LinkedIn is a great place to establish both your personal and business ‘brand’ online, especially when face-to-face networking isn’t possible. Becoming a thought leader in your niche or an industry influencer may not be at the top of your priority list, however, the benefits from doing just that can reap huge rewards both for your future aspirations or business goals.
In order to get to that point, however, it’s important to fully understand how LinkedIn works, what generates the best response, and how you can utilise LinkedIn’s various tools to optimal effect.
Throughout this blog, we’ll highlight some key things that you can do to become more influential on LinkedIn. We’ll include things like how much you should be posting when to post, what to post as well as how to take advantage of some of LinkedIn’s newest features such as LinkedIn Live and discovering hashtags by popularity.
Post consistently, not constantly
Establishing and maintaining a consistent posting schedule is vital on LinkedIn – however, posting too much can negatively impact your presence…we know what you’re thinking…OK so how much is consistent, and how much is too much?!?
Recent studies have shown that ‘influencers’ who post more than 50 times a month on LinkedIn see an average of 26 engagements per post, while those who post between 30-50 times a month see an average of 56 engagements, and those who post less than 30 times see even more engagement, on average…so there’s a good starting point!
Based on these stats, and from our own experience, we recommend posting at least 2-3 times a week – but no more than 30 times a month, for optimal engagement.
The time you post onto the platform also plays a big role in engagement levels, although it can vary depending on factors such as holidays, significant events, even the weather! So, don’t hold us to this, but give it a go, it’s all about trial and error to find what suits your particular audience the best. We would suggest as a starting point to post in the mornings before you start work. Then go back to those posts later in the day/evening, to reply to any comments you’ve had, tag in relevant connections in the comments to spread the message further, all aiding in generating more engagement. At the point that you return to the platform to engage on the post from the morning, you could also interact with other connection’s posts and start up conversations. The more ‘active’ you are on the platform, the more likely connections will tag you into conversations or ask for your opinion.
Manual over automation EVERY TIME
We know, we know, automation can be a great time-saver, however, it can also be hugely damaging to your overall personal and company brand.
We’ve seen it all, mis-targeted direct messages, auto-responses with no personality, automatic posts across employee profiles…if it saves time, companies will give it a go, and don’t even get us started on LinkedIn experts promising they can generate XX leads per week to ‘make you money’, when all they do is set up systems to automatically post and respond with the same message, every time!
As noted in the previous point, posting too much on LinkedIn can actually reduce your engagement, and in addition to that, LinkedIn’s systems can spot when people are using automation, and can hide your posts resulting in no one seeing them…. GAME OVER.
We would always recommend a manual system of posting and prospecting on LinkedIn to support in building your influence and expertise, no one will be coming to someone who using irrelevant automation for advice. Consider the long-term goal of using the platform and really consider your process before opting for the easy option.
And if you see absolutely no way around using automation, then PLEASE at least personalise the messages per employee depending on their skills and experience, or allow the follow-up DM’s to be manual.
Visuals speak louder than words
Research shows that articles with images get 94% more total views. However, LinkedIn allows the option to include videos, slides, podcasts, or even documents in a post. So, get creative and add some visuals to your posts to encourage people to stop scrolling and learn more.
Documents can also be turned into carousel posts on LinkedIn which is a great way to entice engagement. You can create these by uploading a series of visuals as a document, LinkedIn will then display that as a carousel which users can side-swipe through.
It’s worth noting at this point too that when adding content, LinkedIn prefers users to upload content directly to the platform, rather than posting a link to another site that hosts it. For example, if you’re posting a video, it’s better to upload it to LinkedIn, rather than posting a YouTube link.
Create, curate, create, curate
It’s important that you don’t underestimate the power of curated content. The 4-1-1 Rule was coined by Tippingpoint Labs and Joe Pulizzi of the Content Marketing Institute. While it was originally created with Twitter in mind, it can also be applied to LinkedIn.
The rule states that:
“For every one self-serving post, you should repost one relevant post and most importantly share four pieces of relevant content written by others.”
By following this rule, you’re not just sharing your own useful content, but also providing helpful insights relevant to your audience, even when written by others. This can be industry thought leader content, news, and trends, all helping to shape your overall presence online.
