For the impatient reader I’ll skip right to the end: LinkedIn doesn’t change you.
We have created a wonderful application called Sequenchel that works with SQL Server and has the potential to conquer the world.The thing is that the world first needs to know about it. So we need to do some marketing. I am told that a marketing campain done by a professional will cost a lot of money which we don’t have. That means it is up to ourselves to come up with a marketing plan. We have a small team and none of us really knows anything about marketing. There are a lot of social networks out there that can serve as a platform for marketing and LinkedIn seemed like my best bet.
I have used LinkedIn for a long time now and it has proven it’s worth as people have reached out to me with job opportunities and it keeps me connected to people that mean something to me in my professional life. I was never a very active user and my profile states what I can do and where I have worked and little more. LinkedIn sends me email with lots of do and don’t lists and I read most of them. At times I thought about writing an article myself, but never knew what to write about so it stranded there. This time, however, I decided that LinkedIn should become my platform as well so I started to read the manual on how to do it.
I’d like to point out that in my professional carreer I am a database administrator and developer (or DBA for short) and work mostly with data. This data is stored to be used by actual humans, but they tend to speak with functional application managers who in their turn talk to me. I can’t say if I am an actual nerd, but I tend to have little contact with end customers. Marketing skills are therefor not a requirement for my job.
After updating my profile and creating a company page I sat back and looked at what I made. I realized it still needs a lot of work, but we’ll leave that for later. The next step according to LinkedIn is to write an article. Luckily for me LinkedIn has a manual for that too. The first advice in the manual is “Write about what you know”. That is sound advice, but what if you want to market your new product and you don’t know about marketing? You may end up with an article that sounds ridiculous and that will reflect on your product. Sequenchel has been created to make life easier for the DBA, but that is not what I am feeling right now.
There is this whole new world in front of me that I need to explore, but it is also clear to me that I am a complete stranger there. I want to fit in and be able to talk shop with the locals, but where do I start? Then it hit me: I should listen to the advice LinkedIn offers me for free: I should not try to do or be what I am not. I must be who I am and be this stranger in the land of marketeers. I will talk about what I know and that is that I don’t have a clue what they are talking about. While writing my very first article I keep revising, studying the manual and learning more about what it is I’m trying to do. I picked a title that sounds catchy and actually does reflect the contents of my article. I wrote what is keeping me busy which was writing an article in the first place. Next I need to figure out how to publish this article. Why publish this? Because for everything you need to practise.
That leeds me to the best piece of advice that was out there. You’ll never get it right the first time, so you need pratice. And part of the pratice is receiving feedback, in this case from readers. I can only get feedback if I have readers, so I need to publish. After publishing, the long wait begins to see if people are actually reading my article and are willing to give feedback. For that you need patience, I understand that. Well, I said I understand it. It doesn’t mean I’m a fan.
Working on LinkedIn has shown me that I can be myself and still try to reach the goals that I want to reach. I have read many articles from people that write about things just for the sake of writing an article. Usually they end up with a reference to a product or book they wrote that has nothing to do with the article. Those articles are usually in the form of a list of do’s and don’ts. When I read those articles I usually skip the advertisment at the end and the message is lost. Writing about what you know can also mean writing about what you know you can’t do, as long as your honest about it and do not pretend to be something you’re not. This experience has tought me that I will never be a marketeer, but that I can still write a readable article as long as I stay true to myself.
I am not a changed man, but I did learn a lot.
Next time I might actually write an article about Sequenchel.