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Figuring Out LinkedIn

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Andy Black

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I've had a few chats with business mentors in the past few days (all subsidised by the Irish government so check if there are similar programmes in your country and make the most of the opportunity).

One of my tasks this month is to get more active on LinkedIn by dripping out content and staying top of mind.

The last few years I've avoid LinkedIn because of all the inbox spam. I think I have some LinkedIn threads in here already but will start this one anew.

FWIW, I currently have 11,347 connections. That’s a bit high and untargeted I think, but over the years I accepted all connection requests because I didn’t want to spend time reviewing them.



1) If we're not connected then feel free to reach out and connect.



2) I've decided I'll post a meme a day with favourite business quotes or thoughts. I like that it will be an image and that I won't have room for many words.

I just posted this one to LinkedIn (and my Facebook page):

32782
 
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I've had a few chats with business mentors in the past few days (all subsidised by the Irish government so check if there are similar programmes in your country and make the most of the opportunity).

One of my tasks is to get more active on LinkedIn by dripping out content and staying top of mind.

The last few years I've avoid LinkedIn because of all the inbox spam. I think I have some LinkedIn threads in here already but will start this one anew.

FWIW, I currently have 11,347 connections. I accept all connection requests because I don't want to spend time reviewing them.



1) If we're not connected then feel free to reach out and connect.


2) If I've helped you in any way then I'd really appreciate a testimonial:


3) I've decided I'll post a meme a day with favourite business quotes or thoughts. I like that it will be an image and that I won't have room for many words.

I just posted this one to LinkedIn (and my Facebook page):

View attachment 32782
Hey @Andy Black

What do you think about video content on LinkedIn?
I`ve been trying to convince my spouses` cousin, who is a real estate broker, to post some video reviews of properties he`s currently trying to sell.
The idea is I`ll film and pay for editing, he`ll showcase the property in his expert salesy way.
So far he`s unconvinced that posting such things on LinkedIn will help him sell easier.
What do you think?
 

Andy Black

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Hey @Andy Black

What do you think about video content on LinkedIn?
I`ve been trying to convince my spouses` cousin, who is a real estate broker, to post some video reviews of properties he`s currently trying to sell.
The idea is I`ll film and pay for editing, he`ll showcase the property in his expert salesy way.
So far he`s unconvinced that posting such things on LinkedIn will help him sell easier.
What do you think?
Try it!

I'm going to see how short videos do soon.

I envision the videos being as simple as images with animated text where it might have background music and may or may not have a voiceover. We're using Lumen5 to create these sort of videos.

I also have a copy of Doodly for animating favourite quotes (as I did here: EXECUTION - Creating whiteboard videos)

I don’t plan on doing any talking head videos, but who knows.
 

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BlindSide

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Love LinkedIn. In my day job at B2B sales, I've been working on building my "personal brand" on there, and I've uncovered a few great tactics for starting conversations with prospects. My favorite is personalized, 45-60 second videos delivered to their inbox. You can only do this on your phone, and it has to be with a 1st degree connection.

You stand out for sure.
 

Andy Black

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Aha. I've just figured out that if you upload a Gif as a photo to a post on LinkedIn then it shows the animation, but it doesn’t show up with with the controls a video does.

I was kinda wondering why I was posting to LinkedIn when I was chatting to a business mentor this morning. He said he'd seen my latest "animated quote" when he scanned his LinkedIn feed earlier. He hadn't engaged but he noticed it. He likened it to him walking around Dublin and a business owner seeing him walking past and then thinking "Oh there's Frank. I've not seen him for ages."

I'll keep posting to LinkedIn and my Facebook page because it's a nice way to force me to upload content somewhere. I can get a copywriter or VA to collect them all later and maybe do something with them.
 
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Andy Black

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Thanks to everyone connecting on LinkedIn and sending me a wee message letting me know you’re from the forum. They’re the highlight of my day on LinkedIn, and make checking my inbox tolerable.

Also... people are now connecting to follow my progress. Dayum, no pressure!
 

