Did you know that as of April 2021 LinkedIn had nearly 31.2 million users in the UK? And, that while Facebook is still the largest social networking site worldwide, LinkedIn now has almost 740 million members, with over 55 million registered companies?
Formerly a recruitment platform (and it’s still a useful route into a new job) LinkedIn has evolved into an extremely powerful online marketing tool for businesses. Not only does it draw on increasingly sophisticated functionality, this platform is now a b2b connection machine to be reckoned with. And, an excellent place to market your company.
LinkedIn is massive in every sense of the word, so obviously we can’t offer you full chapter and verse, but there are important things to know and do. So, our user-friendly guide has some points that you can put into action straightaway.
If we may, we’re going to assume that you already use LinkedIn. Perhaps you check your newsfeed every day. We may also think that you’d like to make more of it, so that it supports your business as effectively as possible.
Firstly, let’s distinguish between your personal account, and your company profile. Obviously, they’re different: the former is about YOU as a businessperson, the latter about the business you run, or that you’re a part of. For this piece, the distinction is important, so let’s spotlight your individual profile.
First things first:
In our view, most people’s LinkedIn profiles aren’t doing them justice. You will need:
• An approachable-looking photograph and an effective background picture.
• You now have 220 characters in your title/heading description, so make the most of it with benefits-focused statements.
• Tell your story: briefly describe your background, your skills and your achievements. Describe what you do, how you do it and what makes you different. End with a call to action. You have a 2,000-character limit. Use it.
• Eliminate jargon. And, avoid long sentences.
• Share media and marketing collateral. Plus, examples of your work, if appropriate.
How the LinkedIn Algorithms Work
LinkedIn is a search engine in and of itself.
Not all your LinkedIn connections will see your posts. In brief, it will measure and assess your content, then push it out to just a small number of users to see if they engage. It’s a test, of sorts. Obviously, with good engagement you’re going to reach more people the next time you post, and so on and so forth.
Also, it will judge your post as either spam, high quality, or low quality – harsh, but you can see why. What’s “high quality”? LinkedIn appears to favour well-formatted, well-written niche posts that add value, that encourage a response and that also use strong keywords. Also, avoid tagging people for the sake of it, and only put outbound links in comments.
The Best Type of Content to Post
Increasingly, we’re seeing posts about children and pets – not business-like, really, so best avoided we think, unless there’s a good business angle. Concentrate on what you think your audience will want to read.
Offer posts that either help people in some way (top tips etc), and/or encourage some sort of discussion, or debate. You could challenge some assumptions or ask questions. Don’t necessarily sell or “market” your services, but using your experience in a situation to underline your thoughts and ideas will describe you in positive, professional terms.
And, add a great picture if you can as this works well.
NB: Do you see where it says “write article” at the bottom right of the space where you post? Many people don’t write and publish unique LinkedIn content, but this goes down very well with the LI algorithms. Your article will be noticed, and you are likely to rank accordingly.
Also, consider LinkedIn’s native video. That is, uploading a video directly to LinkedIn rather than pasting a link to other video sites, such as YouTube. Yes, we’re talking one-of-a-kind content once more, and the fairly meticulous LinkedIn search algorithms.
How Often to Post
Don’t post too often. Research shows that uber-frequent posters may be seen as spammers, and equally, your LinkedIn connections simply won’t see them.
We’d recommend posting no more than 3 times per week.
Getting More People to See Your Posts
As we mentioned, not everyone will see your content. So, for stronger engagement and for LinkedIn to deliver your words of wisdom to your connections, see above regarding unique content in the form of articles, rather than just posts.
Above all, sorry to be repetitive, but we’re back to the content is King concept again. You could:
• Review an experience or an event you attended (virtual, or when we’re all out again)
• Review a business book
• Express your gratitude to someone or about something
• Post a controversial opinion or two – but be careful, you don’t want to offend
For good practice, don’t forget to comment and share others’ posts, and always respond to comments on yours – it’s polite and supports the LinkedIn community.
LinkedIn Premium. Is it Worth the Investment? And Which One?
For business social media purposes, there are three main paid plans (there’s also a LinkedIn Learning subscription)
• Premium Career can help you find a new job. From £24.98 per month.
• Sales Navigator aims to help you generate leads and grow your business. From £49.99 per month.
• Premium Business offers detailed business insights and helps you expand and grow. From £39.99 per month.
These CAN get pricey, so without going into forensic detail here, we’d recommend that you log in to LinkedIn to learn more. And, there’s often a free short-term trial available. However, do you engage fully with the free version? If not, you may want to use more of its features more often, before considering the paid version.
Lastly, our main message is that LinkedIn isn’t really about you. Or rather – what we mean is that self-promotional content has a lower impact than posts and articles that focus on the interests of your audience and your target market.
“Give” much more than you “take” – and you can’t go far wrong, the LinkedIn algorithms will be on your side.
Rachael Dines, Director of Shake It Up Creative