LinkedIn can be a great channel to build your personal brand, and even establish yourself as an influential thought leader within your niche. But in order to maximize the benefits of the platform, you need to understand how it works, what generates best response, and how you can utilize its various tools to optimal effect.
To help with this, in this post, we'll go over 10 things that you can do to become more influential on LinkedIn, including how much you should be posting, when to post, what to post, as well as how to take advantage of some of LinkedIn's cool features such as LinkedIn Live, discovering hashtags by popularity and post analytics.
Follow these tips and you'll be well on your way to building a stronger LinkedIn presence in 2021.
1. Post regularly but not too much
Maintaining a consistent posting process is important on LinkedIn - but posting too much can hurt your presence.
Through my research at Onalytica we've found that influencers who post more than 50 times a month on LinkedIn see an average of 26 engagements per post, while those who post between 30-50 times a month see an average of 56 engagements, and those who post less than 30 times see even more engagement, on average.
Based on this, we recommend posting at least 2-3 times a week - but no more than 30 times a month for optimal engagement.
When you post is also significant - try to post in the mornings, perhaps on your way in to work. Then you can revisit those posts later in the day/evening, to reply to any comments you’ve had and boost your engagement.
2. Avoid using lots of automation
Automation can be a great time-saver - but it can also be damaging to your visibility.
It’s easy, for example, to set up a rule saying, “if there’s a blog mentioning 'X' keywords, post it on my LinkedIn feed.” However, we’ve seen this used to the extreme, with some people posting hundreds of times per month.
As noted in the previous point, posting too much on LinkedIn can actually reduce your engagement, while LinkedIn's systems can spot when people are using automation, and can hide your posts so no one will see them.
If you are going to use automation tools on LinkedIn, you should still look to limit the number of posts to no more than 30 times a month.
3. Share Video and Visual Content
Research shows that articles with images get 94% more total views. It’s not just including images though, you can also add videos, slides, or podcasts to a post - or even documents, which LinkedIn added back in 2019.
Documents can actually be turned into carousel posts on LinkedIn - if you upload a series of visuals as a document, LinkedIn will display that as a carousel which users can side-swipe through.
When adding content, it is worth noting that LinkedIn prefers users to upload their content directly to their platform, rather than posting a link to another site that hosts it. For example, if you're posting a video, it's better to upload it to LinkedIn, rather than posting a YouTube link.
4. Don’t just share your own content
The rule states that:
“For every one self-serving post, you should repost one relevant post and most importantly share four pieces of relevant content written by others.”
By following this rule, you're not just sharing your own content, but you're also providing helpful insights relevant to your audience written by others. This can be industry thought leader content, news, and trends.
At the same time, it’s also important to add your opinion. Many people just like or share posts that they've read, or sometimes without even reading them. You can set yourself apart by adding your own opinions, questions, or other commentary within the comments.
Tell people what you think about the points being made in the article, and don’t be afraid to respectfully disagree with something and suggest a different point of view. This can start a debate, and you’ll find that the post gets a lot more engagement.
5. Don’t be salesy
Although you're obviously looking to market yourself and your business, it's best to avoid being too pushy on this within your LinkedIn posts.
For example, try not to post directly about your product, as it can feel like an advert and turn people away. It‘s better to engage in thought leadership-style conversations, and if people like what you're saying, they'll go and check out your website and product offering.
At this stage it is more about building relationships and making new contacts.
6. Go Live
Try LinkedIn live. This could be anything from a monologue to the camera, or a webinar with guests, or live streaming from an event.
7. Tag influencers and employees
When you tag another user within your LinkedIn post, they'll get notified of the mention, encouraging engagement.
You don’t need to be directly connected to people you tag, you can tag people who are second-degree connections as well. It’s important, however, to only tag people who are relevant to the post, otherwise it could be seen as spam.
Be strategic in who you mention, and try not to over-mention the same people all the time. Don’t tag too many people in the post either - a post containing a long list of names looks a bit spammy.
8. Create LinkedIn-specific content
When you create a post, there's a temptation to upload it everywhere - on your LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook Pages, etc. However, keep in mind that you will have several of the same followers on each of those channels, and they're going to see the same post from you wherever they go, which can quickly become repetitive and boring.
It’s much better to create original posts for each platform.
9. Use hashtags
Adding hashtags to your posts will help your content get discovered, as well as help LinkedIn to categorize your posts and differentiate them from other content.
It’s important to always add relevant hashtags, not just popular ones. When hashtags are used well it enables others to more easily find your content in their searches. Using hashtags will also ensure that when members are looking for information on a certain topic, your article will come up as one of the options.
Try clicking on 'Discover more' under 'Followed Hashtags' at the bottom of the left of your LinkedIn homepage to see a recommended list of popular hashtags related to the hashtags you follow. You can also access this by clicking on the hashtags you follow and then clicking the 3 dots and then 'Discover new hashtags'.
What’s really useful about the recommended hashtags page is that it shows you the number of people that follow the hashtags, so you can prioritize those with the biggest following. It’s important not to use hashtags that are really niche with no followers.
10. Optimize your content based on Analytics
To access analytics on the posts you’ve shared click the 'Me' icon at the top of your LinkedIn homepage.
Under 'Manage', tap on 'Posts & Activity'. There you'll see all of your recent posts, with an analytics icon below each. Here you'll find real-time information on the posts you’ve shared, which can help you better understand your audience, as well as which posts have performed better than others.
With these insights, you can better understand if you were successful in optimizing your post to gain visibility with the right people. Make a note of which posts performed the best, and consider why they worked and what you can replicate.
Was it because you used a certain hashtag, or because you tagged a certain influencer? Was it because that particular topic struck a chord with people?
Once you have an idea as to why, you can experiment with replicating that style of post, and test to see if you get better levels of engagement or not.
LinkedIn continues to grow, and is likely to become an increasingly influential platform as we move beyond the COVID-19 pandemic, and into a new period of economic re-building. That will lead to new opportunities - and those that start on building their platform presence now will stand the best chance of capitalizing on this, and maximizing their potential on the platform.