Though social media has become a competition of virality, there are still a few sacred places that can be used for professional growth. Building a strong brand on Twitter and Facebook can do a lot for your personal network, but your brand on LinkedIn actually means business (pun intended).
LinkedIn is less about choosing the right selfie or mastering disappearing stories and more about using content to amass an audience and showcase your skill set. With 160,000 new articles per week on LinkedIn, many brands and consumers are using the platform to maximize their exposure. There is indeed a strategy for growth on LinkedIn that can help you start meaningful conversations with contacts and communities. Here are five tricks for expanding your audience and business on LinkedIn.
Trust in what’s trending.
Trending Storylines is LinkedIn’s latest update but the first feature to prioritize when it comes to garnering heightened exposure amongst your industry. Just last month LinkedIn launched this curated news feed highlighting the day’s trending news stories, personalized around one’s interests and connections.
Much like hashtags on any other social network, trending storylines allows your commentary on a certain subject to be found in the cumulative feed of others also speaking on that topic. This goes for published stories as well as status updates, setting the perfect environment to broadcast your point of view through both short- and long-form content.
Using trending hashtags alone has put my updates in front of a couple thousand users, where previously it only garnered a few hundred impressions. Yet, it's not just LinkedIn’s algorithm that rewards timely content; their staff also handpicks certain stories, which is another factor to consider when strategizing.
Pick the right picture.
Most of what’s viral on social media is more about the visual assets than the copy. The same applies for engagement when publishing on LinkedIn. As other forms of media fight for reader’s attention, the graphic that accompanies your writing needs to be just as engaging.
Within LinkedIn, the header photo is what leads people to click on your article just as much as the title. It’s what everyone sees first when scrolling down their feed or searching within a LinkedIn Group.
What kind of visual are you choosing to set your content apart? With the abundance of articles published per day on LinkedIn, you will need to implement something unique, eye-catching and a complement to the core of your article -- even if it means commissioning a freelancer.
It’s more about when.
As a business professional, writing to other business professionals, it’s vital that you take everyone’s schedule into consideration when looking to publish.
The best writers have aligned their posting schedule with anticipated activity on LinkedIn. As someone who’s a part of the audience you’re writing to, assume their role for a second when you’re deciding to push your content live. Monday mornings are usually inopportune times, as many of the readers you want to reach are catching up on the weekend’s emails. This same thought process applies to Fridays, when people are just as busy finishing their work in preparation for the weekend.
Both Hubspot and LinkedIn chimed in on finding that sweet spot, estimating that Tuesday through Thursday is the optimal time to publish. Recognized entrepreneur, Noah Kagan, found similar trends in regards to posting on LinkedIn. Kagan, who was an early employee at Facebook and Mint, founded the popular inbound marketing tool, Sumo. According to Kagan's data, posts published on Thursdays saw the highest average total views, closely followed by Sunday as far as user activity.
Distribution matters (a lot).
As you well know, your work isn’t done once it’s published. Dismissing distribution is simply doing yourself and your creativity a disservice. Whether you’re targeting consumers or delivering B2B focused content, syndication is vital on LinkedIn. Where are you sharing what you’ve written and with whom?
Consider pushing your work to relevant LinkedIn Groups because these communities are full of decision makers in your respective industry, which is a prime opportunity to introduce them to you and your brand. But, at the same time, it must provide true value to drive organic and invested traffic your way.
Distribution should be a larger focus when targeting businesses as well. Aside from trending storylines, LinkedIn announced LinkedIn Lead Gen Forms, helping bring in high-quality leads by removing the friction of mobile conversion. Through Sponsored Content, you can launch campaigns that support gated content to rack up on inbound leads.
Using the algorithm to your advantage.
Engaging in conversation with those who comment or share your content is crucial for growing your readership on any platform, but it's 10 times more important for your success on LinkedIn.
The algorithm can be used in a few ways to tap into additional networks through those who have engaged with your work. When a user likes or comments on an article of yours, it appears on his personal feed. LinkedIn’s product is built to present content that like audiences will find valuable; use this to your advantage by starting a conversation with those who have responded to your work. Interaction in the comments section of an article is the reason behind many of LinkedIn's successful content. Not to mention that the most engaged threads will get pinned to the top of the comment section.
Getting in front of the masses isn’t by chance, thankfully there are a series of techniques using your comments as a conversation that carries throughout LinkedIn. Tagging other individuals who have a following is another method of garnering more exposure. Don’t be afraid to mention other thought leaders to showcase other credible perspectives that your following and theirs would love to be aware of.
The platform’s algorithm rewards ongoing conversation, ultimately bringing third and fourth-degree audiences to what you’ve written.
LinkedIn is a community of hungry enthusiasts among a variety of industries. These distinct practices will help you achieve more visibility and engagement to build your thought leadership brand and convert new business.