Looking Back on LinkedIn's Amazing Year and What's Ahead in 2021: Liam Darmody

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

LinkedIn's 2020 was stunning; more than 60 million+ additional users and its emergence as a truly social platform featuring content, connections, and conversations.

Like a lot of people, Liam Darmody jumped hard into LinkedIn last year. You only have to look at the 530+ posts that he published to understand his enthusiasm.

In this episode of Marketing Spark, Liam and I talk about how and why LinkedIn changed last year, how he approaches the platform from a content and connection perspective, and how LinkedIn will develop in 2021.

It's a high-level, strategic conversation about a platform that many people discovered or rediscovered and, in the process, saw amazing ROI.

If you're on LinkedIn, check out Liam's recently launched LinkedInthusiasts! page.

You're listening to marketing spark thepodcast that delivers insight tools and tips for marketers and entrepreneurs inthe trenches in twenty five minutes. More or less link on has had quite theyear emerging as an engaging social platform that drives contentconnections and conversations and shedding his reputation as a place forhead hunters and job sitters. So how did this happen to find out? I reachedout to Leon Garmany director of revenue operations for homes. Now leam hasestablished himself as a leading voice on linked in and as important a go toresource for people looking to capitalize on Linkin, given Linton'sgrowth this year and how people are using it. I wanted to connect with lamplook back and as important look forward. Welcome to marketing spark happy to be here thanks for having mefirst happy holidays, so I hope you're enjoying some time off before we getback into it next week. I am indeed same to you. I I've taken the week tojust kind of decompressed from craziest year ever and take it in and thenprepare for the upcoming year, which hopefully will be much better, can'treally be worse right, yeah exactly well as you. Both of us are half fullkind of glassful kind of people. So hopefully you will be a better, betterhappier and healthier year, so you and I spend a lot of time on Lindon. It'sbeen awesome this year and we're going to talk a lot about the platform andhow it's evolved and how to get value out of it, but before we do that whenyou're not on linked on and it seems to be like you're on it. A lot like I am,what's Your Day, job I've been in the technology start up scene here inWashington DC area for pretty much my entire career. Igraduated from college here in two thousand and five started out as arecruiter at a start up tech firm and then went to work for a few differentstartups in the area and I've always kind of been the sort of Jack of alltrades master of none. So to speak, which is a good thing for a lot ofstartups, because things change so quickly and you know it's always kindof a moving target and you need people that can be agile and you know reallyadaptable. So that's kind of how I got into the role that I'm in now I'veevolved sort of over the years to be in in revenue operations. Currently, I'mworking for a company called home snap, which is a real estate productivitytool for agents, realtors, we're responsible, basically there foraligning sort of sales, marketing and customers of success and customersupport teams kind of like a project management function within theorganization to Grit Great Company, phenomenal culture. I love it there.You know we're. We had a Baner year this year and we're looking for areally great year in two thousand and twenty one. So that's that's beenreally exciting. For me, operations is a passion of mine because I likesolving problems- and I like people and I like communicating and collaborating-and that's really what operations is mostly about in my experience so linkinto me- has been a very interesting place now, prior to the end of April,when I lost my job to the Candamo, I didn't spend a lot of time on Lington.It was a place where I would go from time to time. Maybe when I was lookingfor a job or just poking around it wasn't a place where I look for content.It certainly wasn't a place where I had lots of connections but most of thosepeople I had met at conferences or had you know they were friends and thingslike that when I was foot loose and fancy free from an employmentperspective, there wasn't many places to go so, for whatever reason I decidedto check out linked in, I got hooked like a lot of people. I spent a lot oftime there and have really seen the benefits and it someone who, like me,spent a lot of time there and focuses on best practices and really how to getvalue out of it. What's your take on how Lincon has evolved this year andhow- and why has it become a social network because in many respects Ithink that Microsoft, which on Clinton, has to be surprised by how Linkin hasgrown and how people are using it? For sure I mean, I think you know,there's so many stories of companies that are in the digital space that thiswas a banner year right, bringing people together and having people youknow relate to one. Another is something that if you, if you have aplatform that enables that it's a really good thing, two thousand andtwenty was a good year for those...

