Why Personal Stories Work On LinkedIn and How To Use Them Well

February 6, 2023


A few weeks ago, LinkedIn’s Internal Creator Team sent an email sharing results of a survey they recently did with some interesting stats that directly affect the way YOU should be showing up on the platform in 2023!

The survey showed what type of content people prefer to see from both: their internal network (which are your personal connections and people you follow) and those that are outside of that. 

The 2 things they found are simple and the best part is that you’re likely already doing them on other platforms! Now, all you have to do is merge these concepts onto LinkedIn and you’ll be golden. ✨

Two Types of Content to Prioritize on LinkedIn For 2023

  1. Personal stories and anecdotes (for your existing network)
  2. Valuable, educational and tip driven content (for people outside of your network)

Both of these content styles are super important, so I provide more context for both of them in this video, but for the purpose of this blog I want to dive deeper into personal stories because I think it’s the style of content that so many people struggle with.

Why Personal Stories Work on LinkedIn

One of the main things the survey showed is that LinkedIn members value hearing personal stories and anecdotes from their immediate network. 

Again, your immediate network are your LinkedIn connections and people who follow you.

This finding honestly shouldn’t be shocking to us, because it’s very similar to someone wanting to be your friend on Facebook or follow you on Instagram. Why do they want to be your friend or follow you? Because they’re interested in your life. 

Well, the same is true for LinkedIn connections and followers. These are the people who are interested in who you are and what you have to say. 

Oftentimes, if people are newer to the platform or are unfamiliar with its massive changes in the last few years, then they think it’s just a place to show up professional and polished with content that is earth shattering or mind blowing. 

And maybe you can relate to feeling that way about LinkedIn… 

If so, it’s important to realize that often it’s content of the exact opposite that breeds the most engagement.

If you spend any time scrolling through LinkedIn, you’ll find that it’s the casual, come as you are and speak truth style of content that really connects with people in a much deeper way.

But why is this? Basically, when you’re being more open, honest or vulnerable, people can relate because they’ve likely experienced something similar OR are currently in the same boat.

It makes them feel seen and not alone which creates an immediate connection that comes from being HUMAN.

The highlight reels of people on the Internet can easily make us feel like we have to be on as our picture perfect, A-game selves at all times and while I do believe that showing up like that is needed and valuable, at the end of the day, humans want to hear from humans. 

And as humans, we all go through not-so-great stuff here and there and pretending like we don’t is not the move.

How To Use Personal Stories on LinkedIn

There is a way you can share that side of you WITHOUT bringing a negative tone, complaining demeanor or having a “woe is me” attitude.

Instead, you can use your not-so-great experiences to share lessons that you’ve learned and invite people in to connect and discuss. 

With that said, I know it can also be hard to do this when you’re in the middle of the mud, so to speak.

So that’s when I like to rely on some of the best advice I’ve heard: “don’t share from a bleeding wound.”

All this means is that you wait until you’ve gone through the experience, you have more clarity around the situation and you’re able to share in a way that’s helpful and meaningful.

If you follow me on LinkedIn or are subscribed to the Weekly Huddle (the weekly newsletter that goes out every Wednesday morning) you know that I’ve recently shared about how my new year didn’t start out as planned.

January was a struggle for various reasons, which made showing up very hard because I wasn’t in a creative space.

I’m slowly coming out of that and instead of ignoring the absence of my content or forcing myself to show up when it didn’t feel right, I simply owned the fact of what happened. 

And guess what? People CONNECTED because it was so relatable. See for yourself!

What I didn’t do is share while I was in the moment. If I would’ve done that, emotions would’ve been high, I would’ve been sleep deprived (well, I still might be 😅) and it wouldn’t have been very helpful for anyone. 

But now that I’m sort of on the other side, I can confidently show up on the platform and get personal with my network and they won’t think twice about it. 

If this concept feels weird to you, pause for a moment and think about how you’re likely already doing this on other platforms… especially Instagram.

With the Instagram stories feature, it’s easy to share the behind the scenes and day-to-day life. 

Your outfit of the day, what you’re eating for lunch, the random thing you just grabbed from Target, your morning coffee order. 

It feels natural there and people love it because they feel like they know you. Well, that’s what your LinkedIn people want too!

If you’re tempted to only show up with educational and tip-driven content, I encourage you to think about how you can mix things up and include both. 

And if you’re still struggling to create this type of content, remember that these personal stories don’t always have to come from something negative you’ve experienced! 

We all experience unique (or even mundane) things every single day and you truly can use those things to connect with people – it can be as simple as THIS!

Here’s to showing up like a real human, friend!

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