The LinkedIn algorithm promotes ‘high quality’ content. Put simply, the more that people engage with your content, the more it will be shown in the feeds of other people. So how do you get the ball rolling?
1. Make it interesting
To get a high quality score for your post from LinkedIn, write about something that your audience cares about and will share. Often, this means writing about something that is happening in the national, local or trade press - something current. Make it interesting and informative.
2. Successful posts
Common traits of highly successful posts are: work/career related, positive, helpful, valuable professional advice. Deeply personal or entertaining posts can also do well. Use stories when you can, as these bring your points into context.
3. Know your audience
Work out who your target audience is. LinkedIn is primarily a business-to-business platform. So if you sell products or services to one or more sectors, you need to link to decision-makers and influencers in those sectors. You will also want to stay in touch with your existing customers, to build up those relationships. Often, the key targets will be intermediaries who recommend your business to others.
4. Be aware of the algorithm
The moment that something is posted, the LinkedIn algorithm will look at the attributes of the post, the member who posted it, its content, any images or documents that are part of it, and the relationship between the poster and the potential viewer. The algorithm will then decide who to show the post to in the first instance: how many individuals of which type.
5. Get the ball rolling
Once LinkedIn has shown the post to some people via their feeds, if they engage with the content the post will then be shown to more people. In other words, you need to get the ball rolling in the first place.
6. Hook the reader
As with any type of writing (newspapers, advertisements, book reviews) you need to hook the reader from the first couple of sentences, or they will move on to the next item on the page. Short sentences work best. Like this.
7. Look and learn
Learn from the popular posts of others. For example, people were fascinated to read about the notorious divorce case Owens v Owens, where the Supreme Court ‘with reluctance’ confirmed that the wife had to remain married to a man she loathed for five years. That case was an ideal opportunity for divorce lawyers to post their own interesting stories of dysfunctional outcomes.
8. Get people sharing
Having a few ‘fans’ who regularly share your content gives you a much better chance of success.
9. Avoid 'pods'
On the other hand, ‘pods’ of authors who join together purely to boost each other’s engagement rates have been banned by LinkedIn. Anyone who uses this strategy does so at their own risk.
10. Build relationships
Think of LinkedIn as a place where you build relationships, just as you would in the ‘real world’. It is an opportunity to show your personality. “Be your authentic self”, the experts advise.
11. Comments count more
Comments count as engagement far more than likes and shares. That is why successful posts often end with a question.
12. Re-shares count for less
Re-shares count for even less than shares in terms of engagement. But they are a way to be friendly to the person who shared the content in the first place.
13. Ask for comments
If you have any fans who share your content, ask them to post a comment with their share (this is usually just a sentence to introduce your item). And do the same for them when you share their content, to help their engagement.
14. Mix it up
To score highly, your post needs an optimal blend of comments, likes, shares, and so on. This presumably indicates that the post has not been artificially manipulated to game the LinkedIn algorithm.
15. Timing is vital
The first 60 minutes after you post is key. If there is no immediate engagement, your post is unlikely to do well thereafter.
16. React and reply
To build engagement and views, reply or react to every comment received. Besides, this is good social manners.
17. Limit your posts
It’s probably best to limit your posts to one a day, as subsequent posts are unlikely to achieve much traction. LinkedIn does not want to bombard users with posts from ‘heavy users’. Equally, you do not want people deleting, muting or unfollowing you because you've become a nuisance.
18. Keep it brief
LinkedIn ‘articles’ seem to have fallen out of use, as users prefer to read posts (short 1,300-character ‘updates’ as LinkedIn used to call them).
19. Rule of three
Use a maximum of three hashtags. Consider using one for your own branding (eg if your business uses a suitable strapline) and a couple that your network uses. A hashtag such as #Coronavirus may have a huge following, but it does not follow that your post will be shown to a lot of people even if the post is related to the virus.
20. Tag relevant contacts
Tag specific LinkedIn contacts (using @their name) if you want them to see the post. But if they do not respond, this may actually harm the reach of your post. It is probably best to only ever tag a maximum of five contacts.
21. Engage with connections
Having thousands of contacts that you never talk to does not help with engagement, as LinkedIn will know that you are not really interested in each other so it will not show your posts to each other any longer after a short initial period. But with only a few contacts it will be hard to gain traction.
22. Use company pages
LinkedIn company pages have various advantages and disadvantages compared to personal pages, which we cannot cover here. Make full use of both types of page.
23. Read up, keep up
We will never know exactly how the LinkedIn algorithm works, but we can all learn from the ongoing research by experts reported on sites such as SocialMediaToday. Algorithms keep changing, forever!