Lately, the quality of posts on LinkedIn shifted significantly, and it’s affecting the reach and engagement of those posts.
If you're like many B2B professionals on LinkedIn, you’ve probably noticed that this change hasn’t been for the better. But seeing the shift, you may also have subsequently questioned your own approach, and even taken measures to tap into the same, in order to recapture more views and engagement with your own updates.
The problem is, those measures may be hurting you more than helping.
In some cases, they may even make you look desperate (ouch, that’s not ideal for a professional).
Those desperate posts may also be contributing to further decrease in views and engagement of your LinkedIn status updates - which begs the question:
“How do I post on LinkedIn in a way that helps my ideal clients to notice and engage with my content – without looking desperate or foolish?”
Don't fall into the vanity metrics trap - in this post, I'll go over you what kinds of posts can make you look desperate (so you stop posting them) and share my easy LinkedIn Content Strategy, so that you know what you should be posting to get noticed and be seen as a trusted authority on your topic by your ideal clients.
7 Things to Stop Doing on LinkedIn Immediately
1. Posting too frequently
LinkedIn is not Twitter.
You don’t need to provide your network with a running commentary of your day, or broadcast every thought that pops into your mind. This will create noise, which will drown out any valuable posts that you do share.
It will also often annoy your connections, and if they get tired of the bombardment, they'll most likely tap Unfollow. And once they've taken this step, they're lost to you forever.
Don’t undermine the good work you’ve done in connecting with your ideal clients and attracting followers by turning to posts which don't offer value.
Do this instead: Post only when you're inspired to share something that's of interest to your network. Even if that means you post only a couple of times a week, less is very often more in this respect.
2. Posting the wrong types of content for LinkedIn
Over the past two years, as more and more people have become disillusioned with Facebook, many social media users have decided to spend more time on LinkedIn.
This is great, because more people spending more time on the platform means more opportunities, but the problem is that LinkedIn is unlike any other social media platform out there.
First and foremost, LinkedIn is a business networking platform, yet many people confuse it with Facebook, or even Instagram. Mindless posts, silly memes and attention-seeking behaviors have become all too common on the professional social network.
I know you've seen this if you’ve spent even just a couple of minutes scrolling through the LinkedIn news feed. LinkedIn is now flooded with images of holidays, cocktails on the beach, dogs chasing their tails, food pics - and all of these posts that could be classified, in a business context, as “too much information.”
None of these are appropriate for LinkedIn.
Think of LinkedIn as an extension of your workplace. It’s a professional environment where people do business.
Do this instead: Here is a good rule of thumb: if you wouldn’t say or share it in the workplace, don’t share it on LinkedIn.
Always keep it professional, and leave the personal stuff for your friends on Facebook.
3. Fishing for engagement
“I just saw the new Star Wars film and it SUCKED! What did you think? Drop a comment below and let me know!”
People who post questions like this often think that they’re being timely, and perhaps a little controversial, using two elements of writing often associated with higher engagement. But what does it have to do with business?
Posting irrelevant questions or content is a personal brand killer, because it’s obvious that the person posting is fishing for likes and comments.
Sure, they’ll get a few bites, but from whom? Chances are the people responding to these posts are NOT your ideal clients, or people who will be able to take your business forward.
Relevance is important - posting what effectively amounts to click-bait, in the form of random questions and irrelevant content, sends a clear message that you’re not serious about doing business on LinkedIn.
Do this instead: Posting questions is a great way to increase engagement - but keep your questions relevant to the audience you, ideally, want to attract.
4. All numbers, no substance
There's a common misconception that when someone receives lots of comments, likes and shares on a post, they must be doing something right. Right?
Well, not necessarily.
You see, it’s easy to be fooled by vanity metrics. Big social media numbers can be seductive, but when analyzing your LinkedIn performance, you need to look past the basic stats and ask yourself:
- Is it relevant?
- Does it provide value?
- Does it solve a problem or challenge for my ideal client?
- Will it help my ideal clients to know, like and trust me more than they did before?
Relevant, quality content which connects with your ideal clients is far more powerful than irrelevant content that might get a bunch of likes from the masses.
Another consideration - is it more effective to post:
- A relevant piece of content that gets 30 likes and three direct messages asking you about your services or...
- An irrelevant piece that gets 100 likes but no direct response from your ideal clients?
Do this instead: Pay attention to your posts which get the most visibility and engagement, and also pay attention to others in your field, especially those who get good engagement. Do not pay attention to those with a style, business or target market that doesn’t align with yours.
Notice the trends - for example, I notice that when I share a story with a business lesson, my engagement and views jump massively, so I strive to create more posts in that vein.
