Tools are only effective if you use them properly. LinkedIn is no exception. In order to use LinkedIn to build your network, you should be thinking of it as a microphone, rather than a Rolodex.
LinkedIn has had the perception of being a really boring place where business-y people go through the motions of “networking”.
And it was! That’s how I used it for years. Being on the platform did nothing to improve the relationships I had with my network or to expand my professional opportunities.
That’s until I began hearing from marketing experts that there’s currently an opportunity to use LinkedIn to get seen by more people than other platforms (like Instagram or Facebook).
Posts on LinkedIn currently allows you to be seen by more people, for free, than Facebook and Instagram.
Since implementing a few of the very easy steps I pieced together, I have been able to create content that gets seen by 4X my total network size.
Get Free Organic Traffic
Organic traffic are clicks online that you didn’t need to pay for. Technically, organic is not completely free because it still requires you to put in time and effort to create written content.
So if you’re looking to have your message seen by more people, LinkedIn is the way to go.
But this opportunity to get easy organic traffic won’t last forever. Just like the largest platforms before it, Facebook and Instagram both went through similar growth spurts. And once the algorithm changes, it could dry up just as quickly as it appeared.
I’ve been testing different methods of posting on LinkedIn one the last few months to see what works and what doesn’t.
I’m going to take you through some best practices that I’ve found to work. Using these tips, I’ve gotten some serious traction and breakout results, including the exact post that has been seen by ~4X more people than I have connections.
Why Use LinkedIn?
There are hundreds of platforms to choose from, but LinkedIn has a few unique features that separates it from the rest.
Reason #1: The Size Of Your Network Doesn’t (Really) Matter
I’ve got 662 connections — a modest number for someone who has only used the platform passively since joining the workforce about 5 years ago. But, as you’ll see soon, it doesn’t matter how many connections you have. What matters is you put out content that others value and that you do it in a strategically way that sets your post up for success.
Despite only having 662 people “following me”, I have been able to consistently have my posts seen by 40-70% of the total number of people in my network (200-500 people).
A few times a week my post will get upwards of 100-200% of my total network size!
Reason #2: LinkedIn Is BORING
I don’t know about you, but my LinkedIn feed is mega boring most of the time. And I’m alright with that. Why?
Because it makes it that much easier to stand out!
When I’m scrolling and see a post that’s exciting and relevant, I automatically pay more attention to it.
People have figured out how to get the users attention on other platforms, like bright and catchy thumbnails on YouTube. Not many people have mastered how to use LinkedIn to get noticed. This makes it the ideal time to begin being seen if you’ve debated building an influence.
Reason #3: Your Audience Is Already In A Business Mindset
Posting business related ideas and content on your Facebook and Instagram can be difficult. Unless you’ve positioned your profile as a business profile, people will have a hard time knowing what to expect from you.
Over years of using Facebook, you’ve probably assembled a really weird network:
- Most of their high school graduating class
- That cool couple you met in 2010 who promised you can crash on their couch if you were ever in Croatia
- People who added you because they have the same last name as you
If you’re looking to share some content about the new product offering your company is about to launch, you’re probably going to hear crickets from the crowd on your Facebook.
That’s because they’re not in the right mindset!
LinkedIn is awesome for self-promotion because people are ready for it! The purpose of it is to build a professional network and find other, likeminded people.
Don’t fear self-promotion. Consider it a no-risk opportunity to do the things you’ve thought of doing but never committed to, like blogging daily, filming yourself teaching, or bringing up important topics you feel deeply about.
Alright, lets get into the tactics that I’ve found over the last few months to go from never posting, to being seen by 400% more than my total network.
Three Steps To Instantly Get Seen More Often On LinkedIn
Step 1 : Make Exciting and Relevant Content
- Find something topical that you can add your two-cents to. It shouldn’t be a massive long blog post. It doesn’t need to be scientific, or heavily researched, or even about your current job or role. The point is to bring your best self and chose what kind of professional you want to be perceived as. When in doubt, create content that you want to see.
- If you’re struggling to think of anything, try a great technique that Evan Carmichael has used to become a massively successful entrepreneur — distill the message of someone you admire into heavy-hitting points for quick reading. Trust me, you’ll see soon that this is an amazing way to get something together quickly that’s also super relevant to your career. You can do this for a meeting you had that day, a video you watched, or a speaker you’re listening to at a conference. Design wiz Matt Watkinson introduced me to the concept of “Lift and shift” — meaning lift the inspiration that already exists, and shift it to make it relevant to you.
