Decoding LinkedIn’s Algorithm: A Strategic Approach to Boost Visibility
Picture this: you’ve crafted a standout LinkedIn post for your business, crossed the Ts and dotted the… lower case Js.
You’re confident it’s chock-full of value and reflective of the top-tier services your business offers.
But then, instead of the flood of engagement you expected, there’s a discouraging trickle.
If it does, you’re not alone.
Many businesses, even those with a firm grip on their industries, grapple with this conundrum.
You’ve got the quality content and the professional credibility, so why then does it feel like your LinkedIn content is being “ghosted”?
LinkedIn’s elusive algorithm.
This silent operator behind the scenes decides who sees your posts and, crucially, who doesn’t.
It’s this gatekeeper that could be keeping your brand’s visibility under wraps.
So in this guide, I’m going to unpack this and strip away the mystery.
l’m going to deep into the inner workings of the LinkedIn algorithm, to arm you with the insights you need to strategise effectively and turbocharge your content’s impact, even if you’re not using LinkedIn Ads.
This is not just about having a presence on LinkedIn, it’s about mastering the platform and making it work harder for your business.
Remember, in the world of LinkedIn, you’re not just competing with businesses like yours.
You’re contending with every piece of content that vies for your target audience’s attention.
Which is why understanding the LinkedIn algorithm isn’t just helpful – it’s absolutely critical for your business.
So let’s crack this code together, shall we?
Demystifying the LinkedIn Algorithm
LinkedIn, similar to the likes of Meta and Twitter, relies on a complex algorithm to determine which content takes the spotlight on users’ feeds.
But this algorithm isn’t some mysterious concept.
Instead, it’s a robust system that ensures users receive content that aligns with their interests, interactions, and professional needs.
Now at this point, you’re probably thinking: “Okay, but how does LinkedIn decide what is valuable to a user?”
The answer is that it’s based on a wide mix of of signals that include relevance, engagement (such as likes, shares, comments), and timeliness.
The Intricacies of the Algorithm
While these signals might seem straightforward, they’re layered with complexity.
For instance, relevance isn’t merely about matching keywords between your content and the user’s profile or interests.
LinkedIn’s algorithm factors in the strength of your relationship with each viewer.
It considers your shared connections, interactions, and even your colleagues’ engagement with the content.
Engagement on LinkedIn isn’t simply about garnering likes and shares.
The algorithm looks at the depth and breadth of the conversation that your content initiates.
So, a post with a diversity of comments from different users can gain more visibility than one with a high volume of likes.
Timeliness, too, is more nuanced than it seems.
While it’s true that newer posts are more likely to show up on users’ feeds, LinkedIn’s algorithm also pays attention to when your audience is online.
Posting when your target users are active can enhance your visibility.
Quality: The Cornerstone of LinkedIn Visibility
In the land of LinkedIn, quality reigns supreme.
The platform heavily favours high-quality content that is relevant, provokes meaningful conversations, and resonates with your audience.
This focus on quality stems from LinkedIn’s mission to foster professional growth and facilitate informed discussions.
But what exactly does ‘quality’ look like?
Well, let’s dissect it:
Relevance: : Quality content on LinkedIn is relevant to your audience. It aligns with their interests, industry, or professional goals. It’s not about shooting in the dark; it’s about understanding your audience and crafting content that strikes a chord.
Engagement: Engaging content doesn’t just rack up likes. It starts conversations. It drives shares. It encourages users to tag their connections. Remember, engagement isn’t a one-way street. It’s about fostering a dialogue with your audience.
Value: Quality content offers value. Whether it’s an insightful blog post, a thought-provoking question, or a helpful tip, your content should enrich your audience’s LinkedIn experience. It should offer something that your audience can take away, learn from, or apply in their professional lives.
Authenticity: Lastly, quality content is genuine. It’s not about broadcasting salesy messages or churning out content for the sake of it. It’s about sharing authentic insights, stories, and experiences that resonate with your audience.
Now, there’s no definitive research indicating the exact percentage of your followers or connections who will see your organic content, like on Facebook or Meta, where the organic reach is often less than 1%.