Andy Black

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It’s interesting.

I wanted to post to LinkedIn and my Facebook page from my phone and couldn’t create a graphic easily. So I just posted the thought.

Those posts seem to be doing waaay better in terms of engagement and likes than the little videos I was posting.

So doing the natural and easier way seems to get a better result? Who’d have thought...
 

Andy Black

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Sigh. I took owner and founder out of my LinkedIn profile summary, and replaced it with "Dad, husband, entrepreneur". Now I'm getting copy/paste messages from "dadpreneurs" and other people targeting those with "Dad" in their summary.

I applaud people hustling and getting out there. But please stop with the copy/paste messages.
 
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Andy Black

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Just off a really good Zoom chat with a consulting prospect.

They had been referred to me from someone in a company I ran Google Ads for about 10 years ago.

They mentioned how much they really liked my little story in my profile:

1613132056114.png
 

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Tom H.

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I've gotten into LinkedIn a bit over the past year. One of my inspirations was this thread by Andy: HOT TOPIC - 10+ Years IT Contracting at €300-900/day (Learnings).

So I'll share my experience and my thoughts about what I'll do in the future. Maybe it's not all completely relevant to "figuring out LinkedIn", because I can't claim that I've done that, but I'll share what trying to figure out LinkedIn led to.

The Dream
I am on LinkedIn looking for contract work, since my Fastlane strategy is to earn money and spend that money on businesses, rather than working in my businesses directly. The platform might actually be better for other purposes, like sales and marketing, but anyway, I am selling and marketing my professional services as a software engineer. I'm not super aggressive on LinkedIn because I have a reliable, full-time contract, but I have my eye out for quality side-jobs.

My initial idea with LinkedIn was that I could share content to the kinds of people that would want to hire me, maybe get them on an email list, and build up a pool of potential clients waiting for me to have availability. I'm not sure how realistic this is, it might be a good long-term play, but there are easier/faster ways to get contracts.

The Recruiters
As a job-seeker, LinkedIn makes me visible to recruiters. To become more visible, I followed some advice I saw in a thread on Hacker News, and created a post with a bunch of buzzword-y hashtags linking to a technical article I wrote, which demoed a re-purposed, re-skinned version of something I had done for my day job. The idea is that recruiters are following these hashtags, so you'll be more visible. I don't know who looked at my post, but I know the only people to "like" it were in my current company, including my CEO. People who I don't exactly want observing me on the job search.

Many of the inbound requests on LinkedIn came from people searching for engineers in Costa Rica, which is unfortunate because I'm actually a high-priced American engineer who happens to live here, I'm not the cheap labor these people are looking for.

As I got serious about being on LinkedIn, I implemented two things that seem to have helped me a lot: I created a professional homepage (www.tomhyndman.com ), and I wrote a real resume.

These two resources have helped so much because they give me a foundation for pitching myself. When someone has a question about my skills, it's a lot more authoritative to link them to a post on my website demonstrating my experience. I've always hated resumes, but I think it's helped a lot for people to have that PDF on their computer, giving them the basic facts they need about my professional capabilities.

With the idea that the main thing I'd get out of LinkedIn is exposure to recruiters, I can also just upload my resume to Monster.com. Of course, now I am spammed by recruiters.

I did find one recruiter, who messaged me on LinkedIn (must've been that post with the hashtags), that I enjoyed working with. He told me about a bunch of opportunities, had me take a Python test, which I balked at, but I did it and he was impressed with the score, and I connected him with a former employer, who he interviewed. This recruiter can't wait to get me hired, he has all kinds of high-paying jobs that he knows I can get, but the problem is all of these positions are W2 only. That's no good, I only work on 1099 and I won't compromise on that.

He can get me jobs via 1099 if I setup an LLC, get insurance and do a bunch of paperwork. I'm considering it.

The W2
It turns out that basically every job that recruiters have is W2 only.

