Let’s play word association: I’ll say a word, then you answer with the first word that comes to mind.
The word is “LinkedIn.”
Did you answer “career”?
If you did, you’re in the same camp as many LinkedIn users who think of their LinkedIn profile as their online resume. You list your recent jobs and what you accomplished at them. You send connection requests to current and past colleagues, along with peers in your professional circles.
You solicit and provide endorsements and recommendations. You keep your profiles polished and attractive. You then take an inbound marketer’s approach, where you sit back, relax, and wait for that dream job or that dream client to find you.
Except that this perfect sequence can sometimes be a fantasy.
LinkedIn = conversation
If I played the same word association game with Viveka von Rosen and Bernie Borges, they would answer, “conversation.”
Viveka, chief visibility officer at Vengreso, and Bernie, CMO at Vengreso, presented 3 LinkedIn Content Marketing Strategies that will Drive Visibility, Credibility and Traffic at Content Marketing World.View @LinkedIn as a conversation platform, not just a digital resume. @LinkedInExpert @BernieBorges Click To Tweet
Their strategies center on the goal of driving conversations on LinkedIn.
Why are conversations important? They drive deeper engagement with your audience (e.g., peers, prospects, partners) and help you increase thought leadership in your industry.
As Viveka says, “You have an awesome opportunity when someone engages on your content to connect with them and further deepen that relationship and start having conversations with them.”
Let’s go through the strategies shared by Viveka and Bernie. The strategies apply to LinkedIn posts to personal profiles. They do not address posts made to LinkedIn company pages.
Strategies for composing posts
You have 1,300 characters available when posting to your personal profile, far more than the 280 characters available on Twitter.
Viveka recommends you take advantage of the extra space: “What we’re finding out on LinkedIn is that longer is sometimes better. And so using that full 1,300 characters is getting better responses.
She says that her long-form updates receive five to 10 times more visibility than a short post that simply says, “Oh, check out this awesome article.”Long-form updates on your @LinkedIn profile can get 5-10x more visibility than a short post. @LinkedInExpert Click To Tweet
Here’s an example:
Note the high level of engagement (e.g., 238 “likes” and 76 comments). Also, note there’s no link in the post. The status update is a “mini article,” which helps Viveka draw attention to her points.
At the end of the post, she advises readers to check out the link in the comments rather than the body of her status update. It may work better because of the way the LinkedIn algorithm treats comments. I recommend testing this (e.g., placing the link in the body vs. the comments) to see how it works for you.Test placing the link in the body copy of your @LinkedIn status update vs. the comments, says @LinkedInExpert. Click To Tweet
Tag people in posts
If a tree falls in the forest and nobody is there to hear it, does it make a sound?
The LinkedIn version of this question is: If you share a post but don’t tag people, does anyone see it?
Sometimes they don’t because of:
- Volume of updates posted to LinkedIn
- LinkedIn’s newsfeed algorithm
- Lack of all-day-long users
When you tag someone in a status update, it appears in their notifications, which makes it more likely that they’ll see it. And once a few users engage with your post, it’s seen by their connections and potentially their connections’ connections, and so on.
If you know people mentioned in an article, tag them, says Viveka. “Other people that you’ve been talking to, other clients that you’ve been talking to, that might find this article, this white paper, this video interesting, tag them as well,” she says.
Add hashtags for discoverability
Recently, LinkedIn started auto-suggesting hashtags when you post a status update. According to Viveka, “(LinkedIn) decides what hashtags are going to be relevant, and you can go through the different hashtags and choose the ones that you want to be updated on.”
Just as on other social networks, hashtags aid in discoverability. LinkedIn maintains a set of “hashtag communities,” or places you can find posts about a hashtag in one place.
“You can use relevant hashtags in your content and there is a chance that your content gets put into these different hashtag communities and seen by more people,” Viveka says. “Take a look at the left-hand side of your home page. Look at some of those hashtag communities.”Using relevant hashtags can get your content put in @LinkedIn hashtag communities, says @LinkedInExpert. Click To Tweet
Here are the hashtag communities listed on my LinkedIn home page right now:
When I click on the “#branding” hashtag, I’m taken to this page:
At the top is a post from Mark A., someone I’m not connected to on LinkedIn. This is a good example of how hashtag communities helped Mark’s posts get discovered by people (like me) outside his network.
