What is happening to our LinkedIn news feeds—and what can we do about it? Why are auto-playing "innovation videos" of the latest gadgets cluttering our LinkedIn news feeds? Anybody else getting an overdose of cleavage? What’s up with all the death posts talking about how someone's spouse died, and here’s their wedding photo when they were happy? Why do so many status updates seem completely irrelevant to advancing a career, improving leadership or sharing company news? Will LinkedIn’s news feed become more like Facebook? How do we break through the clutter? What can we do differently to stand out without making just more noise?
LinkedIn once was a place of utmost professionalism, the one social network free of silliness, irrelevant posts and (gasp!) cleavage. In recent months, I am not the only one who's noticed a not-so-subtle shift in the content popping to the top of my news feed. Instead of seeing updates from cutting-edge companies sharing content relevant to my career ambitions and professional development goals, I see pictures of bikini-clad women snapping selfies while on a sailboat. Seriously? I have nothing against women in bikinis strutting their stuff, but let's leave the semi-nudity to a channel like Instagram or Facebook. Keep it out of my LinkedIn news feed!
The LinkedIn news feed should be treated as SFW (safe for work). Anything that you post, comment or like in the LinkedIn news feed, in a LinkedIn group or on a LinkedIn Pulse article WILL be shared with your network.
Don't fall into the trap of "liking" whenever you feel the urge or commenting on an old college friend's update if you don't want everyone on LinkedIn to see it. Not only will your networks see the comment, but the networks of everyone else who has ever commented or liked the update will see your comment.
When in doubt: look, but don’t click. Stare as long and as hard as you want. Just. Don't. Click.
Engaging on LinkedIn is not as subtle as an Instagram or Facebook like. But if used wisely, engaging with status updates can be a powerful way to connect with people outside your immediate network.
Here are ten guidelines to help you determine how to best engage in your LinkedIn news feed to ensure you are strengthening your personal brand, improving your visibility with the right people and building thought leadership.
What NOT to engage with or post to your news feed:
- Cute furry animals. Save them for YouTube, Facebook and Instagram.
- Pictures exposing too much skin (i.e. breast, midriffs, legs). You don't want to be known as "that guy or girl” commenting or liking these images. It makes you look anything but professional.
- Memes of any kind. These are too lighthearted and clutter up a news feed, even if they are funny.
- Screenshots of private LinkedIn messages. If some creepy guy messaged you, don’t share that with the entire LinkedIn ecosystem. It’s unprofessional.
- Videos that are not directly related to career growth, your craft, leadership or your company. Most users don’t like videos in their news feeds. Period.
What to engage with or post to the news feed:
- Links to content relevant to your personal network
- Updates about your company
- Career news
- Helpful tips and tricks
- Questions you’d like your network to answer
Your Turn: Now, tell me what irks YOU about the LinkedIn news feed. Do you like the recent changes to the content popping to the top of your feed? Do you think LinkedIn news feeds would benefit from more lighthearted posts? Should LinkedIn members band together to keep the news feeds clear of NSFW posts? Email me or message me on LinkedIn with your take!