Just like everyone else, I knew Linkedin as a CV platform and not a Social Media landscape. Duuuuude! I was mistaken.
Let’s flashback eight months ago. I was actively seeking for full-time employment, and of course, I immediately went on Linkedin to update my profile. I was taken aback when I noticed video postings by different users. Some people were sharing personal stories about workplace drama, personal hurdles, and challenges in their own lives. And since I am fond of reality TV programs, I was hooked. The video posts were way better than the made-up reality shows I was consuming. I mean, it has to be, these are REAL PEOPLE, am I right? It’s like watching the 1st season of MTV’s Real World — TRUE STORYYYY!
So, without further ado, here are FOUR LINKEDIN LEARNING LESSONS on how to safely navigate Linkedin without crashing.
(DISCLAIMER: I’m new to Social Media, and this is why I crashed and burn.)
I – Numbers Game: “ZERO LOVE DILEMMA”
When I first started posting content on Linkedin, I was bummed-out about getting no love. And since I envied the Linkedin Famous about getting all the love, I studied them, and I realized that they have more than a THOUSAND CONNECTIONS. So, I thought to myself, that has to be it.
And I kept sending hundreds and hundreds of connection requests. And I was ecstatic to find out that even a few of the Linkedin famous people were connecting with me. Woohoo! I’m in, baby! At least, I thought I was.
I kept posting, and nobody still engages with me. What the HECK am I doing wrong? So, I positive trolled the Linkedin Famous people, and I noticed a trend. They are participating in each other’s post. Aha! That’s it! That’s the secret. I started following the LI famous and engaged with them on a daily basis, and they engaged back. But not in my post, solely on their posts.
DANG IT, I couldn’t crack the code! There was something I discovered though, a word that pops up in the majority of their posts and the comment section, “VALUE.”
I didn’t give up. I personalized my connection requests and started to utilized the magic word (VALUE) and got connected with a gentleman who asked why I wanted to connect with him. And with humility, I asked for his guidance on how to improve engagements in my post. He was gracious enough to introduce me to a month-long program where a user is required to post daily. I was enjoying my post engagements with him and some of the program participants.
But I grew tired of not getting engagements with the so-called founders of the program. “What was I doing wrong?” I kept asking myself. Not only that, the guy who introduced me to the program messaged me and told me to stop tagging him on my posts and just trust the process. That messed me up pretty bad. I mean, why would he stop engaging with me, he’s such a nice guy. Did I not impress him with my posts? What the HECK!
I gave up on the program and kept studying the other LI famous who were uploading videos. I noticed how they bantered on the comment sections and they were having fun. I envied that and wanted to be part of their community.
So I studied a famous LI video creator and noticed how she liked Game of Thrones like myself, and I said to myself, “OMG, she digs the Dragon Queen, too. Twinzies.”
I created a post incorporating GOT with heavy self-deprecating humor, and she liked and commented and tagged two dudes that are LI famous as well.
That was a fantastic feeling; an old dude is finally getting the love he desperately sought.
Once again, I was wrong.
“VIRtuAL love is surreal, for real!”
II – Baller like Me: “LTV, Linkedin True Videos”
Getting love from strangers is a funny feeling. And I got addicted to it. But I know that I suck at making videos, and I don’t want to make a fool of myself.
However, I know that to be a baller, you have to play the game. And the game is LINKEDIN VIDEOS.
The power players are doing daily videos. And like the saying, “When in Linkedin, do what Linkedin famous do.”
I was thinking of uploading videos incorporating my kids, but my wife didn’t approve the concept since I’ll be exposing our kids to strangers. So, like a loyal and loving husband, I heeded her advice.
Then I noticed from my NOTIFICATIONS that a dude challenged me to do a hashtag movement, and like the sucker that I am, I did it.
BA-DA-BING-BA-DA-BOOM! Strange love, strangers giving love. I’m swimming in virtual love. I felt like a sponge swimming with a rubber ducky in a bubbly tub.
The hashtag movement video was my gateway drug (perilous metaphor) to creating Linkedin videos. Creative video ideas littered my mind for it was a struggle to keep up with the Kardashians of Linkedin.
I even went as far as including my kids (which my wife forbade) but I was able to convince her that I will animate the video to semi-conceal their identities. She gave in, and I did a few videos with my kids.
