Linkedin is a marketing tactic that needs to be applied with the same reservation as any other marketing tactic. However, the Linkedin does represent a place where organic reach is high, and is therefore super accessible to most of us. While many of us know this and have the curiosity to get involved – very few of us actually do.
So, how do you make the most from Linkedin? This blog post answers the communities questions 🙂
LinkedIn polls… discuss.
Linkedin Polls seem to be seeing a bit of a resurgence with the algorithm – meaning they are heading to the top of many feeds. But, that doesn’t make them good. They’re a tool like any other kind of post and should only be selected if they’re the best for the job that needs doing.
This ties in with two thoughts.
- Reach for the sake of it is barely ever worth it in terms of driving any kind of meaningful results
- The resulting benefits of personal branding are rarely yielded through thin content
Instead, focus on what format is going to suit your content best. A text post might be good for something brief or a bit more personal. A photo can bring posts to life, particularly when showing people or things. Slides can be used to give a deeper insight into your posts. Videos are great for deep and more emotional messages. And yes, polls can be used but when you genuinely want to find something out.
Perhaps Mark Ritson says it best though…
I have been running many personalised message ads, but find I am not getting any conversions on the forms I am creating from within these ads. What do we do when “best practice” just feels wrong?
You’re doing the right thing! Testing.
The magic of this marketing game is that best practice is there to guide you, but it’s down to you to find out what specifically works for you, your target audience, and your context.
If forms aren’t working as you want them to, then perhaps try InMails. If they don’t work… etc
Another way to switch it up would be to change to copy in the form. Fewer fields, more fields, an offer, etc.
Discover what works best for you and try not to worry too much about ‘best practice’ – there are often too many variables in all our roles to make anything truly ‘best’ for everyone.
The best and worst thing about LinkedIn?
The best thing for me: the opportunity to connect with the community on a regular basis. I’ve made a tonne of friends and contacts through the platform.
Worst: it represents the best and worst of the corporate world. It makes me sad that people feel they have to be a version of themselves at work and another at home. I’d love to see more humanity on the platform.
How do you use LinkedIn as an effective sales tool – are you selling yourself or your service?
To start, there is a bunch of context to this answer that can be found at the top of this post about using the marketing lifecycle and making sure that it’s the right tactic for you. A big part of the answer I give there is that I think too many people head to Linkedin trying to shoehorn in sales when actually it is a far stronger awareness, consideration, retention and advocacy piece.
However, to answer your question more directly, sales on Linkedin is definitely a ‘soft sell’ in that it’s entirely relationship-based. Find the right people to connect with, and do that cliche thing… ‘provide value!’. In the same way as you wouldn’t walk up to someone on the street and sell at them – the same rules apply here.
How do you approach writing copy for a brand that targets a different market/culture/industry/subculture than yours? How do you find the right slang/words?
This is such a great question! Joanna Wiebe speaks on this topic regularly.
The answer is to immerse yourself in the worlds of the customers. You can do this in a couple of ways:
- Ask them! Speak with your customers or people within the segment and just have a chat. Listen to the words they use and make them your own. In an ideal world, you would record the conversations. Adele Revella (https://themarketingmeetup.com/events/build-great-customer-personas/) then has a great framework of five rings of buying insight that you can use to analyse the text for hints on the following points. Worth watching the full video on the linked page to understand this more!
- Priority initiatives – Why we initiate this search
- Success factors – Outcomes we need to achieve
- Perceived barriers – Reasons we don’t buy
- Decision criteria – Our questions about your capabilities
- Buyer’s journey – Steps we take, resources we trust, personas involved
- Watch them! Find Google Reviews, Amazon Reviews, Podcasts, Forums, Linkedin Posts etc of your target market speaking. Pick up on the language being used again and again. Use this to inform your own writing!
If there are just two tips you could give to novice copywriters…what would they be? One tip to get better at their craft and the other one to leverage LinkedIn. What writing techniques have you found useful with getting a lot of engagement?