...companies. You know, I think, wasMicrosoft. Surprise perhaps I think there's always. I sometimes say thatLinkin kind of has a bit of an identity crisis, because you know you've gotthis platform that was created in two thousand and four. So it's been aroundfor such a long time. You've got seven hundred million users on the platform,but a fraction of those users or monthly active users and an evensmaller percentage. You know, single digit percentage of users are creatingcontent on the platform, and so there's this weird sort of stigma associatedwith linked in where you're not supposed to post on there you're notsupposed to show a motion right. It's a professional network and the just putyour resument Park your resume on there and make sure that you stay in touchwith people that you work with, but linkin has sort of coined. The phrasejoined the conversation for some years now, and I remember when I first heardit. I was kind of like what going the conversation. What conversation isnothing right there, nothing happening on Lenten, but now it's really startingto sort of take stride right and I think a lot of that has to do with thefact that people genuinely are becoming a little bit more comfortable, showingtheir personal side in a professional, not social network. The fact that weare all hunkered down for the most part, you know networking and I mean I lovednothing more than being in the office and the Banter of the office andrunning into somebody in the coffee, room or the kitchen and going to lunchwith people and all of those things that make the professional workplacesomewhat. Personal and enjoyable are gone right like they just can'treplicate them really at least no is not as effectively to me. It makes alot of sense that a lot of people have sort of found linked in and sort ofdiscovered a well. We can have those types of conversations we can havethose interactions with people on this platform and really kind of get some ofthat water, Cooler Banter. One of the things that I find interesting is thenumber of conversations member of connections and conversations. So thefact that you and I are doing this podcast is a direct correlation to ouractivity on Linton we've connected. We come on each other's post. We go backand forth a lot and people's willingness to be engaged and asimportant to have conversations is really impressive. Like I've reached, Iprobably had more than a hundred conversations this year via Linkin as aresult of link en it's been amazing. Let's say I've talked to people allover the world, but what I do wonder about is what happens when, hopefullysoon ovid face into the background, and we start to go back to the office evenin a hybrid kind of way, when you do get that interactions with with yourfellow employees, when you can go to advance, do you think that what we areseeing on Linkin today will continue? It's almost like we given each otherpermission to connect with each other virtually, and I think that's one ofthe most impressive things. That's a good question and I know a lotof people are sort of thinking about it right now. Personally, you know I sortof I think about all of the other industries that have been impacted bytechnological advancements and and the Internet right once people have a tasteof what it's like to use linked in in the way that you and I have this year.Traditional networking just doesn't necessarily make quite as much senseright. It's a lot more labor intensive! You go to a networking event and yousee maybe two hundred people and you walk in you're like okay on here fortwo hours, I can probably have a dozen conversations and of those dozen maybetwo or three turn into something. That makes a lot of sense, and then you haveto sort of think well who do I want to talk to and you're scanning the roomand it's just it's an old school approach, right, it's an infit andleave it to an operations guy to sort of figure out like that is that'sinefficient right. You look at other companies or other industries rightwhen you know you started to be able to do online banking people were terrifiedof online banking right. They didn't want to have their details on theInternet, and, and now you know, when's the last time you went and saw a bankteller or you know, used an ATM hailing a you know. Now that Uber existshailing a cab with your hand. Just doesn't make sense, it's just. Whywould you have to wait for somebody to drive by you and pick you up right, andI think that that networking is kind of like that right and and take it a stepfurther linked in is, is essentially like the world's largest networkingevent right, it's twenty four, seven, three and sixty five. If you want it tobe, it has no geographic limitations...

