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  • Melvin Mathews

Mastering Linkedin - 'art or 'science'?

Updated: Jul 28, 2020

My LinkedIn journey did not start as a conscious attempt to build a brand or establish a presence online. It all started when I joined Linkedin and began to build a network as an MBA student. A group for like-minded classmates was formed. There were about 60 of us sharing thoughts, ideas and research information. Then people started asking if they could join us – first juniors, then seniors. Now this same group has over 5000 members. Today, the profile is amongst the most connected and followed. The network is not limited to maritime, technology or energy industries but includes people from a wide variety of industries and business areas. In a list first put together in 2016 the profile held the 130th most connected spot in linkedin. Now there are over 30,000 followers on LinkedIn, about 70% of them are decision-makers, investors, consultants and experts in the maritime industry. When you put all the followers and their connections together, it’s possible to reach upwards of 679 million people.

Two-way street

But there’s more to LinkedIn than just the number of connections. Key to success is perhaps the various articles, publications and posts on the site. A fundamental aspect of the approach is to see the act of sharing thoughts, ideas and topics as a two-way street. I am not a hoarder by nature and do not like to keep information to myself. If it is felt it may be useful to somebody, it is openly shared with everyone. That goes the other way as well, with people willing to share information with me, information that I otherwise would not have had the good fortune to see or hear. The views these get are a crucial tool that help open the doors to more opportunities. For instance, analysis of followers indicates that 9000 are senior level decision-makers, like CEOs or managing directors from the maritime industry. Getting views and ideas seen by them enables me to relate and connect with them more easily. One of the posts shared recently has to date been viewed by about 500,000 people, including 11,000 CEOs and executive directors. They are decision makers when it comes to what products or services their respective organisations need and buy. The fact they have viewed my article or post makes it easy to get in touch with them.

Creating new opportunities

One such example of direct access took place around the time of an acquistion by a large listed company. A direct message was sent to the company CEO asking for a meeting and it was impressive that the company responded positively with an invitation for a meeting. Unlike the past where such access was rare, today, through social media, you can even get in touch with the likes of Elon Musk or Donald Trump through a simple post. That is the power of social media if it is used prudently. While social media platforms like LinkedIn act as enabling tools, one must not think that a digital social network is merely a numbers game of conections and followers.The way to look at it is that the people who choose to connect or follow anyone are the ones who are interested in the content being posted, shared or published. They usually have similar interests and if they see that the material is not relevant, they will stop following. So, you have to keep that in mind when you are being active on a social platform. While my success on LinkedIn (if it can be called that) cannot be understated, it doesn’t require one to be online constantly. I travel a lot and so my activity online is determined by the free time I get. I devote maybe the first 5-10 minutes in the morning and evening to update myself, reading and then sharing relevant articles. Sometimes, when I am working, I log onto social media to take a break and start my next project afresh.  It varies from person to person, and everyone has to find their own groove.

Top tips on getting followers:

1. Be open Keep the profile open for everybody to see and to follow. Be open to introducing people to each other if asked. It generates goodwill and you don’t have anything to lose doing so.

2. Be passionate Write and share things that your are passionate about. For me, these topics are technology, innovation, people, environmental issues, oil & gas, energy & power, shipping, etc. Refrain from share anything that you don’t find interesting yourself.

3. Be relevant Your posts must have relevance. Otherwise, followers may relate to it as spamming and may not read it, like or share it. By using LinkedIn statistics, I have noticed that on average about 5000-25,000 people read the content posted daily, but the number can be as high as 950,0000, depending on the subject.

4. Be current The world is all about here and now. Avoid posts that are older than 24 hours.

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Let me know your thoughts.

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