If a company in the United States wants to hire on contract, it seems like they go to Upwork or TopTal, or maybe Turing.com (I'm not sure how Turing.com works, I started signing up, but they gave me the impression that the jobs don't pay enough). I didn't want to have to troll through Upwork looking for side jobs, that's why I was interested in LinkedIn in the first place. But thanks to the homepage and the resume, applying to jobs on Upwork is super easy and according to the Upwork I am in the top percentage for how often I get hired.

So LinkedIn hasn't worked for me yet, but trying to make it work did make me more successful on other platforms.

The Future
Job hunting or not, I am still interested in professional networking. Even if I have enough money that I don't need to work, I think I will still want to have some kind of career.

As far as getting a job via networking, I think I will turn my sights to Github. I really enjoy the interactions I've had with people on Github. Having someone send a pull request to one of my projects feels really good. My networking plan for Github would be to find projects/people/companies I'm interested in and contribute to their code. The barrier to entry is higher and the impact I have on them is bigger.

I think niche pl enough). I didn't n audience on LinkedIn or Twitter or Facebook... but wouldn't you rather be talking with people on FLF? Or in a niche IRC channel or Discord?

I'm sure there are plenty of people today getting their start on this forum, the same way I got my start on WickedFire back in the day (I hate to admit it in public, but WF circa 2007 deserves some props).

Inbound vs Outbound
I'm thinking that I want to be more pro-active in who I network with. I don't want to be limited to jobs posted on job boards, and I don't want to be limited to who finds and reads my content. What I'd like to do is intentionally identify the kinds of people I want to network with and start building meaningful relationships.

One good example I have of this is about a year ago I contacted a YouTuber who I like. They publish really nice PDFs with good content, but I like to read on Kindle, so I asked them if I could help turn the PDFs into EPUBs, since I have experience with EPUB from Illustrated Chess. This turned into many nice email exchanges with someone whose professional success I respect, and I feel like it is a contact with some durability. Either of us could email the other right now and we know each other, and are willing and happy to help each other out. We worked on something together and became valuable to each other.

I want to build up a lot more contacts like that, whether it happens on LinkedIn or Github or FLF or wherever!
 

Andy Black

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I've gotten into LinkedIn a bit over the past year. One of my inspirations was this thread by Andy: HOT TOPIC - 10+ Years IT Contracting at €300-900/day (Learnings).

So I'll share my experience and my thoughts about what I'll do in the future. Maybe it's not all completely relevant to "figuring out LinkedIn", because I can't claim that I've done that, but I'll share what trying to figure out LinkedIn led to.

The Dream
I am on LinkedIn looking for contract work, since my Fastlane strategy is to earn money and spend that money on businesses, rather than working in my businesses directly. The platform might actually be better for other purposes, like sales and marketing, but anyway, I am selling and marketing my professional services as a software engineer. I'm not super aggressive on LinkedIn because I have a reliable, full-time contract, but I have my eye out for quality side-jobs.

My initial idea with LinkedIn was that I could share content to the kinds of people that would want to hire me, maybe get them on an email list, and build up a pool of potential clients waiting for me to have availability. I'm not sure how realistic this is, it might be a good long-term play, but there are easier/faster ways to get contracts.

The Recruiters
As a job-seeker, LinkedIn makes me visible to recruiters. To become more visible, I followed some advice I saw in a thread on Hacker News, and created a post with a bunch of buzzword-y hashtags linking to a technical article I wrote, which demoed a re-purposed, re-skinned version of something I had done for my day job. The idea is that recruiters are following these hashtags, so you'll be more visible. I don't know who looked at my post, but I know the only people to "like" it were in my current company, including my CEO. People who I don't exactly want observing me on the job search.

Many of the inbound requests on LinkedIn came from people searching for engineers in Costa Rica, which is unfortunate because I'm actually a high-priced American engineer who happens to live here, I'm not the cheap labor these people are looking for.

As I got serious about being on LinkedIn, I implemented two things that seem to have helped me a lot: I created a professional homepage (www.tomhyndman.com ), and I wrote a real resume.

