I’ll be honest. I consider LinkedIn a necessary evil.
I don’t have my push notifications on and I don’t check out what’s going on in there even half as often as Twitter (which, for me, is about 1/10th as often as Facebook.)
However, the platform made some significant improvements in 2018. In fact, I’m actually looking forward to using it more in 2019. Crazy, I know!
LinkedIn has made huge updates to Groups, rolled out native video functionality for company pages, launched a Vimeo integration, and have even started dipping their toes into Stories.
So, with all that in mind, I wanted to build a strategy for my 2019 LinkedIn marketing.
I asked some of my friends to whom I look for LinkedIn advice for some tips because I know they get great engagement on their posts.
Below are six of the main components of my 2019 LinkedIn strategy based on my research combined with what these great LinkedIn marketers had to say.
The first four are centered around how to construct the perfect LinkedIn post.
- Write More!
You have 1,300 characters available to you on a personal LinkedIn post. It turns out, at least in this case, longer is better.
In fact, some people have reported their long-form updates receive 10 times more visibility than a short post or link to an article.
If you are going to link to an article Mark Rogers, marketing director at Carney, suggests doing two things:
“If you’re posting a link to a blog post on LinkedIn, do two things:
1) Provide value directly in the post itself. Before the link, write context about what it is and why people might want to read it. Write this in a way that tells a story and engages with your reader. If you keep them reading the post, they’ll be more likely to click through.
2) Lose the link preview. When you post a link, LinkedIn gives you the option to remove the preview. Do that. People see so many links on LinkedIn that they tend to ignore typical link posts. Removing the link preview is a bit counterintuitive, but it works to catch attention. People see that it’s not a traditional, boring link post and they’ll take a second to read what you wrote (as long as you follow step 1 above). You can also replace the link preview with an image or video.” – Mark Rogers, marketing director at Carney
It’s also recommended that you post the link to your content in the first comment, as shown above, instead of within the post. If you do this, remind your readers to check out the link in the comments so they don’t forget to look there.
This is because, like other social networks, the LinkedIn algorithm wants to keep people on LinkedIn (of course they do) for as long as possible.
Every time you publish a post on LinkedIn the algorithm determines whether your content shows up in the feed and how far of an audience it reaches.
By not including a link that would take users off of the platform, your content is more likely to be shown in your followers’ feeds. Content you post on LinkedIn should be optimized for engagement and not just to get people to click the link to content on your own website.
- Tag People in LinkedIn Posts
Once you’ve formatted the perfect post that provides value to your readers it’s time to tag people!
When you tag someone in a LinkedIn post, their connections and people who follow them will also see that content. Once a few people engage with the post it’s also seen by those people’s followers and connections.
This doesn’t mean you can just tag anyone in your post, though.
Stick to tagging people you’ve quoted or referenced in the content you are sharing. (hint hint: like I did with this article.)
Then, if there’s someone you’ve been talking to recently who you think would find the article particularly interesting, you can tag them as well.
Tread lightly with this though – not everyone will appreciate being tagged in this way.
You may want to start by sending a post directly to them with a message about why they’ll find it interesting and then if they’re receptive to this, continue helping them by tagging them in the next piece of content you share if it’s related to their interests.
In fact, Yisrael Friedenberg, linguistic engineer and chief branding officer at Expirit, recommends doing exactly this.
“What makes LinkedIn the most powerful networking tool of all time is not that you can go viral. Vitality is useless for most people on LinkedIn, because they will not make one single solitary dollar off of that attention.
All the money is to be made in the relationships you build on LinkedIn. They’ll become the clients and referral sources you need because they’ll actually know and like and trust you, which you can’t achieve by going viral once and getting a thousand likes on a post.
So instead of putting all of your attention on writing the post which will make you famous, focus on choosing people to build relationships with. Engage actively with their content. DM them. Schedule calls and meetups. [This is] how you take LinkedIn from being a popularity contest and turn it into a cash-generating machine.” – Yisrael Friedenberg, linguistic engineer and chief branding officer at Expirit.
- Use Hashtags to Get Discovered
LinkedIn users can follow a hashtag to get content on that topic in their feed even if they don’t follow specific influencers for that topic.
