain a post about MYC’s services wouldn’t have gone viral, but Kelly successfully put a face to the MYC brand, and it was one that people could relate to. In this sense, it’s refreshing to have real conversations with real people in a professional setting.

Finding your balance

You could say that LinkedIn initially evolved to be too formal. For instance, we’ve all seen people commenting on colleagues’ posts with phrases like ‘I hope you are well’, and ‘So glad we could connect’ (there’s a TikTok for that, obviously). These exchanges seem a little stuffy for people you work with day in, day out, surely?

In terms of finding the perfect balance between the personal and professional, it’s safe to say that there’s no precise ratio. One thing that is worth considering, though, is that since LinkedIn is predominantly a professional sphere, it makes sense to approach personal posts with the idea that your content should relate to the professional to an extent. That way, work-related news and insights won’t be lost in a sea of personal posts which do belong on platforms more commonly designed for family and friends – such as Facebook. 

Need help finding your balance? Drop us a line.

Words by Kelly


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