I’ve been active on LinkedIn for about two months now and the one thing I’ve learnt is that there’s a formula to LinkedIn engagement and success. Unlike every other platform where the best practices and hacks are littered all over the Internet, LinkedIn is quite different. For example, if you want to become an Instagram Influencer, you just need to create a cohesive feed with high-quality photos filtered with one specific Lightroom preset. In no time, you’ll get tons of followers.
But on LinkedIn, it doesn’t quite work like that. I’ve realized that there’s a formula to what works and the only way to understand that formula is to be fully active on the platform.
A high LinkedIn engagement rate is the OG of success metrics.
The platform has been designed in such a way that if you don’t engage with others in and outside your network, you would have zero visibility and your profile will be buried forever. Having zero visibility means nobody knows or remembers you regardless of how long you have been connected to the person.
Before now, you could get away with posting a short and snappy status update either attached with one or five photos or a link to a great article and you would get decent engagement. Even if you don’t get link clicks, you would get likes and a few comments here and there.
These days, LinkedIn engagement has evolved beyond that. Just like other platforms, the algorithm has changed several times to prioritize different things. To get the best engagement at the moment, you need to combine and maximize one or two content formats to increase your visibility.
It’s also important to note that LinkedIn organic reach is still pretty high now. Think Facebook in 2014 and Instagram in 2016 when we still had the chronological feed. Right now, there are a group of ‘LinkedIn creators’ who solely create video content for the platform. LinkedIn rewards them by giving them all the visibility thereby making them ‘influencers’. These people make up about 1% of LinkedIn users but that’s a conversation for another day.
The point is, more than ever before your LinkedIn post has the tendency to go viral than on any other platform. Of course, in the typical social media tradition, this might change in the next 12 – 24 months.
So, how to do get the most LinkedIn engagement on your posts?
Based on what works for me and observing what works for others, here are four ways:
Post a video
This is the easiest way to get LinkedIn engagement. LinkedIn Video is still pretty new so the platform is rewarding people that dabble into creating video content by giving them as much visibility as possible. This is because the more people watch other people’s videos daily, the more they will be encouraged to create and post theirs. I’ve not even started to post videos on LinkedIn or YouTube but I’m about to buy a lightbox and a tripod just to start. That’s how much other people’s videos are influencing me.
Post a PDF
This is personally my favourite content format because it gets the most engagement on its owing without requiring me to amplify it by tagging anybody. (More on this later) So far, I’ve posted just two PDFs – although I have created so much more – and they got likes, comments and post views by itself. LinkedIn Document is one of the latest LinkedIn features which is why it does so well. One of the reasons why my PDFs might not go as viral as I hope is because of the function of how unengaged my network is. I wrote in this post that one of the first things I did when I came back to LinkedIn was to remove almost 2000 connections who happen to be mostly dormant and inactive. Imagine if those 2000 were highly engaged. Imagine how far my PDFs will go in terms of visibility. This is why it is important to carefully curate the connections you allow into your network. Even if they are not potential clients, they should be active enough to help in increasing your visibility by engaging with your content.
Post a lengthy status update and tag 3 people with a highly engaged network.
This is one of those formulas I observed first before trying on my own. While trying to create a LinkedIn content schedule of sorts, I tried using Hootsuite to schedule my content for a week. These content just comprised of simple social media tips in a storytelling format. I made sure these posts went up at 9am daily. But then, during the course of the day, I tried posting longer status updates and tagging two connections with whom I had started building a relationship with. That single post was more engaging than all my scheduled posts combined. This meant two things for me:
- My network is still mostly passive.
- I needed to tag people in my posts to increase my engagement and visibility.
I really don’t like this second point. This is because tagging people all the time feels like a burden for me and them. So I just try to do it sparingly; maybe once or twice a week. To make up for that, I decided that I would be posting more PDFs regularly.
Post a lengthy and controversial status update.
If you want to go viral fast, this is the hack for you. I really really hate that we have turned our LinkedIn status updates to blog posts. But I wouldn’t blame anyone because LinkedIn Articles don’t even perform so well anymore. So to get the most attention you need to tell a compelling story that leaves room for controversy and debate. It doesn’t necessarily have to be true. It can be fiction as long as it hits a pain point. I haven’t tried this method because I honestly don’t have the range for it. But it works so if you’re one of those that write long epistles in Facebook groups, then these might be for you.
Post multiple pictures from an event, meetup or conference and tag speakers and organizers.
This is another point that is worth mentioning and still works for me. I actually make it a point of duty to take pictures when I attend meetups and conferences just so I can post on LinkedIn and tag the organisers. This is because I know how much visibility it brings my profile. So trying posting multiple relevant pictures when you attend events.
I hope you have been able to learn a few things about LinkedIn engagement. As always, this is an ongoing series that I update regularly.
Don’t forget to read the first part on how to use Linkedin to build a personal brand.