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Why the 'LinkedIn Only' Strategy for Professionals is a Mistake

Clearview social team backcountry skiing 

When our new account executive Rich was in high school, he was pretty fed up with the long lines at ski resorts and how quickly the new snow got "skied out" after a big storm.

Then one day as he was getting in line for the ski lift, he looked across the canyon at the other side of the mountain, where two backcountry skiers were hiking their way up to a run of completely untouched chest-high powder.

Every skier's dream! He realized at that moment that he wouldn’t be able to get the best experience possible by following the crowd.

For the past few years there has been a growing refrain among professionals:
"LinkedIn is the only social network we focus on."
Or: "We only use LinkedIn because that's where our buyers are."
Or: "LinkedIn is the only serious social network."

Don’t get me wrong: LinkedIn is fine, but it is also the busy ski resort where it is very difficult to get attention. The data seems to back this up as well.

Take social sharing for example: According to our research at Clearview Social, having executed and analyzed over 4 million shared links, we have found that the average share to LinkedIn only gets 2 clicks per share. Have you ever watched a movie alone at the movie theater? Kind of depressing, right? That's most shares to LinkedIn.

Have you ever wondered why no one seems to interact with your posts on LinkedIn? It’s because LinkedIn deliberately hides your shares from most of your connections. That's right, even the people who have connected with you will likely not see your content when it is shared.

LinkedIn decides which content to share to whom based on what you have clicked on in the past. Notice that on the top of the share page you see "Top" as the default. This basically means they are sharing what they want you to see.

The biggest misconception that I hear is this, "the people I want to meet are on LinkedIn, not on Facebook/Twitter/Instagram." This is misguided for two reasons: First, the people you may want to meet may have LinkedIn accounts, but that doesn't mean they are trolling LinkedIn for content.

The data shows that the vast majority of buyers don't spend tons of time on LinkedIn reading content. The average LinkedIn user spends 17 minutes on the site per month. (Wordstream, 2018)

 LinkedIn-Monthly-Usage (1)

Second, traffic to LinkedIn just doesn't match that of other more popular social networks. LinkedIn has 1/30th of the traffic that Facebook does and less than 1/10th of what Twitter has. Why?

Because these sites are better at providing more relevant content than LinkedIn. Twitter and Facebook are both arguably much better sites for professionals because the traffic is far greater and there is less competition.

While all the professionals are fighting for attention in a crowded marketplace on LinkedIn, the savvy professionals who have a winning strategy on Facebook or Twitter have a vast marketplace to themselves.

I'm not trying to get anybody to ditch LinkedIn- it is still necessary. Just don't use it exclusively or you could be missing out on an opportunity to stand out from the crowd.

When Rich ditched the ski resort to ski fresh powder, he was going his own way and taking a chance, but it has all been worth it. Now he can access fresh powder every time it snows. Find your fresh powder- break out of the LinkedIn-only mold.

Adrian Dayton is the Founder of Clearview Social, a sharing platform used by more than 30,000 professionals and hundreds of firms to get their employees sharing content to LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook. He is also the author of the book Social media for Lawyers and the co-author of the book LinkedIn and Blogs for Lawyers. For a copy of his latest strategy guide: 9 Ways to Get Your Employees Sharing, go to http://clearviewsocial.com

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