You may have noticed LinkedIn now auto-suggests hashtags when you post an update.
At first glance, their recommendation engine leaves a lot to be desired. I tend to see hashtags suggested by LinkedIn that are very broad or have very little, if anything, to do with what my post is about.
However, the suggested hashtags can give you some inspiration for what to include.
If you’re unsure which version of a hashtag to include, do a quick search for that topic in LinkedIn and you’ll be able to see the number of followers on that hashtag.
- Upload Native Video
In case you’ve been stranded on a deserted island for the past year, allow me to remind you: video is vital.
Like most other social platforms that want to keep you on their network for as long as possible, LinkedIn favors native video over links to external videos.
Native video means uploading a video file directly to the platform as opposed to simply sharing the link to a video which is hosted somewhere else, such as YouTube.
Here are a few great ways to include native video in your 2019 LinkedIn marketing strategy:
- Record a short video giving an overview of the content you’re sharing.
- Review a book or other piece of content and share your review.
- Share videos of client testimonials. (Not sure how to get clients to record one? Start here.)
- Do an overview of a product or platform and share a few tips or tricks.
- Create a teaser or trailer to a longer video or episode of a series.
- Build Company Influencers Not Just Your Company Profile
When LinkedIn company pages show up in search, Google previews up to 156 characters from your company description. While having a fully-optimized company profile page is important, you have to go beyond just posting as your organization to be successful.
People want to follow and connect with other people – not just brands.
In addition to uploading great native video to LinkedIn, Tammy Duggan-Herd has a detailed roadmap for how to leverage your internal influencers to expand your reach.
“My tip for 2019, don’t depend on your company profile for posting content on LinkedIn. People on LinkedIn, for the most part, follow people, not companies. So leverage your internal influencers (employees who have larger networks) to post your content. If you don’t already have internal influencers, choose someone to become your face on LinkedIn and work to build them up.
If you want to reach even more people, then you also need people to engage with (comment, like share, watch) these posts, ideally within the first 48 hours. Again, you can leverage your internal team for this, but keep your requests reasonable. While your social media presence may be a priority for you, chances are that it is not for your coworkers.
We choose one post per week that we want to amplify and ask that the whole company engage with it. This takes them less than 5 minutes and we see close to 100% follow through. These posts achieve 4x’s the reach of our other posts.” – Tammy Duggan-Herd, Ph.D
- Stay Up to Date with New LinkedIn Changes
With all the changes that have already come to LinkedIn in the past year, there is a lot to keep up with. I make sure to dive into each LinkedIn update and learn about it as much as I can.
I also follow people like those mentioned in this article to see what they’re doing on LinkedIn and learn from them.
One person I love to keep an eye on and from whom I draw inspiration is Christopher Penn, co-founder and chief innovator at Trust Insights.
I asked him what he was focusing on when it comes to LinkedIn in 2019 and he shared with me an important update LinkedIn is making to its developer program. All developers need to migrate to Version 2.0 of LinkedIn’s API and OAuth 2.0 before March 1, 2019.
Apps that have features like signing in with LinkedIn and sharing on LinkedIn will need to make this update. Platforms that allow users to manage LinkedIn company pages should pay close attention because access will be restricted to those participating in the LinkedIn Marketing Developer Program.
While this isn’t something most marketers need to tackle themselves if you are using a third-party app to publish to LinkedIn, advertise on LinkedIn, or manage your company page, you’ll want to make sure the platform you’re using makes the necessary changes to be added to the Marketing Developer Program.
Sound a little overwhelming? I thought so too so I asked Christoper what steps marketers should take.
“Steps for marketers to take: get better at tagging and attribution, and focus on the data you do get – traffic from LinkedIn to your owned media properties, measured with your web analytics software.” – Christopher Penn, co-founder and chief innovator at Trust Insights.
So, make sure you’re measuring traffic from LinkedIn to your own site and use tracking URLs when necessary. If you’re using a third-party tool to publish to LinkedIn, it may be worth reaching out to confirm they are planning to maintain their tool’s functionality. Otherwise, it might be time to search for a new social publishing tool.