Remember when bell bottom jeans were all the rage? Or when going to a rave was the height of hedonistic indulgence? Or when Friends aired for the first time?
All three of these things are distant memories now. Even Friends could only air for the first time once, though the show has proven to be a mainstay ever since.
The point is that things come and go. And organic social media is one of those things. Its heyday is also now firmly relegated to the past.
Except when it comes to LinkedIn.
Learn how the LinkedIn algorithm works
LinkedIn offers paid advertising programs just like any of the other social behemoths. But, in a talent or job-seeking scenario, it’s not necessary to make use of these paid opportunities. (We’re not denying the benefits of working with the LinkedIn platform to pay to advertise roles. In this post, we’re speaking about learning to use LinkedIn in an organic way to drive benefits.)
The key is to spend a bit of time getting to know how the LinkedIn algorithm works. Then, make sure you put that knowledge into consistent use.
Of course, job seekers and employers are two different types of people. Yet both types can gain brilliant value by being using the LinkedIn algorithm to their advantage.
This social media platform still delivers a lot of organic value. If you know how to use it!
The tips below all work with the LinkedIn algorithm. They’re not tips for online social etiquette. However, it turns out that being a good social media citizen helps a lot with getting LinkedIn to work for you.
- Be consistent - we’ve already mentioned this point above. If you’re looking to make LinkedIn work for you, then make sure you’re committed to being a consistent user on the platform. You don’t have to spend hours a day posting content, and engaging with other people’s content, but you do need to be active on a frequent basis. Investing a few minutes of your time on LinkedIn regularly will pay off. Gary Vee’s $1.80 method, initially devised for Instagram, provides a useful template for how to use LinkedIn too.
- Create content that is varied - think of user experience (UX) here and you’ll win every time. We all enjoy variety. You’ll see higher reach and engagement figures when you post a combination of written content, images and video on your LinkedIn profile. Also take the varied approach to the messaging in your content. If you’re a UX professional, for example, keep your focus on UX. But vary your content around case studies of good UX, comment on current UX trends, reference UX thought leaders etc. It’s a well-known saying, but it turns out that keeping “variety is the spice of life” top of mind when interacting on LinkedIn works.
- Keep your links in the comments - this is one of the more technical elements around learning how to work best with LinkedIn’s algorithm. Any social media platform wants to keep its users’ eyeballs on it for as long as possible. There are some sinister overtones to this development of an attention economy. However, it needn’t be all bad if you’ve developed a network of high quality individuals who produce smart content. If you’re posting an update on Linkedin that references a blog you’ve written, or to a mention you may have in an industry magazine etc., do this in the comments section. The algorithm will immediately work more in your favour for keeping the main body of your post link free.
- Remember that building a community matters - the advice to engage with your network has been shared so often that it’s easy to ignore. Be warned that you do so at your own distinct disadvantage. When you realise that LinkedIn’s algorithm rewards your engagement with your network by putting extra power into promoting your content, you suddenly understand why liking, sharing and commenting on other people’s content is a strategic move. LinkedIn favours users create a community.
- Think carefully about the connections you make - many LinkedIn users might think that the way to use the platform to its best advantage is to make as many connections as possible. While building a network is no doubt an important part of using LinkedIn well, simply firing out connection requests is not a clever move. Not only does this send a suspicious signal to LinkedIn’s algorithm, it can also harm your content efforts. This is because LinkedIn sends any new content you post to a small section of your network once you post it. How this small section, considered a “test audience”, reacts to your content is then evaluated to see whether your content receives any further push. If you’re building a network by sending out multiple connection requests, with little to no relevance, you’re probably not doing yourself any good if you have no idea how these connections will react to your content. In a nutshell, the way your “test audience” reacts to your posts will determine whether the LinkedIn algorithm serves them to any additional people in your network.
- Customise your LinkedIn URL - we’ll be upfront and say that there’s no evidence to back up that having a customisable URL keeps the algorithm happy. However, it takes two minutes to change your LinkedIn URL to something much more reflective of you and without all the clumsy numbers after your name. Since this is only a two minute time investment, it’s a branding opportunity to be taken advantage of. Click on the “Me” icon underneath your photo in the top right hand corner of the LinkedIn interface and then click on the “Edit your public profile URL” on the right hand side of your page. Or click on this link for instructions.
Employers, LinkedIn and the passive jobseeker market
Employers reading this post might think that the only way they can use LinkedIn is by setting up a company page.
It certainly would be remiss to be an employer and not have a company page. However, using a company page is just one way to make LinkedIn work for you if you’re an organisation.
Each team member you have working within your organisation; no matter whether you’re the smallest SME or a massive Fortune 500 corporate player, represents another chance to use LinkedIn in a smart way.
A lot has been written on the passive jobseeker market.These are high quality candidates who are not actively looking for a job at the moment. As such, job adverts are hardly likely to attract this audience.
Keep your company page going, but make sure that your staff are also using the tips highlighted above in their own profile updates. The network, and the secondary network, that they’re part of could be filled with passive jobseekers who’ll interact with a post made by an individual. Or, at least, they’ll start building a picture in their mind’s eye of your company. In time to come, they could be an ideal talent hire for you.
Brand champions and employer marketing
We’ve spoken before on the value of turning staff into brand champions. Adopting this type of policy means you’re playing the medium to long term to build up your employee brand in the eyes of potential quality candidates. It also means that you’re at the cutting edge of recruitment best practice. And LinkedIn can help you every step of the way.