This week on the podcast I talk about LinkedIn with Cathy Wassell.
Cathy is a marketing strategist with 20 years' experience who now specialises in social media marketing, strategy and paid ads. She runs her social media consultancy Socially Contented and her Facebook group for small business owners. She lives and breathes social media and what little time there is left in the day she spends chasing around after her two children and two mad spaniels.
I have been really keen to talk about LinkedIn for quite some time. It’s a platform that is really growing in popularity and evolving. It’s not a boring and stuffy corporate site anymore, it’s actually becoming a lot more sociable and people are engaging more with each other than ever before. When I was at Social Media Marketing World in San Diego in March, LinkedIn came up time and time again as the platform to get involved with.
I joined LinkedIn a looooong time ago when I was a Management Consultant. For many years I saw it as being good for one of only three things. Either to snoop on someone to see what job they had / their career history. Or, I would go there when I was recruiting to see if I could find out a bit more applicants. Or, I would go there to look at the advertised jobs. Dull.
Never would have I considered it to be a ‘social’ platform as I saw nothing sociable about it at all!
But that is changing.
Cathy’s explained to me that she likes LinkedIn because it’s somewhere that she can have really good conversations. Whilst it’s still more serious than some of the other social media platforms (it’s not likely that you’ll be watching viral cat videos) it’s not a place where people only talk about boring topics like tax either! (no offence if you love tax!).
Here are some of the top discussion points with Cathy…
Using Video on LinkedIn
Uploading native videos to LinkedIn is still relatively new and it’s proving really popular. What we’re seeing at the moment, according to Cathy, is video getting a lot of reach and people are finding engagement levels are high with video content. The algorithms are working in favour of video!
Similar to Facebook, a lot of people do not watch LinkedIn videos with the sound on. So, a top tip is, if you are uploading videos to LinkedIn, put subtitles/captions on.
Personal Profile or Business Page?
Quite similar to Facebook, business pages do not get as much traction on LinkedIn as personal profiles. It’s okay to post from both, but you really must post from your personal profile vs business page if only doing one.
Some people bypass business pages completely, there is nothing wrong with doing this but you do need a business page to advertise on LinkedIn (again…similar to Facebook).
If you have a business page and you have employees, try and get buy-in from them to share all of your business page posts.
Optimise your profile
Make sure that your profile is a strong as possible before you put any effort into gaining traction on LinkedIn.
Optimise your LinkedIn profile as best you can because your profile is extremely important on LinkedIn, more so than it is on any other social platform.
What to post
Cathy explained that she has seen long form status updates doing well, for example, 10-15 lines updated.
Top tip: The first 3 lines of text are always shown in the feed followed by ‘see more’, so the good way to get people to click on ‘see more’ is to consider the first three lines as a teaser for the post…don’t give away the answer or your point straight away. The more people who click on ‘see more’, the more popular your post will appear to the algorithm, and the more people will see your post…(again…similar to Facebook!). It is all a popularity contest.
LinkedIn doesn’t like links, so don’t just put a link to your blog and leave it there. The algorithm will penalise you and restrict your reach. As a workaround, you can put a link in the first comment and in your post state “Link in the first comment”.
LinkedIn is no different to any other social media platform…it’s all about getting engagement! Asking questions is a great way to get engagement because you’re inviting a response (don’t ask, don’t get!). The more interesting or the more controversial…the more responses you are likely to get.
Janet Murray, who I spoke to on the podcast episode 23, has a real knack for getting engagement on LinkedIn. We talked about this briefly on the podcast. Something that she does really well is ask questions that are highly likely to get a response. Perhaps because they will polarize viewers, or just because they are fun or insightful.
Repurposing blog posts
I asked Cathy what the best practices are for publishing blog posts from your own site onto LinkedIn. Here is a video trailer of the episode where we're discussing this topic:
We talked about how you should always try and leave a few weeks between publishing on your own site and publishing on LinkedIn, this enables Google (and other search engines of course) to rank your website as being the original source. If you want to learn more about this click here for my interview with Yva Yorson on blog syndication.
You can write a long form post about your blog post and post it as a status update – putting the link to the post on your site in the first comment. This is a good approach because you can try and get a conversation going about your article.
Or, write an article in LinkedIn articles. You can copy and paste the entire post, but Cathy’s tip is to change the title.
Of course, it’s not either/or, you can do both!
Repurposing video content
I asked Cathy about her tips for repurposing video content, for example, putting videos that your uploaded to YouTube onto LinkedIn.
Top tips were don’t put really long videos on LinkedIn (over 20 minutes is a no). Burn captions onto your videos because sound is often turned off on LinkedIn.
Consider chopping up your longer video into shorter videos. For example, if you record a video providing ten top tips, consider chopping it up into ten short videos and put a video series on LinkedIn.
Visual content on LinkedIn
LinkedIn is not really a visual platform. Interestingly, unlike Facebook and Twitter, plain text posts do really well on LinkedIn. They have even been known to do better than posts with images.
People are more prepared to digest information on LinkedIn. They don’t have a ‘tell me this second or I am bored’ mentality (like Twitter!).
That said, adding visuals that grab attention can be impactful, but only for certain posts.
If you are going to post images, Cathy’s top tip is to not post 5 images! Post less or more because if you post more than 5 you will get the ‘see more’ button (and if people click it, that is good as it send out an ‘I’m popular’ message to the alogorithms).
It’s all about testing. What works for you. Most importantly, what works for your audience.
There is a huge amount of potential on LinkedIn to connect with the people you want to connect with. You need to create a strong profile – in particular pay attention to your headline and have a decent (and appropriate/on-brand) photograph of yourself.
Build your connections and send personal messages when asking to connect with people. Think strategically about who you want to connect with, then look at who does business with them, and so on.
When you post content it’s all about being sociable. Ask questions and engage. Also. Test. Test. Test. Only by testing will you work out what works best for you and your audience.