Few things are more frustrating than writing the perfect post on LinkedIn only to hear crickets — that is, silence — instead of receiving the engagement you wanted. Maybe you experienced this and concluded that LinkedIn is not worth your time. Maybe you are just skeptical about how LinkedIn could possibly help you. Regardless, my aim is to show you, through my own experience, that LinkedIn is an extremely valuable tool in your toolbelt if you are intentional about how you use it and how you measure its effectiveness.
Value in Passive Social Media Engagement
While there are best practices to ensure maximum reach for your post, engagement metrics — likes, comments and shares — do not tell the whole story because they do not indicate how many people read your post. Most LinkedIn users read content without liking, commenting or sharing. Maybe you have. I have. This means that if you stay consistent on LinkedIn, many people will read your content, find it helpful and begin to see you as a leader in your field — but you will have no idea.
LinkedIn provides a way to see how many times your post is seen in the feed of its users. Under your post is a small bar chart. Next to it are the words “X views of your post in the feed.” This metric shows how many people have seen your post. Clicking on the text gives additional metrics, including the employer, title and metro area of the people who have viewed your post. It is likely that not all these people read your post in its entirety, but a small number certainly did, and my own LinkedIn activity proves this.
My Story on LinkedIn
Since I increased my LinkedIn engagement in 2020, there have been multiple times each month when people tell me they enjoy my posts and find them helpful. In most of these cases, the people telling me this never engaged with any of the posts through likes, comments or shares. However, the single biggest proof that this passive engagement is valuable is that I was offered my position at Jaffe in part because of my LinkedIn activity. The process went something like this:
- A now-colleague shared an article like this one on LinkedIn.
- I left a meaningful comment about why someone should read the article and it caught her eye.
- She saw I was a fellow legal marketing professional and looked at my profile.
I did not learn of the impact of this series of events until after I was hired. The reason I am writing this article can be traced back, in part, to the fact that I engaged on LinkedIn, but it was not that single moment that was important. Just like when climbing a lighthouse, no single step is the most important for reaching the top. Do not expect immediate results by engaging on LinkedIn only once.
A Step-by-Step Guide to Increasing Your LinkedIn Engagement
Before you commit to increasing your LinkedIn activity, make sure your profile represents you well. This is another topic for another day, but a few quick things to focus on include:
- Complete your headline (the words next to your name) so it includes more than the default of your title and employer.
- Complete your summary. Think of this as your introduction if you were to meet your ideal client at a conference.
- Build out your experience section to showcase your unique qualifications for the types of work you want to handle.
Once you are ready to use LinkedIn for your personal content marketing, here are a few easy-to-remember tips for success. First, CHART a new course on LinkedIn by being:
Consistent. Spend a small amount of time on LinkedIn every week; even 10–15 minutes a week is okay at first. Figure out a time that works for you and stick to it as much as possible. Schedule the time if you need to, since engaging on LinkedIn will never seem a high priority in the short term. When you miss your time one week, cut yourself some slack and commit to getting back to it next week.
Helpful. The temptation is to be self-promotional, but that is a turnoff. Instead, strive to give value to those in your network.
Authentic. Do not pretend to be someone you are not. Post and comment in a way that is authentic to your personal brand.
Relatable. Avoid jargon as much as possible and write in language that is easy to understand.
Timely. Give relevant advice that your target audience can put to work immediately.
Once you’ve established your schedule, voice and style, here are three Cs that will help your engagement grow.
Comment: Make a point to leave one or two meaningful comments on other people’s posts every so often. What is a meaningful comment? Think of it as adding your opinion. Comments like “Congratulations” or “Great article” don’t count. It is better to engage in a meaningful way with a few posts than to leave many surface-level comments. If it’s a former co-worker’s work anniversary, tell a story about a memory. If it’s an article someone shared, talk about something you learned from it, or how it was useful to you.
Connect: Do a little searching and reach out to people you know with requests to connect. Good connections include co-workers, past co-workers, people you went to school with (especially law school), clients and others in your industry. By consistently adding to your connections over time, you will see a substantial increase in your professional network.
Content: Determine what you want to be known for. Ideally, the content you share (original to you or not) should be helpful to your ideal client. At first, do not pressure yourself to generate content. A great way to start posting content is to find good articles and share them. When you do this, provide your thoughts (two or three sentences) on why you are sharing. Something like, “This article provides great tips about handling XYZ and is especially important for people facing ____________.” Remember to focus on being helpful. Do not get salesy! This is the very thing I did with the now-colleague’s article I mentioned above that helped land my position at Jaffe.
LinkedIn is more of a slow roast than a microwave meal. Do not expect to receive overnight success from your LinkedIn activity. Winning with LinkedIn requires sustained effort over time to lead to positive results. So yes, pay attention to your analytics, but do not assume that LinkedIn is not working for you just because your posts are not getting the engagement you want.
If you need help developing a LinkedIn strategy, please contact me, Chris Moyer, at firstname.lastname@example.org.