Patricia Harris posed a question this morning in the Tech Support Group For Real Estate Agents: “I heard LinkedIn is surpassing FB as a way of building credibility and hopefully attract followers. What’s your opinion?”
My immediate response was, “where did you hear that?”
Why? Because what I see happening on LinkedIn would not lead me to that conclusion. And it’s not because I don’t think LinkedIn could greatly contribute to an agents ability to establish trustworthiness and expertise. It most certainly can. Certainly businesses have known this for some time.
Joe Alexander – @joealex75
90 percent of companies who found new employees via social media, were found at LinkedIn!
LinkedIn has long been the go-to network for credibility in the job search arena. So, when talking about how LinkedIn is or is not effective, its ability to verify claims of expertise and experience are proven. And while I can’t verify the 90% number, it does highlight where LinkedIn fits into most people’s conscious understanding about what LinkedIn can or should be used for. But it could be more.
When I think social, I think conversation.
Unfortunately, when I peruse LinkedIn status updates, what I see there falls short of any attempt to have conversations. Conversations, at least good ones, require at least one talker & one listener. And conversations become really good when both parties are listening. What I see are status updates pouring in at an amazing pace, but not from people who are actually interacting on LinkedIn. They’re interacting on other social networks and automating their status updates to it.
I’m not opposed to automation on some level. But the volume of automation on LinkedIn, at least among my connections, is significantly higher than other networks. I suppose this level of sharing of information and data from other networks can add to the credibility perception, but I wonder about the practice and how beneficial it is if the person who’s talking isn’t listening as well.
What might greater conversation levels around status updates yield?
Most of the conversation that takes place on LinkedIn happens in LinkedIn Groups or via LinkedIn Questions. And the conversations there are usually pretty darn good. What I’m also finding it this, If I go to LinkedIn with the specific goal of listening first, I can get great engagement around status updates as well.
When you’re the only one listening, people tend to notice. And most people still have alerts set to send them an email when someone comments on their status updates. Why? Probably because it happens so infrequently. I only turn off email notifications when they get out of control. As a result, the response is usually pretty quick and the discussions are more one-on-one. Depending on how you’ve moderated your associations there, the engagement can be very targeted.
Using Signal To Get To The Signal
If you’ve not been to your LinkedIn Signal page in a long time, or ever, I’d suggest you go there now. The quality and quantity of filters available for narrowing your search results and cutting through the “noise” are truly impressive. And they’re geared toward business goals.
You can filter signal by any combination of network, company, location, industry, time, school, group, topics, seniority, and update type. And you can search for keywords and filter on any combination of the above as well. The right hand of the signal page lists trending links, and those are also based on how you’ve filtered your search. It’s a powerful listening engine. But first you need to know the answers to a few questions.
- Who do you want to be having conversations with?
- What do you want to have conversations about?
- What do you want the result of those conversations to be?
Let’s go back to Patricia’s original question, “I heard LinkedIn is surpassing FB as a way of building credibility and hopefully attract followers. What’s your opinion?” I think LinkedIn has tremendous potential for building credibility among the people in your business network. As for attracting followers, I think that’s a different subject. I’m not looking for followers on LinkedIn, I’m looking to maintain and strengthen already existing relationships.
What’s your opinion?