These two resources have helped so much because they give me a foundation for pitching myself. When someone has a question about my skills, it's a lot more authoritative to link them to a post on my website demonstrating my experience. I've always hated resumes, but I think it's helped a lot for people to have that PDF on their computer, giving them the basic facts they need about my professional capabilities.

With the idea that the main thing I'd get out of LinkedIn is exposure to recruiters, I can also just upload my resume to Monster.com. Of course, now I am spammed by recruiters.

I did find one recruiter, who messaged me on LinkedIn (must've been that post with the hashtags), that I enjoyed working with. He told me about a bunch of opportunities, had me take a Python test, which I balked at, but I did it and he was impressed with the score, and I connected him with a former employer, who he interviewed. This recruiter can't wait to get me hired, he has all kinds of high-paying jobs that he knows I can get, but the problem is all of these positions are W2 only. That's no good, I only work on 1099 and I won't compromise on that.

He can get me jobs via 1099 if I setup an LLC, get insurance and do a bunch of paperwork. I'm considering it.

The W2
It turns out that basically every job that recruiters have is W2 only.

If a company in the United States wants to hire on contract, it seems like they go to Upwork or TopTal, or maybe Turing.com (I'm not sure how Turing.com works, I started signing up, but they gave me the impression that the jobs don't pay enough). I didn't want to have to troll through Upwork looking for side jobs, that's why I was interested in LinkedIn in the first place. But thanks to the homepage and the resume, applying to jobs on Upwork is super easy and according to the Upwork I am in the top percentage for how often I get hired.

So LinkedIn hasn't worked for me yet, but trying to make it work did make me more successful on other platforms.

The Future
Job hunting or not, I am still interested in professional networking. Even if I have enough money that I don't need to work, I think I will still want to have some kind of career.

As far as getting a job via networking, I think I will turn my sights to Github. I really enjoy the interactions I've had with people on Github. Having someone send a pull request to one of my projects feels really good. My networking plan for Github would be to find projects/people/companies I'm interested in and contribute to their code. The barrier to entry is higher and the impact I have on them is bigger.

I think niche pl enough). I didn't n audience on LinkedIn or Twitter or Facebook... but wouldn't you rather be talking with people on FLF? Or in a niche IRC channel or Discord?

I'm sure there are plenty of people today getting their start on this forum, the same way I got my start on WickedFire back in the day (I hate to admit it in public, but WF circa 2007 deserves some props).

Inbound vs Outbound
I'm thinking that I want to be more pro-active in who I network with. I don't want to be limited to jobs posted on job boards, and I don't want to be limited to who finds and reads my content. What I'd like to do is intentionally identify the kinds of people I want to network with and start building meaningful relationships.

One good example I have of this is about a year ago I contacted a YouTuber who I like. They publish really nice PDFs with good content, but I like to read on Kindle, so I asked them if I could help turn the PDFs into EPUBs, since I have experience with EPUB from Illustrated Chess. This turned into many nice email exchanges with someone whose professional success I respect, and I feel like it is a contact with some durability. Either of us could email the other right now and we know each other, and are willing and happy to help each other out. We worked on something together and became valuable to each other.

I want to build up a lot more contacts like that, whether it happens on LinkedIn or Github or FLF or wherever!
Thanks for this write up. As per that thread you linked to, I mostly scoured job boards for contracts when my current one was finishing up. It wasn't to get the particular contracts advertised, it was just to speak to agents who had the type of contracts I did. Once I'd spoke to them I knew my CV was top of the pile for when another contract came in.
 

Andy Black

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Someone from a university in Florida reached out to discuss me joining the Advisory Panel for one of their Digital Marketing Programs.

I reminded me to work on my profile a bit.

I created company AndyBlack.net that I could then work for, managing to snag this URL: linkedin(.)com/company/andyblack

I made my mug the company logo.

LinkedIn profile - large.png
 
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Andy Black

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This week I simultaneously posted a few times to Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook.

Twitter was tumbleweeds and Facebook was mostly personal friends reacting.


