Does this scenario sound familiar?
You know you should be regularly posting on LinkedIn, but you can’t help thinking, “who am I to comment? Who is going to care about what I’ve got to say? And, if I post, am I shining a light on the fact that I don’t actually know what I’m talking about? Or worse, what if I post something and no one responds?”. #crickets
We’ve all been there. Putting yourself ‘out there’ professionally amongst a sea of supposed experts feels scary. However, showing up on LinkedIn has never been more critical, especially if you want to take control of your career and position yourself for your next career move or business opportunity.
If this sounds like you, join the club. Over 90% of LinkedIn users are ‘lurkers’. They scroll or stalk without posting, sharing their thoughts or engaging, which is a huge missed opportunity.
But the thing is, Linkedin’s algorithm notices and rewards regular posters so the more frequently you post, the greater your reach in the newsfeeds. It’s simple, to be ‘in it’ you need to be showing up.
The good news is that recent LinkedIn algorithm changes announced last week are making it easier for everyday people like you and me to be heard, seen and noticed on the platform. After reporting that the platform received ‘record levels of engagement‘ over the past year, LinkedIn has now outlined specific changes to the way posts are ranked in users’ feeds and has pulled back the curtains on their algorithm to help you make the most of the changes.
Levelling the playing field
In October last year, LinkedIn revealed how engagement in its news feed was skewed towards the top 1% of users while those with fewer followers got, for the most part, ignored. We ask you, is there anything worse than bravely putting yourself ‘out there’ only to only have two people like your post? The good news is that with last week’s changes, our prayers were answered. Yes, LinkedIn is giving more attention to posters with smaller audiences (that’s you!) in a bid to create a more evenly distributed network. LinkedIn’s not silly, it knows that by encouraging more activity and engagement across the board, members will revisit more often.
The algorithm favours niche content
According to LinkedIn’s Peter Davies, the goal is to help LinkedIn users discover the most relevant conversations that will help them to be more productive and successful. “Whenever a user opens the LinkedIn app, the platform checks for recent posts from connections and the people, pages and hashtags the user follows. To determine which posts are ranked higher in a person’s feed, the LinkedIn algorithm uses AI to identify niche, occupation-specific conversations.”
In other words, it pays to deep dive on a niche topic that interests your audience as LinkedIn sees conversations around niche topics as better than broad banter. On a similar note, using niche hashtags in your content to help other users find conversations that align with their own interests is key – although don’t get too hashtag slappy (experts say to use no more than three)!
If you’re unsure of which hashtags to use, put yourself in the shoes of the very people you’re trying to reach, and ask yourself: “If I was them, what hashtag would I click on, be following and generally interested in?”.
Post about things you and others care about
According to LinkedIn’s Pete Davies, the more valuable the conversation, the higher in the feed your post will appear. But, the million dollar question is how do you know if it’s a valuable conversation? Well, LinkedIn uses a pretty simple framework: People You Know, Talking About Things You Care About.
So, what do people care about and how do you find out? Simply tune into conversations with colleagues and clients about the issues they care about. What gets them excited? Nervous, even? What problems are they dealing with *right now*? How can you help them out? How can you share your opinion on something they care about?
LinkedIn says that content performs best when members talk about the things they truly care about, in a way that’s natural to them. So, don’t overthink it; genuine conversation around real experiences sparks better and deeper conversation.
LinkedIn says, “…there’s a lot of sophistication that goes into understanding a good conversation. As a rule of thumb, the better conversations are authentic and have constructive back and forth.” So, post things that encourage a response. Ask a question, ask for a recommendation, express an opinion on something, and share your thoughts in a way that prompts people to say “me too” or “I disagree”.
You know how to have a good conversation in person, now take it online!
Use @ mentions to pull other people into the conversation
Final tip! LinkedIn says you should use @mentions to pull other people into a conversation, particularly when you think they’ll have something valuable to add. But be thoughtful about it, only mention people that you think are likely to respond and avoid adding any more than five.
Amy Chandler is a Premium member and Public Relations Manager-turned consultant who helps leaders raise their profiles and build their personal brands. Should you be showing up on LinkedIn, but not sure what to post? Join The Edge’s FREE 30 day ‘showing up’ on LinkedIn Challenge and receive our daily fill-in-the-blank content prompts to take the guesswork out of posting on LinkedIn.