“You” is a very fluid concept right now.

You bought the shoes.

You look great in the shoes.

That’s the “You” I’m talking about.

Will Smith’s character Alex Hitchens in ‘Hitch’ (2005)

Being yourself on LinkedIn – always a hard task when it comes to keeping the right balance of your presence in the professional network. I often hear that posting personal opinions and points of view is hard since profiles are in a way connected to the companies we represent. This usually works as a self-censorship pill for too many people. And I always reply the way Phil Knight would: 

Just Do it!

Posting only corporate stuff – news about your company, its products/services, and job openings – will let you fit in, but it is not the main objective of your LinkedIn presence. Nope! Your goal is to differentiate yourself from your competitors and all other users.

On LinkedIn, it’s your experience and knowledge that matter.

Creating content that displays your abilities and expertise is a must on LinkedIn. Don’t feel obliged to tie it to the company you’re currently with, though. Your professional brand requires a certain set of skills that helped you land this position, but who you are as a professional is even more dependent on who you actually are as a person. 

And since the best way to establish and develop a brand on social media is by posting engaging content, that’s exactly what you should do on LinkedIn to bring your human side ahead. Try getting more personal at least once per week. And here are some suggestions about

What you could post instead of company-related updates:

  1. Focus on your own subject matter expertise and the way you experience and evaluate things that happen in your field of work. Everybody shares industry trends these days, but what is your personal take – why is something happening and should we expect anything else? Trust me, your followers are eager to read what you think (of course they do – they have clicked on the follow/connect button).
  2. Bring your sense of humor in! Too many people think that LinkedIn and professional communication should be boring and full of jargon words that almost nobody understands. Prove them wrong and be that funny person you are in real life – show what your colleagues and clients enjoy while speaking with you every day. In fact, Friday is always a good day for some office humor – I am sure your network would agree.
  3. Hobbies are passion. And passion is great! That’s why your hobbies have a special place in your LinkedIn content mix – at least once a month talk about the way you have fun while developing additional skills or just getting some rest. Showcase your latest achievements, who you spend that precious time with, or maybe share some little-known facts about your hobby. You might be surprised how many people share your passion and – that’s pretty important – this could become a great ice-breaker for your relationship with that potential customer you’ve been chasing for some time.
  4. Books! A lot of books! If you’re into quotes and you keep highlighting passages from the (business) books you read, share them with your network. Go further and log into your Canva account, select a decent template for quotes and edit it with the corporate colors of your company (no logos though). Don’t be scared, let your personal brand grow with its professional counterpart.
  5. Show us how you learn because we’re following you and we want to learn from you, remember? That’s what we’ve signed for – your skills and expertise. And even when you share your sources of knowledge, we still learn from you (because that’s what we’d remember – who showed us something valuable). Plus, showing you’re constantly developing is among the Top 3 messages your LinkedIn profile should broadcast to the public.

We can add much more to this list (you can do it in the comments!) because there are a number of ways to express your personal side on LinkedIn. And it won’t turn the network into “a professional Instagram” because here we show exactly who we are, not who we want to be. Sorry, all-stagrammers.

This post appeared originally as part of Alexander’s LinkedIn newsletter ‘The Linked Practitioner’. Never miss an issue – subscribe here.

Written by

Alexander Krastev

Alexander Krastev has been developing successful communication channels in the online realm for over 14 years. Since the end of 2017 he has been leading the BookMark Agency.
Founder and news editor at the biggest online media for books and reading in Bulgaria - the multi-award winning website AzCheta.com. He has also been giving lectures on LinkedIn at New Bulgarian University and SoftUni, Sofia. He has consulted the Bulgarian translations for several business books, among which “Creative Selection” by Ken Kocienda, “Guerrilla Marketing” by Jay Conrad Levinson, “Creative Genius” by Peter Fisk, “Social BOOM!” by Jeffrey Gitomer.