Editor’s Note: This is the second in a two-part series.
LinkedIn is one of the few social platforms that still allows your network to see your organic, unpaid content. It also is the single largest social platform focused exclusively on the business sector. So, if all you use it for is accepting the occasional connection request, it’s time to stop playing and get serious.
The size of your network is the most valuable part of LinkedIn and the key to leveraging the system. The problem is LinkedIn encourages us to only connect with people we know and trust, which contradicts how the site’s search engine works. It favors users with larger networks, which is why it pays to be a LION – a LinkedIn Open Networker, which means you’ve adopted a philosophy of being open to connecting with about any legitimate business professional.
LIONs can grow their network by joining groups. While typically you must indicate that you’ve worked with someone or you can provide their email address to request a connection, being in the same group allows you to request a connection without the hurdles.
Now let’s talk content, the key to forging relationships with your LinkedIn network. There are two options on LinkedIn – updates and articles.
Your updates will appear in the newsfeeds of people who are connected with you. If one of your connections interacts with your post, the people in that person’s network also have the opportunity to see your update. You can only use 1300 characters in an update, and only about 200 before a “see more” link appears, so this feature is designed for brevity. Target three to five status updates per week.
Since search engines don’t index status updates, it’s best to use a status update when you only want the information to reach the LinkedIn network. If you want a wider audience – or if you want to share a more detailed thought – consider posting an article.
Articles are designed for longer-form content and are visible to the search engines, making them more publicly accessible.
Typically, only 20 percent or less of your connections will have the opportunity to see your status update, and engagement drives more visibility. If more people engage with your update by liking, sharing or commenting, then LinkedIn will start showing your updates to other people in your network more often. If very few people engage with your updates, fewer people will see them in the future.
When you’re writing status updates, remember these tips for driving engagement. Including links and questions drives 45 percent and 50 percent higher engagement levels respectively. Posting in the morning between 9 and 10 am CT or right after the workday boosts engagement as well.
Consistently follow these best practices to take your LinkedIn efforts from amateur to pro.
Lori Turner-Wilson can be reached at www.redrovercompany.com.