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Competing in LinkedIn's Newsfeed

As a business professional, you’re spending hours and hours of time on LinkedIn, even if you may not realize it. A few minutes here and there adds up quickly, and grabbing your attention in those few minutes is part of the job for marketers all over the world. Marketers understand that you’re on LinkedIn – it’s essentially a B2B goldmine. The first thing they need to do is make sure you see their content – and then, once they see it, they need to make the content compelling enough for you to click to learn more (which is a whole other process we won’t get into yet).

The problem is everyone is pushing content and trying to get to the gold. With individuals and companies pushing organic (and paid) content constantly, your newsfeed is turning more into a war-zone - a very competitive war-zone.

So how exactly are you going to win the war? Well, the main thing you need to understand is how the LinkedIn algorithm works (spoiler alert: this algorithm is constantly changing). There are hundreds of different studies and theories supporting a range of thoughts on how exactly the algorithm works, but the few items pointed out below are what I believe to be the most accurate and consistent methods that support content visibility within LinkedIn’s newsfeed.

Outsmart LinkedIn (Keeping Things “Internal”) There are more and more articles being published every day about how LinkedIn is essentially trying to promote content that keeps them on their site, rather than pushing their users to external sites. Makes sense – right? According to multiple studies, there has been proof that you will see a higher reach with your posts if you do not include external links directly within your post copy.

Instead, you can publish a LinkedIn article with the first few paragraphs of the content, then prompt the user with a call-to-action to “learn more”. When they click to learn more, they will then be redirected to your website where the full piece of content lives. The URL you include within your social post will be the LinkedIn article, essentially making LinkedIn think you’re trying to keep people on their platform.

Another alternative is to simply comment on your post with an external link to where you’d like to drive traffic. Simply including a mention of “check out the link in the comments” does the job, promotes engagement, and makes LinkedIn think that your post itself is strictly text-focused with your creative (instead of you actually driving traffic to your website!) Both alternatives have been tested and proved to have a positive impact on the overall “value” LinkedIn ranks your post as, ultimately expanding your reach.

Of course, this may vary depending on the piece of content you’re promoting, your target audience, and the creative you’re using, but it’s something worth testing in your personal situation and seeing if it’s worth moving forward with.

Make it Personal You may follow Gary Vaynerchuk on LinkedIn, but chances are you don’t know him personally. LinkedIn essentially aims to give your personal connections a higher chance of seeing your content in their newsfeed than others.

By seeing who you’ve interacted with directly, through messages, comments, engagements and more, LinkedIn determines how “personal” you really are to your connections. The higher the likelihood is that you have a personal connection with them increases the chance that they’ll see your content on their newsfeed.

However, there are always tricks around this. One way to increase the visibility here is to actually copy the direct link from your LinkedIn post, and then send a friendly message to some of your connections to check it out via LinkedIn’s messaging tool.

Of course, I’m not saying to go ahead and spam all of your connections (because if you do, chances are they won’t be your connection for long). Instead, if you think your connection is genuinely interested in that specific post, go ahead and send a personal message and share the direct link to capture their thoughts on it. If you’re lucky, they’ll even engage with the post itself, increasing its overall value and visibility within the newsfeed.

If you want to take a safer route, you can always end your social posts with a question, encouraging your followers to answer and leave a comment. More comments lead to a higher value for your social post, leading to more visibility on the newsfeed.

Hashtags Are Powerful (If Used Correctly) That’s right – hashtags are a thing on LinkedIn and will continue to be a thing as the years go by. Just like you would on other social platforms, you can “follow” hashtags on LinkedIn if you’re interested in a certain topic.

Keep in mind, this doesn’t mean you should go crazy with hashtags in every single post you publish (which many assume is the key to going viral). When viewers see your post on their newsfeed where more than half the actual post is just hashtags, chances are it’ll look “spammy” to them, and they won’t bother engaging with it (which lowers the posts “value” in the algorithm, decreasing it’s overall visibility).

Instead, I recommend using a maximum of three highly relevant hashtags. The more relevant the hashtags are, the higher the chance that someone who comes across it will legitimately be interested in the content.

For example, take a look at the search results for #trending or #facts. You’re going to see posts from essentially anything and everything. Instead, use something more specific to the piece of content you’re pushing.

One of the best ways to use hashtags is when you use them to promote a specific social campaign your company may be promoting. Of course, this is much, much easier to pull off for big brands, but the whole idea is that the hashtag is directly associated with a specific topic or thought.

Regardless of who searches for the hashtag, they’re going to see exactly what they’re looking for.

One real-world example of this is Coca Cola’s #ShareACoke campaign. Take a look at the video below to learn a little more about how the use of a hashtag had a major impact on overall sales and brand visibility.

What Else?

These are just a few ways you can stay competitive in LinkedIn’s newsfeed, but there are many, many more unique strategies you can take to push even harder.

Let’s face it – we’re all investing a lot of time creating powerful, meaningful content – but are we really getting it in front of the right people?

As you start implementing these little tips and tricks as you promote your content, you’ll begin to start seeing your content getting the visibility it truly deserves.

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