Among the myriad of social media options available to agencies, LinkedIn offers something unique: it’s business-focussed. Now, don’t confuse this with meaning ‘formal’. You absolutely should convey your personality on LinkedIn. But as a professional networking site, LinkedIn strips away the social nuances of mixing the business and personal realms. It’s focused on our professional lives.
This unique character is illustrated in LinkedIn’s user demographics. According to Sprout Social, its audience skews towards university-educated higher earners. Over half of university-educated folks (51%) use LinkedIn, and just under half of those earning £55,000+ has a profile on the site.
Put these key data points together and you’ve got the profile outline of a business decision-maker – and, as agencies, these are the people we’re trying to reach when pitching for work. Now, these conversations won’t happen magically, of course. Just because LinkedIn has a lower proportion of distracting hot takes than Twitter doesn’t mean your message won’t require some clever positioning and tactics.
”On social, no matter which platform, if you’re seeking organic engagement then you’re ultimately currying favour with an algorithm. These algorithms can be unthinking brutes, ruthlessly programmed to optimise the user’s experience and thereby to keep the punters coming back to the platform.
Let’s take a look at how you can make LinkedIn work for you when seeking new business opportunities.
The almighty algorithm
On social, no matter which platform, if you’re seeking organic engagement then you’re ultimately currying favour with an algorithm. These algorithms can be unthinking brutes, ruthlessly programmed to optimise the user’s experience and thereby to keep the punters coming back to the platform.
If the algorithm is indifferent to the content we’re putting out there, it’ll leave it languishing in the void. This can become dispiriting rather quickly. That said, it is a machine that’s been programmed to seek certain things. This can be boiled down to one KPI: engagement (i.e. how much your content gets clicked, shared or generally interacted with).
This is driven by the economic reality of LinkedIn’s business model: its two major revenue sources are selling data and ad spend. This means that LinkedIn’s commercial imperatives are simple: more people using the platform = more potential revenue for LinkedIn.
As a result, the LinkedIn algorithm will promote content that has high engagement. For you, the user, it’s a case of, for a lack of a better term, catching the algorithm’s ‘eye’. Two layers that get considered by LinkedIn in this process are:
- Your first-degree connections interacting with your content. If they do this frequently, LinkedIn will reward your posts by promoting them to the top of their Home Feeds. By default, the feed is sorted by ‘top’ not ‘most recent’ content. That’s why you sometimes see the same content over and over again.
- When your first-degree connections like or comment on your content it appears in their feed, meaning many 2nd/3rd/+ degree connections can now see it. If they interact, your post will be promoted again on home feeds of your extended network.
All my friends:
There are broadly two schools of thought on how best to facilitate this first, second and third-degree interaction:
Only connect with people you know (this may be as few as 100 people)
Accept invites from anyone and just focus on the number of connections. The more the better.
Bigger is better, right? Well, not necessarily. A smaller, more tight-knit group with high engagement is better than a big, highly diluted audience. LinkedIn rewards posts with a high engagement as a proportion of connections.
The volume will come as a result of your content being shared by others to their networks. And if your connections are relevant to you, then it’s more likely that shares of your content will reach other relevant people.
Win a Participation Trophy
There are other ways to break into the realm beyond your network contacts on LinkedIn. It is, after all, a social network. So get social. You can ‘meet’ folks with shared professional interests by taking part in the many conversations taking place across the network.
A good rule of thumb is to be deliberate. Block out 15 minutes of your day and chime in on relevant LinkedIn news feed posts and group discussions.
Not sure what groups to join? Reflect on what service you offer clients. If you’re an agency geared towards marketing and sales, you can identify relevant groups by searching for a few keywords or hashtags in the search bar. LinkedIn will surface relevant groups for you to peruse. Or just ask your peers in the Agency Collective for suggestions!
Interested to know more? Read the end of this article in the full guide, How to win new business in 2021. You’ll learn about making connections, advertising, and targeting on LinkedIn. It includes tips on social media and more advice from across the new business spectrum, including email marketing, client referrals, personal branding, sales pipelines and more. Download it below.