September 11, 2023


The LinkedIn Marketing Debate: Is It Overrated or Underrated?

Quick bias out of the way, this article is inspired by two pieces of content, from Gary Vee and Good Work.

LinkedIn, the professional networking platform, has become a buzzword in the world of digital marketing. Marketers are constantly bombarded with success stories, promising untapped potential for business growth. But is LinkedIn all it's hyped up to be?

Personal Branding

LinkedIn is facing a shift in how their platform is visioned - from a job board to a social media platform every professional should be a part of.

In my high school (7 years ago), it was mandatory to create a profile and update it in preparation for mock-interviews. So from the get-go, we’re raised to hate the platform, so why is it so important we have a profile?

The Pros:

LinkedIn offers you a fantastic platform to shape your professional image. Think of it as your digital resume, where you can highlight your skills, experience, and achievements. This is the ideal place to show yourself as an expert in your field.

When you contribute content on LinkedIn, it's not just any content – it's valuable content. Let me rephrase this, posting memes isn’t going to help you out. Posting content relative to your experience in your field, or even just ranting about common struggles for people in your industry creates what the algorithm thinks is valuable content. This helps you establish yourself as a leader in your industry, earning recognition and respect.

Now, let's talk about networking. LinkedIn is a goldmine for connecting with people in your industry. Unlike some other platforms where adding strangers can come off as creepy, here it's encouraged. Marketers, for example, use this to their advantage by reaching out to potential clients. You can search for people based on their job titles, company size, industry experience, and more. It's insanely powerful. Whether you're hunting for a job or looking for clients or partners, LinkedIn can make a big difference.

And don't forget LinkedIn's roots as a job board. With your professional image and connections, you can apply for jobs. But here's the kicker: employers also check out your LinkedIn profile. It's not just your resume they see; they get a fuller picture of you and your skills. If you have some solid referrals, you can make them public through the recommendations section and show off your skills. It's like an extra layer of credibility.

The Cons:

Let’s stop with the praising, let’s get down to business with my gripes against Linkedin.

The Algorithm Struggle: LinkedIn's algorithm leaves a lot to be desired. As a marketer, my main aim is to figure out what kind of content can go viral on each platform. On LinkedIn, it often feels like you have to write these short "brag blogs" that scratch 250 words - If you're active on LinkedIn, you've definitely come across them.

Here's the problem: practically every marketer (which is who primarily posts on this platform)  is posting lengthy essays claiming they can magically 10X your business. They even toss in e-commerce screenshots that could easily be doctored or plucked from a quick Google search. And the kicker? LinkedIn Algorithm loves this kind of content, so it floods our feeds. If you dare to post something less than 100 words, don't hold your breath for it to gain any traction.

But that's not all. The content saturation on LinkedIn is real. There's so much noise that breaking through the clutter is like finding a needle in a haystack. Unless your content is truly exceptional, it's just going to get lost in the shuffle. Oh, and don't even think about skipping an image or video in your post – your reach and engagement will plummet faster than a lead balloon.

Honestly, to get the full scope of my frustration, just watch Good Work's video. You'll see where most of my LinkedIn-related irritation is coming from. It's a tough world out there for us marketers on this platform.

My last rant of LinkedIn before we talk about personal experience is the network connections everyone gets throughout the day.

I’ve mentioned the beauty of connecting with virtually anyone as a pro for the platform, but it’s also a con, because I’m sure you’ve received millions of bot automations asking to connect, followed up by pre-programmed messages scheduled to sell you a product or schedule a zoom call. These by the way go against LinkedIn Terms of Service, so start cranking down on it.

Most of my connections because of this are sales people who’ve just turned their personal page into a bot, and never provide actual content on their page to prove they are industry leaders, or knowledgeable in their industry. No, I will not schedule with you.

My Experience:

I created a challenge for myself: posting continuously (as best as I could) for 30 days, and being active on LinkedIn, to see if LinkedIn’s positives outweigh the negatives.

From the get-go, I noticed that my content wasn’t performing because I wasn’t posting images or videos alongside the content. It takes up less vertical space compared to those that do, so the post just got skipped over.

Great lesson learned. Next, the LinkedIn algorithm loves brag stories and sob stories.

That’s right, anything to cause people to take the time off their day to engage with your post and spend as much time as they need to to read a post. The longer the post the better. This is how I also stumbled upon the character limit of 3000 characters.

As for lead generations, I was able to create one lead for the marketing agency through my personal branding. Sure, it’s a success, but to go through all the toxicity behind the platform, I wouldn’t say it’s worth it.

Again, I’m making this a very personal article because I’m basing it off my experience. Yours may vary.

Should You Be Active On LinkedIn

Again, personal opinion, so take it with a grain of salt. There are the type of people that should be active on LinkedIn and can see added benefits:

  • People looking to apply for jobs.
  • Business Owners looking to establish themselves as an Industry Leader to promote their business.
  • Sales People looking to connect with people in their target industries.
  • People looking for connections in industries to connect with professionals within the service they are looking for: See Mark’s post as an example.

As for me, I’m active to build a personal brand sure, but primarily, to fuel the SEO of our company.

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