LinkedIn is a powerful beast. It has grown over the years from a semi-simple professional networking site into a woven web of opportunity.
Gone are the days when a simple post would reach many viewers, even outside your connection network. Today’s LinkedIn contains advanced algorithms that pull your post through a maze-like decision tree to determine its fate in the universe – and this is only for organic (unpaid) posts.
If you hope to have any success on LinkedIn, here are some strategies to maximize your organic opportunities.
There are the basics, such as:
- WHEN to post – The best days tend to be midweek, usually midmorning in your target viewer’s time zone.
- WHAT to post – Try engaging graphics, or better yet, mini videos (keep it under 30 seconds). Take advantage of carousels (the ability to rotate through a series of images that tell a story or list steps). And keep your key post text in the first two lines. This is key.
For intermediate expertise:
- Tags/Hashtags – Include up to 5 hashtags (using the # symbol) and tags (using the @ symbol). Include some broad hashtags (e.g. #engineering) and some niche (e.g. #bayareaengineeringjobs). When tagging people or companies, it’s best to tag someone with a decent number of connections or followers, but don’t tag people who aren’t connected to the post somehow – the algorithms will catch on.
- Engagement – Getting people to share your post with added commentary is best, but comments and likes are always helpful too. A mix of these is key to balancing the holistic nature of the algorithms.
- Being a Resource – When sharing information, go beyond referencing yourself or company and share relevant third-party articles. You don’t want to only talk about yourself (LinkedIn isn’t fond of this) – sharing from reputable sources like WSJ or Forbes will help amplify your profile. LinkedIn isn’t a fan of taking visitors off the platform, but a few outside sources actually help the algorithms (per some chats with some ex-LinkedIn staff who were responsible for corporate accounts).
- Articles and Newsletters – Use these features. Period. LinkedIn promotes its native articles (like this interview about the realities of remote clinical trials) and newsletters (like Marketri’s “The Fractional Marketer), even sharing its user-generated content across email channels.
If you want to truly master the algorithms:
- The 2-Hour Window – Induce high engagement in the first two hours after your post. This window is when LinkedIn’s algorithms determine which pathway will be the future of your post. If you receive adequate engagement, it gets prioritized in feeds. If there’s poor engagement, it’s headed to the garbage can. You can trigger better engagement by informing your colleagues, staff or connections that a post has just been made and you would appreciate their comments, likes, etc. You can also partner with a few close colleagues to help amplify each other’s posts in this way – engaging in the first 2 hours. You can also use the “Content Suggestions” and “Employee Advocacy” sections of your professional page (if you are privy to those features).
- Interactions – Keep interacting with your post audience throughout the day (and for a few days). Thank people for their comments (and tag them), or keep the conversation going with additional commentary. This propels the activity of the post and improves algorithm performance.
- Branding – Develop your own “brand” on LinkedIn and stick with a voice that best represents that, whether for yourself, staff members, or your company. Make it your mission to share helpful information within a specified specialty to brand yourself as a resource in this space on the platform. For your company, you can select a few staff members who are active on LinkedIn, select a specialty for each of them, and ask if they’d like to help promote the company by branding themselves as niche experts. You can even build this into their professional goals and performance expectations if you wish.
- New LinkedIn Features – Whenever you see LinkedIn offering a new functionality or feature, jump on it. LinkedIn will usually amplify the use of any new developments in an attempt to promote further usage, so take advantage of these features as soon as possible.
Above all else, one foundational element to mastering LinkedIn is to create an enterprise-level marketing strategy that outlines key goals across the platform, linked with your overall cross-channel strategies. Your marketing strategy (if properly established and holistic) will be a foundational strength that carries your social performance.
It’s important to plan campaign topics which are of deep interest to your target audience and include content from solid SMEs in the field (subject matter experts). You don’t want ‘fluff’ just to have content. Give value to your audience and help them take away actionable steps and goals. People come to LinkedIn to network, but also to be educated and entertained professionally. If you are able to meet those two goals, you are on the right track.
Reach out to the Marketri team to get a holistic marketing strategy that puts your goals first.
Kimberly Brue is an expert in LinkedIn strategies and a guest author / FCMO for Marketri. Her background specialty is Life Sciences, working for small and large pharma over the last 25+ years, including Top 10.