Getting the Most From Your LinkedIn Posts

Ahhh, LinkedIn. Social media for the grownups. I’ve really been concentrating on my LinkedIn presence the past few months, and it my finally be paying off. My LinkedIn posts are getting more and more views, even going “mini-viral” a time or two.

(Of course, the website crash/failure/debacle/catastrophe of the past couple of weeks means that I’ve had to slack off a bit over there. But I’m coming back in full swing this week, starting today. Stay tuned!)

Whenever I take on a new content venture, whether for a client or myself, I always like to learn as much as I can about the platform I’m working with.

LinkedIn has been no exception. I’ve studied and read and researched. Learned a good bit about the “culture” and the “etiquette”, so I can fit in with the rest of the room, so to speak.

And I’ve also learned a good bit about the algorithm and how it works, too. So I can stand out from the crowd.

After all, isn’t that what you want to do on social media?

This week’s blog post is going to feature some things I’ve learned that you can easily utilize with your LinkedIn posts. Incorporating these tactics may not make your LinkedIn content go “viral”, but they can enhance the quality of your LinkedIn posts, and that will make others sit up and take notice. Again, isn’t that what we want from our social media content marketing?

Ready? Let’s begin!

Dwell Time and Your LinkedIn Posts

In May 2020, LinkedIn made an addition to their algorithm. They added something called “dwell time”.

Basically, each LinkedIn post is now monitored for how much time each connection spends on it. A quick read or a scroll away after a brief time, and that LinkedIn posts is going nowhere in terms of reach. A long time spent reading before clicking through or scrolling on down the timeline, and you’ve got a post that will get itself seen by more, and more, and more people.

This affects your LinkedIn post content in several ways. Let’s look at each one, shall we?

  1. Photos and images – LinkedIn puts 3 lines of text above each photo or image you include in a post. Then comes the dreaded “read more” CTA. If your image or those three little lines of text aren’t enough to get the reader to open up the entire text, you’re sunk. Your dwell time for that post hits bottom and it’s going nowhere fast.
    Those images and three little lines better be damn surefire interesting enough to get them to click that text open all the way, or you might as well not bother with the image.
  2. Links – Again, a link that causes your readers to click away from your post will, obviously, hurt your dwell time for that post and every post like it. You’re much better off writing a really nice, interest-arousing “teaser” post and placing the link in the first comment. That way, you keep them on the original post longer. You increase reach and build some excitement so they actually will go to the comments and click through to your wonderful link.
  3. Character Limit – Dwell time’s most significant implication for your LinkedIn posts is that now the post character limit is actually your best friend. Milk it for all its worth. Get every character of value out of each post that you can. The longer, more interesting, more valuable, your LinkedIn posts are, the better off you’ll be in terms of reach and the possibility of new, fresh eyes seeing your content. Write like each one is War and Peace and then edit until the limit has been met and the value preserved.

Your LinkedIn Posts’ Two Type of Reach

LinkedIn considers how large a reach – how many connections and who those connections will be – in two ways. (I’m not certain when they started doing this, as I couldn’t find a date or even a year, so perhaps it’s always been this way…..)

“Upstream” Reach

LinkedIn has “upstream” reach. Your upstream people are your 1st connections. Only a small amount of them will initially see your LinkedIn posts, even if they all “follow” you. That small number increases with each “Like” and comment your post receives. The more Likes, the more people you are already connected to will start to see the post. The number of comments, and the pace at which they are posted, also plays a factor. Again, the more, and the more quickly they come, the more 1st connections will be able to enjoy it.

“Downstream” Reach

And then there’s “downstream” reach. These are 2nd connections – your 1st connections non-mutual 1st connections. You can get your content seen by them through two ways. One is rather obvious – shares. The other not quite so – positive reactions that aren’t a “Like”. Whenever someone hits “support” or “insightful” or another positive reaction to a LinkedIn post, the algorithm adds some of their 1st connections to that post’s reach. It makes sure they aren’t also your 1st connections.

I can guess that this is one way LinkedIn keeps timelines filled with content that is of mutual interest to groups of connections. If someone else find a post insightful or likeable, or interesting enough to comment on, chances are high that their connections will, as well. Upstream and downstream reach sends your LinkedIn posts out into the wider world of like-minded individuals.

Hashtags, LinkedIn Posts, and Disability Inclusivity

If you know me here at Bloomers, or if you’ve read the post from a few weeks’ ago, you know that I’m big on disability inclusivity. And there’s one big thing you can do to make your LinkedIn posts more inclusive for the visually impaired.

Screen readers have come a long way since their beginning, but they still aren’t perfect. Just as they can’t “see” a pop-up, or describe an image without some help from alt-text tags or captions, they still can’t quite figure out what to do with hashtags.