...whatsoever and you have the addedadvantage of being able to learn a little bit about somebody before youdecide to reach out and introduce yourself, and that is something thatyou don't get that networking events really, and that is where I think thereal value lies. It is that you can sort of curate your own network and youcan expand your network globally right and, as we continue with the work froma home, the fact that so many companies are comfortable with people workingfrom home, now or or maybe not comfortable, but have to deal with. Itmeans that you want to have a global network. You want to have more peoplethat are in interested in the things that you are in different places,because geographic location no longer matters as much it's not as limiting asit once was. So that's kind of. I think people will continue to do it,especially younger generations. Right, I think, that's the other thing you'vegot. You know people that are in their twenties right now, going into thebusiness world they're used to living their life online, they're not used toholding back. I think that will actually drive a lot more conversationon the platform and utilization and I think those who participate are goingto benefited by a bunch and those who do not are going to maybe regret it alittle bit yeah. The one thing that struck me as before coved I'm amarketing consultant and I have to do a lot of prospecting and meet with peopleand the amount of time and energy that I spent meeting people for coffee. Soyou got to you got to get there. You got to do the coffee meeting and maybeit works out and you have a great ouralo conversation or maybe you'retwenty minutes in, and you realize that it's not going anywhere or this isn'treally a good connection. And then you got to come all the way back and it'stwo or three hours out of your day and now I think about it, and I do wonderwhether I'll ever have a coffee meeting with someone again unless they're areally great prospect. Unless that gets really somebody about meat, because wecan do that, we can get this connection. We can really establish relationship.So a couple questions for you just shifting gears in tuns terms of how youand I use linked in is he? How long have you been active on Linkin and wecan define active in different ways and what's been you approach this year? Doyou have you had sort of a strategy or has it just kind of evolved as you asyou've gone through the year, so I've been on link in as long as Ican remember? Really. I think I don't. I think it was created in two thousandand three and I probably was on it no later than two thousand five or twothousand and six. I suspect that I was probably on it in college. Definitelyin two thousand a D and Six, but active the way that I am now only this year.You know a lot of that stems from the fact that I spent a lot of time onlinked in I had my wife and I had our daughter in two thousand and nineteenso about a year ago she was born in November. I was at home and I wasthinking you know. I keep seeing all this content on linked in and I want tolearn more about why this trend is happening and why people are taking tolinked in, and so I spent a lot of time on the platform in that month, kind ofjust absorbing and learning, and then in January my sort of resolution was toone of my resolutions was to just become a bit more active and build apersonal brand right. You start hearing this term personal branding right. It'sa but big buzz word right now, certainly on the link did network. So Iwanted to learn more about it and see if I could sort of take a crack atestablishing one. I went all in and I sort of fell out of love with with facebook and Insara kind of just post pictures for my family to see my kidsand what not, but Lindon was a place where I was genuinely findingmeaningful information. You know not just Forbes articles right, like peoplethought leaders, people that you know he's got Gary Vaner, chuck postingstuff on Linton all the time, because he's talking about how massive theorganic reaches on that platform. You know. That's where you sort of go tofind information about things, you're passionate about, and I think forpeople like myself. You know that's really useful right. I want. I want tobe learning about things that I'm passionate about things that I careabout and I like the professionalism element of it because it sort of isself regulated, because people don't want to see people don't want theiremployers to see them being jerks online, right, yats and and yeah, andso there's there's an element of you know it levels up the content a littlebit. Now, that's not to say that there isn't plenty of click, babies, Bam,content, that's that's permeating the platform, but for the most part youknow you just unfollowed, or you know...

