If you’re looking to promote products and services to businesses and professionals, LinkedIn is the social media platform for you. LinkedIn is the social media platform where you are likely to find the key decision-makers. In fact, 20% of users are senior-level influencers.
And then there’s LinkedIn’s organic reach.
LinkedIn currently has the best organic reach of the four main social networks (the other three being Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter). This is obviously a great combination for lead generation, and there’s plenty of data to back this up. According to LinkedIn, 93% of B2B marketers consider it the best platform for generating leads. While this source is obviously biased, it happens to be true.
But it’s not enough that you create a LinkedIn profile to execute a successful B2B marketing or affiliate marketing strategy. As in any other social media platform, you have to grow your following to reach as many people as you can.
The rationale is simple. The more people who follow you, the more people will view your content. In this article, we’ll discuss four ways to grow your LinkedIn following then. Let’s start with the basics.
LinkedIn Basics: How the Algorithm Works
If you want to generate reach on LinkedIn, it’s worth covering how LinkedIn’s algorithm works.
Much like the algorithm powering the content you view on other social networks, LinkedIn tries to provide content you would find relevant in your newsfeed. With so much content being published every day, across all of your contacts, it needs to prioritize what appears.
The way LinkedIn does this is a four stage process, that looks a little something like this.
Source: LinkedIn Engineering Blog
When you publish a piece of content, the algorithm analyzes it and then gives it one of three tags (spam, low-quality, good to go). Assuming it’s flagged as normal, then your content will start appearing in the feeds of a few people.
If your content generates engagement within these feeds, it will be promoted further. The people who see it will have shown previous interest in the hashtags you used or will be friends of people who reacted. Viral content is eventually reviewed by a person who decides if the content deserves continued exposure.
If you’re the kind of person who consistently posts engaging content, the LinkedIn algorithm will eventually put you into something like a super user category. This means they’ll give you more reach, because they expect your content to be more engaging.
Now we’re all experts at LinkedIn marketing, let’s look at how to grow your LinkedIn following.
1. Get People Following Your Company Account
There are two types of LinkedIn profiles you can control. There is the personal profile. This is where you list all of your details. You can see mine below, though I’m sure you’re familiar with the layout.
Then you have the business profile. Rather logically, this is for your company. These pages are pretty much identical. The way you should use them is different.
On LinkedIn, you can easily post up to five times a day and still get a high level of engagement. This is compared to around twice a day from a personal account. Contact is essential to make yourself visible and increase the number of followers.
It makes sense, therefore, to funnel people to the type of page where you’ll get the most eyeballs on your content. At the moment, this is definitely your company page.
But how exactly can you get those people to your company page?
Post engaging content to get personal followers and use the right hashtags. The process isn’t that complicated; the skill is coming up with engaging ideas.
2. Create Engaging Content that Generates Reactions
The best way to discover what works on LinkedIn is by analyzing the successful strategies implemented by super users. Luckily, there is a pretty simple copy and paste system you can use to do this.
I recommend you start by finding a list of the most popular hashtags on LinkedIn. You’ll find plenty of list posts, like this one by Sendible, that rank hashtags by the number of followers.
Next up, search for the hashtag that interests you. Then start browsing the feed. What you are looking for is content that has got a high level of engagement.
By a high level of engagement, I mean either comments or reactions.
This is the perfect example of such a social media post.
Note down the name of the user, and carry on scrolling. After a few hours or research, or perhaps a day, you should have a list of people creating content that gets a lot of reactions. Spend some time reviewing their timeline, to make sure the content wasn’t just a one-hit wonder, and checking out the associated company page.
Final step is to note down the similarities you find. Based on my experience, you’ll find the following:
- Most posts use a couple of popular hashtags
- The content is rarely a personal story where they are talking about themselves/ boast about their achievements
- There’s a lot of funny content that gets a laugh, or stuff that pulls on heartstrings in some way
Essentially, it isn’t the kind of content most people produce. I’m as guilty of creating me, me, me content…
A lot of the humorous content that’s popular on LinkedIn bears a striking similarity to what you’d find on a site like Bored Panda, just with less of the cats. If you haven’t heard of it before, BoredPanda gets most of its traffic from Facebook.
I like to call this type of content “work comedy.”
You can get away with looking at it while you’re working, because it’s LinkedIn. The perfect stuff for when your energy levels are flagging or you need a distraction.