Finally, I CRACKED THE CODE: I’ll do videos and tag my Linkedin peeps. They engage with me, and I return the love by engaging in their vid posts.
I was in Virtual Cloud Nine. Getting love from Cali, East Coast, Canadian, Australian, European and Asian peeps.
All was good in the hood.
“Be yourself, do you.”
III – Behind the Curtain: “RULES OF ENGAGEMENT”
Work, Life, Balance is not a motto, belief, or lifestyle, it’s REAL LIFE DILEMMA. You can’t have your chocolate truffle cake and your pistachio gelato, too. Life doesn’t work that way.
I was getting all of the VIRTUAL LINKEDIN LOVE (I desired) from my global peeps, but I was ignoring my own family.
My daughter kept trolling me hard. She scolded me on a daily basis, “Dad, you love Linkedin more than us. You suck, dad.” With her missing (upper teeth) Central Incisors she grinned from ear to ear. [Disclaimer: My brother and sister-in-law are dentists.] Being the ringleader, she was able to convince my middle child, and he too agreed that I suck.
I tried explaining myself but my kids are way smarter than I am so I had to minimize my engagements or they would stop loving me. And whenever I used my phone, my daughter would interrogate me, “Dad, you’re using Linkedin, huh?” My princess rules, therefore, I would switch to another app and say, “No, baby, I’m watching a YouTube video.” After that, she would grab my phone and inspect my activities and bust me for lying to her.
I paid the price. A couple of times she deleted my Linkedin app. And whenever I asked her if she did it, she would lie and when I call her on it, she scolded me for lying to her first. Touché.
I love my family, so I minimized my engagements. Then, I noticed that it would be great to meet my local connections by attending a LinkedinLocal event.
I wanted to see if the Virtual Love was real so I attended an event in San Jose.
“Love is nearby, not in the cloud.”
IV – Work, work, work, work: “netWORKing vs. networKING”
The LinkedinLocal San Jose event was memorable. I even did a video as soon as I got home, despite being hungry. I was more excited to feed my Linkedin family with my video content than nourish my body with fried chicken and rice.
I don’t regret attending the event. Even if I noticed that all I did was interact with fellow Linkedin content creators and did not network at all.
The funny thing is that a stranger (not active on Linkedin) asked me for a business card and I chuckled and told him to search for my hashtag, #tRexDex, and we could connect virtually.
Wow! What a jerk, huh? Yup! I was a BIG JERK.
The whole event felt like High School. All I wanted to do was hang with the cool kids. Mmm-hmm. In retrospect, it felt right to chill with my fellow content creators but I missed the opportunity to network.
I vowed to change my experience by agreeing to Co-Host an event with a new connection I met from the LinkedinLocal event in San Jose.
We both agreed that we had to invite REAL FAMOUS PEOPLE instead of bringing Linkedin Famous people to attract non-active Linkedin users.
My Co-Host was able to secure two speakers, and I worked my tail off to ensure a respected person in VR attend the event and do a product demo to entice college students.
I mentioned to my Co-Hosts that the permanent target demographic of Linkedin would be college students since they are not guaranteed a job when they graduate. They both agreed with me.
So, we all thought that our plan would work. But we couldn’t gain any traction IRL. We did however virtually, Linkedin peeps were interacting with our posts, but they weren’t buying tickets.
WHAT THE HECK AM I DOING WRONG AGAIN?!
A week before the event, I wanted my VR connection to know that we are not gaining any traction. So, she had suggested to cancel or reschedule the event. I agreed with her. I told my Co-Host, but he wants to do it still.
Without discussing the drama, I abandoned him because he wanted his vision instead of the agreed plan which was to gather college students and preach the value of Linkedin.
I saved face to my VR connection, but I lost the respect of my Co-Host for leaving him high and dry.
I wish he understood that the event would’ve been a success if we rescheduled and didn’t charge a fee to attend. But even if my idea is right, I still wronged him, and I still feel bad about it.
I messaged him recently, and he messaged back, but like any wound, it takes time to heal.
“There is no bubble wrap for a foolproof plan.”
In all honesty, I disconnected with 700+ Linkedin connections not because I don’t value their connections; instead, I did so because I want to build long-lasting real relationships built on a solid foundation versus the virtual sand castle in all its glory and splendor.