...you can get rid of that stuff, and soyou can really curate your feet on linked in to be pretty relevant totopics that you care about, and people that you care about which which for me,was really really beneficial. This year strategy wise, you know, I coined aphrase which is, which is pace, equals growth and that's patient, Otheninconsistency and empathy equals growth on linked in and and you know, puttingout content not over thinking it too much right. I think that was somethingthat I struggled with a lot in the beginning. What are people going tothink and and not having to worry about dealing with likes and things like thatlike it's, so you see all these people that are getting hundreds or thousandsof reactions and you're like. I want that to happen to me, but you have tohave patience right. It has to happen gradually and you have to kind ofestablish the things that you care about and establish your voice, and sothat's very much what two thousand and twenty has been for me. It's a been abit about finding out. You know really what are those things that I care themost about from business standpoint and for me it's emotional intelligence,it's leadership and empathetic management. You know the human andhuman resources and and it's it's personal branding and linked inconnection and connecting with other people. Those are the three things thatI kind of have honed in on myself this year and all of my topics in some wayshape perform the content that I create relates to those I've posted. I thinkfive hundred and thirty five posts in a year which doesn't feel like that much,but I I guess it is, and it's just you know it's rep. I say it's like replacenet flix and chill like sometimes I'm just linked in and Shill or I'll, benet flix and chilling and I'll have linked in on in front of me and I'mdoing two things at once and sort of digesting content. So it's become ahobby for me, this yeah and that's what on about it yeah- and I think what'sinteresting, me is the content creation side, and you mentioned the fact thatyou've posted more than five hundred times and from the outside. Looking infor a lot of people, that's astounding, they're, like you, you spent that muchtime you wrote that many words for linked in and when you're, in the midstof it and you're having these conversations and you're posting thingsthat you don't really like. Sometimes you snap something off, and sometimesit's a big thing and I just find linked in to post on Lincoln P relatively easy.Now, keep my mind. I'm a writer by profession, I spent fifteen years as areporter. So writing two hundred words in a poling on post is pretty easy. Imean it's, you know I can breathe in right to in her words now hether thosewords are any good, that's something that other people can decide thecontent creation side of. It is really interesting to me, because you've gotpeople like Dance Sanchez that advocate that you've got to post every singleday and not only that you got a post more than once a day. That's a lot ofwork. I do curious about your approach to content and what do you think abouthow people should approach content overall, because, if you're not reallyinto linked in and someone says, you got a post every day that can be prettyintimidating. You know at the end of the day, I thinkit's really about not over thinking things right and it's hard, becausethere's that stigma associate with with people think about linked in differently than they thinkabout face book or Insara Orr snap chat right. You know back in the day, peoplewould post multiple post to face book every day and they wouldn't think twiceabout it. But there's all this pressure on people to create the right contentor content that their employer approves of or whatever, and so I think thatthat is a big piece of it right. You want to be able to figure out what youI call it finding your why right like? Why are you trying to be on like inwhat are you trying to accomplish? What are your expectations? Do you want tobe a thought leader in your space that, just you know, is constantly crankingout content related to that and then getting followers. Do you want to justshow case how you think for potential employers to get more familiar with you?You know if they're interested in learning about you, do you just want tohave a place to go and digest information? That's okay, too, right,there's, no right or wrong way. I think that's the thing right like it dependson what your goals are and what your expectations are and for me, what Inoticed is that I started to use linked in as a as an Info tainmentsource, so I would learn information on Linton. I learn different perspectivesabout business and things that I care...

