LinkedIn. That’s the businessy one isn’t it? In the crowd of time-tested social networks like Facebook and Twitter, LinkedIn is the one which styles itself as a place for business people to do business. A place for you to be social with your work uniform on. To maintain brand relationships, attract customers and find the right people to work with. Or work for.

It’s certainly prepared to be your ‘safe-for-work’ social life, with features like recommendations, InMail, a history of your education and work life, and less space for things like your drunken party pics with that weird inflatable round your hips and a bright blue cocktail half in your glass and half down your front.

But this does not mean you should act like a business on there. Decisions about ‘business’ are not made by companies – they are made by people. So engage with people in a human way.

We know that you should always satisfy the social network’s algorithms to make sure your posts are being seen, and that the best way of doing that is to help the network be a nice place to spend time. If you’re giving people content which keeps them on LinkedIn, guess who’s happy – that’s right, LinkedIn is.

At a recent seminar I spoke to a team of business owners about the best way to use LinkedIn, and the overall theme of the evening was to make sure you’re getting engagement. Getting other people to react to what you’re posting is a great way to show the network (any network, in fact) that our posts are worth showing to more people. Encourage people to act – whether that’s to like the post, share it, or comment and debate it.

So how do you make sure your post gets engagement? Firstly – get the basics right. A simple bit of text is dull. Forgettable. Missable in a timeline. So if you can, add an image. Just to attract the users’ eyes. Even better, add some movement, like a .gif or a short video clip – and as always, add captions if there’s speech in the video as most users will watch without sound on.

Don’t be scared if you cringe when you watch yourself on video either, we all do – we all think we sound weird and look stupid. Don’t worry, you don’t! Give it a go, talk to the camera. Remember – you’ll cringe when you watch it back, but that’s normal.

Now – you’ve grabbed people’s attention, but how do you get them to actually engage with your post? That’s where you need to involve them, and compel them to comment or like the post.

Ask them for their opinion. You’ll see massive engagement on posts where people are asked to comment on their favourite new logo, or floor layout of the office, or colour palette for a new brand. People love to feel like they are having an impact on your decisions.

And this is the crux of the matter – speak to your audience like they are people – not like they are corporate entities. Doing so will mean you engage people on a human level, people will feel like they are talking to you, the person – not a company or brand.

It’s not unprofessional to be a friendly and ‘real’ person, you know.

Here are some key takeaways for you. You’re welcome.

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