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Why do people spend time on LinkedIn? (It’s not to buy your…stuff) 

When developing content for LinkedIn, what’s the firstquestion you should ask yourself? 

If you answered, “Which Space Cat picture goes best withthis post?” then read no further. End of lesson. You’re a genius.  

But if you don’t know the answer, here it is: “Why is myaudience on LinkedIn in the first place?” 

This is a question that is overlooked by everyself-described LinkedIn expert, and even the non-self-described ones like me. 

Sure, knowing your audience’s pain points is important. Butin my decreasingly humble opinion, knowing what brought them to this social media paragon of professionalism is even more important. 

After all, how can you meet or subvert their expectations ifyou don’t know what they are? 

The Answer 

In My estimation, there are three reasons* that account for themajority of all minutes people spend scrolling their LinkedIn feeds. They are, in no particular order: 

  1. To learn something 
  2. To network 
  3. To waste a little time 

Now that you have that knowledge, what do you intend to doabout it? How will you shape your content and stories for maximum impact? 

Here’s how. 

For people that want to learn something, teach them 

You have knowledge. Deep knowledge and experience about asubject that would benefit people if you shared it. 

So share it. Bit by bit in short LinkedIn posts. In biggerchunks in long-form posts or articles. Videos, slides, comments. Whatever. 

Tell people how to do what you do. Wrap it in stories oranecdotes to make it memorable. 

Do it repeatedly so it sinks in. 

Teach people, and do it without expectation of return orcompensation. 

For people who are there to network, show them who youare 

Remember live networking events? You know, from the carefreedays of three years ago? Good times. 

Think about the most successful interactions you had. Didyou introduce yourself like this? 

“Hi, my name is (State Your Name), I work for (CompanyName), and I sell (Product/Service). Can I put you down for a $250,000 order?” 

Of course not! Sure you talked about your job, but you alsotalked about yourself – where you were from, what football team you cheer for, why they just lost to the Packers. 

You used your voice. You laughed and smiled. You werebuttoned up and serious, or casual and loose. In short, you allowed people to get to know you, probably without really trying. 

The thing with networking on LinkedIn is, you still have tolet people get to know you, but you have to be more intentional about it. This might be a little painful. For some reason, getting personal on LinkedIn is harder than on other platforms. 

But it’s worth it. 

I’m not saying tell your deepest, darkest secrets. Orpictures of your food. 

Just inject your own personality into your content inwhatever way you feel comfortable. Use your real voice. Be funny or irreverent. Share important moments in your lives. Talk about the people you love and why they’re important to you. 

Not every post. Not even most posts. Just enough for peopleto see glimpses of who you are. 

For people who are there to waste time, give themsomething worth their time 

Let’s face it. LinkedIn isn’t special. It’s a social medianetwork, just like all the rest of them. People go there when they need a break from their work, or to waste time when they should be working (I can’t be the only one). 

So lean into that. Give them a reason to spend some timewith you. If people are on LinkedIn to waste time, then they’re not looking for anything in particular. That means, whatever piques their interest, that’s where their eyeballs will go. 

This is where storytelling really comes into play. If youcan grab them with something intriguing, emotional, absurd, or funny, then tug at their emotions with a quick (or long) story, then you’ve got them. You might even be able to move them to some kind of call to action.  

But at the very least, you’ll make yourself more memorableand likable. 

Admittedly, this isn’t easy. But with some practice (or somecoaching), you can getpeople to spend time with you instead of working like they’re supposed to be.  

The Best of All Worlds 

Now you know the three main reasons people spend most oftheir time on LinkedIn. And you know that you should focus your content on teaching, networking, and wasting their time. 

But what if you could do two of those things at the sametime? Or even all three? That’s a level of LinkedIn mastery that most people dare not dream of. 

*I spent several minutes thinking about this, soif you think I’m wrong, come fight me.