5. Tagging people excessively
I’m sure you have seen posts in your LinkedIn’s news feed with a bunch of tagged people. Excessive tagging screams “look at me!” and “please engage with my post!”
I can’t tell you how often I get tagged in LinkedIn posts that have nothing to do with me - and this strategy can backfire significantly. LinkedIn’s algorithm is getting smarter all the time, and it now de-emphasizes posts in the news feed if those people tagged within it don't engage with it.
It's perfectly okay, and even recommended, to tag someone when the post is relevant to them. Every time someone shares my content and tags me, I make a point to like their post and leave a 'thank-you for sharing' comment.
Tagging inappropriately, however, and over-tagging, screams desperation.
Do this instead: Only tag people in a post when it’s relevant to them. For example, tag people if you share their quote, an image of them at an event, or their content. If you want to alert some of your colleagues or peers to your post, considering doing so in the comment section, so that the post doesn’t look spammy.
6. Attention-seeking (and over-the-top) videos
If you’ve spent any time on LinkedIn lately, you would’ve likely also seen a video with the delivery so over-the-top that it looks comical or fake.
This is a disturbing trend that's really crept in over the last 18 months, and I fear more people are adopting it because they assume that it works and they don’t want to be left behind.
But you can be energetic and engaging without looking as if you’re trying way too hard for attention.
The one thing I always tell people – regardless of the platform – is that you need to speak the language, and use the formats that your audience is familiar with. So, adjust your behavior and delivery appropriately.
LinkedIn’s Top Voices (video creators) are mainly Millennials who have a very different style than most LinkedIn users. Their approach may work for them and their audience, but in most cases, it doesn’t lead to real business results - and it definitely won’t work for the rest of us.
Keep in mind that social media fatigue is a real thing - and I’d also add that silly video fatigue is setting in as well, very fast.
I'm seeing more and more video fatigue set in as people overuse, and improperly use, videos. And this will only get worse when LinkedIn Live (live video streaming) is rolled out across the entire platform.
Even if your only goal is attention, the attention you may be getting is likely not the attention you want. More to the point, often attention alone will not improve your revenue. Worse yet, the wrong kind of attention can hurt your business.
Remember that attention-seeking behavior on social media - and, more specifically, on LinkedIn - will make you look desperate. And desperation is not a characteristic that attracts clients.
Do this instead: If you want to add video to your LinkedIn content strategy, do it tastefully, professionally and most of all, authentically. Avoid the excited gameshow host approach.
7. #Overdoing #Hashtags #Looks #Very #Spammy
Need I say more?
Overusing hashtags on LinkedIn looks desperate, drowns your message in unnecessary noise, turns people off and can get you penalized by LinkedIn’s algorithm.
Yes, 5 to 20 hashtags might be what works best on Instagram, but LinkedIn is NOT Instagram.
If you’re hash-tagging every possible keyword in the hope of being found in every possible search, you’ll put a lot of people off.
Do this instead: Use hashtags strategically, and limit it to two or three in a post.
Create an Effective LinkedIn Content Strategy
1. Quality over quantity
A question I’m often asked is, “How often should I post on LinkedIn?”
My response used to be once per day, but now I emphasize that you should only post when you have something valuable to share.
Take a moment to think about how you engage with your news feed. Do you read, like, comment on or share everything you see?
Of course, not. You only interact with the posts that capture your attention, and that you connect with.
I bet you skip over posts from a person who posts multiple times a day, especially if you don’t have a large network. With a smaller set of connections, it's much easier for a single person to inundate your news feed.
Remember, over-exposure on LinkedIn can kill engagement.
But what’s your reaction when you see a post from someone you respect, who posts only valuable, inspiring and educational posts, and doesn’t over-post? You probably enjoy reading, and maybe even engaging with that person’s content.
That’s how you want people to feel about your posts.
If you adopt the strategy of less is more, or better yet, quality over quantity, and you seek to offer meatier, more valuable, insightful posts, your followers will hold you in higher regard.
BEWARE: If you are consistently posting low quality posts and getting very little engagement, you'll likely find your future posts will be less visible to your network.
As noted, LinkedIn’s algorithm keeps getting smarter, and when it sees that people aren’t engaging with your posts, it'll show your posts to fewer and fewer within your network.
As I mentioned above, I used to recommend posting once a day. Now, I recommend posting only when you are inspired to create a quality post. Otherwise, you might be penalized for it.
Follow this advice, even if that means posting only 2-3 times a week.
Less is more is a concept you need to incorporate into your LinkedIn content strategy… unless you're prepared to create a compelling post every day. In this case, go right ahead.
2. Be real, be authentically you
And when I say 'real', I don’t mean 'overshare'.