So that covers where to get your content. You now need to repurpose that content into something suitable for LinkedIn. There are three types of content you can produce:
- Short videos
- Carousels (essentially slideshares)
- Text with a featured image
I’d like to focus on videos for a second.
If you do go down the video route, especially if you choose to share tips, use headers and footers in your video. You can see how Adam Franklin is doing this in his posts.
The reason you should use these headers and footers is they make the post stand out. You’ll see people like Frank Kern and Gary V use this same approach on Facebook.
“When the title and captions appear on your video it not only makes it stand out in the newsfeed, but it allows people to watch it with the sound off, which many viewers prefer to do. I also like to add extra value by offering a companion PDF. I ask people to ‘raise their hand’ by leaving a specific request in the comments, and then I send it privately via DM.”
Adam Franklin, CEO, Bluewire Media.
That covers the basics of what engaging content on LinkedIn looks like. Now let’s cover when to post your content.
3. Post When People Are Most Active
Rather obviously, to maximize the level of engagement, you want to post your content when people are most likely to be active. So when are people most active on LinkedIn?
There are certain times of day when people are active on LinkedIn. It coincides, as you expect, with the highs and lows of the workday. At either end of the day, you have the commute. People tend to be more active in the morning than in the evening. This makes sense because you’re mentally preparing for the day.
The other times when you’ll see a lot of activity are around lunch when people have a quick bite to eat by themselves and in the late afternoon. The late afternoon spike aligns with about the same time that you flag and decide it’s time to get a coffee.
The graphic above gives a good visual representation of when people are most active. Try to post around these times. You should experiment to see what times generate the best engagement with your audience.
4. Be Careful With Outbound Links
Like pretty much every other online platform out there, LinkedIn doesn’t want its audience to leave the site. This is understandable. The more people on the site, the more people click on ads, the more money LinkedIn makes.
Unsurprisingly, the LinkedIn algorithm penalizes content with outbound links. It reduces the reach of content with outbound links, so fewer people see the update and leave the site.
The obvious thing to do is not include outbound links in your content. This ensures that if or when a human editor reviews the content, it will never be demoted. However, there are times when you will want to link to off-site content. Here is a LinkedIn hack you can use.
Create the post. Post your update with no link. Then, two minutes after the post has been published, and has got one or two reactions, insert the link. Alternatively, you can post the content, and then leave a link as the first comment. Both of these approaches currently fool the algorithm, yet they won’t fool a human editor.
If you want to make your brand recognizable, you can use a custom URL shortener.
5. Join a LinkedIn Marketing Pod
I mentioned at the beginning of the post that the LinkedIn algorithm places a lot of importance on reactions. The more reactions your content gets, the more people will see your content.
One of the easiest ways to generate a response is to ask people to react to your post. You might do this now and again on an informal basis. There are plenty of people that do this formally through LinkedIn marketing pods.
A LinkedIn pod, if you haven’t heard of one before, is where a group of people comment and react to each other’s content. Of course, you are gaming the algorithm. It also looks a bit funny when you see the same people always commenting on content. However, it is effective. Se
But don’t take my word for it! See for yourself.
Here’s an example of a post that thanks to the LinkedIn engagement pod was also trending in Google Discovery and brought Tidio Live Chat almost 500 unique visitors.
Ultimately, you need to decide if joining a LinkedIn pod is something you want to do to grow your LinkedIn following.
How to Grow your LinkedIn Following
In this article, we saw the importance of LinkedIn for marketers. Since the social media platform caters to a specific audience–key decision-makers–and has the best organic reach, marketers should do well not to dismiss LinkedIn.
It’s not enough, however, to just create a LinkedIn profile. You need to grow your following on LinkedIn to reach as many people as possible with your posts. You can increase the number of LinkedIn followers, and generate more reach by following the tactics shared in this article. The rest is up to you. If you follow these tips, there’s no reason you can’t increase your LinkedIn following to those numbers you dreamed of.
Nico is an online marketer and the founder of Launch Space. He helps companies develop their digital marketing strategies. He’s worked with everyone from Fortune 500 companies to startups, helping them make money blogging so they can grow their business.
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This article is about:
- How to grow your LinkedIn following
- How to boost LinkedIn engagement
- Understanding the LinkedIn algorithm