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LinkedIn is a social media platform that is quickly on the rise in today’s hyperactive social environment. So much has happened in the last couple of years. Business competition has skyrocketed to the point we are flooded with information.

Estimated reading time: 6 minutes

So much has happened; we’re basically unable to process it all. Much less make sense of what’s true or untrue. Making smart use of LinkedIn can help your message cut through the noise.

In this post, we’ll cover

  • How LinkedIn differs from other social media platforms
  • Types of content that are appropriate and inappropriate for LinkedIn
  • Etiquette when engaging others using LinkedIn Messages
  • How to build a network and attract referrals with LinkedIn

LinkedIn Differs from Other Social Media Platforms

LinkedIn is a place to connect with other professionals like yourself. More importantly, it’s a great place to prospect for new business referrals.

Note that I wrote prospects for referrals and not “targets.”

Although LinkedIn outreach is (annoyingly) prevalent, the possibility of closing a deal with a cold LinkedIn messing is exceedingly rare.

The key is not to close deals with cold messages but to grow your network, increase touchpoints, and build value with your connections to the point they feel comfortable referring you to others.

Etiquette for reaching prospects and successfully gaining referrals is crucial. Let’s cover some proper etiquette on LinkedIn outreach.

Types of Content to Post on LinkedIn

LinkedIn is NOT Facebook or Instagram. The user base of LinkedIn differs greatly from other platforms.

LinkedIn is, of course, designed for business professionals, and it’s used to showcase job experience, exhibit thought leadership, and network.

Because users’ expectations differ greatly on LinkedIn, the channel demands a very particular content strategy to be most effective.

In Ep. 24 of the NerdBrand podcast, we discussed using social media for business purposes. In summary, without strategic content that clearly provides value to your audience, you cannot properly succeed with social media marketing.

And your time is far too valuable to waste on poorly executed social media posts.

Though the platform is seeing an evolution, LinkedIn continues to be centralized around professional and business content, which is a stark difference compared to other social platforms.

That means content in line with political, religious, or social issues is generally frowned upon.

Memes and random funny GIFs sometimes gain traction, but their flavor is distinguished from what you might typically see on Twitter or Instagram.

These types of content can get you ignored or, worse, banned from certain LinkedIn groups.


If you do post memes or GIFs that are on-brand, then that can be okay.

The only if your key audience is accepting of it.

Gary Vaynerchuk does this frequently with his LinkedIn content. But Gary invested years into developing his personal and business brand. He’s spent thousands of dollars in creative and marketing services to curate and publish a consistent tone, aesthetic, and attitude.

While these examples can serve as inspiration, they can’t necessarily be translated to every person or business.

In general, keep your LinkedIn posts professional and stay away from Facebook or Instagram type of content.

But how do you properly ask for a connection to someone on LinkedIn that you want a referral from?

Let’s dive into how to do that.

Types of content you can share on LinkedIn

If you are in a hurry to gain followers and make a name for yourself, LinkedIn probably isn’t the network for you.

Like building a corporate brand, building a personal brand takes a significant time investment, content production, and consistent core messaging.

Video Content

One surefire way to quickly grow your LinkedIn presence is to start producing video content.

Video content works well on any social platform, and LinkedIn, in particular, is hungry for it.

According to LinkedIn, videos in your LinkedIn posts can get 5X more engagement on your content, while live videos can attract 24X more engagement.

See our post below about how to use video for LinkedIn.

Here’s an example of how we use video to promote the NerdBrand podcasts on LinkedIn.


Did you know you can also embed documents directly in LinkedIn? This is exceptional for sharing things like industry reports, case studies, and white papers.

The caveat is don’t just share some random document you made in Word. Invest time into designing a creative, compelling document that will catch the eyes of people scrolling through their feed.

At NerdBrand, we regularly share things like branding guide examples and case studies.

Here’s a case study on Vetiver Aromatics — a do-it-yourself perfume e-commerce client.

We were able to triple their online sales following a takeover of their Google Ads account and email marketing.

More Organic Posts, Fewer Re-shares

LinkedIn favors organic posts from individuals vs. posts that are re-shared. Organic posts in this context are referring to those that you create yourself.

Organic posts from your profile have a greater reach than those you re-share, so make it a point to craft original content that aligns with your unique personal or corporate brand.

Strategic content is paramount to growing your LinkedIn audience and to gaining valuable introductions.

People do not want to follow and read posts that “spammy” or just re-shares. They are thirsty for new, unique content.

LinkedIn Messaging: Things to Consider Before You Ask to Connect

Don’t start with the sell

Like networking events, your philosophy on LinkedIn should not be to “sell” to the group but rather to connect and deliver value to others. You want to really get to know the members and build genuine. Always try for mutually beneficial relationships in your connections. Can you refer someone to them?

Referrals are the lifeblood of business.

But if your first approach is the “hard sell” or “hard ask” for referrals, people are going to ignore you. Those tactics are easily spotted.

Find the need

Sales are HARD. What’s harder but more fruitful is building authentic friendships in the marketplace.

First, ask, “How can my organization help?” before you reach out.

A friend-centered approach will result in more referrals. That’s because friends are more likely to share contacts who have a “need.” Simply offering whatever service or product you represent isn’t good enough.

Explain why you want to connect

When you send a connection request to someone, customize the invitation by including a note stating how you found them and why you want to connect.

This custom note helps personalize your request and lets people know you’re not just on a connecting spree. Inquiring directly for sale right out of the gate will your connection declined or your future content ignored.

It’s not Facebook

This seems obvious. You are looking for new business, and there’s no shame in that. So don’t be afraid to ask if they know anyone that could use your services. But watch the posts that really below more on other channels less business-centered.

Watch our podcast below with Jordan Clemons from GLI about LinkedIn as a social selling platform.

Need a Hand with LinkedIn?

Contact us to get a strategy on your LinkedIn profile for your business or personal brand.

Jason Davis

Author Jason Davis

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