Leave the unfiltered confessionals and dramatic selfie-videos for Facebook.
What I’m saying is…
Just be you.
When you’re building a profile and relationships online, your biggest asset (or obstacle) is you.
The right people - your ideal clients - will gravitate towards you and your style if they can see the genuine you.
People can spot a fake a mile away, especially in videos where people are now wearing a persona often similar to an over-excited game show host.
Be warm. Be engaging. Be real. But be you.
3. Post with a purpose
When you post on LinkedIn, ask yourself these questions:
- Do you have a goal in mind?
- What do you want that post to achieve?
- Are you providing value and insight?
- What problem or challenge are you solving for your ideal clients?
- Does it build your brand and increase your authority in your field?
- If you saw this post in your news feed, would you like, comment on or share it?
Every post should solve a challenge for your ideal client/s, and have a desired outcome tied to it.
Creating this framework for your LinkedIn content strategy will ensure that you always think about your audience, the ways that you can help them and the actions you want them to take.
If you’re not posting with purpose, you’re merely shouting into the void, and adding to the noise.
Instead, make your efforts count - and reap the rewards.
4. Appropriate engagement
Remember the old saying 'interested is interesting'?
It’s as true when you have a conversation in real life as it is when you have a conversation in the digital world - engaging in conversations on LinkedIn is key to building relationships and establishing trust. But no one likes a loudmouth or know-it-all. Don’t be that person.
Too many people spend their time talking about themselves, or commenting on others’ posts simply to show people how smart they are. This is a mistake.
Take notice of the tone of the conversation you want to join, and adapt your comments accordingly. Speak to people using the language they use - and most importantly, ask them questions about themselves or their businesses.
Find out what their key challenges are. Show them that you're interested in helping them be successful.
Engage authentically, and make your engagement about the other person, not about you.
5. This is no joke!
This is business, not stand-up comedy.
It's okay to be light-hearted when appropriate, it's also important to be warm and friendly (as this is key to building trust). But don’t try to be funny or amusing all the time. This is business, and you need to show people you take business and success seriously - yours and theirs.
Treat LinkedIn as an extension of a real-life professional work environment. Before making a joke, ask yourself whether you would share this in the office in front of your boss or your clients.
Always maintain a professional persona, and make it clear that your client’s success comes first.
6. Use hashtags strategically
The whole point of including hashtags is to be found in search. Unfortunately, hashtag stuffing has become widespread in LinkedIn posts.
Your extremely detailed, funny or branded hashtags are not the ones people are searching for or following, making them a complete waste. More importantly, they make you look desperate and spammy.
Always research a hashtag before using it to ensure that it's a commonly followed hashtag on LinkedIn. You can do this by typing the hashtag into the advanced search box.
In the results, click on the box with the hashtag you're researching. You’ll be taken to that hashtag page where you can see the number of people following it.
For example, if I search for a more general hashtag such as #linkedin, I can see that it's very popular.
But if I search for a more specific hashtag - like #linkedinbestpractices - I can see it's not very popular at all.
Even if a hashtag is popular, you should never add it unless it applies to the topic of your post. Irrelevant hashtags annoy people, and LinkedIn’s search algorithm will penalize you for it.
It's also important to limit your hashtags to two or three per post. Remember, this is not Instagram or Twitter.
7. Why are you posting this?
Content may be important, but it loses its relevance without context.
Engagement will plummet when you share content that fails to provide context.
What do I mean by context?
Tell your audience why it's relevant to them - or more importantly, tell them how it'll solve one of their key challenges.
Because you need to give people a reason to pay attention and engage.
Your audience views everything in their news feeds with a “What’s in it for me?” mindset. How will your post help them solve one of their problems?
Do include your opinion or perspective on the content. Doing this will result in more engagement.
Remember that anybody can share a link. Your ideal clients want to know what you think about it.
Avoid LinkedIn content strategy mistakes that make you look desperate
Imagine what it will feel like when your LinkedIn network and ideal clients stop ignoring your posts and instead start reading and engaging with them, looking forward to your next update.
Wouldn’t it be great if a lot more people started seeing your posts because LinkedIn’s algorithm deemed your posts worthy and started showing them more?
You may have been using some of these bad tactics, making you look desperate without knowing it - but now that you know, you can fix this problem with ease.
Follow the LinkedIn content strategy laid out in this article, and you’ll be able to build your reputation, get more views and see more engagement over time.
And if you really want to up your content game on LinkedIn, think strategically about every single post. Have a goal and a purpose for each. Spend a few extra minutes writing your post to make sure it provides value. And create posts which educate or inspire - and more importantly, speak to (or solve) your ideal clients’ top of mind problems.
A version of this post was first published on the Top Dog Social Media blog.