Things I noticed about LinkedIn:

1) Less inbox spam than I’m used to seeing, and what deterred me from even logging in previously.

2) Each post had about a dozen Likes, and a few by agency owners who have whitelabelled us.

3) Most posts I see in the feed are that horribly inauthentic self-congratulation back-patting. You know the type… “I’m delighted to announce we’re thrilled to have been nominated for the blah blah … zzzz.”


In all my time on these platforms I’ve had decent clients come via LinkedIn but none through Twitter, Facebook, or YouTube.

I think I could post daily to LinkedIn, and do a mixture of text posts, image/meme posts, and maybe some short videos with subtitles (that aren’t talking head videos).


Questions for myself:
  1. What posts attract my ideal client?
  2. If I had to post Mon-Fri on LinkedIn then what would I post?
 

Andy Black

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Scrolling through my post history and these are the four posts with the most impressions, comments, and Likes.

Observations:
  • Pretty poor engagement considering I've 11k+ connections/followers.
  • When you ask for replies you can often get them. Comments likely increases impressions.
  • No shares for any of the posts. I wonder how big a deal it is to get people sharing? I suspect sharing is how a post would go viral. People often share things if it makes them look good, smart, funny, etc.

Post 1
  • 34 comments because I asked people to reply (and I replied to every reply).
  • By far the most impressions I've ever had on a post.
LI Post - 20 likes.png

Post 2
  • More Likes than Post 1, but it didn't get any comments.
LI Post - 23 likes.png

Post 3
  • No comments again.
  • No shares either.
LI Post - 16 likes.png

Post 4
  • A very simple post, but personalised.
LI Post - 13 likes.png
 

Miketing

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I feel like longer story-type posts are the ones I see do best on LinkedIn. Often with some kind of image or GIF attached.

Have you tried telling stories there? I know you have a bunch of good ones. That "show don't tell" story comes to mind - where you showed those potential clients their site come up in the search results as a Google ad before they hired you.
 
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Andy Black

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Monday morning check of impressions in the last 90 days:
  • I presume the spikes are when I posted.
  • It looks like if you publish regular enough then the spikes and baseline trends upwards.
LI Analytics.png



Also spotted this creator profile on my travels last night:
LI creator profile.png

LI creator profile 2.png
 

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I have neglected Linkedin but have an account with a few high profile industry people Im connected with that I already know and will be targets soon enough. My goal is to build my presence more over the summer as its a well used platform for business in my industry.

I followed you Andy, but did not see a way to request to connect with you.
 

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I followed you Andy, but did not see a way to request to connect with you.
I recently changed to "Creator Mode" which means the default is to Follow rather than Connect.

However, next to the options for "Follow" is "More". Select "More" and then "Connect".

Follow.png


I listened to a podcast about connections vs followers.

My takeaways were:
  • Currently connections are more likely to see your posts, but the podcast host thinks that’s because LinkedIn haven’t weighted it right yet (and will likely get round to it). In his opinion, people follow you because the want to see your content. People who connect with you may not necessarily want to see your content. I think that makes sense.
  • We can have a max of 30k connections.
  • His advice is to switch to creator mode when you hit 5k connections or so.
  • Funnily enough, the podcast host has 11k connections (very similar to mine) and about double the number of followers.
 
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I'm going to post daily Mon-Fri and see how it goes. Maybe Sat-Sun too, but not sure.

Today I posted what's top of my own mind. I'd like to start my own week like this, so maybe I can encourage others to do so. Within 3 mins it had one Like, and she's a 1st tier connection which is interesting.

At a guess, one engagement out of 85 impressions isn't good enough.

Mon 20-Jun-22 Post.png
 

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Yeah, my last post was shit. Never mind.

It's easy to see see why this post in my feed is doing much better:

2022-06-20_15-03-21.png

And when expanded:

2022-06-20_15-05-01.png
 
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I like your content. You have a new follower :)
Oh thanks! I actually though my content was a bit poor and was tempted to delete it. I’ll just leave it there and keep going.