- Read other people’s work, find what you like and make it you own. Then, practice. You only get better over time! As Dave Harland said in the webinar yesterday – Linkedin gives you a good feedback loop in that the posts that get the most engagement tell you something. This isn’t a hard sell, but Lucy Mowatt recently did a course for us on The Marketing Meetup Plus on exactly this subject. Worth checking out if you can.
- I wrote a 4000 word piece on how to post on Linkedin found here with everything I know in it. But one bonus tip? When writing on Linkedin, paragraphs are your friend!
It’s not about making
(Cause that kind of Linkedin broetry sucks) 🤮
But it is about breaking up your text so that it’s more easily readable on desktops and phones.
An easy trick to keep in mind is when you are starting a new sentence, unlike a blog post or written letter, consider adding in a pargraph. The result is your words don’t start lookinglikeabigblockoftextandbecomehardtoread.
And one final tip. At the beginning of your paragraphs, try using connective words to keep the flow going. ‘And’, ‘so’ and ‘but’ all work well.
So there you go. Paragraphs are your friend – use them well 🙂
As a bonus, Eddie Shleyner recommends a realism technique of writing in the video below.
Video is becoming the driving force behind all content out there – what is your advice in getting started with video? Is video mandatory to reach an audience? & Video, text or another whats the preferred format & whats gets the best results?
Video is not mandatory to reach an audience on Linkedin. In a similar way to the answer above, video is a tool to tell a story in the same way as the other post types are. Select it when best required. For me, video works best when you wish to convey a more emotionally complex message, or are looking to explain a difficult concept easier (there are, of course, many more reasons why you would choose video).
Gary Gumbleton gave a great talk on producing video content (both in terms of strategy and production) found below which I would recommend! He has also done a course for The Marketing Meetup Plus with several tips included for producing video.
Fundamentally though, the traditional barriers to entry of producing video are no longer as high, and can be produced on your phone.
One must-do tip though… whatever you do, make sure you are subtitling your videos. Here is a tutorial on that!
A lot of people use LinkedIn for multiple purposes these days – personal branding as well as corporate… but for those of us who are attempting to do both, how do we find a balance?
Linkedin works best as a personal platform (a quick analysis was provided in this post). So while you may be trying to use Linkedin for both corporate and personal reasons, the best advice is to lead with the personal and include elements of corporate, rather than the other way around.
Take these two sentences:
- “We are delighted to announce our new product, WidgetPlus, which will be available next week”
- “I’m so proud. My team and I have been working SO HARD on this these past few months, and next week, we’re going live with it. EXCITED!”
What’s more compelling? What would you prefer to read? What would you engage with in a busy feed? 🙂
When you’re the marketing person for a brand that serves multiple sectors and multiple products… how should you position your value on Linkedin? Why would anyone follow you?
If you ask Adele Revella, one of the things I suspect she would say would be to try and find the common psychographics, rather than the common demographics. By this, I mean think about the stuff people are thinking before they buy your products and look to solve those problems and write about that, rather than worrying about what their job title or industry.
Understanding that may not be a satisfactory answer, but also acknowledging this is a tricky one, I would approach it by focusing on your personal journey as part of this process and the things you are discovering about all these different products and sectors. This is rather than just having a mismatch of messages.
Personally, my favoured approach is to create content pillars, that would be focused around you. I’d encourage you to focus on the subjects you would like to be known for.
The place we’re aiming for is to build a matrix that looks like the one below. To do this follow these steps:
- Identify what you want to be known for answering the question ‘What are the three things I would like to be ‘famous’ for in the eyes of my customers?’. Ideally, you would have already established this at the strategy level so this will simply be a duplication of that.
- List all the topics associated with this topic that you are able to speak about.
- Decide what your narrative/opinion or story that you are going to tell about each sub-topic will be.
Topics I want to be known for
They are the best breed
Better than cats
Training never ends
Equipment for dogs
Cheaper is better than expensive!
A worthwhile pursuit
Building a community
You have to do it with love
Is the way to build community
Bringing people together
Is the essence of humanity
Through the creation of a table like this, you immediately have a whole bunch of content to create. What’s more, as time goes on, the table can also grow with more sub-topics.
Perhaps more importantly, this also gives you focus and consistency.
