Linkedin is Big Bird in an Amazon Boardroom when it comes to social media.
It’s owned by Microsoft. They don’t really do anything for their content creators. The platform isn’t intuitive.
The question I get is, how do you make money on LinkedIn? I thought I knew, honestly. Turns out I have a lot to learn. One of my LinkedIn connections, Justin Welsh, has built a diehard following in under twelve months. For those who say LinkedIn is dead, they’re a long way off.
Let’s dissect Justin’s advice and see why he made $20K in 9 hours from selling his online course.
What kills LinkedIn Dreams for content creators
LinkedIn has some cringeworthy content for sure. Sean Kernan pointed it out beautifully. There’s advice on factory worker resume writing. There’s soul-crushing personal branding content designed to sell you a life full of broken career dreams. I could go on for hours about all the terrible content.
But we’ve got it all wrong.
Lots of bad content on a social media platform is a huge advantage, not a disadvantage. If you simply publish slightly better content then you can do what Justin did. You can quickly find a loyal audience who’ve been dying to find content worth engaging with.
Cringeworthy content is an opportunity.
Apply Twitter thinking to Linkedin
Twitter is glorious. You can show up to the party with your fly undone and people don’t care. Twitter is outrageous on every level. Twitter is where you practice the inner-badass you’ve been hiding from the world, or your boss.
Justin recommends using Twitter thinking on LinkedIn. Because LinkedIn has our bosses on it, we often water down what we say. It’s like a tea party with Marry Poppins where everybody is afraid to fart when they really have to. Farts are part of nature.
Bring a slightly controversial conversation to LinkedIn and you’ll quickly find an audience. There are people on LinkedIn who’ve spent their entire career hiding from the truth. Speak those truths.
Here are some examples: (1) Are most of your employer’s senior leaders male? Why is that? (2) Are you tired of job interviews where you put on a Broadway Show? (3) Does all the revenue talk exhaust you at work? (4) Does boarding a packed train every morning to go to work and jam in like sardines feel a little lame when VR technology could end the commute?
These are topics traditional LinkedIn users leave alone. Being bold helps you find an audience.
You really don’t want to hear this
Justin says he has posted every weekday for 30 months. That’s how he got to a point where he made $20K in 9 hours.
Every article you ever read about content creation is going to list the same hack right at the top: produce content every day.
None of us want to hear it. But the harsh truth produces the results when you follow it. We’ve got to see your content a lot and learn who you are before we ever spend a dollar with you.
Justin used no ads. Buying ads to make money on social media is the dirty little secret many content creators don’t want you to know. You don’t need ads though. Ads are an excuse for not learning how to access an audience through organic reach.
Buying ads is giving up.
Yes, you need to be a little creative to find an audience without spending money. But creativity is how you get paid online.
The Underrated Place Where Money Is Made on LinkedIn
Traditional content creators on LinkedIn suggest you put call-to-action links to your products and services in the comments section.
That’s what I thought too.
A call-to-action link is simply a way to take a person from social media, to your own website ecosystem that you own, where you can collect their contact details. Without contact details you can’t make money.
On Twitter you put your call-to-action links in the bio section. On Instagram you also put your link in your bio. On Facebook…okay who cares about Facebook. But on LinkedIn, the strategy isn’t so obvious. Ready?
You put the call-to-action link in the “featured” section of your LinkedIn profile.
I previously used the featured section to highlight my best blog posts. Wrong. Your featured section on your profile is a place to put links to your books, consulting services, courses, newsletter, etc.
The featured section is powerful because you can use external links, and LinkedIn’s algorithm doesn’t penalize you for it. Read that again.
Here’s an example of my newly updated featured section thanks to Justin.
The featured section is better than traditional call-to-actions. It looks organic. It looks like the link to my digital product is organic. It doesn’t make you feel like you’re clicking an ad.
That’s why the LinkedIn Featured section is a secret society that many content creators haven’t discovered. Why? It’s not obvious. LinkedIn doesn’t want to make it easy for you to make money on their platform. It explains why they don’t directly pay content creators. But with a little creativity, you can find an audience for free and genuinely sell them what you have to offer in return for decent money.
Linkedin is a business platform.
Translation: it’s okay to make money on LinkedIn.