LinkedIn is the absolute best platform right now to find new business. But, to get that business, you have to understand how the platform works, even just a little bit. So today we’re going to do just that – I’m going to show you all about how the algorithm works so that you can take advantage of this platform and win big fast.
Just before we jump in, I want to give you a heads up that this blog post is also a new YouTube video which you can find here: https://youtu.be/L2rnj-wBdv8
But, if you want to try before you buy, feel free to check out this preview I’ve made of the longer video:
How It Works
All right let’s not bury the lead here. The LinkedIn algorithm is built on the idea of relevance. As stated by the company, the goal is to provide content that meets this sentence:
|People you know talking about things you care about|
So, what does this mean? It means being able to understand the most valuable content to the user that’s receiving that information. So for example, you and I are connected, but we don’t really have anything in common – we’re not in the same company or the same industry, we don’t comment on each other’s stuff, etc. LinkedIn is less likely to push my posts to you and vice versa because we don’t really interact. However, if you’re commenting on my posts once or twice a week, we’re in the same industry, or we’ve taken some action to demonstrate interest in each others’ posts, LinkedIn is going to start picking up those signals and they’re more likely to start pushing my posts to you, and vice versa.
As a result, engagement on LinkedIn is extremely important. On its face, engagement works in a similar same way as Facebook and Instagram – it exposes your post to a small percentage of your following at first, and if this post seems to drive higher engagement than you normally receive on your posts, it will expose the post to more people until it either fizzles out or reaches virality. The difference here is that LinkedIn’s virality determination prioritizes comments over likes and shares. They do this because, by commenting, you’re taking the time to truly react to a post. Even if you’re just typing “Wow!” it still takes more time than simply liking or sharing, so it matters more.
But no matter whether you like, share, or comment, the massive advantage of LinkedIn over Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter is this: When you like one of my posts or comment on it on LinkedIn, everybody you’re connected to can see it. All of your followers and all of your connections can see that you liked or commented on my post. You haven’t been able to do that on the other platforms in years.
The speed of organic growth on LinkedIn is unmatched.
Types Of Content
Because some types of content get higher engagement naturally, they get higher virality naturally than others do. So understanding how each works will help you build a plan around the algorithm, rather than just hoping the algorithm gives you the results you want.
Video produces the highest level of engagement on LinkedIn because people tend to watch it longer than they read a post or an article, and so naturally it’s going to keep people on the platform longer. And isn’t that the whole point of virality in the first place?
There are four types of video that you can post on LinkedIn, These aren’t explicit choices you have to make when you post. Rather, they’re sort of like the stages of a sales funnel.
- Brand Awareness. So this type of video is telling people what you do and who you are. You’re giving them lots of value here so that they start to understand your value a bit.
- Consideration. The types of video you’ll find here are company stories, attention-getting, somewhat casual (though still professional) occurrences. Anything that’s both professional and grabs the viewer’s attention is what will work here.
- Problem Solving. Here you specifically lay out your product or service, what it is, why you do it, and how it can help your community.
- Social Proof. Simply said – you want client testimonials. You’re using your own clients to show your new prospects how incredible it is or was to work with you.
I’m talking about pure text – no images or video or anything. If you can write compelling text posts, you can win big on LinkedIn. People love a good story, and these long text posts that go all the way to the max character limit get huge engagement because people love to see things you a secret hack, some easy to implement improvement, or even simply you being a bit vulnerable. And if they can get that information very easily through a story, they’ll love it.
This is not Instagram and, as such, it’s not an image driven platform. Now, do you still see popular image-centric posts on LinkedIn? Of course. But going viral via imagery is harder to do because you don’t get as much engagement from images on LinkedIn as you do from text and from video. It’s not a featured part of the post, and so people are less likely to value it the way they would on Instagram. So, if you’re on LinkedIn and you’re thinking about using purely image-driven posts, I would think again.
As mentioned in my blog post on B2B marketing through LinkedIn, there are two types of content curation – the type that links to other LinkedIn pages, and the type that links offsite to the rest of the internet. If you’re linking outside the platform, the algorithm will punish you.
However, if you really want to link offsite, then the best way to do it is to make the post without including the link and then subsequently making a comment on your own post that includes that link.
Tying It Together
What all of this means is that there are two areas that are extremely important for you to take advantage of. The first is hashtags, which I talk a lot about in my blog post on SEO.
The other one I want to talk about is groups. Groups are very important here because they encompass your interest category. By accessing the right groups, you can access your target audience and build more engagement more quickly. This increases your likelihood of virality and of finding new business.
That said, you should be extremely intentional about the groups you pick. Some groups are content farms – users push a huge amount of content onto the group, but nobody engages (possibly because it’s moving so fast there’s no time to react). If absolutely nobody is engaging in the group at all, then trying to build your own engagement through the same method is madness.
So, you need to make sure that you’re in groups that are small enough that you can access them and get good engagement on your post so that you can increase that virality, increase the followers, and improve your business.
If you follow these steps and you pay attention to your metrics, you can take huge advantage of the LinkedIn Algorithm and boost your presence on the platform fast. Let me know how it went for you, and what went viral for you, I’d love to know!