...about is learn from other people andthat sort of ended end up getting me entertained and then, as I was on here,you know engaging with people's content. You know the comment section of aperson that has a large following is typically a pretty fun place to be. Youcan see all sorts of different perspectives. It's literally like aconversation right, I kind of view each post on Linkin is this like littlemicro networking event so to speak or micro conversation and, and that leadsto inspiration right. So you start thinking about I like to I like thistopic and then I'll just have my running list of notes, and it's likeI'll write about this some day or I'll worry about this some day and becauseLindon has that like try not to over post, you know, there's all thatspeculation about the algorithm and whether it dings you if you post tomany times, etc. People think okay well once a day, maybe twice a day, but nottoo much more than that, whether that's true or not. I have no idea you're ableto sort of think about okay. Well, I'm going to build a a backlog of thingsthat I want to post about. As the inspiration hits, I always advisepeople to really understand what their. Why is find your? Why find yourinspiration find your voice and then find your tribe? Let the rest take careof itself. That's great advice. One of the things I want to ask you about isthe biggest lessons that you've learned about Linkin this year and for me it'sabout conversations because I think there's such a focus on connections andbuilding up that connection count and it figuring out whether I should acceptconnections or who I should reach out to the thing that I learn thatsometimes gets lost within the whole, linked in growth phenomena. It's a factthat turning connections into conversations and it's a simple act ofreaching out to somebody like you and saying helium, I love what you're doing.I love the kind of insight that you're offering about how to use linkean.Would you be open to a conversation? What has amazed me this year ispeople's enthusiasm and their willingness to talk, and I have yet tobe turned down by anyone. One person turned me down and I knew that personand I was totally surprised I was like well. This is not the way that the gameis played on Lindon. My Lesson to anybody is lo: Yeah Boo, exactly don'tbe satisfied with connections, because connections are just one way to playthe game. It's about the conversations that delivers value. So I'm curiousabout some of the big lessons that you've learned this year from frombeing an Linkin yeah, I mean with you completely on theconversation piece. Sometimes it feels like linked in is a dating site is thewrong analogy, because that's the antithesis of what Linton should be,even though some men or people forget that that's the case, it is anopportunity to find and meet New People and and develop relationships withpeople that you never would have known it existed. Otherwise, right, I thinkthe phenomenon is that we're no longer limited to our little bubble of who wecome across. Coincidentally, in our own geographic sphere, we now have theability to say. Oh, I really like this person's like mark mark's content,really resonate with me. I'm going to connect with him, so I see it moreoften, and then then we have a conversation about some stuff and we goback and forth in the MS and like it's like a friend finder a little bit, andI think that in the same way that when dating APPs started, people were like,Oh, I don't want to be online dating online dating no, I'm not gonna. Dothat. That's pathetic, but Bah Bah Bah, but now like nobody, would think ofdoing it good doing it. The other way, just the Internet helps you connectwith people better, you know linked in is helping you network and build aconnection with people in a different way, and I think, as the worldcontinues to evolve into a place where physical location matters less thanskill ability and relationships, that's going to be a pretty powerful thing forthe platform. The lessons that I've sort of learned are that people want tobe. People want to connect. PEOPLE WANT TO CONVERSE: People want to relate toother people, some people don't, but you know most people want to have thoseconversations around topics that they're passionate about. You can'treally get that on other platforms right because there's a discoveryelement that doesn't exist on the other platform, so much right on face book,you're kind of connecting with people that you know and like you have theface book groups which are phenomenal actually like their groups or theirgroup functionality, is way better. In...

...my experience than lengthens, you knowyou are able to find people. You know you find your tribe, that's that's sortof the coin that was was the phrase that was coined by Brian Shalman who'slike the video king of Linkin. It's right right. You find a little tribe ofpeople that you you'd like to talk to and engage with and enjoy their content,and they enjoy yours, and that's really great. I gets on on the flip side ofthat you know. I think I've learned that Linkin is a business platform andthere are a lot of people there to do business and a lot of people who arethere to do business may just be putting content out or having a personathat there they know is going to generate revenue for their business,but that's not necessarily their intention or that they're notnecessarily there to be super authentic or they're just there to sell right,they're, not there to really make relationships. So it all depends thatthat on how you go about finding people and relating to people and conversingwith people and in identifying what their true, authentic authenticity andtheir true intentions are yea, and I think that's the thing about linked infor people who aren't on linked in yet, which is, I mean, there's seven hundredand twenty million people who have linked in accounts not to say that allof them use it on a regular basis. You really have to going back to your wife.Why do you want to use it and to figure out like how do you get value fromlinked in get the most out of the time that you're going to spend on andwhether it's an hour a day or once a week or a couple days a week? I alsowanted to ask you about something that you launched recently called linkedenthusiast. I guess you're up in your game or your expanding your game oryou're moving into new areas. Maybe you can talk a little bit about what isthis thing that you've created, and why did you do it? And what do you hope itwill go? So you know the linked enthusiast is:is a basically a page that I created for people that are passionate aboutthe platform like I am and there's a lot of people like that out there, andyou know, I think for me personally, Linton isn't the only thing that I wantto be talking about every day. Right, that's not my identity. I care aboutstart tech startups. I care about revenue operations, sales, marketing,customer experience, like all those aspects of business matter. To me a lotand what I found myself sort of thinking about was okay. Well, how muchtime do I want to spend talking about linked in on my personal profile, pageversus a page, that's dedicated just to linked in all of those things come intoplay right. You know, I'm not the kind of person that creates content ahead oftime. I write down ideas when I have inspiration, but I don't create aneditorial calendar. I know people that sort of sit down a Sunday and just bangout all their copy for the week. I can't do that. I'm not that way, and soyou know I sort of got to this point where I was saying: okay. Well, how amI going to actually talk about the things that I want to talk aboutwithout feeling like there's an opportunity cost associated with it ifleam Darmite is more than just linked in enthusiast guy? That's who Leondariis right, but linked. Enthusiasm is part of my part of my hobbies, part ofmy passion, and I think that's why I carved it out separately, so that Icould post more stuff about linked in, without necessarily taking over myentire profile as just the linked in guy, like that's not who Willam Darmiteis it's just a piece to me or the ironic thing about writing about linkedin is that people love commenting and gaged on linked in and that you tend toget caught in this. Is it's like a Soltali Prophet? If you want engagement,you post about linked in and around and around a ghost want to ask you one lastquestion: Early this week I talked a little bit about where I thought linkinwould go in two thousand and twenty one, and most of it was focused aroundmonetization, because I think Microsoft, slash, link in has a huge opportunityto extract more revenue from from this business as the platform grows and someof the things that they'll that I think they introduced. I think video is ahuge opportunity for link, and I think I think analytics for personal accountsas huge opportunity for them to add value and maybe monetize it and curiousabout how you think the platform will evolve this year and whether monitonwill be something that it will pursue and whether you expect maybe enhancefunctionality. I guess a lot of people there's a lot of things that a lot ofpeople would like to see. I mean I do think that there's going to be a lot ofevolution, if you sort of think about it, this new path of linked in it'slike being a t, start up with seven...

