LinkedIn just announced that it topped 200 million members worldwide—nothing like the 1-billion-plus members on Facebook, but nonetheless impressive. The company also announced a 66% jump in 4Q2012 earnings, which triggered a share price surge in after-hours trading of 8.5%. But the really big news is that LinkedIn sent me a congratulatory email saying my profile was among the top 1% most-viewed profiles viewed of 2012. What the heck is that about?
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As a guy who would not want to join any club that would have me, I’m dumbstruck. Anyone who knows me has to wonder how I could possibly be so popular.
I have no charisma and need to lose at least 25 pounds. A year ago, a former mutual fund wholesaler I’ve known for 15 years, told me I’m a “polarizing” figure. Since the halcyon days of the 1990s, I’ve alienated a long list of sacred institutions and the not-so-sacred. I’ve publicly hammered CFP Board, NAPFA, Schwab, Fidelity as well as the trade press. I would seem to have done everything right if I were trying to become less popular.
Even more curious, I do little to be popular on LinkedIn. I post status updates inconsistently. Some weeks, I post updates only once or twice. My LinkedIn updates invite advisors to webinars, tell people about articles on Advisors4Advisors about the RIA industry, and give practical tech tips to RIAs.
Writing the articles and producing the webinars—creating content—is hard work. The LinkedIn part is easy. Sending a status update takes minutes. But creating valuable content is difficult. That’s what makes you popular on social media, great content. Which brings me to an important point.
Other “experts” in how advisors should use social media will tell you that you must create all your own original content to be successful on social media. That’s not entirely true. Yes, you do need to create your own original content, but you also should augment your original content with ideas from a content partner. (See this post on Search Engine Land, especially the section about picking a content partner
To be clear, you can use “canned content” to market financial advice on social networks. It will help you. Canned content, if it imparts intelligent ideas, can be very valuable when it’s an integrated part of a content marketing strategy.
What all this teaches us is that—even if you’re a chubby Jew from Queens—if you tell the truth and intelligently analyze issues your audience cares about, you can become popular on social media and generate business from it. You might need to be polarizing because telling truth tends to be a black or white affair. But if you pursue truth no matter where it takes you, your audience will trust you and then people will find you, and that’s the best kind of marketing. It’s marketing money can’t buy.
I hope this inspires you to blog to become more popular and to tell the truth.