By giving guardrails to your creativity by saying you will turn up in the same shape, with a similar message, but with a slightly tweaked focus to your discussion. Over time, this builds up into a perception of who you are, and what you know about.
If you’re in a marketing job, besides just posting about the company stuff, what should / could you be posting on LinkedIn to grow your personal brand. Also, what if you’re a bit boring and don’t have much to say? & Do you ever experience “writer’s block” when creating content for LinkedIn? How do you overcome it?
See above for content pillars!
There are no boring people and inspiration is everywhere. Cultivating a thought process of consciously experiencing your world and considering whether there are posts to be found within your experiences is at the most fundamental level of finding inspiration.
Would you use your LinkedIn posts as examples of content creation for a job interview?
How can I create a Call To Action within LinkedIn? Can it link to a Landing Page within LinkedIn?
Dave Harland gave some great advice in our webinar which is if you are going to include a CTA, do your best to make the post 90% value up front, 10% CTA.
Where possible, it’s best to not link to anything within your Linkedin Posts – internal Linkedin pages or not (but especially external pages).
I kinda hate it, but the ‘link in the comments’ tactic still seems to be the most effective way to include links in your posts.
I’ve noticed a lot of very personal posts on LinkedIn recently – announcing family bereavements, sharing health journeys and battles etc, what’s your opinion on this? Good to get personal or stay clear of oversharing?
As mentioned, Linkedin is a personal platform so best considered as such – so go ahead and share things about yourself and your life where it ties into something that suits the business context of Linkedin (bearing in mind that the definition of ‘business’ is far broader these days).
There is a line of common decency that applies, however. Not everything has to be a post. Sometimes just taking a step back and thinking ‘sure, this might get likes but is it really something that is appropriate to share?’ Goes a long way.
This was one of my favourite posts recently by Louise Ali. In my opinion, it works the line perfectly: personal, but relevant for the context of the platform.
How do you increase organic conversation on LinkedIn and getting your posts seen by more people please?
There are two components here: posting and commenting.
Posting will take you so far, but especially when you’re looking to build that initial traction, commenting will be your friend.
John Espirian recommends making at least five comments for every one post you do. Which means to say – commenting is possibly even more important!
When it comes to creating conversation on your own posts, the best thing you can do is make sure you’re responding to comments in a meaningful way. Ask questions, engage in conversation, be curious about those commenting and look to learn!
Do you use LinkedIn as a tool for providing ROI, or is it more of a brand building exercise? & How do you measure the value/ROI of LinkedIn? Engagement is good but doesn’t generally generate leads or new business.
The way I would approach this is to make metrics based on the Marketing Lifecycle.
At the different stages (and therefore how you may judge ROI) will change based on each stage. For example:
- Awareness: Reach, New followers, Engagements
- Consideration: Clicks to website, conversations with target market, newsletter sign ups
- Purchase: Sales
- Retention: Clients who comment on your stuff
- Advocacy: number of lovely comments from people about you
I have a suspicion that the real crux of this question is ROI in terms of money. So, let me simply say that the main currency of Linkedin is opportunities of all sorts, not just financial. It’s an investment in all kinds of things so release yourself from that short term hit and instead take a longer approach.
As Dave Gerhardt says…
What have been the common concepts or ideas behind your most viral LI posts?
My most ‘viral’ posts have been reactive posts (more on that here). In the moment posts that reference pop culture or a celebrity that are a universal enough experience that plenty of people will be able to relate and therefore are likely to react.
However, a word of warning here. These posts have looked great in terms of engagement numbers, but have rarely delivered tangible business benefits. Ash Jones perhaps said it best here…
Best way to respond to trolls on Linkedin? Don’t feed them? Block? Report them to their employers?
Trolls come in many forms, from low level to serious beyond belief. If we’re talking low-level trolls, I genuinely feel it’s a bit of a muscle you can build up to learn to ignore them.
In the first instance, it will really hurt, there is no denying it. But, if it happens more than a few times, my experience is it starts to roll off your back a touch more.
For more serious trolling, share with people you trust and report to the relevant authorities.
