• Duncan Strachan

Advocacy: Why it matters on LinkedIn

Updated: Apr 28, 2021

LinkedIn is a community. And a social network.

Approach it with the mindset of "what's in it for me?" and you won't get far.

Kindness can open doors for you.

It builds advocacy.

If you look beyond yourselves to help others - advocacy will take you wherever you need to go.

Google hasn't got the memo.

'How to sell on LinkedIn' produces 1.6 billion search results.

'How do you build advocacy on LinkedIn' produces only 38.3 million.

And those advocacy results don't really speak to what I'm talking about.

They're all about driving 'employee advocacy'.

But I'm not talking about support tied to a pay cheque.

I'm talking about a real drive and determination to do what's right. To help others.

According to a Nielsen report from 2012 - ninety-two percent of consumers around the world said they trusted earned media, such as word-of mouth or recommendations from friends and family, above all forms of advertising - an increase of 18 percent since 2007.

Good word-of-mouth is everything - so how do we get it?

For me, it starts with your why.

Why are you really on LinkedIn?

Is it to network? Help people? Build meaningful connections? Or is that just marking time between your next client or job?

If it's the latter - people will see right through it.

All the good things that have happened for me on LinkedIn in the last year had the same point or origin - a genuine desire to help others and add value for them.

People will tell you to focus on your target customer and tune all of your messaging towards them.

But if you give nothing back to your network - your post engagement and visibility suffers. And you won't drive that reciprocity that will lead to future opportunities.

If you do the right things, consistently. Advocacy will grow.

I'm a marketing consultant and copywriter - but the majority of my content focuses on helping others to get the most out of LinkedIn and drive engagement. This is deliberate.

A lot of my recent connections are jobseekers that I connected with through being in a similar situation myself. We were all thrust into an unforgiving job market during a pandemic - it's something the likes of which I've never seen in my 18 year career.

Of the 150 posts I made on the platform - 126 (84%) featured advice designed to help others. I covered everything from interview techniques, tweaking CVs, dealing with recruiters to getting the most out of LinkedIn. My outward looking focus enabled me to make over 4000 new connections in the last 12 months (people who'd engaged with my content).

By helping my immediate network - my visibility and engagement on the platform grew.

There were other benefits too:

  • Connections started to support my own search - by tagging me in roles or referring me to connections for opportunities - without any prompting from me. They became my eyes and ears.

  • Visibility in LinkedIn searches - nearly 500 per week at last count. I spoke to another connection who hadn't started his posting journey - he appeared in around 50

  • New connections became clients - 80% of the clients that have come through the business originated from the pool of new clients generated by my posting activity on LinkedIn. Was it because I was talking about marketing in every single one of my posts? No. But my values aligned with theirs - and encouraged them to take a look at my profile and reach out to see how I could help them.

Whether you're posting, commenting or DMing someone on LinkedIn - your initial thought should always be "how can I help?". Kindness is the best way to build trust and likeability

on the platform. If you help them, they'll be far more inclined to reciprocate and keep you front of mind for potential opportunities.

I give all of my new connections my 22-page guide to driving post engagement on LinkedIn. That's eight months of research and insight that I'm giving them - effectively for nothing. What am I hoping for in return? Advocacy.

You can access the guide here.

Why you're on LinkedIn plays a much bigger part in whether you'll drive advocacy than 'what' you do professionally. If you show people that you're engaging on the platform for the right reasons - by trying to help others - they'll be far more likely to support you on your journey.

Here are how three of my most recent referrals came about:

  • A connection who I'd met as part of the open to work community told me his wife was looking for a PAYG marketing consultant for the company she'd been working for. I'd been connected with him for a year and have supported his jobseeker posts

  • A recruiter contacted me about a contract opportunity with a well known bank - she said they were looking for someone who was 'social media savvy'. I was front of mind because of all of my activity on LinkedIn and the engagement my posts were getting

  • A prospective client saw me comment on a mutual connections post about the best time of day to post on LinkedIn (in the comment I referenced a poll I'd run last year where 57% of users said they were most active in the mornings)

What was the common thread in all of these interactions? I hadn't discussed marketing in any great length with any of them - but they could all see that I was using my expertise and skill set to help others. Kindness builds advocacy. And it opens doors.

Advocacy takes time and patience to build. Post regularly and help others - especially jobseekers - by commenting meaningfully on their posts. Think of the journey like climbing a staircase. For me there are four steps:

We are drawn like moths to a flame to 'sales' approaches on here - with the promise of that quick fix of clients or job - but if your goal is to drive advocacy, the longer game can have even greater rewards.

Follow me on LinkedIn.

70 views0 comments