Whilst curating content is an important part to any successful content strategy, it’s also important to add your own opinion., otherwise we’re back in the auto-posting vortex where you can quickly become seen as faceless. Many people just like or share posts that they’ve read to tick their ‘engagement’ job off the list of things to do. Therefore, you have an opportunity to get one step ahead from others simply by adding your own opinions, questions, or commentary within the comments or as an introduction to a post you share.
Remember how you want to be seen and based on that, use your insight and opinion to tell people what you think about the points being made in the article, don’t be afraid to respectfully disagree with something and suggest a different point of view. This can start a debate, which in turn will help you to reach a whole new host of audiences.
It’s not about selling, it’s about adding value
Although your key objective for marketing yourself or your business is to generate sales, social media on any channel, should never be about ‘selling’. You wouldn’t approach someone in the street and ask them to buy your training program without offering them an introduction to yourself, your business, what it is you can help with…etc. etc. so why on earth would you direct message a complete stranger with no introduction trying to sell…the mind boggles!
Keep in your mind that LinkedIn is about building relationships, gaining new professional contacts and ultimately providing valuable insights into your experience and expertise…which yes, in time, could result in a sale, but that should not be your number one focus.
Have you tried LinkedIn live yet? Why not give it a go? You could ‘go live’ for anything from an introduction into you and your business as a monologue to the camera, a webinar with guests, or live streaming from an event.
Tag, you’re it!
Engagement is King in any social strategy and LinkedIn is no different. When you tag another user in your LinkedIn post or comment, they’ll get notified of the mention, encouraging engagement.
Make sure you are strategic about who and how often you tag people into posts though, if you always tag the same 5 people, they will soon get fed up and lose the respect for your insight they had.
Don’t copy and paste
When creating social media content, there is a temptation to upload the same post everywhere – LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook Instagram, etc. However, keep in mind that your audiences are different on each channel, and even if you have some of the same people following you across multiple channels, they are using the specific platforms for different things.
LinkedIn is a much more professional platform than the others with users looking for insight and industry information. They aren’t on there to see a cute picture of your kids dressed up for Halloween…know your audience, know your platform, and know your content.
Optimise your posts with hashtags
As with some other social platforms, adding hashtags to posts will help your content get discovered, as well as help LinkedIn to categorise your posts and differentiate them from other content.
It’s important to add relevant hashtags, not just popular ones. When hashtags are used well it helps users to find your content in searches more easily. Hashtags will also ensure your article comes up as an option for users searching for specific topics.
Try clicking on ‘Discover more’ under ‘Followed Hashtags’ at the bottom left of your LinkedIn homepage to see a recommended list of popular hashtags related to the hashtags you follow. You can also access this by clicking on the hashtags you follow and then click the 3 dots and then ‘Discover new hashtags’.
What’s really useful about the recommended hashtags page is that it shows you the number of people that follow the hashtags, so you can prioritize those with the biggest following.
Analyse, post, review, repeat.
On a regular basis, we recommend monthly, assessing the posts you’ve shared, articles you’ve written, and original content you’ve created and see what’s working best in terms of reaching audiences and generating engagements. Keep a log of these to gain a better understanding of your best-performing posts.
If you’re unsure why these posts outweighed others, ask yourself…
- Did I use a certain hashtag?
- Did I tag someone specific in the posts/comments?
- What time of day was it posted?
- Did something strike a chord with my audience?
- Did something else happen to influence a surge of engagement?
Once you have an idea as to why certain posts worked better than others, you can use this knowledge to experiment with replicating that style of post, and test to see if you get better levels of engagement or not.
LinkedIn continues to grow and introduce new features and is set to continue developing as an influential platform as we move into and beyond 2021 and into a period of economic re-building. This new era that we are approaching will also lead to new opportunities – and those that have started to build their platform presence now will stand the best chance of capitalising on this in the years to come.
If you’d like to discuss any of the LinkedIn features in particular or would like to work with an agency that will manage your company and professional profiles without automation, get in touch with the Pick & Mix team here.