How I Grew My Linkedin Audience in 5 Easy Steps And Why You Should Too
Customer Success starts with the very 1st interaction customers have with your company.
And it goes the same way for you and your personal brand.
Your own success will largely depend on your attitude towards others and the way you interact with people around you.
This has never been more relevant than ever before in particular on social media platforms!
One of them I’ve been using heavily for a couple of months now is Linkedin. The potential you can get out of this platform is huge and can be life-changing!
But you need to understand its fundamental purpose and the direction the product took since Ryan Roslansky became the company’s new CEO in Feb 2020, almost around the same time as the pandemic started.
It’s in fact no more about finding jobs anymore and the opportunities go beyond such transactional interactions which have no specific value apart from the experience of applying online.
For many, it’s now become their favorite social network where they can access and learn from the best minds, leaders, mentors around the world and grow their personal or professional skills.
To me, Linkedin is like school but with better teachers if only you know how to use it!
One of my connections, Mo McKibbin – Head of CS at Moxion, even mentioned in her comment that she feels like she has an “unofficial MBA” which I couldn’t agree with more!
Others are teaming up to work on specific projects, create communities, gather locally to discuss and bring the Customer Success practice to the next level, raise funds for their startups, and so much more!
And yet, most people still don’t get it. They think it’s just about serving their own interests whenever they need it. Others use the platform just to sell something.
But the truth is: no one cares about you unless you care about them first!
One thing I always say is: you have to put in the wood before asking for heat.
And yet most people still expect others to help without giving anything first themselves.
We, as human beings, are primarily wired to take action to survive.
And the best way to do so is to build strong relationships with people who have similar interests to us to support each other, encourage, celebrate, help overcome failures and navigate through tough times as necessary.
And without a powerful community supporting you on this journey, chances are you might be left alone in the long run.
So, based on these fundamentals,
how and where are you going to start and take action?
STEP #1: Respond to incoming requests
First things first.
I’ve found that one of the most effective ways to engage on the platform was to respond to incoming messages.
Since when I started engaging regularly on the platform, I keep receiving daily requests from people all around the world to discuss all things Customer Success. In particular, how to:
- transition into CS,
- land a job,
- build and scale CS teams, best practices,
- write online,
- connect with others,
- and the list goes on and on…
Yet one thing I am very proud of is responding to all of these requests, whether it be such as InMails or any other specific questions.
It can take some time for me to respond to everyone, and by the way sorry if I didn’t get back to you quickly given the growing number of interactions I have nowadays…
But soon or late, I respond in any case with the only exception of people who just want to sell me something at the very 1st contact.
You know who I am talking about, right? :))
I also enjoy getting on a quick after-work zoom call when needed.
And yet, I know some people will not even bother taking the time to respond as they believe it has no value for their own personal interests.
I’ve been there.
I know the frustration and the negative emotions it creates.
It’s the same feeling of disappointment when you get for example ghosted by recruiters when looking for a job…
What else can be worse than the feeling you’ve had when you wanted to genuinely reach out to someone but you didn’t receive any single feedback?!
“People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”
– Maya Angelo
This is why I take pride in responding to any inquiries, even if it was just to say “No thanks, I’m not interested”.
I feel like I owe a response to anyone who took the time to craft a genuinely interesting message with great value!
Moreover, answering incoming messages creates a personal connection with the people you respond to, which is of high importance for the next steps of growing your audience!
any response is always better than no feedback at all!
So don’t be that selfish person or it will only damage your reputation.
No one cares about such an egocentric “professional”!
I’d then encourage you to always be supportive of others at the very best of your capacity.
Some people will say they don’t have time to respond to inquiries. And that’s perfectly OK.
But in this case, don’t expect to grow your network at scale.
Finally, responding to people will also help build your credibility.
And this is the ultimate door opener for anyone who is willing to put in the effort for the longer-term outcomes.
Sow, so shall you reap!
Like any other social platform, Linkedin has its own algorithm and favors people who are engaging and posting interesting topics that will generate more views.
This means more revenue for the company by selling more advertising, recruitment services, and membership benefits.
Simply said, the more you engage with others, the more visibility you’ll get on the platform.
I’ve applied the exact same approach when I’ve decided to engage actively on Linkedin a few months ago.
I was around 1k followers with around the same number of connections last year and now 4.4k+ as of the writing of this edition.
Today, I have more followers than connections, which means people value what I have to say and decide to get the news from me as soon as I post.
And you can do the same and even beyond if you take note and follow my recommendations.
All you need is some level of self-confidence to write in public and a willingness to post often.
However, there are a few tactics you need to nail prior to starting.
And the key here is consistency.
But what does that mean in practice?
Let’s dive in!
STEP #2: Identify your topic
Now that you decided to write on Linkedin,
you must first answer these 2 questions:
1/ Do you want to write regularly on a specific topic you can talk about for an hour easily without looking at your notes?
