LinkedIn continues to introduce great changes with their updates, but it’s interesting how those changes can often make it difficult for many people to use it easily to effectively promote their brand and themselves! That’s because despite all the awesome functionality it still isn’t terribly intuitive.
So let’s unpick it a little.
How LinkedIn works
Let’s start with the Home page. The Home page provides you with curated content related to your professional interests, which is also based on your connections. You are most likely to see posts from your 1st degree connections but will also see 2nd even 3rd degree connections if one or more of your close network engages with their content and LinkedIn thinks it might be of interest to you.
How does LinkedIn know if it’s of interest to you? Its algorithms tailor what you see based on the posts you have shared as well as those you have liked and commented on previously. The more connected you are to someone and the more you or your network engage with them and their posts, the more likely it is that you will be shown their updates.
Getting visible on LinkedIn
There are four steps to visibility on LinkedIn (unless you are a LinkedIn Influencer, when you get a straight pass). The stages are as follows:
- Content created – algorithms decide whether its spam, low quality content, or ‘clear’ content (high quality).
- User reactions – it is shown to a select group of your 1st degree contacts to assess their response. If they interact with it with the first hour it gets a boost and goes for further assessment. If they mark it spam or hide it from their feeds, it is classified as spam or low-quality content.
- Relevance – algorithms decide on the ‘fit’ (is it relevant to the people in your network?) and its popularity with the surrounding network. It is then ranked accordingly and will either ascend up through or descend down the ranks of people’s newsfeeds. Note this isn’t a finite decision – positive engagement can cause it to rise again, even months later.
- Human editors assess it. If they like it, it can get a boost, even a long time after it was first published.
LinkedIn has more longevity than Twitter, but like Twitter it will get more exposure if you include hashtags or tag people, or if other people like it, comment and/or share. LinkedIn also likes url links, unlike Facebook (which has started suppressing reach for posts including an url).
First up, though, is your personal profile and, most importantly, your headline.
What is a headline on LinkedIn?
The LinkedIn Headline is the first thing people read about you and so it’s important. It’s not just a job title anymore and it’s given extra weight in LinkedIn algorithms, so include keywords as well.
Writing your personal profile is basically a copywriting job, so if you struggle with that read our setting up social media profiles properly post. Ditto for setting up your LinkedIn Business page.
Personal updates on LinkedIn
Updating your status on LinkedIn once a day is best, although you can post more often if necessary – just make sure they are posted as far apart as possible if so.
Hashtags came late to LinkedIn but have proved to be a very useful addition. LinkedIn will suggest the more popular ones to you, and you should try and stick with those as using something random means your post won’t get as much visibility as using one that is popular.
LinkedIn also allows you to publish articles.
Publishing an article on LinkedIn
Publishing an article on LinkedIn is a great way to raise your profile and establish your expert credentials. It’s still relatively new so not as overcrowded as the blogging world, and it’s great for SEO outside of LinkedIn as well.
When writing your LinkedIn article there’s a few things that will help with get it seen and read i.e. increase its visibility.
- A good title – between 40 and 49 characters long is best and use a ‘How To’ or List-style header. Avoid using questions as titles.
- Use at least one image – and eight images is the magic number when it comes to visibility according to stats
- Don’t embed videos – people don’t like them in LinkedIn Blogs and stops them reading the post.
- Use subheaders to divide up your post – 5 or 7 subheaders are optimum.
- Make it looong – LinkedIn users prefer long-form articles of about 2,000 words.
- Keep it neutral and professional. Emotive and passionate language is a turn off on LinkedIn.
- Keep it simple. Try using Hemingway.app if you can’t stop yourself writing complex flowery text.
- Promote it on other social networks. Well, we would say that wouldn’t we?! But that’s because the stats support us and it WORKS. Twitter is best for promoting LinkedIn blogs and you can share it there more frequently than elsewhere, just make sure you space out your posts and change the time of day you post at.
- Use your ‘like squad’ (basically close associates and fan club) to give it a boost within the first hour of posting.
Using LinkedIn Groups effectively
These are basically chat rooms that allow you to network online, and as with all networking there are a few golden rules to using them effectively.
- Find the right ones. Obvious, right? But you’d be amazed how often people are in the wrong groups for their business.
- Be active – wallflowers aren’t going to build relationships or become visible so get involved, whether that is commenting on other people’s posts or posting your own.
- Post appropriately – follow the rules and make sure your posts are useful for the groups members. Adhere to what the admins say.
- Build relationships – Connect with others in the group offline as well as online.
LinkedIn Company Pages
These have long been clunky and a bit boring, but it looks like that might finally be changing as LinkedIn is introducing some new features to make them more interactive and engaging.
- Employee notifications – One of the best practices for helping a post gain some traction and get visible is having a ‘like squad’ give it some love within the first hour. However, remembering to tell all your colleagues and fans is a pain and it often gets lost during the busy day. This new feature of LinkedIn will go some way to helping with that as admins will be able to notify employees when a post is published on the company page, which means they can engage with it immediately. While LinkedIn is restricting this to happening just once a week (to help prevent abuse), it’s definitely a good step forward!
- Show appreciation – LinkedIn have introduced new ways to show appreciation to your team. Called Kudos, you can celebrate one connection or multiple people, and choose from a number of different categories, including “Team Player,” “Amazing Mentor,” or “Inspirational Leader.”
- Page Completion Meter – According to LinkedIn, complete LinkedIn Pages generate 30% more page views per week compared to incomplete LinkedIn Pages. However, less than 5% of Page Admins with an incomplete Page choose to update it. Consequently they are introducing a new tool to help admins make sure they have thoroughly updated their company page. By doing so the page admins will also be able to unlock content suggestions. Sounds like a win-win to us!
While you are thinking about your company page, don’t forget to add significant hashtags and highlight your brand using Showcase pages.
LinkedIn Live Videos
A great way to promote your brand or business, but one that needs to be done in an extremely structured and professional way to be successful.
If you want to do this for your brand, and are still wondering how to do it properly, read our LinkedIn Live 101 blog, and watch out for more expert articles and tutorials on it in the near future.