• Duncan Strachan

PAYG Marketing Guide: Five things you should stop doing on LinkedIn right now

Updated: Mar 30, 2021

LinkedIn is unique among social networking sites.

There are 740 million members in 2021 according to Kinsta.

But only 3 million users share content on a weekly basis. That's only 1% of LinkedIn's 260 million monthly users sharing posts. Those 3 million users net the 9 billion impressions their content generates.

LinkedIn really is a land of opportunity.

Pre-March 2020 - I was as passive as the rest of the 737 million users on the platform.

If I made 10 posts a year I'd be lucky, and my content was all about 'me' (or promoting whatever company I was working for at the time).

In the last 12 months there were a number of things I stopped doing - which dramatically increased my engagement and visibility on the platform.

1. Treating my network like a walled garden

"That connection request isn't relevant" used to be my standard response when I received a connection request from someone I didn't know. I used to only connect with people I thought could help me in my career (i.e. marketing recruiters) or people I'd worked with previously.

It was an incredibly short-sighted approach.

Everyone has a network - and connecting with them can help you to reach more of the 740 million members on the platform.

A quick way to check how far your posts can potentially reach is by looking at how many 1st, 2nd and 3rd degree connections you have. You can do this using the search functionality on LinkedIn.

I have around 5,300 connections as of March 2021. So my reach on the platform is:

1st degree connections - 5,300 people

1st and 2nd degree connections - 743,000 people

1st, 2nd and 3rd degree connections - 715 million people

I'm close to being able to reach the entire network with a little over 5000 connections!

When I started connecting with people who liked and commented on my posts from July 2020 onwards - I really started to see the benefits. An engaged audience is so much more valuable than a passive one in terms of driving your own visibility and engagement on the platform.

They liked one of your posts and what you had to say, so they might like more of them. Every interaction with someone on LinkedIn is an opportunity - so make the most of it.

2. Not sending new connections an introductory DM

If you met someone at a networking event or conference - you wouldn't just exchange business cards and not utter a word. But that seems to be the standard approach for many on LinkedIn.

When I started connecting with people who liked and commented on my posts - I would send them a DM to thank them for connecting and supporting me with my content. I asked them if there was anything I could do to help them.

I realised it was key to try and add value before asking for anything in return (we're all so used to receiving that cold sales pitch in that opening DM, that we're all on our guard). I tried to flip it by surprising and delighting new connections with something they'd value.

What I offered to new connections changed as I became more experienced on the platform and I refined my approach. Initially, I could only send jobseekers a video post I'd made about optimising my job search. But I realised that offering LinkedIn advice was where the real value was for users across the board. After I'd produced my 22-page guide to driving post engagement on LinkedIn - I had something substantial and bespoke (as it was based on my experience) that could add real value.

It's proven to be a real icebreaker and has driven up my post engagement significantly since I posted it in November. You can access it here.

3. Producing long read articles

Nothing says "don't read me" more than the words '9 min read' on an article (note to self - keep this blog post short). Long read articles receive some of the lowest engagement figures of any posts I produce - and I'm sure time is a factor in all of this. 66% of users said they accessed LinkedIn on their mobile phones in a poll I ran last year - so your content needs to be quick and discreet to consume. Here's the breakdown of the post engagement I received across my first 100 posts:

4. Selling without adding value

My biggest discovery in the last 12 months? LinkedIn isn't a broadcast platform. It's a community and a social network. You need to build trust within your network - and the best way to do that is to add value for them. I've made over 150 posts on LinkedIn in the last 12 months - and 126 (84%) of them featured advice designed to help them - in interviews, in refining their CV, dealing with recruiters and driving engagement on LinkedIn. It's by consistently demonstrating that I'm trying to help others that my network reciprocates and supports me when I am posting about my consultancy services. You have to keep the scales in balance - it's a virtuous circle on LinkedIn.

5. Not supporting others

Engagement on LinkedIn does not grow in isolation - you need to be an active part of your network and support other people's posts and good causes (like supporting jobseekers looking for their next opportunity by commenting on their posts). That will drive the reciprocity and engagement that will lead to greater visibility on your own posts. I try to make meaningful comments on 4-5 other people's posts daily on LinkedIn. It encourages other people to support your content on the platform. The more we do things on LinkedIn without thinking "what's in it for me?" - the more our engagement will grow.

Connect with me on LinkedIn.

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