The other thing to note is sometimes what is received as trolling can actually be someone else’s way of giving feedback. If it’s a borderline case and you’re not sure – sometimes just asking an initial question to look to understand someone else’s worldview with an open mind can be beneficial. If it turns out they are trolling though, don’t engage!
Finally – accept that not everything is for everyone. Strength and conviction comes from knowing that you’re trying to benefit specific people and that some people won’t like it is great. If you’re not polarising, you’re probably not saying anything at all!
Video clips vs written posts, which post updates get you maximum reach?
Linkedin reports reach on videos vs written posts differently.
Videos are counted as a ‘view’ if the viewer sees the video for more than three seconds. Whereas written posts count as a view if it is displayed on someone’s device, regardless of engagement with it.
The result is your written post will almost always report higher reach numbers, but says nothing about true engagement. It’s best to therefore release yourself from this thinking and instead approach it as ‘what is the right format for the job?’
How important are hashtags on Linkedin posts?
We’re yet to see any evidence they increase the reach of posts.
However, they can have a secondary benefit of helping you ‘brand’ your posts and give a signal to the reader what you’re speaking about. John Espirian put together a great article on Linkedin Hashtags which is worth checking out.
On a fundamental level, they can’t harm, so popping no more than three hashtags at the end of your post seems like a reasonably sensible thing to do, but I wouldn’t worry about it too much.
What do you think are the best days and times to post?
It depends on your audience! If your audience are night shift workers, you might do well to post at midnight when they are taking their breaks. If they’re nine-fivers then posting sometime between 8-10 when they’re first sitting at their desk would be a sensible thing to do.
Some of my own best performing posts have come by posting at 3PM on Sunday afternoon – which defies any logic and data sets. The best thing you can do is to think about the typical day of the people you are helping, consider their probable scrolling habits, and making a good guess there 🙂
What do you guys think about consistent posting on Linkedin? Is it important?
Eddie Shleyner made a good point in our webinar which was that roughly speaking ‘more posts = better reach’. However, more importantly, ‘more posts does not equal consistent quality’.
The two arguments here are therefore:
- If you post more, there is likely a better chance of your content being seen more.
- But, if you post sub-standard stuff on the regular, then you’re not doing yourself any favours.
The advice therefore is post when you feel like you have something worthy of posting and try not to get sucked into the ‘having to post x times per week’ mindset.
To add a little confusion to the matter, my experience is that writing for Linkedin becomes easier the more you do it. Therefore, trying to get in a good practice is a good thing to try and do.
Contradictory answer, sorry! Fundamentally – do you, don’t worry about anyone else.
If raising your company profile is the objective, is posting on the company LI page first…then relying on staff/followers to comment/like/share the best way to do this? Or concentrate on raising the individual profiles instead?
Individual profiles. 100%
To give two examples….
The answer here is pretty clear: the power of Linkedin sits in personal profiles.
Last week, I posted the below. One from a personal profile, the other, from the company page.
As this was an awareness-based post, taking reach and engagements as a metric of success is okay. The results looked like…
Engagements (Likes or comments)
While this is one sample from one person, it rings true to the experience of Linkedin. To take another example – Patagonia with it’s 546,380 followers only received 406 engagements from their most recent post. For a beloved brand such as this, the bang for the buck on engagement with posts is minimal.
Compare this with Steve Bartlett, Katy Leeson, Mark Ritson, Helen Tupper, Eddie Shleyner and many more who all hit way more from this with significantly less followers, and it’s a clear indication that the algorithm favours people – not companies.
This has two implications.
- This conversation should now focus on posting from a personal perspective rather than a company page
- The benefits enjoyed from posting on Linkedin are linked to the benefits one experiences from personal branding. Which, if you’re not versed in, Ash Jones and Claudia Cardinali delivered a masterclass on personal branding which you may be interested in.
Do any of you guys use any analytic tools like Shield to monitor your content performance?
Yes! Shield is great for content analysis.
How did you overcome the ‘fear’ of putting content out there in case it sucks, I’ve written so many posts and articles and then never hit publish (or is that just me…)
This is far deeper than the remit of this piece, but should be acknowledged. So here is my two pence.
