Making the most of LinkedIn
Getting the most out of LinkedIn is like developing your garden or orchard. It's not something that yields results instantly but with a bit of effort it can be a very useful tool.
This blog will look at how to use LinkedIn to build relationships. We will look at use of your personal page and your company page. In a previous blog we covered how to set up a company page, if you haven't seen this check it out here.
So, let's dive in.
Posting on LinkedIn
Thinking about trying to use LinkedIn effectively is often difficult to know where to start, what do you post on, who do you connect with, do you accept all invites, how often do you post so lets take them one by one.
How to use posts on your personal profile
Look at what is in your feed, what is of interest to you and your business, read the comments as well as the post. Start with the emojis but don't just like them all. This is the most commonly used emoji, to stand out to the person who wrote the post, consider using the other icons. Each use of an emoji on a post will increase reach, on a personal post by 2% and on a company post by 3 to 4%
When reading the comments look for those you agree with and click the emoji for the comment as well as the initial post. Look at the people who have comment and consider if they might be a useful connection and remember they might not be the end user but someone who can help you get there. Look for a comment you firmly agree with from someone you are hoping to connect with and add a comment, something along the lines of " (insert @name)couldn't agree with you more a great insight." Its important to include their name so they get a notification of your comment otherwise it might just get lost in their feed. Its also important to use at least 5 words in your comment for improved reach. Comments will elicit more reach than the use of an emoji 4 times more and up to 7 times more if in the first 2 hours of posting.
After this initial interaction with them, maybe over a couple of posts, then connect with them. I would recommend where possible connections as well as following, you cannot direct message, on the free version of LinkedIn, if you are only following the person. Again, there is debate about using the message function when connecting, I personally almost always use it. It gives you an opportunity to say why you want to connect. Keep it brief and DO NOT try to sell at this point. A brief introduction mentioning a person you have in common or something as simple as "I saw your great comment/ post on xxx and thought it would be great to connect."
Once you have the connection, always send a message in reply thanking them for the connection and if you can offering them something in return, so for me I always mention these blogs and the fact they or someone they know might find some of the advice useful. If you don't feel you have anything to offer before asking for something keep it light thank for the connection and maybe ask a question, E.G do they know of any great places to look for or network for investors.
Having made the connection take a look at their other connections as there might be similar people they know who could be a useful connection. You can always use the comment i believe we both know xxx in the message. This way you will rapidly increase your connections with like minded people, there is no point being connected to thousands of people that you have nothing in common with, but don't be too regimented in accepting invites some of my business leads have come from unexpected connections. The LinkedIn algorithm will share your posts with approx 20% of your connections initially and depending on how they respond will depend on how likely it is to appear in your other connections feeds, so connections to lots of irrelevant people will not improve your reach to potential customers/ investors.
How to use posts on your company page
Company posts are often a little more formal and sharing an article from another source or an invitation to check out a blog or celebrating a meeting, training session or new product you have put into a hospital. As with personal posts always include the name of the individual, if on LinkedIn and their company so this increases the chance of them seeing it and the chances of them liking or commenting on the post. ALWAYS include a call to action, E.G. check out the website to find out more or contact us if you are interested in trialling this product.
Try to keep consistency in your posts from the company page, anyone following Apple Orchard Marketing on LinkedIn (If you aren't already please do so ) will see the post to advertise these blogs always have the same layout so it hopefully becomes familiar and before reading it you know it's from us and likely to be about a blog. You are far more likely to engage with something you recognise.
Now lets consider the media you use, Some form of image, Gif or video will always get a better reach than just text alone, typically if it included people it's more likely to be engaging than product alone so consider an image of a customer with your product rather than product alone. Experiment with different media to see what gets the best reach. If using video think about only using a short section of the full video. This is for 2 reasons, people will only engage for a minute or two maximum then move on. If you have a call to action of drop me a DM or click the link to see the full video you have the persons contact details to be able to follow up with.
Remember the algorithm is looking for interaction or Dwell Time so to increase reach you need to keep the reader engaged. There are a number of ways to do this.
