I enjoy gardening and although I live in an urban area, the advent of container gardening allows me to experience the fruits of my efforts this year with a crop of fresh tomatoes, basil, beautiful roses, and blossoms.
Last week I was talking with a client and explaining how to get the most of out of her experience on LinkedIn. This made me think of LinkedIn as a garden because there are so many parallels.
Your LinkedIn experience is directly related to tending to a garden.
LinkedIn is very much like a virtual garden. Think about it. When you water it, provide adequate sunlight, weed it, fertilize it, you will benefit from the healthy plants and flowers as will the bees and butterflies who come by to pollinate.
However, if you haven’t watered, weeded or given enough attention, those gnarly weeds will overtake your healthy plants and eventually kill them off.
“Anything worthwhile is going to take time and effort. If it’s important to you, then do the work and make it happen…”wise words from my mom
Sorting the Good and the Bad Weeds
Truth be told, cultivating a garden takes hard work and time. It requires vigilance and responsiveness. Not all weeds are bad.
In a garden you start with a plot of land or if you live in a urban environment like I do, a set of containers or rooftop will suffice. On LinkedIn your plot of land is your profile and it is broken down into sets of containers or plots (header, headline, profile image, summary, skills, experience, etc).
Next you need fertile soil rich with nutrients to cover the foundation. On LinkedIn, your fertile soil is the image you use for your profile photo and header, the words you use in your headline and summary, as well as the descriptions you write, etc.
Now comes the seeds and plants you place in the soil. Ensure that you plant only good plants. The garden doesn’t care what you plant, and you may wind up with a crop of poison weeds, if you don’t nurture and tend to it. On LinkedIn your seeds, bulbs and plants are your connections and the words you choose when you engage with your connections will determine if your crop is good or poison. Always be kind!
Gardens need water and sunlight to grow and thrive.
For a garden to thrive it needs just the right amount of moisture, sun and shade. Not too much, not too little can make all the difference. On LinkedIn your water and sun is the content you share but you have to strike the right balance. Too much can drown out your presence and not enough yields unpredictable results.
Now comes the Bees and the Butterflies. They are crucial to help pollinate and expand your garden. On LinkedIn, these are your 2nd and 3rd level connectionswho find your content and profile interesting enough to share with their connections.
Gardens Need Regular Maintenance
Untended gardens grow weeds and eventually die off. This too can happen on LinkedIn if you don’t deadhead the stragglers. Do you make an effort to engage with your connections both new and existing? If you’re connected to people who you engage with regularly, that’s a good thing. But if a fair amount of your connections have NOT been active on LinkedIn in a while, ask yourself why you are connected with them in the first place. Maybe it’s time for some pruning and maintenance.
For your plants to thrive, you need to tend to them and that is true on LinkedIn. Your plants are your connections and if you don’t tend to them, they will lie dormant or worse yet, die off, figuratively speaking.
The fertilizer helps keep your plants healthy. On LinkedIn, the content you share and the posts you engage with keep your garden healthy.
So what kind of crop will you have this year?
On LinkedIn will you tend to your connections with meaningful engagement or is it time to weed out the chaff, come up with a new strategy and revive those plants.
Need a boost (aka some MiracleGro) for your LinkedIn Garden?
Get started today and download this free LinkedIn AllStar worksheet!
Judi Hays is passionate about helping business owners make the most of their LinkedIn experience. If you’re just too busy to tend to your garden or if you don’t have a “green thumb” set up a discovery session with Judi and you’ll be amazed at the potential you have with your LinkedIn Garden. Book your insight discovery session today!