You can’t control whether someone will enjoy your work.
But you can control how much love you put into creating it.
Chances are the second will radically influence the first.
That thing you’re worrying about – chances are… no one else really cares.
That’s not to be discouraging. It’s a message about liberation.
It’s not worth waiting on it. Push through it today and you’ll look back tomorrow wondering what you worried about.
I’ve wasted time worrying about perceptions of my Linkedin posts. However, most people if they don’t resonate with something will just scroll on right past. Even if they don’t – always remember not every person is ‘your’ person. It’s okay for some people to not like your stuff!
Doing it is the only way to get to the place you want to be, so don’t wait on it and don’t overthink it! 😊
How did you get started on LinkedIn…and how quick did it take off? & How long do you reckon you need to spend on LinkedIn per week to get results?
I got started by promoting, connecting, and advertising The Marketing Meetup events.
John Espirian recommends a 30-month mindset, and personally, I think this is as good of a benchmark to have in mind as any to say ‘I’m committing to this and realise it will be a long term project’.
In terms of ‘taking off’, it’s been a very slow burn, and I could argue that only in the past 6 months have things really taken off, after posting near-daily for five years.
In the past six months, my own followers have grown from roughly 9,000 to 21,000+. Momentum really gets behind you!
Answering the question about How long to spend on per week… if you target making five comments a day and making a post, you could probably spend anywhere from 30 mins to an hour a day. That’s not prescriptive though – it’s better to do ‘some’ rather than ‘nothing’ because the time commitment scares you off!
Why LinkedIn? Why not twitter? & If you are a freelancer, is it really necessary to market yourself on LinkedIn or any other relevant social media channel?
It depends on your strategy where you defined your target audience and then the tactical implementation.
Linkedin is no better or worse than Twitter. It’s simply a tool. Do the best for your target audience and never listen to people who tell you that you ‘have’ to do anything.
For more on this, check out this video by Mark Ritson – it’s excellent and will effectively provide you with the answer to ‘why x’ when it comes to any marketing channel!
When talking about being authentic, how can you get that across on Linkedin?
It comes from sharing personal experiences and writing in the way only you can.
I appreciate that is easier said than done, but on a more fundamental level, we can’t teach you to be more ‘you’ – only you can do that!
Should you schedule or does that limit spontaneity and creativity?
Scheduling posts is perfectly fine – I use ContentCal.
For me, this is actually beneficial because I can actually write when I’m feeling inspired and even do multiple posts at post, rather than having to force it if I wake up with less one energy one morning.
Do leave room for more reactive content however, as established above, this can be stuff that really flies!
One thing I would make sure you’re doing though is responding to comments within the first hour of your post going out. The initial traction your post gets (within the first hour) has a large impact on how the post performs after that hour. The more engagements/comments you can get within that first hour the better.
Do you have general tips for running a LinkedIn for your business in a B2B environment?
As we’ve established Linkedin is a personally focussed platform, I’d encourage you to focus on people. Just because you’re in a B2B context doesn’t mean we stop being people! In that way, the game doesn’t change – and in fact is probably even more true for B2B businesses who benefit from ‘humanising’ their stuff in a world where things get so tangled in corporate rubbish!
How do you make your LinkedIn posts more engaging leading to blog posts so that people click onto them?
I would actually encourage you to think about ‘how can I make this engaging within Linkedin?’
Eddie said that his process was to take the blog posts he had written and then cut them down to suit the platform. That way you’re making the most from the native capabilities of both. A website click doesn’t always have to be the goal!
Do you have any worries about LinkedIn becoming a bit of an echo chamber, with everyone turning life stories into marketing lessons? How can newbies stand out when EVERYONE is doing the same thing with their posts?
Personally, I do not. I like to think I am curious enough to ensure I’m doing my best to take in a diversity of views from outside of my bubble, but also accept that some people will like my stuff more than others. That’s just about knowing the people you can help most and being comfortable with that. You can rarely help everyone!
