Technical tips for distributing content via LinkedIn
What do the LinkedIn overlords want from us? They want us all to spend as much time on LinkedIn as possible. They want us to post our thoughts on LinkedIn, and “like” content on LinkedIn, and comment on LinkedIn posts, and channel all of our professional networking behavior into their platform.
On a more human note: LinkedIn can be a surprisingly warm and friendly platform for distributing content and expanding your brand’s network.
To reach the widest possible audience on LinkedIn, design your content to drive engagement on the platform.
- Don’t worry too much about algorithms
- Post regularly, write conversationally, engage sincerely
- Use the “mention” feature carefully
- Use external links sparingly
- Create platform-specific content
- Avoid perfectionism with videos and photos
Basic strategy: share knowledge, drive conversation, be human
LinkedIn frequently tweaks their algorithms, so chasing the latest one isn’t worth your time. Instead, focus on creating content that will inspire your target audience to engage within the platform. In this sense, our approach to LinkedIn content is essentially the same as our approach to organic search content:
- Be specific. Write for your specific audience, their pain points, and their jobs-to-be-done.
- Be useful. Provide practical knowledge that people can use right away.
- Be welcoming. Encourage people to respond with follow-up questions or counter-arguments.
The more people engage with a post, the greater circulation it will get. And the more often you can delight your audience, the better chance you have at converting them to leads.
What does engagement look like on LinkedIn?
People engage with your post in a number of ways…
- Clicking on your post in their feed to see the whole thing
- Supporting it with a “like”
- Chatting in the comment section
- Reposting it within their own feeds
- Following your LI profile
- Sending a connection request
These metrics will provide a much more dynamic portrait of content performance than simply tracking how many hits your blog gets from the link you posted in your feed.
Tools we recommend for managing LinkedIn content
Currently, we use these for ércule’s branded and team member content on LinkedIn:
- Internal scheduler (free + native) to queue up content
- Post inspector (free + native) to see how posts will look before you publish
- Shield (paid + third-party) to track analytics
Tips for increasing your visibility in people’s feeds
To recap: don’t create content just to chase the algorithm’s whims! As with organic search, write to serve your audience.
Of course, in organic search you’ve also got to optimize for the platform – which includes some algorithmic considerations. The same is true for LinkedIn.
Here is what you can do to get some baseline advantages from the platform:
- Post from personal accounts. It’s unclear if this is an algorithmic preference or simply a cultural preference on LinkedIn, but it’s rare to see brand feeds get engagement on par with those from individuals. It doesn’t hurt to post content through brand personas, but you’re likely to see a lot more reach if content is additionally distributed through the personas of your team members.
- Post something every week. Ideally, a baseline cadence of 2-3 posts per week. The site seems to circulate posts more widely when they come from consistent posters. At ércule, we currently schedule 4 posts per week, Monday through Thursday using the internal scheduler.
- Comment on other people’s posts. Ideally, do it in a sincere way. (Don’t just post a vapid one-word comment for the sake of juicing the algorithm.) Folks who get chatty on other people’s content also tend to have greater visibility on the site overall.
One nice thing about LinkedIn: a lot of people are showing up there in good faith with a sincere interest in building professional relationships. If you do the same, and put effort into building relationships – not just followers – then you’ll likely be rewarded.
Use the mention feature to expand reach – and don’t be tacky
When you mention someone in a post, their followers and connections will also (usually) see it. When used smartly, this can help get your content in front of a much larger audience.
For readers, mentions can function like an internal link: providing useful context and exposing them to a new resource. With that in mind here are some Do’s and Don’ts…
- Mention your collaborators when promoting any project.
- Mention professional acquaintances when talking about the amazing ideas they sent your way.
- Mention brands when you had an inspiring experience with their team / product.
People love to be recognized for the work they do.
- Exploit this feature just to get a bump from a stranger with a larger following.
People with big followings are well aware of this tactic. They’re not generally charmed.
When you stuff a post with a bunch of random mentions, it looks tacky in the same way that SEO hacks look tacky. Your audience will know it when they see it.