While some users go crazy and include 10 to more than 20 hashtags in their posts, Viveka suggests using five to 10 hashtags per post.
By combining these tactics: writing long-form updates, tagging people, and including hashtags, Viveka estimates you can increase on the visibility of your posts by 10.
Use native video
Sharing native video on LinkedIn means uploading a video file (i.e., from your phone, tablet, or laptop) directly onto the platform. Linking to a video hosted elsewhere (e.g., YouTube or Vimeo) does not count.
Viveka says the LinkedIn algorithm likes native video. In fact, she tests posts using the same video, publishing a version with the native video post and the other with the YouTube link. “I see 10 to 100 times the views on a native video compared to a YouTube link,” she says.#LinkedIn native #videos get 10-100x more views than a YouTube link share, says @LinkedInExpert. Click To Tweet
Viveka recommends checking your phone for videos relevant to your business. Uploading that video to your LinkedIn profile can result in a lot of visibility.
When I share a piece of content on LinkedIn, I sometimes record a one- to two-minute video talking about the article. I see 10 to 20 times the views, “likes,” and comments compared to my similar posts without video. It takes me 10 minutes to record and upload the video. It’s certainly worth the time.
Another benefit of video is authenticity. When you’re on camera, your audience gets to see the real you. There’s no hiding behind an avatar or a 10-year-old profile photo. While video may not be for everyone, Viveka says it can help build your brand.
Types of native video content to share
Viveka provides lots of ideas on what to share with native video:
- Tips and tricks
- Book or product reviews
- How-to skills
- Product demonstrations
- Event showcases
- Live audience engagement
- Company About Us page
- Sponsored video
As with all effective content marketing, Viveka recommends publishing video content that’s useful and solves a need. “Tips or tricks are always helpful, useful, great. They’re not overly promotional. People tend to like them. They tend to get shared a lot, and that helps with the visibility,” she says.
To practice what they preached with LinkedIn native video, Viveka and Bernie recorded and uploaded a video during their Content Marketing World session. Here’s the resulting post on Bernie’s profile:
Amplify content beyond LinkedIn
The third LinkedIn strategy shared by Viveka and Bernie is to amplify content beyond the platform. For profile posts, copy the link (click on the three dots in the upper right).
“You can then share that link on Facebook. It actually pulls up really nicely on Facebook, by the way, on your private messaging, even on Twitter, and DMs,” Viveka says.#LinkedIn links published on Facebook look good and amplify your content, says @LinkedInExpert. Click To Tweet
When you share LinkedIn posts to other social networks, Viveka suggests you save the URL in a document or folder to use and share the links more easily. Otherwise, you’d need to scroll through your LinkedIn post history. If it’s a video posted two years ago, that will be a lot of scrolling.
A related trick is to use a branded (and unique) hashtag for your posts. Viveka and Bernie use #VengresoVids. When they search on this hashtag on LinkedIn, it’s a shortcut to all the videos they posted.
Finally, Viveka recommends creating private content hubs on LinkedIn, where you, your peers, and perhaps some influencers can trade links and videos. “Don’t over-abuse it, but you’re getting other people sharing your content, and it’s going out to their network, and if the content is good enough, it begins to multiply and multiply,” she says.
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Activate your LinkedIn superpowers
I used to think of LinkedIn as a place to keep my professional profile updated. These days, it’s much more than that. As Viveka and Bernie have shown, it’s a vehicle to generate awareness, visibility, and conversation. A vehicle to meet new people and deepen relationships.
Use LinkedIn consistently well and you can land new business or find that dream job. But you must start. I recommend applying Viveka and Bernie’s strategies in these three stages:
- Compose more effective posts.
- Experiment with native video.
- Amplify to other social networks.
Try a post this week that’s a long-form update, tags people, and uses hashtags. Share it in the comments and let us know how it goes.
Here’s an excerpt from Bernie and Viveka’s talk:
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Cover image by Joseph Kalinowski/Content Marketing Institute