So you wanna 10x your LinkedIn lead generation, get loads of contacts, increase your “likes,” and skyrocket your business with proven biblical secrets that work overnight like GANGBUSTERS!?

Here’s the truth:

Umm, yeah, it doesn’t work like that…

There are a lot of false promises like these floating around from marketers who see LinkedIn as a great opportunity to “hack.” They take sales strategies and push lead generation on steroids. Or they think they can just use the same razzle-dazzle disrupter approach from other social media platforms and now they’re an overnight expert.

Sure, eye-catching content catches eyes. But the biggest disconnection, when it comes to LinkedIn, is the lack of genuine connection — because the desire is to simply just be seen everywhere.

People are basically showing up on LinkedIn in a trench coat and fedora with a display of watches for sale inside the lining, whispering, “Psst [First Name], wanna buy my stuff?” (Seriously, though, some of these automated emails are just sloppy.)

Besides the obvious, these non-human tactics are horrible because they defeat the purpose of social networking.

You see, LinkedIn is a social media platform where you can grow your brand and connect with your audience—it’s not a rolodex to collect contacts.

A better approach? Writing and sharing quality content that sparks conversations.

According to LinkedIn’s 2020 Seasonality Report, content creation on the platform increased by 60% in 2020. This is promising because content is queen and a great way to share your expertise with other humans.

The idea that you “collect” contacts on LinkedIn so you can post and ghost or private message them to sign up for your new program isn’t going to go far. And any expert telling their clients that they can grow their audience overnight with “secrets” to hacking LinkedIn is outright wrong.

Making human connections is the long game (not a Chia Pet hack).

I started writing and sharing content on LinkedIn around 2013. Back then I didn’t fully understand the effects of “showing up” until one of my articles reached over 20k views. While that post did introduce me to trolls and growing a thicker skin, I realized that people were benefiting from my advice and seeing me as a leader when it came to personal branding.

So I started to consistently post and selectively expand my network over time, which resulted in clients. This new exposure also allowed me the opportunity to build my online writing portfolio which started my path to being a contributor to websites like The Muse, Life Hack and Huffington Post (now HuffPost).

All of this contributed to my brand today, where my words and advice are featured on sites like Business Insider, Forbes, Money, and Fast Company. None of it happened overnight.

I’ve watched LinkedIn evolve over the years. Followed the changing trends. Chased the teasing algorithms. And when it comes down to it, the most profitable approach is to be clear, credible, consistent, and carefree — also known as my 4 Cs to Brand Clarity formula.

I’ve found that the way LinkedIn has been the most profitable for my brand is to keep it real (insert “authentic” here, buzzword aside) and teach what I know. This continues to be the most rewarding strategy.

I believe in a more organic, human path that may take time to nurture but it works and is lucrative. It’s about putting in the effort to be interested in what others have to say, sowing seeds, and nurturing them, so you can reap the rewards of fruitful relationships. Because these relationships lead to new clients, media opportunities, and being connected to people who keep you top of mind.

I’m not saying the process has to take years. I’ve used my lessons to help people get past the learning curve, so the process is easier to grow their businesses. But for long-term success that matters, beyond a couple of posts that get likes. You need a strategy. You need to genuinely want to connect and help. You need to show up like a human.

There are no hacks to building a strong foundation.

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