Professional, personal, private: What do I post on LinkedIn?

It is an ongoing discussion: What content fits on LinkedIn? The desire to position oneself in an approachable way is understandable. But beware: not all content belongs on LinkedIn. We show you which standards you should measure your posts against.

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Professional, personal, private: What do I post on LinkedIn?

Where does the desire for private content on LinkedIn come from?

LinkedIn is a business platform. And that's a good thing. There is no other business network of comparable size. If the content were to become too similar to other social media networks, LinkedIn's raison d'être would quickly be lost.

Now, it is often claimed that in a modern work environment there must also be room for humanity. It is argued that social media was created to generate proximity, connect people and break down barriers. It is also a space for personal stories, many argue.

These motives are combined with a specific feature of social networks: virality. All social media platforms favour posts that get a large number of reactions (likes, shares, comments, etc.). After all, users seem to like the content and are thus kept on the platform. The reach of these posts increases with every click. Accordingly, one reaches many more people with a popular post at first glance. It is in the nature of us humans to like personal content more out of empathy. Consequently, personal content has a higher chance of generating more reach.

The arguments listed are not wrong. And yet there are two problems:

  1. "Personal" is often interpreted far too generously and not infrequently confused with "private".
  2. More reach does not necessarily mean more success.
HeadStarterz's LinkedIn analysis of Swiss law firms 2022.

How much personality on LinkedIn is advisable?

On LinkedIn, we all work on our personal branding with every interaction. We create perceptions with everyone who takes note of our clicks on the platform. What do we post? What do we like? What photo have we uploaded?

LinkedIn is an opportunity not only to be perceived as a competent expert. It is also an opportunity to offer our target groups something more. We shape the image and fill it with content. It makes sense to be approachable and accessible. Especially in the marketing of professional services (e.g. lawyers), such accessibility is valuable. Legal advice is often very personal – and where clients can get to know the person behind the lawyer, it makes the decision easier for them.

But: The main motivation must remain the work on your own expert status. You should offer your target groups content on LinkedIn that is useful to them in their professional context. They can get all other information on Facebook and the like.

It is undisputed that this also leaves room for the one or other somewhat more personal post. This can even be cleverly used to gain reach in between – as explained above. The important thing is that it is used strategically and in the right proportion.

It is equally important that your post does not slip into the private sphere! Despite all personality, there always needs to be a connection to a professionally relevant topic. Cat videos, children's birthdays, a picture of the newly bought car and other private events have no place on LinkedIn. Especially for lawyers and other service providers, such posts – despite the reach they achieve – can do more harm than good.

In this sense:

  • Personal: yes
  • Approachable: yes
  • Professional: yes
  • Private: No!

Final note: What is "private" can of course not be judged conclusively and varies depending on the sender. An example: If I, as an expert in strategic marketing, post a picture of a chic holiday home, it has a different meaning than if it is shared by an architect.

Why does more reach not always mean more success?

First of all, how "success" is defined varies from person to person. For instance, as a service provider, it is important for me that my network perceives me as an expert in my field: strategic marketing for professional services.

The more substantial a post is, the more difficult it is to collect many likes with it. It takes more effort for my audience to judge whether my content has effectively earned a thumbs-up. There is often a lack of time and capacity to study these lines effectively.

So, for example, if I share a link to this blog post, I have less chance of getting many likes than if I post emotional content. But: Even if fewer people see my link to this blog post, this post pays significantly more into my status as an expert.

It's all in the mix: Those who master the right mix of professional content and personal, approachable (but still professional) posts will be successful on LinkedIn. The equation "the more reach, the more success" is definitely not true in this absolute.

How can HeadStarterz help?

We have a lot of experience with LinkedIn and support both companies and individuals. Our services range from training on the functionalities of the platform to creating strategies and coordinating communication between companies and their employees. Especially for law firms, the coordinated interaction between the positioning of the firm's brand and the personal branding of the fee earners is often crucial.

  • Workshops / trainings for employees
  • Trainings concerning company profiles
  • Development of LinkedIn communication concepts for SMEs
  • Editorial support for LinkedIn profiles

If you have any questions about LinkedIn, we look forward to hearing from you:

The Swiss law firm LinkedIn analysis 2021 by HeadStarterz.