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?
- 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.
- 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.
- 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…..)
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.
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.
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.)
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!