Today, I broke 1,000,000 followers on LinkedIn. I began writing on the platform two and half years ago, along with 400 other professionals. I started out with zero followers and less than 1,000 connections.
I’m Not a World Leader, Billionaire, Media Mogul, or Shark
As a new member of the, “1,000,000 Followers Club” (please know, I’m giggling as I type that), I’m in pretty interesting company. President Obama, Bill Gates, Richard Branson, Arianna Huffington, Deepak Chopra, Jack Welch, and Mark Cuban are all in the club too. Trust me, like all of you, I was thinking, “How the heck did this happen?”
I Didn’t Get Special Treatment
People often ask if I got some kind of special treatment from LinkedIn. In fact, when they started the Influencer program, they didn’t want the feed overpowered with articles on job search and career development. They wanted more diverse, timely business and industry insights. Therefore, my articles weren’t initially promoted on the homepage. Yet, the more I wrote, the more I climbed in followers. Members wanted (needed!) career help–and I was more than happy to give it to them. And, you know what? I think that’s the real secret to getting followers….
I’m Just a Girl (Trying to Make Change) in the World
If you aren’t a celebrity or a famous business person, I believe acquiring 1,000,000 followers on any social platform requires a passion for solving a problem that’s bigger than yourself. I started out as a private career coach in 2001, but over time, realized I wanted to make a bigger impact. In 2009, I launched a career advice blog, CAREEREALISM, as a way to showcase a diverse group of experts offering truly up-to-date, bleeding-edge career advice. This is where I first learned the power of writing consistently. Give people new, timely information, and you can create a loyal following. Today, CAREEREALISM also has 1,000,000 monthly users and is growing 200 percent a year in readership. More importantly, it led me to think BIGGER.
Everyone Has Career Problems–I Mean EVERYONE!
I want every working professional to have their own career coach. We use doctors, dentists, financial planners, personal trainers, and every other type of adviser to help us excel in areas of our life that matter. Yet, for some crazy reason, in spite of the fact that EVERYONE has career problems, our society thinks we should be able to figure those out by ourselves. I want to stop the insanity. I see doing it in three ways:
A) Encourage companies to provide outside career coaching as a health benefit.
B) Make ongoing access to a career coach as affordable as a gym membership.
C) Change the post-high school education process to focus on agile, life-long learning.
I’m currently doing the first two with my newest venture, CareerHMO–a virtual career-improvement platform, and hope someday to have the ability to positively affect the third. Which leads back to how writing for LinkedIn is beneficial….
Writing on LinkedIn Helps My Business in Four Ways
I write at least once a week on LinkedIn. They don’t pay me, but it pays for me to write consistently on their platform for the following reasons:
1) It clarifies my vision. Each time I write, I tie back to what I believe in and how I can move toward my goal to change the way people approach their careers.
2) It explains my company’s purpose to our target demographic. I’ve worked with thousands of people on their career problems. I use that experience to share stories, provide examples, and map out proven strategies for getting results.
3) It saves me in marketing costs and helps me fund growth. I try not to directly promote our services within my posts, BUT I always include a little blurb about CareerHMO as a postscript. This drives potential customers who want to learn more about our career improvement platform to our site. We’ve saved thousands of dollars in marketing costs. More importantly, we’ve built a successful company without having to seek funding or investors.
4) It opens doors to other opportunities. By building up my writing, first on CAREEREALISM, and then on LinkedIn, I was able to prove myself. This gave me the confidence to reach out to Inc. about becoming a contributor. (Actually, I reached out to an Inc. contributor I admire, Jeff Haden, and he was kind enough to introduce me.) Within weeks, I was on board. The editorial team here is incredible and the resources are top-notch. Writing for Inc. is a “career bucket list” accomplishment for me.
FYI–I’ve also gotten business partnerships, new corporate clients, and paid speaking engagements–all from writing on LinkedIn.
PS: Here’s One Thing I’d Do Differently. I used to get really hung up on how many views an article got. Don’t let views drive your writing. Stay true to your goal and write from the heart. Then, learn to cross-promote articles by linking to them within one another. Some of my articles got very few views initially, but grew nicely over time with that technique. Just keep writing consistently and your followers will grow!
PS – I also write (and connect with readers) via LinkedIn here >>