As You Like It, Please Say Why

When you comment on posts on LinkedIn and Twitter, indicate how others may benefit from the discussion.

Your LinkedIn feed is composed of an assortment of updates that your many connections have posted, liked, shared or commented upon. Your Twitter feed is filled with tweets from your followers and the people you follow. For now, let’s focus on LinkedIn.

The LinkedIn algorithm distributes updates selectively to individuals in that connection’s network. Based on the amount of engagement the post initially receives, LinkedIn assesses your interests and other factors before sending it to your feed.

Accordingly, when you agree with and like another’s LinkedIn post, how can you make the most of this opportunity — that is, make it work for you?

Take the time to respond to the person and the discussion, as you like it. That means, as soon as you click the like thumbs up icon , COMMENT to indicate:

  • what you agree or disagree with
  • how this confirms or disproves the trend
  • what the discussion overlooks
  • how this relates to another topic or lesson learned
  • why this is or is not a best practice
  • or any other interesting aspect.

Perhaps you see your connection Morgan’s name appears above a post by someone you do not know; she wrote So true. Will that comment make you read the original author’s update or click on the link to an article? I doubt it. With all the other items in the feed and on your desk vying for your attention, a nominal comment is not sufficiently compelling.

I once took issue and commented upon a post by a LinkedIn coach, John Nemo. Another reader agreed with me in her reply and later contacted me to continue the conversation. We became acquainted by phone and she referred a client to me.

How would that referral have happened had I merely commented with a bland Thank you?

Check your LinkedIn feed now and see whether or not the commenters have written an insight that adds to the conversation.

For example, LinkedIn author Viveka von Rosen recently posted about the new guidelines for a profile’s background image. Her post had 130+ Likes and 25 Comments (as of this writing). If you are a connection of hers (or of her commenters), you may see the post. Here are the replies (anonymously) and the respective number of each category of comment:

  • Thank you, Great or variation, plus reply by author: 17
  • Name of another connection, look at this: 3
  • Question: 1 and reply by commenter: 1
  • Observation of overlooked point: 1 and reply by commenter: 1
  • Link to related discussion by author: 1

Notice that the first 20 of the 25 comments (80%) are meaningless to the broader LinkedIn universe.

How does Great, or posting the name of another contact, add to a fruitful conversation? Does Thank you create the basis for professional social media activity?

Not at all. That’s why I repeat:

As you like it, please say WHY, so others may be persuaded that they will benefit from reading the article or post. That is the approach of the two commenters above who asked a question or pointed out another aspect, to which other readers and the author responded.

Looking back, my LinkedIn activity used to be contrary to this practice. If I had an observation or disagreement with a post, and I was already connected to the author, I would let her know privately by email.

From now on, I will share at least one observation/ comment/ question on LinkedIn every time I check my account. I urge you to do the same and, of course, never write an impact-less “Thank you.”

In the past, if I wanted to share something with a certain connection, I did so via email, not by naming them in a comment.

Surprise. I will continue this email practice. Many people do not check their LinkedIn accounts daily and so may overlook an interesting article. Even when LinkedIn sends an email, your connections may be more likely to read a discussion via an email from someone they know. It is also possible to copy the link to the post, go to the intended recipient’s profile and send them the link via a message. You can decide which tactic works best for you.

This Month’s Tip

Make an appointment with yourself to check your LinkedIn account and take the temperature of the discussions underway. Whether you check your own feed for update posts and articles by your connections or review discussions in groups, set aside time at least once a week.

Look for best practices, news and interesting content in your profession or industry on other social media platforms. When you find something notable, post it as a LinkedIn update or on Twitter, and comment in a meaningful way that embellishes the discussion, re-directs it or underscores its impact, as noted above.


Don’t be lukewarm on LinkedIn; do not mechanically re-tweet on Twitter. SAY WHY this caught your eye. Let’s take a test drive through some of the articles and posts in your LinkedIn and Twitter feeds. Contact me at, book an appointment here or call me at 212.677.5770. Let’s discuss how to sharpen and share your comments on LinkedIn and Twitter; you’ll add to the discussion and raise your profile as a thoughtful and insightful observer.

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Thanks to colleague Bruce Segall, whose LinkedIn post inspired this discussion and also for his suggestions.