How often do you interact with fellow communicators on LinkedIn?
Though marketing and PR specialists recognize LinkedIn as the premier B2B social media platform, few spend substantial time networking there. More likely, they treat Linked in as online rolodex or a résumé posting service.
They tend to spend more time interacting on Twitter or even Facebook.
That’s unfortunate. LinkedIn says 50 percent of its users are more likely to buy from companies once they have engaged with the company on their social media channels.
Now, LinkedIn’s newsfeed has evolved to resemble Facebook’s newsfeed. It shows updates that its algorithm calculates will most interest viewers based on their contacts, past behavior and other factors.
Likewise, the algorithm determines how many people will view their updates. LinkedIn offers a way for B2B marketing and PR to reach a more business-oriented audience.
Though the LinkedIn newsfeed algorithm works much like the feeds of Facebook and other networks, it has some significant differences, internet marketer Joyce Grace writes in an article for Hootsuite. A better understanding of LinkedIn’s algorithm can help you promote content on the platform.
The LinkedIn algorithm sends content through several filters. After an initial computerized filter weeds out spam and low-quality content, it holds posts on the feed temporarily to measure engagement. It reviews the quality of the poster, the poster’s network and the post’s relevance and usefulness to the poster’s network. After that stage, humans review the post’s quality.
Experts offer these tips for getting LinkedIn updates in front of more viewers:
- Give them what they want. LinkedIn members want career and business advice and industry-specific posts. Besides seeking the latest news, they want to know what it means to them. In addition to reporting industry news and trends, provide key insights, takeaways and your unique perspective. Offer an assertive opinion—without preaching.
- Be active on the platform. The LinkedIn algorithm favors updated and active personal profiles and company pages. More connections and followers in your business sector, participation in LinkedIn groups, and overall more LinkedIn activity all help boost reach for your content.
- Mention members. Type @ in the status update, and LinkedIn will suggest members to mention from your list of contacts. The platform notifies them of your update, and they might share it with their contacts. You can @mention someone you quoted in your article or @mention personal connections who might benefit from the content. “But never spam a bunch of random users for exposure,” Grace warns.
- Court influencers. Try to gain the attention of LinkedIn influencers. Those users are credible users, usually company leaders, who write content approved by LinkedIn editors. Small LinkedIn icons appear next to their names when they post on the network. Given their authority and large number of followers, your reach can soar if influencers share your content.
- According to research by HubSpot, the best times to post updates are Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday between 7 and 8 a.m. and from 5 to 6 p.m. In practice, the best time to post varies by companies and their time zones, business sector and other factors. One company found that the best time to engage top-tier executives was 8 p.m. “Because for these senior executives, the work distractions, emails and meeting requests don’t stop coming at 5 p.m. They keep flowing, from all over the globe and a range of different time zones,” says Gearoid Buckley, LinkedIn senior demand generation manager. Study LinkedIn analytics for insights into your own 8 p.m. moment.
- Hashtags. Including hashtags will make your post discoverable by users seeking information on that topic via LinkedIn’s search bar. Because hashtags are relatively new to LinkedIn, there’s less research on their use compared with other networks. For now, add no more than one or two per post to increase exposure without making your post seem like spam, advises Isabella Andersen, senior content writer at RevLocal.
- Try bare-bone posts. Images are supposed to draw attention and increase engagement. B2B marketing specialist John Espirian found that text-only posts without links, images or tags performed better. His text-only posts received on average of three times more views than posts with links to external sites, Espirian writes in Social Media Examiner. Because LinkedIn wants to keep viewers on its platform, it doesn’t favor posts containing links to third-party sites.
- “Like” yourself. “Liking” your own posts may seem odd, but it encourages others to click that heart button or add a comment, Espirian says. No one wants to be the first on the dance floor.
Many in PR and marketing don’t engage with customers and other important professionals on LinkedIn as much as they should. They can spread their brand messages farther by taking full advantage of LinkedIn’s newsfeed and tools.
A version of this post first appeared on the Glean.info blog.