Why You Should “Like” LinkedIn Content

Content Marketing, LinkedIn, Networking, Social Media, Social Networks

“Dear Theresa, Loved your post How To Increase Engagement on LinkedIn. I’ve already implemented several tips to great success. Thanks so much!”

I receive messages like this weekly. Here’s my response.

“Thanks for the feedback! Glad to hear you “loved” my post; however, did you”like” it?”

Yes, that’s right—I ask for ‘likes’ when people message me about how my posts helped them.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m grateful for their compliments. Yet I find that there is confusion about what it means to “like” something on LinkedIn.

So here’s my anatomy of a “like”

A LIKE is a way to give feedback. If you found the content provided value, taught you something, made you laugh…then go ahead and “like” it!

And you don’t have to love someone’s content to acknowledge it with a ‘like.” If the author made a good argument or presented diverging points of view, and it was well-written, then you should show that with a “like.”

A LIKE is the beginning of something going viral at scale. Nothing happens until someone “likes” a post. You could write the greatest article in the world, but it will not get the eyeballs on it if someone doesn’t “like” it. When you like a post, it gets pushed out to your network, and the network of the reader who liked it. A simple thumbs up is how content begins to go viral at scale.

A LIKE is a way of expressing thanks. Often people reach out and ask for advice on LinkedIn. I always respond and direct them to a post of mine, or someone else’s that further expands on the topic. A simple and effective way to show appreciation and return the favor is to “like” the content.

A LIKE is an acknowledgement. It takes time to produce and find quality content. If no one “likes” it then you take it as a statement against what you shared. This may be the case, but often it’s just an oversight on the part of the viewer. Try to put yourself in the other person’s shoes and be generous.

A LIKE is a way to gain attention. Social selling on LinkedIn allows you to warm up the cold call by first doing your homework on the person. That would include reading their LinkedIn Published Posts, status updates and viewing their profile/company page. When you like any of their content, they get a notification and see your name. This is your first point of contact.

The only caveat here is don’t be disingenuous. Social media is all about being authentic. Add a comment to the post that demonstrates your knowledge of the topic and positions you favorably. Then when you follow-up with an invite, or call, the person will be familiar with your name.

A LIKE is a tracked proof of engagement. It demonstrates that someone didn’t just see scroll past your post, but took the time to read it and express support of your content. It is measured and adds to your SEO, search engine optimization.

People overthink likes. I notice that it is the Influencers on LinkedIn that tend to be generous with their “likes.” Makes sense if you think about it. They get it. That’s why they are thought-leaders. They know that a little “like” goes a long way.

Be generous, be thankful and let your network know        you appreciate their effort.

I’d love to hear your thoughts about “likes!” Please add your comments below. And thank you for “liking” my post, as well.

If you “like” this post please follow me on LinkedIn and Twitter @sellsocialmedia or email me at merrill.theresa@gmail.com to learn about how I help people like you. 

Why You Should Connect with People You Don’t Know on LinkedIn

LinkedIn, LinkedIn Connections, Networking, Social Media, Social Networks


Imagine this. You’re at a networking event and a professional approaches you extending their hand to introduce themselves. You quickly turn your back on them and walk away. Sounds crazy, yet millions of LinkedIn users do this when they ignore invitation requests from people they don’t know.

Why would I accept an invitation from a stranger?” is the response I get when I advise clients to accept most of the invites sitting in their Inbox. On LinkedIn you have connections, not friends, and that should be your first clue.

In Malcolm Gladwell’s The Tipping Point he references sociologist Mark Granovetter’s classic study about connectors. “Granovetter’s research showed it was your acquaintances, not your close friends, who introduce you to new ideas and opportunities.” If you think about it, this makes perfect sense. Your friends travel in the same social circles as you, after all, and are therefore exposed to the same information. Social power comes from your “strong, weak ties” or the acquaintances that introduce us to worlds in which we do not belong.

Granovetter’s study makes the case for accepting invitations from people you don’t know on LinkedIn.

It’s a social network after all, not a private country club—be inclusive, not exclusive. The more connections you have, the more relationships you will forge. There’s a ripple effect that takes place. Each LinkedIn member is one, or two, degrees of separation away from someone who could potentially be a future client. If you say no to that one person, you’re simultaneously turning away their entire network of second and third degree connections.

Does this mean you should accept every invitation you receive? No, you should evaluate the merit of the invite and then decide.

