Utilising LinkedIn as a marketing tool for your business can deliver huge gravitas for your business and drive awareness of your brand if harnessed properly. However there is a lot of noise on LinkedIn, so how do you ensure that your contributions are seen by the right people to make the effort worth your while?
In this article I’ll cover 7 tips on how to increase engagement rates with LinkedIn. If you follow these simple steps you’ll start to see improved reach and visibility of your brand, opening up new opportunities, and all without any cost except for your time.
1. Build your connections.
When you post updates to your LinkedIn status, they will be visible to your connections in their news feed. It’s therefore fairly obvious that the more connections you have, the more people will see your updates. In addition, when someone likes or comments on your updates, their connections may also see it appear in their newsfeed. This offers you visibility outside of your network as LinkedIn extends the reach of your post beyond your 1st degree network, and even better it’s free. The more connections you have, the greater therefore your visibility.
When building your connections, start by connecting to people you know; you’ll achieve a high acceptance rate and quicker initial growth of your network. The next step is to look beyond people you know and invite connections that you don’t already have a relationship with which is where it gets harder. Most recipients of invitations want to see that connecting with you is going to be beneficial or relevant to them. In short they want to know why you want to connect and generally be comfortable that you’re not just looking to sell to them. You should always include a personal message outlining why you want to connect. This can be mutual contacts, to benefit them in some way, a compliment around their thought leadership, to keep them up to date with events – anything that is relevant to what they may feel beneficial to them. e.g. “Hi Tom, we were both at the awards dinner last night and I’d be keen to follow your work at X company.” or “Hi Tom, I was with Michael Long the other day who suggest I connect to you as we may be able to help each other with xxx”. Hopefully you get the picture.
Remember that you you should clear down your invitations every few weeks and remove invitations to those that have not accepted otherwise you will run out of new connection invitations.
2. Post status updates instead of LinkedIn articles.
When you post on LinkedIn you can either choose to start a post or write an article (as per the image below.)
LinkedIn gives better exposure to posts than it does to articles, so you get better visibility if you stick to posting updates over articles. There is a 1300 character limit to posts, allowing you to write roughly 250-300 words here. This means all posts should be punchy and concise, getting straight to the point. This benefits both the reader and yourself as it will save both of you time whilst covering the most important information. If you need to expand your post you should write a longer article and post it on your blog or website and link to it (but see point 3).
3. Be careful where you put your links
Most social media tools are now not keen on your linking to external sites in your posts as they want to keep readers on their platform, improving retention. As such they can limit your exposure using their algoriths if they see links to external sites. This applies to Facebook and also LinkedIn. Therefore I advise against putting links in the header or content of your post. If you want to link to something then the best place to put it is in the first comment of your post so that people can find it easily without your content being penalised by LinkedIn.
4. Respond quickly to comments
LinkedIn looks at the engagement of your article and will give it greater exposure if it is generating a high level of engagement. If someone comments on or likes your post, LinkedIn will show this in the feeds of their connections, resulting in more visbility and hence further engagement of your post. LinkedIn will also look at how responsive you are to comments, monitoring the time it takes for you to respond to comments and questions, favouring those who respond quickly.
Quick responses to every comment (even if it is just an emoji) not only builds empathy with your connections but builds empathy with LinkedIn concurrently. As a rule of thumb you should look to respond to every comment within 24 hours.
5. Contribute to other people’s content
In a similar way that your posts will be seen by the connections of people that comment on them, when you comment on other people’s posts then your comments will appear in the feeds of your connections (your comment jumps to the top of the comments list for them). This means that every time you comment it is an opportunity to promote your brand in a positive light, giving you greater visibility and opening up opportunity.
Don’t forget that social media is all about giving, so try not to take a hard sales approach, but you can certainly promote useful content – webinars, whitepapers, tips, advice etc that may offer solutions to your network.
In addition to commenting on posts from your 1st degree connections, contributing to group discussions will further extend your brand visibility beyond your network and their connections.
6. Text posts get more coverage than videos
Although we are seeing the rise of video content across the internet, LinkedIn prefers text only content and gives this the greatest exposure. You are best to removing preview images if you feel you do need to post any links in your updates (although remember point 3 – links are better positioned in the comments)
7. Post regularly at the right times
Statistics show that the peak times for business to business social engagement are 9am and 2pm on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. For business to consumer it’s 12pm on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. When you’re writing posts and status updates post regularly at the best times to give yourself maximum exposure and you’ll see you engagement rates increase.
If you follow these simple steps on how to increase engagement rates with LinkedIn you’ll notice an increase in exposure for your business, driving sales opportunities.
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