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Value-led piece for those building personal brands on LinkedIn with actionable tips on personal branding with examples and illustrations.
Are You Oversystemised?
We live in the year 2022. The information age is well and truly upon us. Our attention is split in more mind-boggling ways than even feels real and our business lives are no different.
If you’re a business owner, a founder, a senior leader, or even if you’re just starting out in your career…if you exist in a business it’s likely you’ve heard of LinkedIn.
You’ve heard someone say “I get all my leads from LinkedIn” at a dinner, or you’ve logged on yourself to find every man and his dog exclaiming their undying happiness and gratitude at their new role that they’re “absolutely delighted to announce”.
So you start posting. You know LinkedIn is where it’s at and you’re on that personal branding journey. The organic reach is decent and you’re gaining traction in your niche. You’re writing down your experiences and your expertise and you’re sharing it with others. Life’s good.
So someone online or in your team recommends you start scheduling posts, automating content production, outsourcing ideas, research, and content curation.
Suddenly, a platform that used to be a place of self-expression, insight, and maybe even fun has become sluggish, boring, and oversystemised. Your content doesn’t feel the same anymore. You’ve lost the connection with your audience and you need to get back without losing the productivity gains and added value that systems have provided you along the way.
So, here are some thoughts if you’ve been posting on LinkedIn a while but it’s started to feel a bit stale, a bit yucky or a bit overdone.
1. Take stock of where you are.
It’s important to take stock and reflect when things get stale.
How long have you been posting? How did your content originally resonate with your audience? What parts of the production process did you enjoy the most and least?
Simply from a health standpoint, it’s important that we embed reflection in all that we do. So even with the operational dryness that is personal branding creative and software workflows, we must learn to reflect.
“Reflection allows you to identify and appreciate positive experiences and better identify ways that you can improve your practice and service delivery. (HCPC, 2022”
The keywords are “improve” and “practice”. Content creation is a form of self-expression. It’s an art form. We must respect that by reflecting upon it, taking stock, and applying our learnings.
2. Ignore your existing workflows.
Taking our own advice, we mustn’t skip this step. This is where we forget about what we’ve done up until this point for a little longer. We de-operationalize our thinking to return to a beginner’s mindset.
A fantastic piece by Matthew Prince drew me to this quote from Shunryu Suzuki on the beginner’s mind:
“If your mind is empty, it is always ready for anything, it is open to everything. In the beginner’s mind, there are many possibilities, but in the expert’s mind there are few.”
This is so important when readjusting what’s working and not working on LinkedIn because it helps us to let go of our attachment to the work that has already been done - at least in part.
It helps us to ask key questions of ourselves with respect to the process of content creation and publication on LinkedIn.
What does the simplest version of your content workflow look like?
What is one way I can make my content more valuable for those reading?
Why might people NOT engage or like my content at the moment?
Tweak your workflow to be simplistic, minimalistic and reduce the total number of steps.
The least friction between your mind and the published article, the better. Those steps should be impactful and meaningful, but more steps do not equal higher-quality content.
When transitioning to improving our content creation system or workflow, here are some prompts:
Offer yourself tighter deadlines to reduce procrastination.
Eliminate some writer’s block by scheduling writing sessions with others.
Post pre-emptively to build anticipation and maintain accountability: “On Thursday afternoon I’ll be releasing X. Turn my notifications on to be the first to hear about it…”
3. Identify the parts of your workflow that can be automated.
One key cause of oversystemisation is the misuse of automation.
Let us reflect on what automation should do within LinkedIn content creation. It should serve us.
It should save us time
It should help us to create more
It should help us to create higher-quality material
Nothing else. That’s it. So don’t wait to automate. If a task such as content scheduling is repeatable and benign then get it automated. This will help you to focus on the higher leverage parts of the content creation process and ultimately unlock more value.
Underestimating the power of content automation is where lots of founders and leaders fall apart with it. They either try to automate too much too quickly or don’t automate enough and become a slave to the system that THEY made. The systems need to serve you and your needs.
Let’s not forget that we need to automate the right things. If you’re trying to automate human connection…you can’t.
4. Reconnect with your top fans
Your fans are those within your audience who genuinely back you.
Kevin Kelly was the original writer behind the “1000 true fans” movement that permeated marketing, customer acquisition, and content creation. The internet as we know it today has transformed this mindset as we consider the reach one article or video can have.
The reconnection with fans centers around the confusion between attention and fandom. Attention might be a view or attending an event. A fan will contribute in those small ways many times over. The shift of attachment to attention to the attachment to fandom is an important one as it shifts the measure to something that is actually meant as opposed to interesting.
When applying this mindset to LinkedIn we must consider that, like any social platform, people are taking time out of their days to engage with our content and connect with us.
So, guess what? That means connecting back with them.
Conduct discovery processes to realign what you think your fan looks like and what they actually look like. What do they need, and what do they spend their time doing? What are their favorite things about your content? Get that feedback loop moving.
When engaging with your top fans we want to get a sense of how oversystemisation impacts their perception of your content. Have they noticed tonal shifts at all? Have they felt the content you’ve been putting out has had less of you actually in it? Ask key questions like this to reconnect and reengage with those who really back you.
5. Let loose, be creative, and inject personality.
Don’t forget that out of 830 million users, around 260 million are active monthly on LinkedIn. Around 3 million share content weekly.
So if you’re even remotely posting content, give yourself props and remind yourself that you’re already standing out!
At the moment, it feels like 80% of LinkedIn content is the same. So go about this next phase of your content with enthusiasm and personality. Remember that people engage with people and that LinkedIn is principally a social platform. So be social!