What makes a good LinkedIn status update?

Last week, I made a case for the LinkedIn status update being a better way to tell your story as a professional than the profile. As I mentioned in that post, status updates have a much better chance of being seen (since they appear in your connections’ news feed on the LinkedIn home page) and digested (since they’re brief).

Not all status updates are created equal, of course. Even as short as they are in length, it’s important to make them worth reading. What are some of the possibilities? Here are a few ideas:

  • Mention what you’re working on. One of the best status updates is a simple mention of the most interesting thing you’ll be working on each day. Over time, mentioning different aspects of your work will help your connections understand how you can be a resource to them.
  • Share what you’ve read. Being a resource to your connections isn’t possible if you’re only interested in self-promotion. To avoid this trap, position yourself as a go-to person when it comes to the latest thinking in your industry. If you’ve read something that’s worth your audience’s attention, tell ‘em about it (and link to it, if possible).
  • Share advice/opinion. You have expertise to share—why not summarize it and share it? Even if you think it’s simplistic, there’s probably someone out there who would benefit from your knowledge. And if your status is more opinion than fact, just be aware of how your audience might react. There’s nothing wrong with encouraging a little debate—as long as your side is defensible.
  • Ask questions. A question mark is the only punctuation mark that demands feedback. Phrasing your status in the form of a question is a great way to engage your audience, tap into their expertise, and show them you care about their opinion.
  • Mention events you’re part of. Location-based social networks  aren’t the only way to tell people where they can find you. Tell your audience what events you’re part of and you’ll be better positioned to connect with them not just online, but also face-to-face. There’s also a halo effect associated with examples that show you’re investing in improving yourself or interested in connecting with others.
  • Share content from other sites. Think of your status updates as a distribution system for content you’ve developed elsewhere, like blog posts, photos, and videos. What have you created that’s worth sharing?
  • Share job opportunities. Is your company hiring? Why not inform those you trust first? And don’t just limit this to jobs with your employer: help your contacts find talent, and help job seekers, by promoting others’ job postings. It’s a great way to be a resource to those in your network.

When you consider the possibilities, there will be a lot of days when it’s harder to know what to omit than to know what to say. Shoot for one status update per day that represents the best thing you have to say or share, and you’ll be well on your way to strengthening your connections and being top of mind for the work you do.


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