For almost as long as I've been writing on the internet, I've been sharing my posts on LinkedIn. To be honest, I did so because it was easy. I just clicked on the little button above and that was that. I never expected many people to see what I wrote, because each update was only seen by a small fraction of my connections.
Then, I got an email from a long time friend Jon Hyman, asking if I wanted to learn the secrets of reaching more people on LinkedIn, as developed by his friend, Marc Alifanz. It sounded like one of those crazy late night advertisements for get-rich-quick schemes. But, what the heck, Jon and Marc are both lawyers, so I knew I could trust them.
I followed Marc's system and then tweaked it a bit for my own purposes. Here's how I added 5,000 new followers in two months and increased my update views from about 1000 views per update to 10,000 to 20,000 views per update.The increase in views happened from the very first status update I made using this method.
If you've spent any time on LinkedIn lately you've seen it. It looks like this
This is my status update
This thing happened and now I want to share it.
Here are details about my status. Blah blah, blah blah blah, blah blah, blah blah blah blah blah
If you've wondered why we've all reverted back to 7th grade English class assignments, it's because it works wonders on LinkedIn. Many people access LinkedIn on their smartphones and this is optimal for that. You want a whole sentence or whole thought to appear when someone is scrolling through their feed so they will click to expand it.
I thought Marc was a nutcase when he said this. Pictures are what draw people in! Well, maybe, but it seems to lower your chance being seen on LinkedIn.
No Outside Links
LinkedIn wants to keep you on their site, so they promote posts that keep people there, and push down posts that direct people off the site. This isn't official from LinkedIn, but it seems to work.
The solution Marc found was to put the link in the first comment. This works very well at getting people to view your status updates on LinkedIn and connect with you, but I found very few people were clicking through to my actual articles.
I really need people to click through, because, as a writer, if I can't get readers to read my stuff, it stops being a career and started being a hobby. So, this is where I broke from Marc's genius plan. Here's what I do:
I write my status update. I hit publish. Then I hit edit post and go in and add the link. LinkedIn then doesn't add a picture and I haven't seen a drop off in views since I switched to this method. I have, on the other hand, seen a big uptick in click-throughs to my articles.
Have a Few Friends
As soon as I publish an update on LinkedIn, I message a small group of people--5 or 6 of us in the group. They all like or comment (unless they don't like my post and are trying to be polite by not commenting). That early interaction pushes it into more people's feeds. Additionally, once you have one comment, you're more likely to get a second comment. Apparently, no one likes to be first, but everyone is happy to be third.
Content is Still Key
None of this stuff works unless you have good content. And my LinkedIn connections are a slightly different audience than the overall Inc. audience. My contacts on LinkedIn skew very strongly towards HR people, so I like to give things an extra HR spin to get engagement over there.
The personal does better than the practical at drawing people in, so I begin with the personal as much as I can. For instance, when I shared my Inc. article about Multi-Level Marketing company, LuLaRoe, I started with the following personal story:
Early in our marriage, my husband came to me and said, "We need to have a serious conversation."
I felt a bit panicky. A serious conversation about what? Was there something wrong?
He looked me straight in the eye and said, "I think we should promise to never, ever get involved in multi-level marketing."
That post got great engagement and I learned a lot about MLMs that I hadn't known before.
Don't Forget Your Own Engagement!
I've read other people say that to get the most views you should never, ever add comments to your own posts. Maybe they are right, but I'm all about building relationships, not just gathering eyeballs. I like people's comments, I reply to their comments, I speak up when I agree, and I speak up when I disagree.
Additionally, I go through my feed regularly and like and comment on other people's posts. I'm all about getting the conversation going.
So, this late night get-rich-quick scheme seems to have really worked, except for the getting rich part. It has, however, richly increased my LinkedIn engagement, brought me fabulous new connections, and given me lots of things to think about. It seems like a winning situation to me.