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About This Episode
He’d been on LinkedIn for over a decade but only started posting a year ago.
Now he has a following of thousands, even though he says he’s nobody.
My guest on Sales Engagement recently was Andrew Metz, Regional Vice President at Zywave, who talked with me about his LinkedIn content strategy and success.
“I am a dad with three kids. I’m a vice president. I am working from home for the first time. I don’t take myself too seriously. And that’s it,” Andrew said.
Being authentic online
Andrew’s LinkedIn content is about things that matter, things that resonate, things that show his authentic, raw self.
A lot of his content has grown out of his mistakes. He said there have been so many things he has done wrong (or at least could have done better).
Twelve years ago, he was hired at Zywave to make cold calls, and since then he’s risen through management to the position of VP.
“I’ve been on LinkedIn since 2007. I never really actively posted until 12 months ago,” Andrew said. “To me, it was really simple. I was just sharing the stories and life lessons that I lived over the last 12 years.”
#1 — Have fun
Andrew doesn’t have high expectations for his content (even though it has yielded thousands of likes and messages of gratitude).
Mainly, he enjoys it. It doesn’t feel like work because he has fun creating and sharing about his life without expecting anything in return.
#2 — Be real
One of his most popular posts (about 30K likes) is a photo of his daughter sitting on his knee, typing on an unplugged keyboard next to his computer. It wasn’t staged. It was just something he set up to include his kids in his life.
For 11 years, Andrew worked in an office, and suddenly he is working from home. Obviously there are going to be adjustments, and he just wanted to document this one.
#3 — Be observant
Andrew views himself more as a documentor or observer than someone who invents or creates content.
“For me, content has been easier to just simply document some observations,” he said. Great comedians are people who excel at observing things in a different light. “It’s a similar muscle that I’m flexing, just just in a corporate sense,” he added.
Well, for one thing, Andrew wouldn’t have started opening up online without encouragement from his coworkers, friends, and spouse.
The piece of advice that resonated? You got to find your guts and go do it.
One thing, honestly, that being authentic online brings you is the opportunity to face failure.
Most of us who’ve cold called have had a huge dose of humility, but if 90% of the people who view a post don’t click like, does that mean they hated it? Posting online helps you grow in self-confidence.
Another thing is that Andrew gets to represent his brand, as well as his company culture. “What I found out that I didn’t anticipate was that my content, my brand personally, has elevated myself as a leader at the organization,” he said.
People he interviews know more about him and about Zywave now — which is great. Andrew’s authenticity has become an unofficial recruiting tool because of how passionate and grateful he is about his workplace.
“From a leadership standpoint, it’s like we score a touchdown before the game starts. Before that interview even starts, we’ve already scored some points,” he said.
If there’s ever a space to fight imposter syndrome, it’s out in the open with everyone watching.
Andrew said he entered leadership very early and struggled with imposter syndrome and confidence. “Feeling established professionally, financially, personally gives me the confidence just to go, This is what I am at this point. I will evolve and grow,” he said.
Being comfortable with who he is at this moment in time is an achievement he is proud of — as well as his desire to strive to become better than he is now.
“It should be okay to make mistakes, as long as we can reflect and learn from them,” he said.
A responsibility to others
We weren’t kidding about authenticity.
Andrew said that he stopped drinking about a year ago. His leadership role both personally and professionally has challenged him to have a high character because of who he is and what he represents.
“Leading by example comes in the form of being a great husband. It comes in the form of being a great father. So I just live my life true to those things,” he said.
He is willing to push himself to have a hard conversation about diversity and inclusion, parenting, or the role of alcohol in the sales world.
“Those conversations are what people really want. They don’t want the fluffy stuff. That’s boring. They want to get to the heart of what do you struggle with?”
Andrew wants to post things that resonate. If he’s a 36-year-old dad in sales, there are probably 10 million others who relate to him. If some piece of what he shares can encourage, reassure, or inspire someone else, that’s worth it.
“There’s something empowering about not taking yourself too seriously to put yourself out there, but more importantly, that someone on the other side resonates and can connect with that on a human level,” he said.
Getting started & parting wisdom
“Put on your thick skin and have the courage to have people judge you a little bit,” Andrew said.
For all the people who have viewed his content and not responded, he’s had so many meaningful messages from people who thanked him for sharing.
Here’s how to know if you’re posting good content. Would you pause while you were scrolling to engage?
That’s Andrew’s entire parameter for whether or not to post something: whether he would like it himself.
The piece of wisdom he shared — beyond all of his insight about content — was this: “Find ways to add value to other people’s lives, and everything else will work out.”
Contact Andrew on LinkedIn (and take a look at that iconic WFH photo of him and his daughter typing away).