A hashtag formatted #likethis is more than likely going to be read by a screen reader as “hashtag lick-et-hiss”, leaving the poor human on the other side of the machine to wonder just what the heck that is supposed to mean. Imagine trying a job search and finding an entire stream of gobbledygoop hashtags you can only guess at and have no clue as to what any of them could mean!

You can fix this with one small change that makes a huge difference in the grand scheme of things. Simply capitalize the initial word of each multi-word hashtag. So #LikeThis becomes “hashtag like this” to the screen reader. You can still use LinkedIn’s autogenerated hashtag suggestions for your posts. Just a simple few seconds of editing makes them inclusive (and easier to read for the humans in the room, too, according to several others I’ve shared this with.)

Sharing Others’ Content in Your LinkedIn Posts

Sharing others’ content is a quick and easy way to spread a good word, help a friend’s post get a better reach, and make life a little easier on the content creator who is in need of posting something for the day.

LinkedIn shares, however, don’t seem to perform as well for sharer as original content, for some reason. Sharing content seems to only benefit the original poster.

There is a simple way, though, to both share something really good and juicy and fool the algorithm into thinking it’s an original post.

Screen shots.

Yep. Take a screen shot of the entire post you want to share. Then, post the screen shot with an accompanying text.

Make it interesting enough that others will react favorably. Mention in your first line something like “sharing this from….” and tag the original poster. That way, they understand what they are looking at and will be more likely to open your text and read it all the way through, and read the original post, as well.

Talk about a dwell time jackpot!

The next time you come across a really good, really share-worthy post from a connection, screen shot that bad boy and use it to create your own post from it. Give credit where credit is due. Watch the reach climb.

(This doesn’t work as well, it seems, with image-based posts, by the way. I experimented with image shares last week. The screen shot of an image post got far fewer views than a straight share of an original post. Not sure why, but it is what it is, and I displeased the dwell time gods with my screen shot, apparently.)

Let’s Connect!

All this talk about LinkedIn doesn’t seem complete without an invitation to connect in some way. So, you can head to my Bloomers Marketing LinkedIn profile and send me a connection request. Mention that you’re a blog reader in a note and I’ll be sure to accept. Or if you’d like to discuss your LinkedIn content marketing strategy, hit me up via the contact page, in the comments, or over on LinkedIn.

Till next week, stay connected, Blooms!

Disability Inclusivity, the Visually Impaired, and Your Content

You may have noticed there aren’t many pretty pictures or images or graphics hanging up on the Bloomers blog’s walls. There’s a reason for that, and it has everything to do with disability inclusivity.

A Disability Inclusivity Exercise

Let’s do a little exercise, shall we?

Your blog is very image and graphic heavy. Everyone oohs and ahhs over your painstakingly produced photos. Your professional headshots. The infographics, inspirational quote graphics, and/or videos that you’ve spent hours creating.

Your social media is just as colorful, just as creative, just as visually stunning and impressive. Again, accolades over how wonderfully you show off all your products, or get followers’ attention with all your pretty pictures.

Now, go to your browser. Turn on your screen reader. Open up your website or your Twitter profile. Close your eyes. Scroll the page.

What do you hear?

That deafening silence is just what your visually impaired visitors hear, too. Your visually captivating content isn’t practicing disability inclusivity at all.

Disability Inclusivity and Images

To make all those photos and images and graphics meet disability inclusivity requirements, they all have to have their alt text captions added. Your videos need constant narration of all the action, all the scenery, all the “stuff” that isn’t discernable with your eyes closed.

I see so many “explainer” or educational videos where the presenter is using a whiteboard, for example. They write stuff down while talking about it, and then later, say things like “when we go back to this step…..” but never say which step they are referring to.

I also know of so many coaches using inspirational quotes to create wonderful, beautiful graphic images, but never use a single alt image caption.

And there are countless social media feeds filled with images and videos and graphics of all sorts without a single “explainer caption” to accompany them. (We’ll get into this in a minute.)

All of that makes all those lovely images completely useless to the visually disabled/sight impaired user or visitor who relies on a screen reader to surf the Internet.

Disability Inclusive Images and Why They Are Important

You may be wondering why it’s all that important. I mean, after all, visually impaired people are used to missing out on sights, right?

They shouldn’t have to. They should expect better.

Especially from health and wellness providers like you.

Disability inclusivity isn’t just a “nice thing” to do. It’s a right, not a privilege. It’s also valuable for your biz, believe it or not.

Visually impaired adults in the US number in the millions. And they have billions in disposable income at their discretion. So, which chiropractor, or spa, or herbal tea company do you think they are going to buy from? The guy whose site is set up for their screen reader, so they don’t miss a single detail? Or yours, with all its pretty pictures or videos, but without captions, without narration, no way for them to decipher what’s going on?

How much of their money are you leaving on the table?