I know you have a lot to say in many different things, whether it be about your personal hobbies or professional experience, knowledge, or skills.
But you must focus on one single topic, at least when you first start writing.
We call it niching down, or finding your niche.
You want the people to know you for something in particular so that whenever they check on you, they know what to expect to learn from you.
The more specific you can get, the better!
For example, if you wanted to write about Sales, you’d ideally need to niche down like:
Sales => Sales Management => Building high-performing Sales teams.
But you can still cover the broader topic if you prefer.
Just test and see what resonates the most with your audience.
For me, it’s about Customer Success.
Although I can talk about many different topics within CS which is a huge domain, I wanted to focus on helping people develop their skills and become great CSMs.
It’s the reason why I wrote a book on it which is a critical part of the bigger picture.
But like everyone else, I have many other passions:
I’m a professional photographer selling thousands of pictures, an author, and also an instructor with 12k+ online students, musician, songwriter, web designer, founder, and so on… 🙂
If I wanted to talk about every single of my hobbies on the same platform, people would only get confused!
Those who wanted to follow me for CS topics would not be necessarily interested in Photography or see me playing my Turkish national instrument Baglama, even if I’m a 25+ year-long professional!
You get the point…
Now, time to jump into the 2nd question.
2/ Do you believe your content will help your audience?
The purpose of writing online is to give value to your readers and help them overcome their challenges in some way, based on your own knowledge and experience.
Your content must be helpful to others who want to learn and grow in the discipline you want to write about.
Always keep in mind that
it’s not about you, but the people you want to help!
your answer to these 2 questions must be: YES!
take your time to think about the topic you want people to know you for i.e. your niche, a topic you’re good or expert at:e.g. work, productivity, self-development, HR, Finance, Sales, Marketing, your hobbies, or simply said, whatever you are passionate and knowledgeable about!
The key is to choose your topic and stick to it!
So by now, you should have an idea about what you want to write.
And the time has come to start writing and engaging!
STEP #3: Hit the Publish button!
It can appear very daunting at first to write down your thoughts and post to LinkedIn.
You’ll wonder if people want to hear from you, if they’d be interested in reading your thoughts and if you could bring value to the conversation etc.
You’ll also wonder what your colleagues would think about that.
My answer: nothing but envy!
Most people will genuinely be curious and eager to learn about what you have to say.
And if you still think some people will be mad at you, ask yourself: “who told you that?
As you’ll have no answer to this question, you’ll see that it’s only in your own mind!
So, set these negative feelings aside and just publish!
Create a habit of posting regularly, at least once a week.
You need to “broadcast” your ideas at regular timeframes so people start expecting to get the news from you.
I like posting daily because it fits well with what I have to say.
But for you, it can be different and that’s totally fine.
Just identify your own pace and stick to it.
After a month, note down what resonated well
Online writing is mostly about testing and learning from what worked well or not.
This is the main reason why you must post regularly to be able to analyze your level of “resonance” afterward.
At the end of this testing period, you’ll have a better understanding of what your audience is most interested in hearing from you.
And double-down on these learnings for the next month and so on.
I know it can be quite frustrating not to write on everything you are a master at, but this is what writing online is about.
You must hook your readers’ attention!
people engage with people, not companies.
So write as if you were speaking to the one person you want to help out there, not like someone doing PR for their company.
PS: no ads, no promotional messages unless you explicitly tell your audience the reasons for the promotion.
STEP #4: Engage
First, put your ego aside!
I know many people who think they should only engage with people who have the same level of knowledge or expertise as themselves, which I find counterproductive.
Your title or position in the company should have nothing to do with your attitude towards others.
The best leaders I know are those who are open to anyone willing to engage in genuine conversations.
They look for bringing in value, helping others which in return help them build their own personal brand!
Engage with people whom you appreciate the work.
When you first start, it can be intimidating to reach out to people you know nothing about.
But there are some simple guidelines I’ve described here you can use to hook their interest and start a meaningful conversation.
Leave a helpful comment, like, share, and contribute positively.
Engaging with others is not just for the sake of doing so.
It’s about sharing your thoughts and perspective on the topic people are discussing.
You should therefore always provide meaningful insights to help the conversation continue.
Don’t leave any useless, worthless, or time-wasting comments.
Your objective is not to simply comment but provide useful feedback everyone can benefit from.
If you have nothing specific or of value to say, don’t say it!
No need to also repeat what the other person said just for the sake of commenting.
Otherwise, it can only damage your credibility.
Continue engaging as you grow.
The beauty is that the more your account will grow, the more you’ll enjoy interacting with others. You’ll also write and engage better as you learn.
• Get inspired by what others are posting but don’t copy and paste!
Sometimes there is no need to reinvent the wheel.