External links: use them sparingly in your posts
Posts with external links seem to suffer from decreased visibility in feeds. This doesn’t mean that they’re doomed to failure, but they’re at a structural disadvantage.
(Remember: LinkedIn doesn’t want any of us leaving LinkedIn for any amount of time!)
So, if you’re using LinkedIn as a distribution platform for your latest b2b blog content, what are you supposed to do?
Create platform-specific content
As mentioned, the primary objective is to drive conversations, not blog site traffic. This platform just isn’t engineered for driving external site traffic.
When distributing blog content on LinkedIn, adapt the most valuable insights from that blog into self-contained bits of knowledge for your LinkedIn feed. No matter how much someone loves your post, they’re unlikely to click away from that endless social media feed, so give them some value while you have their attention.
Doing this will also (in our humble marketing agency’s opinion) make your content stronger and more interesting to people. And that’s the most reliable route to success – algorithms be damned!
You’re distributing a post about 4 common mistakes that technical content writers make.
Instead of trying to entice people with the promise of information and a blog link, adapt that blog post for 4 different self contained pieces of content, each one devoted to one of the major talking-points in the blog post.
External links can work in the comments section… if a post already has traction
Previously, people had a pretty reliable workaround for sneaking external links into a post: instead of including it in the actual post, we’d drop the external link in the first comment immediately after posting. But the overlords got wise to that trick, so it won’t win you any advantages now. Don’t bother.
However, when a post has gotten some traction – generating likes and comments – you can drop a link in the comments without fear of punishment from the algorithm.
Which seems reasonable: people naturally swap links when talking about work stuff. So when you do add links in the comment threads, try doing it in response to a comment someone has left.
Let’s say we created a blog on 404 page best practices. It’s slated for distribution in the newsletter.
A few days before the newsletter goes out, we’ll post a short piece in the LinkedIn feed, adapted from that same blog post. No links included. (The content in the post is adapted for LI in a way that is condensed and self-contained.)
The post gets a decent number of likes and comments, so I add this to the comment thread: “I’m going to explore this topic in this week’s newsletter: ercule.co/subscribe”
It continues getting traction. A few days after the newsletter goes out, I add a comment to the thread which says: “In case you missed this post, we published a longer version on our site: https://www.ercule.co/blog/404-page-best-practices”
Tips for using images + video + carousels….
LinkedIn has a habit of changing their algorithms based on new feed features they’re trying to promote. For a while, image carousels seemed guaranteed to get high engagement. Before that, video seemed to have an easier time.
Since those algorithmic preferences are prone to change, try thinking about the merits of these media on a more basic level. They have the potential to stand out among the endless feed of text and, ideally, get a user to stop scrolling.
People love video on nearly every platform but video won’t necessarily win you better engagement on LinkedIn. So beware of spending too much time on video production. Editing can easily eat up a ton of time.
- People like DIY, selfie-style video on LinkedIn, so there’s no need to go hard on production value for personal content.
- Stylized captions – using a platform like Descript – make video stand out more. Captions relate the subject of your video to people before they opt to turn the audio on. (Plus captions make the content more accessible for folks with hearing disabilities, and everyone deserves equal access.)
Since LinkedIn is pretty heavy on text, a well curated image will help your post stand out in the feed and, ideally, get people to stop scrolling.
- In terms of content, you want something that makes the subject clear and the story behind it compelling.
- DIY selfie style seems to go over well.
- As noted above, if your post has an external link with an ugly link preview thumbnail, you can add the image of your choice to cover up.
There are plenty of free template services available for LI carousels. Use them! It’s way more efficient than building your own from scratch on fancy graphic design software.
- The title is really crucial with these, as that’s what everyone will see as they scroll.
- There is potential for a more innovative narrative structure in carousels, but we haven’t seen much of it.
Next steps for your LinkedIn b2b content strategy
Now that you’ve got the technical framework down, you can start creating. What kinds of content is your audience looking for? What kinds of stories do you want to tell? What content is scheduled for promotion and distribution soon?
Any blog post can be adapted to create numerous posts for LinkedIn. If you’re looking for ideas on how exactly to do that, check out our social content reuse database.