Marketing and PR specialists recognize LinkedIn as the premier B2B social media network, but few spend substantial time networking on the platform.
More often than not, they treat LinkedIn as an online Rolodex and résumé posting service. They tend to spend more time producing content and building relationships on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter.
Here’s what social media experts advise about increasing engagement on LinkedIn and gaining more benefits from the networking site for business professionals.
1. Promote people, not products. Don’t post as a faceless brand or business. Instead, promote thought leaders within your business by sharing their posts on your organization’s page, digital marketing expert Dawn McGruer tells Forbes. Humanize interaction by writing as if the author were standing in front of you at a networking event. React to the post, article or video with a comment, like or share, but remember to put your own slant on it prior to posting.
2. Share trending posts. Share posts that are already trending. The more popular the post, the more likely it already resonates with the particular audience.
3. Pursue connections, not customers. Try not to approach connections as potential customers. Instead, think of them as an opportunity to expand your network of potential referrers who could bring new opportunities.
4. Be consistent. Sustain your LinkedIn presence with consistency. Post regularly—at least once a week. Don’t forget to share content created by others too. “Don’t just report the news, though—tell your audience what it means for them and how it will impact them and their businesses,” McGruer says.
5. Analyze the analytics. LinkedIn’s analytics summarize engagement statistics and show who has viewed, liked, commented or shared your content. That allows you to thank LinkedIn users who appreciate your content. The demographics section reveals insights into your audience. “This can help you determine whether you are attracting the target audience that you intend to attract,” says Robert Rose at The Content Advisory.
6. Summarize. As attention spans shorten and competition increases, relaying information quickly and credibly on LinkedIn pages becomes more important. “Done right, LinkedIn is the ultimate summary,” says Jay Baer, founder of Convince & Convert. “We are living in an era where summary matters more than ever, because people rarely take the time to dig deeper unless they are deep in the consideration process.”
7. Mention members. Type @ in the status update, and LinkedIn suggests members to mention from your list of contacts. The platform notifies them of your update, and they may 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,” warns internet marketer Joyce Grace in an article for Hootsuite.
8. Add hashtags. Hashtags make updates and articles searchable on LinkedIn. Don’t use too many—three is plenty, advises David Hartshorne at Sendible Insights. It’s also a good practice to capitalize the first letter of each word and to test hashtags. “Don’t test your hashtags like you would spaghetti—throwing a load of hashtags into a post and hoping one of them sticks is not good practice,” Hartshorne says. “Instead, record what hashtags you’ve used on each post and see which ones bring the most engagement.”
9. Try bare-bone posts. Images are supposed to draw attention and increase engagement. But B2B marketing specialist John Espirian found that text-only posts without links, images or tags performed better. His text-only posts received an 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 want to display too many posts containing links to third-party sites.
10. 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 PR and marketing professionals view LinkedIn as a valuable and resurgent networking platform. Following these tips can help business professionals grow their contacts and increase engagement with potential clients.
A version of this post first appeared on the Glean.info blog.