I managed a LinkedIn Company Page that was selected as one of the Top 10 LinkedIn Company Pages for 2013, so I know a little bit about what I am doing when it comes to building up readership, impressions and interactions on LinkedIn. Last month, I added "Do You Want A Top 10 LinkedIn Company Page?" - and today I am going to provide more detail behind my tip #4 about uploading your own image to Company Page status updates.
I started experimenting with different types of Company Page status updates in November 2013, and discovered that posts with larger images tended to do better than posts with the standard thumbnail images provided when you copy and paste a link into a status update.
However, I did not realize the true impact until I went on vacation in April and decided to run a comparison test. I normally post all of my Company Page status updates directly via LinkedIn since I have not been able to get satisfactory results with any of the major scheduling tools. Since I was going to be on vacation and would not be able to manually post my updates each day, I scheduled the daily updates for the week using Hootsuite. To make the test fair, I re-purposed updates that had been posted a month ago so I would have a comparison between the 'big' images and standard thumbnail images.
What were the results? Before I explain how I create the large images, I want to share my interesting results.Here are how two of the test posts performed in side-by-side views:
As you can see, the posts with the larger image did significantly better than the posts with the standard image by a large margin. The posts used the same introduction, shortened link and image, and the only difference was that I created and uploaded an image with an embedded headline for the large image posts.
You can also see the impact of the experiment when you look at the Company Page Analytics for Reach and Engagement for the week I was on vacation. There was a 40% drop in average impressions and a 70% decrease in average clicks for the week of the standard image test.
How do I create larger images? I use a couple of tools to accomplish this feat - specifically, Powerpoint, Snagit and Canva. Granted, creating and adding larger images to your status updates will add additional time to your posting process. For me, the process probably added less than five minutes to the time it used to take me to create status updates -- but the time spent was well worth it to me in terms of impressions and engagement. You may want to experiment with what tools work best for you, but here are the three primary image tools I use:
Snagit from Techsmith is a screenshot tool that lets me grab any image or portion of an image from any website, article or document on the web. In most cases, I use the image that is already included in the article and use Snagit to create a screenshot of the image. Then I use Snagit's editing tools to add a title, border or cut out unwanted parts of the screen grab. I also add a photo attribution in the bottom corner of the screen to make sure I give credit for the image's origin.
Canva is a personal design tool that lets you easily create graphics to upload to blogs or other social media accounts. Canva is like Adobe Illustrator, but totally web-based and free. They also have lots of free images and clip art to use as well as images that you can purchase for $1. Guy Kawasaki is the Chief Evangelist for Canva and he has been posting links and updates about Canva on Facebook, Slideshare and other social media sites. Once I create something in Canva, I can either save it as a JPG or I use Snagit to create a screenshot of the image. Even if you don't use Canva for creating status update images, it is worth adding to your toolbox.
I use Microsoft Powerpoint as my default image creator, but you could use any other tool that you can comfortably use. I copy images snagged via Snagit or Canva and paste them into Powerpoint where I can add additional text, combine multiple images or add shading and borders.
To add an image to a status update, click on the paperclip icon as shown below to add the file from your hard drive. Then you will need to write a snappy introduction or headline. Don't forget to paste in your shortened URL so people know what to click to view the content. I use Hootsuite to generate my short URLs, but you could also use bit.ly or another service to create your own short URL.
Additional Tip - When I am creating my own images, I have found that I get more clicks when I embed the title of the article in the image. Including the title instead of just an images gives the reader a visual incentive to explore the link - especially if the article's title is catchy or unique. People are bombarded with so many content possibilities these days that it helps to do anything to stand out from the crowd.
Conclusion - If you are not using BIG images with your Company Page status updates, you are throwing away at least 40% of your impressions and more than 50% of your clicks. I do see larger images on a few company pages, but it appears that most company page administrators have not figured out this trick yet.
Let me know if you have tried larger images for your LinkedIn Company Page posts yet and if your experiments validate my results.