You spent four hours writing that LinkedIn article, and you were convinced that your network would love it. So, you hit the publish button and waited …
And waited …
And waited some more …
But, crickets were all you heard. Other than Awkward Lenny (from your first corporate job out of college) giving it a “like,” your article got zero engagement.
Unfortunately, that’s the all-too-common story of entrepreneurs who try to grow their personal brand on LinkedIn. You pour so much effort into a piece of content — and nobody sees it.
It doesn’t have to be that way, though. In the last six months, my LinkedIn content has been viewed over 1.2 million times. And this visibility has generated well over $100,000 for our business (including a deal with a Fortune 100 company).
This is completely organic reach. I’ve never spent a dime in paid advertising on LinkedIn. So, what am I doing to get this kind of exposure? I’m glad you asked. Here are the seven things I do to get thousands of views on my LinkedIn content, and you can too:
1. Write long-form status updates instead of LinkedIn articles.
I’m not sure why LinkedIn gives more exposure to status updates than articles, but in my experience they most certainly do.
Status updates have a limit of 1,300 characters (which is approximately 250-300 words). This means that you can spend much less time creating content that gets far greater reach.
Make sure that the first sentence of your status update is captivating. People are scrolling their LinkedIn feed at lightning speed, and they’ll only see the first one or two sentences of your post as they scroll. So, if your first sentence doesn’t grab their attention and make them want to tap “See More,” your update will get left in the dust.
2. Write one- to two-sentence paragraphs.
The reason for this is simple. Short paragraphs keep readers engaged.
Most people will be consuming your LinkedIn content from their phones. And reading massive blocks of text on a smartphone is no fun. If you want people to read your entire post, keep those paragraphs short and sweet.
3. Don’t put links in your status updates (put them in the first comment instead).
When I first started trying to get more reach on LinkedIn, this was my first experiment — and the results blew me away. Instantly, I went from getting 100-200 views per post to getting over 5,000 views per post. I was floored.
Why does LinkedIn throttle reach on status updates with links? My best guess is that it doesn’t want people leaving its platform.
If you have a link that you want to share, make sure to place the link in the first comment of your post. Just make sure to let people know at the end of your post where they can find the link.
4. Use proven content frameworks.
The types of posts you’ll see below have driven enormous engagement and reach for me. There’s a good chance they’ll work for you too.
- List posts: Share your favorite business books, blogs, podcasts or productivity tools.
- Failure stories: Write about a critical moment in your professional journey and the lesson you learned. Being authentic and vulnerable will resonate with your readers and drive engagement.
- Take the opposite stance on a commonly held belief: I don’t use this approach often, but every time I do it gets incredible engagement.
- Ask your network to ask you questions they have about your expertise: When I published a status update asking my network to leave a comment with their questions about podcasting, the comments flooded in.
Bonus tip: Make sure to take the questions in your comments and add them to your content calendar.
5. Reply to every comment on your post.
When you start multiple conversations inside the comments of your status update, your post will be seen in a lot more LinkedIn news feeds.
Sometimes I reply to a comment and ask the commenter to elaborate on her thought. Other times I simply reply with a smiley face or fist bump emoji.
Your replies don’t need to be lengthy, but the more you engage with your commenters, the more visibility your status will get in the news feeds of your first, second and third degree networks.
6. Start an engagement group.
I hate relying on an algorithm to get my content in front of people that I know will get value from it. So, I no longer rely on the serendipity of showing up in my close connections’ LinkedIn feeds.
Instead, I’ve started multiple engagement groups. These “groups” are simply LinkedIn group message threads with 12-15 of my close connections that are also in my industry (B2B sales and marketing). As soon as I publish a new status update, I send a link to my update to all of my engagement groups (group message threads). This guarantees that my close connections will actually see my content. And if they think it’s valuable content, they’re highly likely to engage with it.
When content gets good engagement in the first hour that it’s live, LinkedIn increases the visibility of the post by putting it into more news feeds. More visibility leads to even more engagement.
In all of the engagement groups that I create, there’s never a requirement to engage with all the content that gets shared in the thread. However, I’ve found that the more each participant engages with other people’s content, the more engagement his or her content ends up getting.
7. Engage with other people’s content.
Many LinkedIn users don’t know this, but your comments on other people’s posts show up in the news feeds of your first degree connections.
For example, when I comment on my friend Dale’s status, Dale’s post appears in the feeds of some of my first degree connections with “James Carbary commented on this” above the post. My comment appears directly under Dale’s post (regardless of how many other comments there are).
So essentially, when you leave a comment on someone’s update, it’s like writing a mini post. The more mini posts (aka comments) you write, the more visibility you’ll get on LinkedIn. And as social selling expert Koka Sexton often says, “Visibility leads to opportunity.”
LinkedIn is no longer just a place to keep your digital resume. It’s a thriving content platform that allows you to get massive visibility with your ideal clients at no cost (at least for now). Social media changes fast, and there’s no telling how much longer you’ll be able to get this kind of free reach on LinkedIn. We’ve seen organic reach dry up on YouTube, Facebook, and now Instagram. The platforms have all the control, and the only thing we can do is capitalize on the free exposure while we can — because eventually we’ll be paying for the reach that we used to get for free.
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