Standing out comes back to the ideas outlined elsewhere in this piece – no-one can replicate YOU. The way you stand out is knowing who you’re helping best, and being the version of yourself who helps them. That could be down to how you write, the product you offer, the market you’re serving, your experiences in doing so… etc 🙂
When you get LI connection requests do you vet them before accepting? I get so many sales pitches via new connections it drives me nuts
Personally, I accept most connection requests. I’ve had enough conversations with complete strangers to know sometimes the proverbial needle in the haystack makes it worth it!
That being said, it’s entirely understandable to get frustrated. I think the best answer here is to know what you are trying to achieve and fit your policy to match.
If your objective is being well known by everyone – accepting everyone might be good.
If you only need/want to speak to very specific people – deny most!
Only you know your context but the platform is for you to make the most of in the way that is going to benefit you most.
Does taking risks with your content help you stand out or will it hurt your brand? (in a B2B context)
It can. But it has to be relevant.
For example, if you are a funeral parlour or a the airplane regulatory body – you don’t want to be taking too many risks because it will be saying the wrong thing about your product/service and you.
But, if you’re in a position where your customers would appreciate a bit of risk being brought into your copy – by all means, go for it! Noone is forgetting this ad in a hurry…
What about if you’re not a natural writer and your subject matter is quite dry. Have you got any tips for squeezing diamond content out, or is it time to just outsource?
Outsourcing certainly is an option. However, before doing that perhaps be lent the thought that your stuff is interesting to *someone* (likely your target audience). For that reason, it’s best to avoid calling your stuff dry!
Beyond that, because Linkedin is people first, although you may feel the subject is dry – you are not! Bring yourself into this, and all of a sudden the subject has life, personality, and humanity.
A post bombs, how do you evaluate was it the topic or how it was written?
Great question! Test it out. Do another post on a similar topic. Write another post in a similar way. It’s all iterative and while you can’t always deduce from a sample size of one – over time you’ll be able to hone your messaging based on what you see working!
I personally don’t have any problems with deleting posts that bomb and trying again the next day with slightly tweaked copy. At the end of the day, we’re trying to be useful so if something isn’t landing that you know is valuable, it’s a service to try and make it better!
I’m a serial ‘liker’ but lots of posts never get a like, I count myself in that, how do you keep going & get over the ‘why do I bother’?
Without being too Simon Sinek-y about it, knowing your ‘why’ is going to be important here. That can be personal, or marketing based (as per the marketing lifecycle earlier).
For me, I like helping people. I don’t post with an expectation of anything than ‘if it helps someone, I’m golden’. That can be one person, it could be 500.
Questioning and reflecting on why you’re doing this will bring you to a place where you can investigate what is going to be important to you. Rarely the answer is the number of likes you get!
What do you think the life expectancy is of LinkedIn… do you think there will be something like a TikTok to FaceBook that inspires the next generation of work/ B2B social?
Who knows! I’ve been predicting big changes to the reach of Linkedin for the past four years, and yet it still keeps on giving. There will always be another platform, but with Linkedin’s grasp on the market and no apparent incumbents, I would think the shelf life is measured in years rather than months!
Would you say there’s a difference between building your personal brand as a freelance writer vs building your personal brand as an in-house writer for one specific brand? If yes, what’s the difference between the two?
There is inevitably a freedom that comes from writing for yourself vs. writing while employed by someone else due to the fact you are also representing your company with your Linkedin profile. I would say that is the biggest difference, which may result in your being slightly more reserved than if you were just writing for yourself.
Even though that may be true, your Linkedin profile is yours to use as you wish. It’s not the company you work for’s possession, so treat it accordingly!
How does one create exciting and meaningful conversations on business LinkedIn pages, whilst having to remain professional and fact-based information?
It’s much harder than a personal profile as a brand is not a particularly relatable thing. Moreover, the organic reach of these posts is less than on your personal profile, as mentioned above!
That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try, it just means it will be harder!
The rules of creating ‘good content’ apply here. Know your audience and provide content that solves their needs, in the language and turns of phrase that they use, too. One person’s ‘exciting’ is another person’s worst nightmare. So, make sure you’re not just doing fireworks and monster trucks ‘just because’ and instead consider the things that will be relevant for your folks, not just what society suggests is exciting.