September 26, 2020
Do you post on LinkedIn and the results are crickets chirping? Do you wonder what you are doing wrong? Why do Oleg and Brigitte get thousands of likes but you barely collect one? It comes down to the LinkedIn algorithm. If you understand how the LinkedIn algorithm works and you work within its rules, your posts will perform better. In this article, I provide you with everything you need to know to get more views, engagement, and opportunities by posting strategically.
When you peruse the LinkedIn Feed, (the content that shows up on your LinkedIn home page) the posts do not show up in the order they are posted. Instead, LinkedIn curates its feed for you using an algorithm.
When you click the Post button, your post doesn’t just get displayed. There is an initial quality check of the content. If your content passes, it will then display temporarily. LinkedIn will monitor the likes, views, flags, etc… to determine another check of quality. If your post passes and people like it and engage with it, the post will continue to display on users’ LinkedIn Feed. The more engagement and activity your post garners, the longer it will display.
If you want your post to be seen and get engagement, there are certain things you can do.
Posts that attract engagement in the form of likes and comments perform best.
The first line of your post should catch people’s attention. LinkedIn factors in dwell time, when members scroll past and then STOP and spend a little time on your post– that’s a good thing and you’ll find your post performing better because of it.
You can spark engagement by creating posts that ask questions, request opinions, or request a like or share. Don’t just assume people will engage with your content. Remember the old adage, “The squeaky wheel gets the oil.”
Another way to promote engagement is by tagging people in your LinkedIn post. When you tag a person in a post, the person is notified of your post. When deciding who to tag, consider the likelihood of them responding to your post. Tagging people who don’t respond will hurt your post’s potential performance and it can lose traction fast. How many people should you tag in your LinkedIn post? Pete Davies, LinkedIn’s Senior Director of Product Management, said he recommends tagging 5 people. I’ve tagged upwards of 20 people and my posts have performed well but the people I tag tend to engage. Just make sure you are tagging people you know, who have some relation to the content you are posting, and are likely to engage with your post by liking or commenting.
In addition to quality and engagement, another important aspect of a post is relevancy. LinkedIn wants to deliver relevant content to its member. Utilizing the hashtags in your LinkedIn post is a great way of showing your content’s relevancy. You can work hashtags into your post or you can add hashtags at the end. It doesn’t matter where the hashtags fall as long as there are only three hashtags. This may seem oddly arbitrary but LinkedIn has stated that three hashtags per post are preferred and I’ve heard rumors of people testing it and proving it true.
Hashtags are a way of indexing your content. People who are interested in certain topics will follow hashtags related to those topics and when you include those hashtags into your post, your post has the potential of traveling further. Spend time thinking about your target audience and the hashtags they follow; then create content around those topics using those hashtags. Research hashtags to make sure you are using hashtags that resonate with your target audience and that have lots of followers.
#Marketing has 20,318,108 followers. #Marketingtips has 3,386 followers. Which hashtag do you think will bring you to a broader audience?
LinkedIn wants people to stick around. When you create a post that links to a site outside of LinkedIn, you are sending people away from LinkedIn. That’s not what LinkedIn wants and those posts tend not to perform all that well. A workaround people use is to put the link in the first comment of the post and then edit the post after a couple of days to add the actual link back in.
The timing of your post is important. Because a post’s performance hinges upon engagement, you should make sure you post when your audience is online and checking LinkedIn. If you post at 3am and everyone’s asleep, your post naturally won’t do too well.
The first hour after you post is the make it or break it period. It’s when LinkedIn shows your post to a small segment of your network to see how they respond. If the post get likes and comments, LinkedIn will keep showing it to more and more people.
Don’t think your work ends with clicking the Post button. You should market your post by messaging key people in your network, alerting them of your post, and asking them to like and comment. A little boost, in the beginning, will help your post gain momentum.
I don’t advocate joining Engagement Pods since their goal is simply to game the system. Instead, understand the reason behind engagement pods and utilize that knowledge to your advantage. Thoughtfully consider who in your network will find value in your post and engage with the content authentically and intelligently. Those are the people to message and let them know of your post. Don’t spray and pray. Be deliberate with the goal of adding value and sparking engagement.
When people comment on your post, reply to their comments! EVERY SINGLE ONE OF THEM. LinkedIn likes to see conversations taking place, constructive and authentic back and forth communication. When a post spurs conversations in the comments, that signals to LinkedIn quality, relevancy and engagement and LinkedIn rewards those posts by displaying to more people.
You may have noticed that I have referred to liking and commenting but I haven’t mentioned sharing. I’ve found that reshares don’t seem to matter as much, LinkedIn values likes and comments more. Shares are a form of engagement and shouldn’t be ignored but if you are going to request activity from your network, make it likes and comments.
Once your post is out on the LinkedIn Feed, LinkedIn tends to show it first to people you have recently interacted with on LinkedIn. You may have noticed this yourself that when you scroll through your LinkedIn Feed you see posts from people that you engage with more than posts from people you don’t. LinkedIn wants the LinkedIn Home page to be “People You Know, Talking About Things You Care About.”
Take time out of your day to scroll through your LinkedIn Feed and like and comment on other people’s posts. When they see you have interacted with your post, they may be more apt to like and share your content…. and because of this activity, odds become greater that they will see your content when you do post because that earlier engagement demonstrates to Linkedin you have a relationship with them.
The LinkedIn Feed doesn’t reward the person who posts multiple times a day. At one time, I cranked out 5-10 pieces of content a day. It was hard to create that amount of content but it was necessary until I noticed that views, likes, and comments dropped off. It didn’t matter whether I posted once or if I posted 10 times, the aggregate number of views per day was pretty much the same. Once I realized this, I began creating less content but better content. As the content became better, views surged. The lesson is it is quality over quantity on LinkedIn. Don’t kill yourself trying to create tons of content, concentrate on creating valuable, relevant content. How often should you post then? Posting once to three times, a week works just fine. If you want to post more, just try to keep about 12 hours between posts. If you want to post more than that, consider using that prolific creativity to comment on other people’s posts instead.
If you put into practice all the things covered in this article and you are still not seeing more views and more engagement, here are some things to consider.
A very small network of first-degree connections can limit you. Especially if the people in your network are not active on LinkedIn. Spend time expanding your network. Send connection requests to people you know. Add a personalized note.
Make sure that when you post, the visibility settings include Anyone on or off LinkedIn. A small, inactive first-degree network coupled with posts that only your network sees is a recipe for failure! Open your visibility so everyone sees your posts and reap the views.
I can’t say this enough, research hashtags before using them. Sure, it’s cute to create a hashtag #justbecause… but no one is following that hashtag and it won’t bring you to a broader audience.
If you post whenever the urge strikes, you may find that it hurts you. Try to get yourself onto a regular posting schedule: M-W-F at 12:00 PM or T-R at 09:00 AM.
Less than 1% of monthly active LinkedIn members actually create content on LinkedIn. There are 675 million total users on. The total number of active users in one month is 310 million. Only 3 million LinkedIn users post content on a weekly basis.
When you then consider that there are about 9 billion views of content per week on LinkedIn…. benefiting those 3 million LinkedIn users who actually post content… well, it makes sense to join in!
You can get hung up on the best practices but my advice is simply, just do it!
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