How to hack the LinkedIn Algorithm in 2020
LinkedIn is the most-used social media platform amongst Fortune 500 companies.
A statistic from LinkedIn’s Marketing Solutions Blog that should definitely peak your interest.
According to SimilarWeb, LinkedIn received over 1 billion visits in May 2020.
With an average time on site more than 7:30 mins and an average of 6.93 pages per visit,
I cannot stress enough on the growth trajectory Linkeind is on and this serves as proof that LinkedIn is the place to go to reach your ideal customers and clients.
Let’s take a Step Back. If we really understand how the platform works, we can better understand the algorithm. Start with the why and everything makes sense.
I always like to look at the company’s vision, values, and “why” statement to get a better understanding of their actual workings:
By nature, Linkedin in a social media platform that encourages conversations and prides itself on connecting professionals to better work together and grow their careers/ business.
The LinkedIn Algorithm >> How does LinkedIn make money?
LinkedIn currently has 2 revenue streams. 1. Premium accounts and 2. Ad Manager.
LinkedIn reported revenues of $7.9Billion in the last 12 months.
With over 690+ Million users in over 200 countries,
186M+ from North America, 157M+ from Europe, 185M+ From Asia Pacific, 101M+ from Latin America, 59M+ From the Middle East and Africa
1. Premium Accounts: A user will only pay for a premium account only if there are profiles to be viewed. Profiles will be viewed if the users update their profiles
A total of 39% of LinkedIn users pay for LinkedIn Premium, which has four very useful offerings.
- Career: ₹1,400.00* / month
- Business: ₹1,900.00* / month
- Sales: ₹3,900.00* / month
- Hiring: ₹5,000.00* /month
*Prices when billed annually
2. Ads: 80% of B2B leads are attributed to Linkedin when compared to all social media channels. Ads on LinkedIn can only be shown to users that are scrolling the app and engage with the ads being served to them either in the feed or their inbox. Quality of ads and their relevance is something LinkedIn has taken very seriously.
Linkedin advertising is super expensive only because of the highly targeted campaigns they offer. Any performance marketeer will talk highly about the targeting and reach of LinkedIn but, will hesitate to add it in the media mix as it will eat up all his/her budget.
The operating majority (of users) or Free users on the platform, around 60% need to be incentivized for using the platform and increase the time and engagement on-site for their followers so that advertisers and premium users can use the services, thereby making sure LinkedIn earns money.
The most important factor for LinkedIn then should be and is the USERS/ Content creators on its platform.
So, what is LinkedIn really selling?
Just like Google, Facebook, Instagram, and every other platform/ market place, YOU are their commodity, you are their product and you drive their sales and revenues. Self-branding is a thing, yes it exists.
So, What’s in it for the FREE User? Why would users willingly want to be exposed to ads? what’s the hook?
The LinkedIn Algorithm >> What it looks like
The LinkedIn Algorithm >> Where do you find content?
The primary driver of users wanting to be on LinkedIn is the shared sense of contributing to the community, exchanging ideas, and better self-branding to communicate your views and insights to the business circles you are or want to be present in.
LinkedIn has evolved into a place where users get information for free and can exchange ideas, build connections with like-minded humans, and reach the right audience: i.e. colleagues, marketing managers, HR managers, or Business owners.
There are 5 main pillars that drive LinkedIn content, add value to the free users which ensure the entire model runs smoothly:
- Messages (Inbox)
- Newsfeed used for entertainment and staying up to date
- Learning from Publishing, information exchange
- Groups and Hashtags
- Jobs and Opportunities to find businesses
Once we get a grasp on this, the logic behind the algorithm makes sense. This is exactly why LinkedIn lets users post all kinds of content thereby keeping users engaged on the platform for longer.
The LinkedIn Algorithm >> The Secret
If you’re still here, you’ve probably figured it out.
If the number of users signing up and sharing content (ideas and insights) and in private messages goes up, the higher the chances of people paying for premium accounts. The longer you keep users on the platform, the more ads LinkedIn serves its users and the more money it makes.
It’s in LinkedIn’s best interest to show users content that keep them on the app and make them use the platform as much as possible. You become a positive contributor to LinkedIn’s revenue. So how does LinkedIn ensure the quality of content while incentivizing you and ensures the content quality is maintained…
There are 2 main barriers/ filters/ checkpoints to cross the threshold and break out as organic viral content.
- Relative content that engages.
- Get passed the LinkedIn wall.
The LinkedIn algorithm understands data. What that means to a user is, how relevant your content to the people following you/ engaging with you. What is the percent of engagement and time spent on your post? Once your content is approved by the niche you are in, it then has the potential to reach more audiences.
If you just post something every day and it has no engagement, you’re never going to reach a large set of audiences/ go viral.
LinkedIn needs to ensure that the content in the newsfeed is rich and makes the user come back to the website. A simple and effective way to get passed the LinkedIn wall, is to ask questions or ask people to tag others that would find this piece of content useful. Increase your chances by using a hashtag and you suddenly have a high probability to have a great organic reach.
The LinkedIn Algorithm >> Practical Execution: What to do to increase your reach organically
1. Be Relevant
If content is KING, relevance is the kingdom. To make yourself or your business seen, you’ve got to engage more, post more, share more, and comment more. Think about why would people follow you? What is your edge and what do you want to be known for. Use relevant hashtags (not more than 5) to leverage your content to reach the right audience.
Tag others who are within your industry and more likely to share your content and engage in the conversation.
While text is great, remember the rule book for the algorithm – more time engaging with your post. Posts with images get twice as many comments as text posts, and videos are five times more likely to get comments. Video is the going to be the driver of the majority of the content across all channels. Linkedin has even started Live streams. If this isnt prrof enough – we dont know what is.
2. Go niche versus broad
This tip comes straight from LinkedIn. “We know from our data that members are more interested in going deep on topics they’re interested in,” explains Davies. “Consistently we see better conversation around niche ideas.”
The algorithm is set to first identify niche content based on your profile and interests. It learns and optimizes with every post and interaction. Produce content that adds value to your audience and come back to your page/ profile to learn something, every time you reveal an insight.
This can apply to your entire content strategy, all the way down to the hashtags you use.
3. Encourage engagement
The LinkedIn algorithm rewards *drum roll* engagement — especially posts that inspire conversations. The best way to start a conversation is with a question. Ask your audience to share their opinions or insights with you. Posting the right questions positions your brand as a thought leader and provides an opportunity to learn more about your audience’s interests. This also creates for a content strategy where you can create content on what your followers want to know more of.
What else drives engagement? Well, when Mark Zuckerberg said Video is the future, he knew what was up. Videos are the best way to engage any kind of audience. LinkedIn videos do incredibly well in this current algorithm. We’ll let you decide if selfie mode or landscape if your choice of shooting but – we feel that vertical videos do much better.
Rich Media > Text
Use high-quality images to grab your user’s attention. Image posts have 5X the reach as compared to a regular text-based post.
Get a few Comments in the first 40 minutes
Fresh Meat, We mean Fresh content has the highest probability to go viral. Set a process to get 5-10 comments in the first 40 minutes of your post going live. The LinkedIn algorithm really loves comments. And if you can manage to get human’s tagged in the comments, even better.
4. Optimize with LinkedIn Analytics
LinkedIn Analytics lets you play around and better understand which posts are performing better than others. Check the time you posted the content piece or used a specific call-to-action/ hashtag, was it a link to site or about a certain trending topic.