While marketing and PR specialists recognize LinkedIn as the premier B2B social media network, few spend substantial time networking on the platform. More often than not, they treat Linked in as online rolodex and resume posting service. They tend to spend more time interacting with others on Twitter or even Facebook. According to LinkedIn, 50% of its members are more likely to buy from companies when they have engaged with the company on their social channels.
Now, LinkedIn’s newsfeed has evolved to resemble Facebook’s newsfeed. It shows updates that its algorithm calculates will most interest viewers based on their contacts, past behavior and other factors. Likewise, the algorithm determines how many people will view their updates. LinkedIn offers a way for B2B marketing and PR to reach a more business-oriented audience.
While the LinkedIn newsfeed algorithm works much like the feeds of Facebook and other networks, it has some significant differences, says internet marketer Joyce Grace in an article for Hootsuite. Better understanding LinkedIn’s algorithm can help better promote content on the platform.
The LinkedIn algorithm sends content through several filters. After an initial computerized filter weeds out spam and low-quality content, it holds posts on the feed temporarily to measure engagement. It reviews the quality of the poster, the poster’s network and the relevance and usefulness of the post to the poster’s network. After that stage, humans review the quality of posts.
Experts offer these tips to get LinkedIn updates in front of more viewers.
Give them what they want. LinkedIn members want job, career and business advice and industry-specific posts. Besides seeking the latest news, they want to know what it means to them. In addition to reporting industry news and trends, provide key insights, takeaways and your unique perspective. Offer an assertive opinion without preaching.
Be active on the platform. The LinkedIn algorithm favors updated and active personal profiles and company pages. More connections and followers in your business sector, participation in LinkedIn groups, and overall more LinkedIn activity all help boost reach for your content in the newsfeed.
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,” Grace warns.
Court influencers. Try to gain the attention of LinkedIn influencers. Those users are credible users, usually company leaders, who write content approved by LinkedIn editors. Small LinkedIn icons appear next to their names when they post on the network. Your reach can explode if influencers share your content due to their authority and large number of followers.
Timing. According to research by HubSpot, the best times to post updates are Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday between 7 and 8 a.m. and 5 to 6 p.m. Posts get the most clicks and shares on Tuesdays between 10 and 11 a.m. In practice, the best time to post varies by companies and their time zones, business sector and other factors. One company found that the best time to engage C-suite executives was 8 p.m. “Because for these senior executives, the work distractions, emails and meeting requests don’t stop coming at 5pm. They keep flowing, from all over the globe and a range of different time zones,” says Gearoid Buckley, LinkedIn senior demand generation manager. Study LinkedIn analytics for insights into your own 8 p.m. moment.
Hashtags. Including hashtags will make your post discoverable by other users who search for information on the topic in LinkedIn’s search bar. Because hashtags are relatively new to LinkedIn, there’s less research on their use compared to other networks. For now, add no more than one or two per post to increase exposure without seeming like spam, advises Isabella Andersen, senior content writer at RevLocal.
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 on 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.
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.
Bottom Line: Many in PR and marketing don’t engage with customers and other important business professionals on LinkedIn as much as they should. They can spread their brand messages farther by taking full advantage of LinkedIn’s newsfeed and tools.
Michael Kling is manager of public relations, marketing and social media at Glean.info.