Most fundamental things that had to be said have already been told and written over the years and centuries!
What is needed is for you to digest, bring in new perspectives and ideas based on your own unique skills.
• Make a difference.
Your content can be copied easily, but no one can be YOU!
So, the best way to be original is to write based on your unique observations and skills.
Over time, you’ll make better decisions as to what’s worth posting or not.
• Don’t spam.
No one likes spammy messages, repeated over and over again, or with links to promotional messages.
Follow these principles consistently, and you’ll end up producing quality work while making genuine connections that will open up to many unexpected opportunities!
And the more you engage, the more you’ll learn that there are a few critical steps to make your content easy to read.
STEP #5: Content & Formatting
Here are my quick writing tips I wish I knew a year ago.
It would have definitely saved me tons of hours!!
I’ll review the writing process in a separate edition and in much more detail but it’s important for me to give you a few key highlights here:
1/ Draft your content and come back on it later
I used to write and edit at the same time, losing many hours of back and forth analysis and corrections.
I’ve finally got to the point where I understood these were two completely different processes!
What you need to do is:
• turn off any external distractions (phone, noise, etc) and “dump your brain” onto the notebook.
• let it “cook” for a while – ideally a few hours.
• and come back on it to read aloud and correct as necessary
2/ the reader does not owe you anything
You need to grab their attention on the topic with the very first line (the hook).
In the digital age, you only have a few seconds to grab the reader’s interest:
• a great copy is eye-catching first and must tell the reader what the content is about very quickly.
=> use headlines and subtitles.
• if the headline looks interesting, then the reader will take time to read the sub-sections. If not, they will quit, and it’s over!
They won’t read any further and you can throw away the 50 lines you’ve spent an hour writing.
=> use also bullet points or lists as I’ve done here to make the reading easily digestible.
3/ write about what you know the most AND expand
Think of the reader’s needs, so they can get the value for themselves first.
Position yourself as the guide helping the reader overcome their own challenges like what I’m doing here with you.
You should then expand on what the reader would love to learn more about.
Your main objective is to ensure the reader starts and finishes your entire post.
This is why every new headline should be the natural and logical next step to the previous one towards the end.
4/ laser target your audience
The golden rule here is:
If you write to everyone, then you’ll end up writing to no one.
• write as if you were addressing the needs of the one most representative person in your target audience.
• identify their needs, and see how you can help them move the needle and succeed.
5/ Finally, here are some of my writing techniques you can use for yourself to write better copies:
• cut out all jargon and buzzwords, including adjectives and words you wanted to use just to fill in the void or to make the sentence look longer or more clever.
• always place your audience as the hero of your copy, using the words “You”, more than “Me” or “I”.
Remember: YOU are the guide.
• Write active sentences: do not use a passive voice. The reader must feel your enthusiasm and energy !!
For example, instead of saying, “This book was written by John”, you should say “John wrote this book”. Simple and direct!
• keep sentences short, so everyone can understand fast.
If too long, find ways to cut it by half, at the very least.
Bonus: add emotions from your own personal stories to your copy so the reader can better identify themselves in your writing.
Write as well as you can and finish what you start.
– Ernest Hemingway
In today’s digital age, writing online and well has become an absolute must to cut out from the noise and stand out from the crowd to deliver your message, to the right audience at the right time.
And it’s the best and fastest way to grow your audience on LinkedIn and beyond!
It will open up to many unexpected opportunities, meeting with like-minded people, and even making new friends along the way.
And you don’t need to make it complicated.
All it takes is identifying your topic of interest and communicating on it with consistent effort and determination!
And if you stick to the process for quite some time, I guarantee you a world of new opportunities you would have never expected otherwise! !!
Well, that’s all from me for now!
This is how I grew my Linkedin audience in 5 easy steps and why I believe you should as well!
Again, feel free to bookmark this email and link to my newsletter for future reference!
Today is the 1st day of Spring, bringing life to everything it touches!
I hope you feel the vibes of Mother Nature all around and enjoy your Sunday as much as I do!
Thanks again for subscribing!
I’d love to hear from you.
- What are the other ways you used to grow your network on Linkedin?
- And what were the benefits for you to engage on this platform?
If you enjoyed today’s edition, please share it with your network so I can continue to grow this amazing Customer Success Café tribe.
Thank you for joining me on this exciting journey!
Until next Sunday, stay curious, friends!
Cheers and may Spring bring you all the joy and happiness you deserve!
Hakan Ozturk is a Paris-based Customer Success leader with over 15 years of experience in the computer software industry. Passionate about driving growth and delivering value to strategic customers, Hakan has established himself as a trusted industry expert. As the Founder of The Customer Success Café Newsletter and TopCSjobs.com, Hakan provides valuable industry insights and daily-updated job opportunities worldwide in the field of Customer Success. Connect with Hakan to unlock your company’s potential for success.