1. View their profile. Simply going to the person’s profile can provide insight as to why you received an invitation. If you share a connection, college or group then you might show up as a suggestion from LinkedIn’s “People You May Know.” In my last post I spoke of keywords; the keywords in your profile serve as a prompt for all these suggestions from LinkedIn.

Study what they do, gauging if you could benefit from this relationship—although it is often the person I least expected who surprises me. Take note if they have a strong network. You may not want to connect with someone who has 15 connections (although we all have to start somewhere.) You definitely want to connect with someone who has 500+ connections. There’s power and influence in a large network. If the member has his settings open, you have access to those connections. And you get a SEO boost from being part of their network.

2. Ask why the person sent you an invite. My life’s mantra is “If you don’t ask, you don’t get.” Did you know you have the option of selecting “reply” before accepting an invitation? Try saying “I’m sorry would you remind me how we know each other?” You can’t anticipate the response you will receive. Maybe they heard you speak at a conference, or were referred by a mutual connection, or read your blog and decided to reach out. Don’t assume; ask. If you don’t get a response, then you shouldn’t accept.

3. No photo? Don’t accept the invite. If someone doesn’t have a LinkedIn profile photo it says two things. Number 1. It might be a fake profile. Number 2. The person is not savvy enough to understand social media is about transparency and authenticity. I reply, “I don’t accept LinkedIn invites from invisible members.” Many profile photos have been posted due to this comment.

4. “Keep your friends close, and your enemies closer” ~ Sun Tzu ~ Is my response when asked by clients, “Should I accept invitations from my competitors?” Don’t forget you have access to their profile, too. And you’re more likely to show up at the top of their profile page under “People Similar To…” when someone is viewing it.

Look at it as an opportunity to partner with your competition. I have a reciprocal relationship with a LinkedIn coach, Emily Miller based in London, who referred a client to me after we connected.

If you still have doubts about accepting invites from potential spammers, remember you can always “disconnect.” Try it first though.

I hope to receive invites from you in my Inbox, too.

5 Tips to Optimize your LinkedIn Headline

LinkedIn, LinkedIn for College Students, Social Media, Social Networks

Your LinkedIn headline is the most important piece real estate on your profile. It communicates your professional brand, determines if you will be found and whether someone will click on your profile. Creating a compelling,keyword-rich headline is crucial to your success.

 The concept of keywords starts with a search. LinkedIn is a search engine, like Google. The results are determined by SEO, Search Engine Optimization: the art and science of getting found when someone enters a keyword, or phrase, into a search engine. Like Google, there is an algorithm that determines the rank or results when someone conducts a search on LinkedIn. Rank is driven by the relevancy of a keyword in your headline, and throughout your profile, to match what people are searching for.

LinkedIn profile

LinkedIn profile

Every time you communicate on LinkedIn your headline appears next to your name and profile photo—it travels with you to comments you make in Groups and Status Updates on the Home and Company pages. Use its 120 characters to clarify what you do and how you help. It’s a reduced version of your value proposition.

Here’s how to make sure your profile will be found when someone does a search:

Create a keyword-rich, optimized headline: Keywords in your headline drive internal and external search on Google. If you have an optimized LinkedIn headline and a 100% complete profile, when you “Google” your name your LinkedIn profile will likely be the first or second result. Don’t use your job title (no one is searching for a Vice President) but the keywords someone would search by to find a professional who does what you do.

How to find the right keywords to use in your headline:

  1. Use the free Google AdWords Keyword Tool to gain ideas. See what keywords people are searching by on Google.
  2. Search the profiles of your competition and other LinkedIn users in your industry. Leverage a database of 235 million professionals; study how they position themselves.
  3. Do a job search on LinkedIn of what you do; study the job descriptions noting the words that appear often.
  4. Use terms your customers would use that resonate with your target market. What language do they use? Ask your customers how they found you. Don’t assume, confirm.
  5. Do “test” keyword searches on Google and LinkedIn and evaluate the amount of results. Simply enter keywords into the search engine and see what comes up. For example, if someone was searching for Real Estate, would they enter the brand name of a real estate firm, terms like realtor, or would they search by “real estate in Westport, Ct.” It would be the latter.

Once you’ve determined the best keywords to use, you need to strategically pepper them throughout your LinkedIn profile. Include them in your Headline, Summary, Experience and Skills section to gain keyword density. Keyword density is the percent of time that keyword appears among all the other words on the profile page.

LinkedIn is the world’s largest professional business network; it is a platform for you to find and be found by prospects, partners and like-minded professionals. Optimizing your profile Headline will position you to accomplish this.