Use Articles instead of posts, make them engaging and of approx 1200-2000 characters
Make post long enough to need the ...see more to read the full article
Use video long enough to engage people but not so long you don't get your message across
Consider using the slide shows in LinkedIn for longer engagment
Difference between posts and published articles
How often to post
How often to post on LinkedIn Is a controversial topic, some people will say as much as you can, others find this frustrating Hootsuite recommend between 3-7 times a week, my personal recommendation, from managing company pages, is to aim at the lower end of this. It's easier to maintain and you are better posting 3 times a week regularly than 7 times in a week then nothing for the following 3 weeks.
LinkedIn recommend 4 times a week any more than 7 has a negative effect on the algorithm. Obviously you will be posting and sharing from your own profile also. Encourage other members of the company to engage but remember a comment on a company post from an employee rather than a share is more valuable to the algorithm. Being the first person to comment on your own post reduces its effectiveness. As does tagging a lot of people in the post who do not engage with the post. If you are unsure if they will engage consider tagging them in a comment (ideally not the first comment) as there engagement doesn't impact on the algorithm.
When to post
So having covered what to post and how often lets look at when to post.
Again there is lots of advice around this, I would say it depends if you are looking to connect with people in a particular geography, if not its always 12pm somewhere in the world! Try different times of day and see if you get a different reach, if you notice 11.45 on a Friday seems to have a good reach stick to using this time every week and vary the other posts. If your call to action is to go to the website, use the website analytics to see if posts at a particular time of day, day of the week increases the traffic to your site. Posts that have interaction in the first 2 hours will have an effect on the reach to the rest of your connections so consider this when choosing your timings
Following and connecting
As we have already discussed in the section on how to use posts in your personal profile connections are better than follows on your personal profile. For the company site you want to increase the number of followers. You can do this with a post with the call to action being to follow your company page. You can also invite your connections to follow your page. From the company page on the right hand side you will see an grow your followers, invite connections.
Clicking on the invite connections button will allow you to invite 100 connections a month to follow your company page. Its simple to do with a list of your personal connections and clicking the ones you want to invite to follow, no text to write just hit send and the invite to follow is automatically sent.
Here’s how invitation credits are used and earned:
Sending an invitation requires one credit.
When an invitation is accepted, the credit is earned back and is applied back to the Page’s balance.
When an invitation is rejected or withdrawn, the credit isn’t earned back. The credit is removed from Page’s balance.
So you can see from my company page above I have 2 of the 100 credits available as I have already invited my 100 earlier today and 2 have accepted so I can invite 2 more.
Any one who is admin to your page can invite thier 1st connections to follow the company page.
Using Hashtags #
We wrote an article on just this topic last week if you missed it check it out. Hashtags can be useful to reach people with shared interest who will value your insights and jump start conversations on a shared topic. You will have seen when you set up your company page you can follow hashtags that are relevant to your business and your interests. If you type #(topic) into the search bar in LinkedIn you will see how many followers this hashtag has. E.G #medtech has 41,442 but #medicaldevices has 477,604 so you will reach more people using #medicaldevices. There might be a reason to go for a much more defined hashtag such as #medtechinvestors you can see all the posts that have been made including this hashtag, great if you are looking for potential investment.
Use between 3 and 5 hashtags and try to keep some consistency in them. These should be at the end of your post to be best seen from an algorithm point of view. They are not case sensitive so use whatever makes them easier for your reader to read.
Consider creating a personal hashtag, we covered how to do this and what it should consist of in the LinkedIn Article
Lets finish with a couple of sneaky tips.
Using the audio!
You might have recently noticed a small speaker icon next to some peoples names in LinkedIn. This was included to help people who have difficult names to leave how their name can be pronounced. It can also be used to leave a 10 second pitch about yourself. This can currently only be done from the mobile app on only on personal profiles. Check out this post from one of my connections Ekat on how to do this. You can also add a 30 sec introductory video.
Make sure your employees are linked to your company page
As a start up you and other founders of the company might have added the job of founder to your LinkedIn profile before starting the company page. This will mean there probably isn't a link to your company page. If you don't see the company logo the link isn't there. Go back into your personal profile and edit. Delete the company name and re type as you type the company name it should come up with the company name and logo click on this and the connection is there. Don't forget to save! Now if anyone looks at your profile and wants to know more about the company there is a quick easy link.
I know this has been a lengthy blog and there is lots more to know about LinkedIn. If you want any help with maximising LinkedIn for you and your company drop me a line or get in touch