How to Add Disability Inclusivity to Your Images

There are several simple things you can do to add some disability inclusivity to the images on your website, online catalog, videos, and social media. We’ll look at each one individually.

Alt Tag Text

You’ve already seen me mentioning alt tag captions. When you upload an image to your website or blog, you are given the option to add an alt text tag.

This tag remains invisible to all but the screen readers, so it’s not going to break up the flow of your lovely content. But it will allow the visually impaired user to get a brief description of your pretty pictures.

A simple caption like “purple and black butterfly” – that’s Buffy, the Bloomers logo – allows screen readers to know what’s going on in the image the visually impaired user can’t see. It takes all of a few seconds to do, but it makes a world of difference to your screen reader dependent visitor.

Text Captions

I was taught about this method of disability inclusivity by an Australian disabled disability advocate I follow on Twitter, Carly Findlay. She often posts photos of herself in her brightly colored, gorgeous fashion choices.

So that her quirky, fun, and yes, beautiful wardrobe does not go “unseen” by her sight impaired followers and friends, she simply adds a caption to each post. (She does it for all her photo posts. It’s just easier to use her fabulous fashion posts for an example.)

The post is usually accompanied by her trademark quote: “I wore this today/tonight and felt fucking fabulous!” And then, underneath, there will be something like, “A smiling woman wearing a red, green, and yellow flowered dress with white flats and a yellow hat with a large red bow.”

Simple, but effective. Simple, but inclusive.

Now apply this to your social media posts. Your catalog photos. Your blog images. A simple written caption underneath each image. Some blog platforms actually let you add one right to the image when you upload it. Again, it takes a few seconds, but it makes a world of difference.

Conscious Narration

Remember that white board video cockup I mentioned earlier? There’s a simple way to fix it: consciously narrate your videos.

Tell us what we’re supposed to be seeing. Tell us when you point to something on the whiteboard, or the splitscreen shot, or whatever. Say what you are doing while you are doing it. “Now, I’m going to take my wooden spoon and stir this all up together.” (Yes, foodie and nutrition YouTubers, I’m looking at you….)

If the video really doesn’t need a play by play, add a written description, similar to a caption, and simply add it before or after the vid. “A video tour of the meditation studio at the spa. The walls are light blue, with a cream color for the doors and windows. There are oriental patterned rugs and large comfy pillows on the floor and a view of the trees and grass outside through the three windows.”

Doesn’t take much, but the disability inclusivity factor of your videos just went through the roof.

Fewer Images

This last suggestion may make you cringe, especially if you take pride in your visuals, but making a few fewer of them can make a large difference, as well.

You don’t have to strip your blog bare, as I have done here at Bloomers. But do you really need a dozen or more per post? (Again, looking at you, foodie folks….) Does every social media post need to have an image attached? Can you speak to us without using pretty pictures just once in a while?

Using fewer images makes your page much more screen reader user friendly. (On an SEO note, it also makes it load faster, too.) And you don’t have to worry about figuring out an alt tag text or caption for as many of them, too. Saves you some time and effort when creating your content.

Disability Inclusivity and Pop-Ups

One last bit about visually impaired disability inclusivity and your content – GET RID OF ALL THOSE DAMN POP-UPS!

(Yes, I’m shouting….with good reason. Even sighted folks find all those pop-ups annoying and intrusive. Stop. Just stop.)

Imagine being a sight impaired person whose screen reader may not (most do not) be “seeing” your pop-up. Suddenly, they can’t continue with the article, or leave the page, or understand what’s going on, all because your popup about signing up for your freebie, or scheduling a call, or whatever you’re offering to keep them on the page, is blocking their “view”.

Pop-ups are the least disability inclusive thing you can put on a page or site. So just remove them. Put your offer on a side bar, or at the top of the page, so it can’t be missed. The in-your-face interruptions will end for the sighted folks, and the “wtf is going on?” confusion will end for the visually impaired among us.

Disability Inclusivity and You

I’m horrid at writing captions and alt text. I can do it for others for hours, if need be, but when it comes to doing it for myself, my brain freezes and I come up blank. Or so sparse as to not be useful. Or so long-winded as to be annoying. (I imagine my screen reader friends muttering “Just get it over with, so we can all move on….”)

That’s the main reason why there are few images here at Bloomers, to be honest. I’m also terrible at choosing which ones to use. And I hate creating them – it’s torture as I am artistically challenged when it comes to Canva and photoshop. I’m positive crap with them.

Maybe you aren’t. Most of you probably aren’t. So, all I can ask is that you make them more inclusive. Disability inclusivity doesn’t have to take hours. It doesn’t have to be a painful process.

All it takes it a little time, a little thought, and a little curtesy for your fellow human beings. You’ve got that, right?

If you need help with your disability inclusivity efforts, or have questions, contact me. I’ll be happy to help in any way I can.

Till next time, always look your “fucking fabulous” best!