- Keep it brief.
- Write like you speak — it’s so much more fun to read posts by people who have a personality. It also makes it easier for other to relate to you and want to read more.
Step 2 : Set Your Post Up For Success
- Open your post up with a hook. Get people interested! Don’t be just another post thanking your corporate client for choosing you to participate in bla bla bla. It’s boring and doesn’t do anything to move the culture forwards. Those posts are what LinkedIn used to be meant for. Now, it needs to be thought as another opportunity to get you message out and position yourself in the minds of your network.
Post A (The Boring Way):
Post B (The Exciting Way):
- Be sure to get your point across in the first few lines. In website design, this can be referred to “above the fold” — the part of the website that doesn’t require scrolling to be seen. If you leave your knockout line ‘till last, it likely won’t get seen.
- Tag all the people who were mentioned in the post. This is powerful for a few reasons:
- This allows them the opportunity to take credit for the insight. (Disclaimer: Be aware of your actions. If you have something negative to say about someone, be the bigger person and reach out to them and settle it in private.)
- It positions you as a connector — someone who lifts others up and promotes, rather than judges their work.
- There is a higher likelihood of them sharing and liking it. That will further increase your reach.
- Use hashtags at the bottom of your post to keep it clean. It also allows it to be indexed with other posts of that topic and be seen by those who follow the hashtag. Use a mix of hashtags that are really broad, as well as ones that are niche. #Data has 6M followers so it’s difficult to trend. #DataStorytelling has 376. It’s all about increasing your likelihood of being seen.
- Once you post it, tag a handful of your close connections in the first comment who you know will be interested in the topic. Don’t post too many that it becomes annoying, but just a few to show them that you have them in mind. It also helps to get them seen and builds up the social proof that you’re someone worth listening to.
Step 3: Post Something Everyday
This is important for a few reasons, some tactical and others practical.
Tactical: By writing everyday, it takes the pressure off yourself from needing things to be perfect. I’d say that the biggest reason most people don’t write is because they’re afraid it won’t be perfect.
But here’s the thing: If you never write, you’ll never get better and you’ll never become perfect.
Professional culture is swinging from needing to be clean cut and coiffed, to just being truthful and real. This is the optimal time to begin expressing yourself in your own way to allow those who have the same mindset to find you to collaborate.
Practical: The content we see on LinkedIn is there because an algorithm put them there. If the algorithm doesn’t agree with what you’re posting, it will get buried and no one will see it, no matter how hard you tried to make it MLA formatted.
In order to appease the algorithm while still putting out the content you want, the best thing you can do is to be consistent. This shows the algorithm that you’re trustworthy, relevant, and spend time on the platform (which is ultimately LinkedIn’s only metric of success).
They need users to create content just as much as you need to begin making a voice for yourself. Together, humans and machine can work together to both get what we want.
My Post That Has Been Seen By 400% Of My Total Network On LinkedIn
Here’s how it looks when it all comes together following the strategies I mentioned earlier:
I attended Nancy Duarte’s book launch over webinar. After it was over, I wrote down my top 5 takeaways and threw it into a new post. Time required: 5 minutes
I tagged her, her business, and a bunch of relevant hashtags to data and communication. Time required: 30 seconds
Once I posted it, I mentioned a few of my close connections who I know have an interest in what I was talking about. Time required: 1 minute
Then I walked away. It’s now out in the ether. Total time required: 390 seconds
Over 2,600 people saw this post, and I didn’t spend a penny on it. Remember: I’ve only got 662 connections. This post has been seen by 4X more people than I have in my network.
Most of the comments and reactions are from people I do not know and am not connected with. That’s a huge advantage because most other platforms make it very difficult for users to see your post without being followed.
Oh, remember those 6M people who follow #Data? Being featured on the Trending feed opens your post up to even more people outside your network. This helps to compound your post to generate even more traffic.
Also pretty cool when someone with 170K LinkedIn followers likes your post about her.
LinkedIn is an effective platform to have your message seen organically by many people, even those outside of your network.
- Provide valuable insight and perspectives on topics relevant to your industry.
- Set up your post for success by using hashtags, tagging businesses and individuals, and making your post interesting.
- Post every day, or as frequently as you can, to encourage LinkedIn to promote your posts to more people’s feeds.
By providing value to your connections, you will establish a position in their minds as the expert in your field. Post frequently to always be top of mind and let the algorithm do its work.
Comments? Tweet me @stew_hillhouse