A few years ago, I uploaded a video to my LinkedIn profile for the first time.
When I share an article on LinkedIn, I describe what I found interesting and why I’m sharing it. What would happen, I asked myself, if I recorded a video speaking those same thoughts? There weren’t as many users posting videos back then, so my video post might stand out in users’ news feeds.
In those early days, my videos would get thousands of views and a healthy amount of likes, comments and shares. If the LinkedIn algorithm could speak, it might say, “What’s this? A video! We love video. And since you’re fairly new to using video, we’re going to surface this post to lots of your connections and followers. Job well done!”
In addition to the engagement metrics, I knew my videos were getting wide distribution when I had people outside of the marketing world comment to me offline. “Hey, I saw your LinkedIn video,” said friends who work in Legal, Engineering and Finance.
I rode this wave for six, maybe eight months.
And then engagement hit a plateau, even though my approach stayed the same. Now, the LinkedIn algorithm was telling me, “OK. You had a nice run. But this is all looking the same to us. To continue getting preferential treatment, mix it up maybe?”
The LinkedIn Lightbulb Goes Off
I couldn’t think of any new approaches, so I simply posted less to LinkedIn.
And then I discovered the teachings of Michaela Alexis, an entrepreneur who provides LinkedIn coaching and consulting. At Content Marketing World 2019, Alexis gave a presentation on how to build a personal brand on LinkedIn. I wrote an article about Alexis’s presentation for Content Marketing Institute.
For success on LinkedIn, Alexis urges us to be:
Alexis’s teachings were just the inspiration I needed to mix things up with video on LinkedIn. Here’s how I followed Alexis’s formula.
I recorded a video on a topic I’m passionate about: personal branding. I was laid off from a job during the 2008 Financial Crisis and started working on my personal brand the very next day. Sadly, I knew my story would be relatable, since some of my friends and colleagues have been laid off or furloughed.
I learned in 2008 that your body of work and your resume are necessities, but a strong personal brand can make you more attractive to prospective employers and elevate you above other candidates. I figured other people might see their scenario in mine, which would make my message more compelling.
While there are times to have a pre-written script, this wasn’t one of them. If I sounded too polished, or if viewers could tell I was reading from a teleprompter, it would make my video less authentic. I had a general sense of what I wanted to say, then spoke off the cuff.
In the introduction, I said “I want to tell you my personal branding journey in 60 seconds.” I ended up speaking for nearly two minutes, but I don’t think anyone noticed. Sticking to Alexis’s advice, I told my story as if I was speaking to a friend or family member: informal and conversational.
This made a big difference. Recall that in the past, my videos promoted an article. They were created to serve me (e.g., “Watch this, then click on the link”), rather than serve you, the viewer.
The helpful bit in my video was the clincher. I spoke about my personal branding journey as a “call to arms,” a plea to viewers to share their expertise with the world. Some viewers already have strong personal brands. Others might take inspiration from my story and my advice to start managing their personal brands more intentionally.
I realized that my past attempts with LinkedIn video were not inspirational in any way.
But Wait, There’s More
Studying some of Alexis’s LinkedIn posts, I decided to add more substance to the text portion of the post. I laid out the same story in the written portion that I share in the video. I think this helped, because people who “bought in” to the written copy would be inclined to play the video.
I also reframed how I think about video on LinkedIn. In the past, video was a promotional vehicle to get viewers to click on the link. In my new way of thinking, there is no link, because the video IS THE CONTENT.
I was thrilled with the result. I received a lot of comments and heard from former colleagues I hadn’t interacted with in years. My next challenge is to create a new video that’s even more compelling.
Here’s the result:
Feature Image Credit: STEVE GALE
Dennis is an independent marketing consultant who works with brands on content marketing, product messaging and social media marketing. Formerly, Dennis led the content marketing function at DNN Software.