Everyone hates LinkedIn. Okay. That's a bit too much. A more accurate statement would be a lot of people in my network hate how awful and cringey LinkedIn has become.
But it's not just another Facebook so we're not about to cancel the app and delete from our phones. There are still important connections to be made and visibility on this platform is essential for B2B businesses.
I’ve seen a lot of people complain about the repetitive motivational posts, broetry and plagiarism. But what I’ve not seen is how to cleanse one’s LinkedIn feed and make it readable again.
Stop connecting with everyone
My goal when I started was to have the most connections. I sent requests to everyone until I got to a thousand and I commented on those "let's connect" threads (what was I thinking?). What I gained in return was a mishmash of people who were not particularly useful to my career. Their posts were not helpful, some were outright copies of viral posts and those annoying HR people kept reposting stuff!
Numbers are a drug on social media. Depending on how you use them, they can give you the boost you need or they can plain out kill you.
So be deliberate with who you connect with. Ask yourself, how can I help this person and how can this person help me. I know this sounds selfish but unless you joined LinkedIn to make more friends and not to grow your career or enrich your knowledge of things it doesn't make sense to connect with everyone. Yes, through LinkedIn I've built friendships and found new and intriguing people. But these people are not random picks.
You might also need to go on a cleansing mission. When you come across a post you don't want to see or don't gain anything from, head over to the person's profile and hit the "Remove connection" option. Problem solved.
Have a goal
What did you get on LinkedIn for?
To get a job? To find prospects? To expand your company's reach?
Align your goals with your activity. For example as a writer, I joined LinkedIn to keep an eye out for new clients, to connect with other writers and to raise awareness about my services.
So when I go online I focus on finding people who need my services, sharing my articles, and replying to posts from other writers that interest me. This significantly reduced the time I spent on the app from when I started. But at least I get to use the extra time to run my actual business. Social media marketing is great but the common trap is to use all your time to gain likes and influence and not do the damn thing you got on it to do.
Check out potential connections activity
Just before you push the connect button, pause. Scroll down to the "Activity" section and check out what the person has been up to.
- Potential red flags to look out for
- Sharing or liking HR viral posts
- Plagiarising viral posts
- Posting impractical content
- Lots of "thanks for sharing" comments
If they share or like things like this, it will water down your feed.
Also, most people who say "thanks for sharing a lot of times" don't have an opinion of their own, they aim to be visible and their comments add no value. (Trust me I used to be this person).
Look for people who come up with original insights and are not trying to sell themselves (we're all trying to but it doesn't have to be so obvious). Connect with people who have a mind of their own and can disagree or further a point with actual words.
No one needs your thought leadership posts
This final point is about you. Don't contribute to the pool of cringeworthy posts on LinkedIn (we've enough already).
There's pressure to always share what you know so that you can be perceived as an expert. And let's face it not all of us are experts. If you're just starting you can gain more from asking questions and sharing the new things you learn. It's better than plagiarizing every viral post.
Being genuine and real is more important than posting every day. When you share something, ask yourself, "Will this help my audience?" If all the post does is amplify your ego, please press “Delete”
Here's why I am all for curating the content you see on LinkedIn. Social media apps will never be perfect. Even the professional ones. The people who use the apps make it what it is. So there'll always be fake advice from CEOs without kids, you just don't have to see it.