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linkedin lessons

LinkedIn Lessons I Learned From My Garden

There is really only one thing that can pull this winter-loving tea drinker hopping into springtime, and that is my garden!

I was never one to enjoy springtime; it meant saying goodbye to my skis and snowshoes and saying hello to sweltering hot days that typically ruin a good cup of tea.

But when we relocated to the Okanagan (Interior BC, Canada) 5 years ago, spring has meant something completely different…..

We moved from the bustling city of Calgary, AB to find a somewhat quieter life. Both Shaun (my husband) and I work from home, so the need for a thriving downtown city centre was no longer necessary.

When we started house-hunting in Kelowna BC, we came across this beautiful house with an aggressive vegetable garden in the large backyard. The tiered backyard was host to 8 garden beds (they were lined up side by side, almost looking like a graveyard), some raspberry bushes, a black currant bush, and a hazelnut tree. We weren’t gardeners at the time, but we both thought this would add to our new adventure!

Fast-forward 5 years, we ripped out the existing garden and we now babysit 14 raised garden beds on two tiers, doubled the raspberry bushes, added some blueberry bushes, a peach, and an apple tree on the perimeter. (most days we wonder if we bit off more than we can chew…..)

So when springtime hits, it means we can start planting some seeds!  There is something incredibly therapeutic about tilling soil and laying down seeds.  Its always a welcome refuge from being on my  computer and social media 24/7.

Gardening gives me the space I need to clear my head, listen to the birds, and plant some seeds towards a fruitful future. As I was working in the garden this past season, I came to realize that my garden had become this beautiful metaphor for my LinkedIn and Clubhouse networks!

LinkedIn Lessons I Learned From My Garden:

  1. First things first, we need to get the soil ready…. It’s always a long winter here in Canada, and we need to prep the garden before we can start planting some seeds and seedlings.  The same can be said for using LinkedIn.  Ensuring your LinkedIn profile (and your Clubhouse bio) are complete and engaging to help your potential connections find common ground (no pun intended) with you and your service.  Do a top-to-bottom scan of your profile through the eyes of your new connection and ask yourself these quick questions:
    1. Can they understand what it is I do and how it is I serve?
    2. Am I speaking their language and using keywords that will trigger interest and engagement?
    3. Is there a clear path to how they can engage with me further?
  2. The seeds sown are your new connections…. Each seed that we plant is a new connection in our networks.  On their own, the seeds can and will do very little.  It’s only once we plant the seeds in good soil under the warm sun, water them, and fertilize them that they will begin to take root and grow.  So is the same with our new connections.  Don’t let your new connections sit on a shelf, but start to connect and encourage them so your relationships can start to take root.
  3. It takes time for the seeds to take root….. Patience is required for your seeds to take root and grow into thriving plants, just as your connections require patience in order for them to move from merely a LinkedIn connection to a friend, collaborator, or client.  Expect your new connections to warm to you slowly and begin to trust you with each action you take on the platform.  The relationships will grow, trust me, just be patient and play the long game.
  4. Your seeds require watering in order to grow…. Just as your seeds cannot start to take root and grow without water, so your connections with regular content and connection through your social media channels.  Continue to connect with your connections through content, inbound messaging, or interacting with their content.  Direct messages also work great to serve your new friend, but too many direct messages and your new connection may feel water-logged….
  5. They also need fertilizer…. Do you long to grow massive 2 lb tomatoes?  It’s possible, but not without some superhero fertilizer and nutrients.  Your selfless content and contributions is YOUR fertilizer, helping your connections grow in their own journeys.  Provide value to your network selflessly and with compassion.
  6. Even a great garden can be overrun by weeds…. My new Clubhouse friend Brian Golod recently posted that he was going to “weed” his LinkedIn network (he has over 220,000 followers and has maxed out on his 30,000 connections! WOW!).  Brian decided on this “spring cleaning” after received a handful of LinkedIn connections requests – some with a personalized note, some without.  Whether you have a small or large connection following, your network is only as good as its engagement.  Making room for new friends may be necessary to help your network thrive on LinkedIn.  (note: I was one of the requests that Brian received that had a personalized note, and he accepted me into his thriving network!)
  7. No two gardens are the same, keep trying new things!  Every year, Shaun and I try some different plants, in different boxes, with different fertilizers.  No two years have ever been the same, and moving things around in the garden is actually great for growth!  My other new Clubhouse friend Niraj Kapur suggested a few different content formats that I could try, and isn’t that what our social media journeys are about?  Testing, testing and retesting content and formats that resonate and serve our audiences!   Mix it up, try a new format, and keep your network engaged and entertained by your content.
  8. Tending a garden is a commitment….  Seeding, watering, fertilizing, weeding…. it’s a daily activity!  Even going a few days without attention, and my garden becomes a tangled mess!  So can ignoring your LinkedIn network and LinkedIn profile.  Messages and notifications can start to pile up, and you may miss out on some opportunities as they become buried in the pile.  Daily attention can help keep your inbox and notifications orderly, and your prompt replies will go over well with your new connections.
  9. When the harvest comes in, it’s an incredible bounty!!  If you’ve been able to tend to your LinkedIn and Clubhouse experiences like I try to tend to my garden, you can reap the beautiful rewards of a thriving and engaged network, close collaborations, and leads and opportunities that you love.  That is the true reward and blessing of using LinkedIn – connection and collaboration with like-minded individuals.

I’m thankful for my garden, in the same way, I’m thankful for LinkedIn and now Clubhouse. I’m constantly learning and seeing the great potential in the harvest.

How is YOUR garden going to perform this season?

Looking for new content ideas for LinkedIn?  Consider this 5-day LinkedIn Content Challenge, where I share some tips on how to create 5 of LinkedIn’s most engaging content formats.  You can sign up for the challenge here.

5 Days 5 Ideas linkedin content challenge