A couple of weeks ago, newsletters, social media bloggers, and google alerts everywhere started lighting up as LinkedIn shared that it’s updating its algorithm.
Why the change?
“More and more people are using the feed and giving feedback to their network’s posts: our members generate tens of millions of viral actions (likes, comments, and reshares), and the number is increasing more than 50% YoY. However, we found that these increases weren’t equally distributed. In fact, at the beginning of 2018, we were in danger of creating an economy where all the gains in viral actions accrued to the top 1% power users, while the majority of creators who don’t receive much feedback were receiving less than ever.”
Simply Put: LinkedIn’s feed was becoming a “rich get richer scenario,” favoring business “celebrities” and super posters like Bill Gates, Arianna Huffington, and Richard Branson. So, LinkedIn’s engineers are putting on their tights, going a bit Robin Hood and his merry men, and adjusting the feed to spread the wealth. (not really, but isn’t that a fun image?)
Of course, the reason they want to help Kim Average isn’t entirely selfless. You see, when Kim and all of her friends receive more action from posting their content on LinkedIn, they’ll be on LinkedIn more and more, and that’s great for the platform and its shareholders. (a win-win for LinkedIn and users)
So how will the feed change?
Essentially, LinkedIn is adding components to its algorithm that reward content creators (they refer to them as ‘audience builders’) as opposed to just displaying the most engaging content to maximize response.
So, you’re more likely to be rewarded for showing up consistently and creating valuable content as opposed to having just one status “pop.”
How Can You Use This To Your Advantage?
This algorithm update is all about creating more of a discussion on the platform. So, naturally, you want to include tactics in your content that that facilitate engagement and dialogue:
- Use mentions
Tagging other folks in your status tips your hat to LinkedIn and to those members to comment on your content—something LinkedIn is looking for. So don’t be shy in doing this. But, also be strategic with it. We’ve all been on the receiving end of a tag where you’re listed among 50 other individuals about content that really has nothing to do with this. People see it for what it is: a quick trick and not genuine engagement.
- Use hashtags
This algorithm is favoring people who specialize in specific topics or industries. By tagging your content with things like “#SmallBusiness” or “#Accounting” or whatever else is relevant to your expertise, your content stands a greater chance of being displayed to individuals interested in that subject matter. This is GREAT! Talk about tapping into a stream of perfect prospects propelled by the power of LinkedIn’s algorithm.
- Share opinions and ask for them too.
Again, this update is to promote and facilitate CONVERSATION. The days of posting generic quotes or links to articles with no context or conviction are waning. Provide value to your audience. Don’t just post something, help people understand WHY it’s important to them (I really can’t emphasize this enough).
The more things change, the more they stay the same…
I want to stress that LinkedIn, like any social media platform, will continue to evolve and change its algorithm. While it’s fun for folks like me to nerd out and follow these updates, ultimately, smart branding will always win.
Getting clear on EXACTLY who your prospects are and the pain they are feeling and creating content that helps guide them from where they currently are to where they most want to be is CRITICAL.
Fortunately, this algorithm favors going an inch wide and a mile deep. So, stop being a generalist! Get clear about your brand’s value proposition and communicate that.
Additionally, even if LinkedIn’s algorithm democratizes the distribution of content in the feed, you only benefit if you consistently create content.
I can’t emphasize how important it is to make content creation a habit.
A few tips:
- Block and tackle
Creating content every single day sounds can feel incredibly overwhelming. Do what I do—schedule about 1 hour or 2 every week to create your content for the next week or two. I promise you, when you start doing this, content creation will become easier and easier.
- Treat content as an opportunity to get re-connected to your purpose
When I work with students in the Influence Academy (especially serial entrepreneurs), they tend to ask me if they can outsource their content creation. I strongly advise against this. It’s YOUR wisdom and face people want to see. And while you can certainly hire graphic designers, videographers and video editors, and copywriters to help you, the core ideas and language should come from YOU. I invite you to take this time as an opportunity to get re-connected to those early days in business where you had a million ideas firing at all times about how you can help people. View it as a creative release instead of just one more thing to do.
- Remember you will always win from content creation. Unlike any other business-building activity, creating content helps you land new clients, and continually boosts your brand on a far grander scale than even large speaking engagements can. We’re talking about a platform that has over 500 million users! Do not sleep on this.
Again, remember that despite algorithm updates, the key to success is the same as any other social media or marketing initiative—know who you’re showing up for, provide value that helps solve their problem, and do it consistently.