I’m curious if deleting posts has any effect on accounts too. Maybe we do what folks do on Twitter and delete ones that bomb, and redo differently a few weeks later?
 

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I went through my timeline and deleted posts that didn't get any traction and make my timeline look messy.

Here's my posts with the most Likes. Funny how I was more active on LinkedIn 5 years ago and then kinda dropped out.

Medium length posts seem to have done better for me.

They have barely any shares which is interesting, although I don't share posts much myself so I don't quite understand the mindset.

Obvious things I could try to improve these type of posts:
  1. Add a good image so they stand out in the feed. I'm crap with images so I'll have to think about how to do this. Maybe I'd better get help!
  2. Write the first few sentences so it sells the reader on clicking "Read more".


Screenshots of posts with the most Likes:

2022-06-20_21-44-05.png

2022-06-20_21-46-14.png
2022-06-20_21-47-11.png

2022-06-20_21-48-02.png
 
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I went through my timeline and deleted posts that didn't get any traction and make my timeline look messy.

Here's my posts with the most Likes. Funny how I was more active on LinkedIn 5 years ago and then kinda dropped out.

Medium length posts seem to have done better for me.

They have barely any shares which is interesting, although I don't share posts much myself so I don't quite understand the mindset.

Obvious things I could try to improve these type of posts:
  1. Add a good image so they stand out in the feed. I'm crap with images so I'll have to think about how to do this. Maybe I'd better get help!
  2. Write the first few sentences so it sells the reader on clicking "Read more".


Screenshots of posts with the most Likes:

View attachment 44101

View attachment 44102
View attachment 44103

View attachment 44104

Interesting. They seem to be like valuetainment/infotainment style where the posts are entertaining but also provide some value. I guess they're quite relatable to your audience and evoke some kind of emotional response too.

I saw this tool recently which shows you viral posts in your niche - I imagine it might help with inspiration: Taplio - Drive more business with LinkedIn

I guess you could look for related trending topics on other sites as well, but I imagine you want to keep things authentic.
 

Andy Black

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I deleted yesterday's post and posted this today.

I also made it a "featured" post.

It's much more targeted and would appeal to people who are interested in Google Ads and/or making sales. The downside of not having wider appeal is that it's less likely to get reach. We'll see which is a better strategy later on. Maybe it's a case of doing a bit of both? Maybe the trick is to get engagement at the start of the week with "engagement posts", and then drop in something like this so that it gets more views?

Or maybe I just run ads to this. I've not run LinkedIn ads before... I'll check whether it can be used to promote content. (Funny how I want to go to ads almost immediately.)

2022-06-21_13-40-38.png

What's interesting about these social networks is that when someone Likes your post you can go check them out. Given LinkedIn is a professional network we get to see what people do and their background.

In this case, the one Like is by Stefan, a 1st tier connection who I don't personally know and haven't interacted with. Seems a good person to know.

I could message him and Thank him for Liking the post. It wouldn't be out of place, and would likely even be a nice surprise. Then we'd likely message back and forth and who knows what might come out of it.

Let's call this "Semi-Cold Outreach" ...

2022-06-21_13-41-15.png




EDIT:
  • I also posted that to my personal Facebook page and to Twitter.
  • I'm not so impressed with Canva. Writing looks crisp in the app, but when it's uploaded it looks blurry. I've looked for articles on optimising graphics with Canva but haven't found anything helpful yet.

EDIT2:

I couldn't help myself... so I setup some LinkedIn ads for the above post.

I've never setup LinkedIn ads before.

Main learnings:
  1. We can't run ads with a personal account. So I posted that to my AndyBlack.net company page (it's the only post!).
  2. Minimum daily budget is €10/day. Personally, I think I'd get better results on other platforms for a €10/day but I'm curious how this goes.
  3. Minimum total budget for the campaign is €100. I set the campaign end date to be in 4 days time though, so it should spend a max of €40.
Otherwise I just targeted the US and went for Engagements. I added no other targeting. I'm curious what comes of it.
 
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