You may find it hard to believe but commenting on other people’s posts on LinkedIn can be a more effective way of increasing your influence than posting!
When you comment on someone’s post on LinkedIn, you’re doing more than just communicating with that one person. Contributing to the comments of someone else’s post means that you are introducing yourself to the audience of that person.
Let’s take this to a real-life situation. You’re at a conference and the speaker asks if there are any questions. Now, all those people in the audience (as well as yourself), are ‘fans’ of that speaker: that’s why you’re all there.
By raising your hand in front of that audience and asking a question or making a comment, you are exposing yourself (in a good way 😉) to that WHOLE audience! If you say something clever or innovative, that whole room will hear it. You may as well be up on the stage with that speaker!
This is what happens when you comment on the post of someone with lots of connections or followers on LinkedIn. Every single one of the followers and connections of that person has the opportunity to see your comment!
The other thing which happens to your comment is that it shows up in your own feed for all your followers to see. In the ‘activity’ section on your profile, all your comments are shown as well as your posts.
OK, so that’s the ‘why’. Now to the ‘how’.
If you are going to use this strategy (and I strongly advise that you do!), you need to make sure you’re doing it well. You could damage your reputation if you get it wrong – so be careful. Use the space well and don’t waste the opportunities.
Here’s how to structure a comment to get you noticed!
1) Read the post as well as any articles/attachments thoroughly!
Many people don’t actually read the post or the attachment – if there is one. Not every post on LinkedIn has an attachment but if there is one, make sure you’ve read it properly before you comment on it. If there is no article attached, make sure you’ve read, and understood the post.
2) Ask yourself what the author wants you to do
If the post is about sustainability, for example, and the post has a photo of a beautiful countryside, don’t comment on the photo! It’s very easy to take the first option and comment on the image but for the person who has crafted the post, they want you to pay attention to, and comment on, their findings and their views. If they’ve asked a specific question, answer that question specifically – that’s what they’re after.
3) Be kind
A quick compliment to kick off with is always a pleasant and civil way to start a conversation. In any case, be kind and respectful. Even if (especially if, perhaps?), you’re going to dispute what the person says or if you’re going to propose a counter-view.
4) Add value
If you don’t agree with the post, it’s important to say why. To just criticise will make you seem as if you’ve got sour grapes or that you’re just a grump. If you do agree with it, present some evidence or fact-based opinion as to why. You could say something like ‘When I did x then y happened’ or ‘I have noticed a similar thing in my experience.’
Going back to the analogy above, think about all those eyes on you, waiting for you to validate your opinion. Don’t disappoint!
5) Show your knowledge but don’t show off
No-one likes a show-off so be cautious in your language. Draft your comment in a word doc and make sure you don’t appear to be bragging. Ask someone to read it through before posting if you’re in any way unsure.
6) Don’t pitch or be salesy
This is not a chance for you to push your products or services, this is a chance for you to show your knowledge and build relationships.
7) Tag in the person
I know it does seem odd to tag in the person who has written the post but it will ensure that they are alerted to your comment. Some people have their notifications switched off so they may not know you’ve commented unless you do this.
8) Tag in someone else
If there is someone else who you feel may want to join in the conversation, tag them in too. Don’t be spammy and just tag folk for the sake of eyeballs on your content but if there is someone with a genuine interest who can add something to the conversation, invite them in by tagging them.
9) Comment on other comments
By commenting on other people’s comments, you can start to build really deep relationships with the people who wrote those comments. Back to the conference above: if someone else makes a comment or asks the speaker a question, you may want to add something to THEIR comment. This can really place you in a position of authority. After the talk, you can approach that person over coffee to continue the conversation (on LinkedIn, you could DM them to do this.).
10) Ask a question
Even though this isn’t your post, by generating a discussion right here, you can really help build your following. The more comments the post receives, the more reach it may get on LinkedIn. This means that the post creator will love the fact that they can continue the conversation so they’re very likely to answer your question to continue the discussion. This will give you even more opportunities to build a relationship with that person and their audience.
If you don’t understand something or you’d like the creator to expand on a point, don’t be afraid to ask. They may welcome the chance to showcase more of their knowledge.
11) Remember it’s a public forum
With almost 80 million people on LinkedIn (October 2021), your post could be seen by many so don’t get too personal! If you wish to take the conversation further, you could send the relevant person a DM and continue the discussion in private.
12) Remember – you’re a guest
What you post in your own posts is your call but when you’re in someone else’s feed, remember it’s THEIR feed, not yours. If you’re in the audience talking to the speaker on stage, it would be pretty odd if you jumped up on the stage, grabbed the microphone, and took over. The audience are there to see the speaker, you’re just an added bonus (if you follow these ‘rules’ anyway!) so respect the space as theirs.
I hope you’ve found this useful. If so, come and follow me on LinkedIn and follow my hashtag #LinkedInSimplified so you don’t miss any of my posts!