...hundred million users and you're tryingto engage as many of them as you can and you're trying to build as muchengagement on the platform as possible. When you know the platform wasn'treally originally created for that, so you re, your entire user base is notreally accustomed to that purpose for your platform, so there's definitelygoing to be a lot of involved. A lot of focus on you know increasing engagementon the platform. You know the prompts that they have when you, when you, youknow, get a message from somebody things like that, like they want tohave people in the platform engage in on a regular basis, so I think you'regoing to see a lot of things like that. I have to also give a shout out to AndyFoot, who is you know R linkin sights? He is a phenomenal linked in trainerand he had a post recently. That was like his predictions for the for thenext year. He's put a lot a lot of thought into the platform. For probablya decade he's got a lot of great insights. I think Moneron willabsolutely be a part of it linked in his part of Microsoft. The Mon Izationis going to be important for sure how they do it. I don't know- and I think,there's definitely plenty of avenues in which they can sort of squeeze morerevenue out of the platform for sure. I hope that they are able to maintain theintegrity of the communication and the relationships that are on the platform,because I think that's where most companies that are in the social spacefail, that they sacrifice the authenticity of the platform and therelationships in exchange for the ad revenue, and so I think, maybe the factthat Lincoln has been around as long as it has and is part of a much biggerorganization that has sort of a longer time line in a longer runway will givethem the unique ability to approach that really cautiously. Take it theright way and make sure that they're, balancing keeping people that areinterested in the platform engaged and also making money at the same time.Okay, one final obvious question: where can people find you online and homesnap as well so Linkin Com? FLASH IN LINK TO LEAM IS MY URL, my profile LiamDarmite DOT, so is my website just for personal website, and the linkedenthusiast page on Linkin is where I'm going to spend all my time Nerni outabout linked in going forward awesome. This has been a great conversation likeyou, I'm totally all in when it comes to Linton got I've seen tremendous R Ythis year and anybody who's not capitalizing on his potential is missythat on something really amazing. Well, thanks for listening to another episodeof marketing spark, if you enjoyed the conversation, leave a review andsubscribe by I tunes or your favorite podcast tap for show notes of today'sconversation and information about lamp. is a marketing spark cos last log. Ifyou have questions feed back like to suggest a guess, I want to learn moreabout how I help tob companies as a fractional, smo consultant adviser andan email to mark a marketings park. Co I'll talk to you next time. I.

In-Stream Audio Search

NEW

Search across all episodes within this podcast

Episodes (69)