However, LinkedIn experts often estimate that the organic reach on LinkedIn can be substantially higher, especially for posts that hit the sweet spot of relevance, engagement, and value.
This, combined with LinkedIn’s professional-oriented user base, makes LinkedIn an incredibly powerful marketing platform for organic growth.
The Two Sides of the LinkedIn Coin: Personal Profiles and Brand Pages
In the digital realm of LinkedIn, two main entities warrant your attention — the personal profile and the brand page.
It’s an ongoing debate in the B2B tech space and beyond: where should we channel our efforts?
The face of the company, represented by its leaders, or the company brand itself?
To cut to the chase, the most effective strategy often incorporates both.
The Power of Personal Profiles
The individual profiles of your company leaders are powerful tools on LinkedIn. Think about it: people connect with people. The CEO, Directors, or any other thought leaders in your company are perfect candidates to foster these connections.
Their posts can add a personal touch, voice opinions, share expert insights, and even tell personal stories, all of which are gold in the eyes of the LinkedIn algorithm. They have the potential to stir up engagement, provoke conversations and, consequently, achieve higher organic reach.
Moreover, individuals can join groups, participate in discussions, and direct message other LinkedIn users — actions that foster relationship-building and can help gain visibility in relevant professional circles.
Take Satya Nadella, Microsoft’s CEO, for example. He regularly posts thought-provoking insights and shares updates about the company’s latest initiatives. These posts not only garner significant engagement but also paint a picture of Microsoft’s vision and leadership, extending their brand influence.
The Significance of Brand Pages
On the other side of the spectrum, we have company pages. While it might seem that personal profiles steal the limelight, company pages are vital pillars of your LinkedIn presence.
Your company page acts as your LinkedIn headquarters. It’s the go-to place for users to learn about your business, your products or services, and your company culture. It’s where you share your official updates, achievements, and branded content.
Moreover, a well-maintained company page enhances your brand’s credibility, attracts potential employees, and can also serve as a touchpoint for customer service.
Striking a Balance: A Mix of Both
Given the unique advantages of both personal profiles and brand pages, a smart LinkedIn strategy often involves leveraging both. This doesn’t mean dividing your efforts equally, but rather using each entity for its strengths.
Encourage the leaders in your business to be active on LinkedIn, sharing their insights, engaging with their network, and fostering genuine relationships. At the same time, maintain an active company page that showcases your brand, shares updates, and serves as a touchpoint for your audience.
Remember, the goal isn’t to beat the algorithm but to create a well-rounded LinkedIn presence that communicates your brand story, engages your audience, and builds meaningful relationships. And in this quest, both personal profiles and brand pages have crucial roles to play.
Content Types – The Secret Ingredient to LinkedIn Success
Remember when you were told as a child not to put all your eggs in one basket?
That concept isn’t just for eggs.
It applies to your LinkedIn content strategy as well.
The platform thrives on variety, offering a range of content types to cater to the diverse tastes and preferences of its user base.
From short and sweet posts to in-depth articles, engaging videos, and interactive polls — LinkedIn has it all.
Each format has its unique appeal, and understanding when and how to use them can boost your visibility significantly.
Here’s a deeper dive into this idea:
The Short, the Long, and Everything in Between
On LinkedIn, you can dabble in different lengths of written content.
Short-form posts allow you to share quick thoughts, insights, or updates with your network.
These posts are typically a couple of sentences to a paragraph long and are excellent for engaging with your audience in a casual, conversational manner.
On the other end of the spectrum, LinkedIn’s long-form content, known as Articles, lets you delve deep into a topic.
You can write up to 125,000 characters, giving you plenty of room to share in-depth insights, elaborate thought leadership pieces, detailed tutorials, and more.
These articles can help you position yourself or your brand as a go-to resource in your field.
The Video Advantage
It’s no secret that video content is a powerful engagement magnet.
As humans, we’re naturally drawn to visual storytelling, making videos a hit across social media platforms, LinkedIn included.
Whether you’re sharing a behind-the-scenes look at your business, a product demo, customer testimonials, or an explainer video on a complex topic, videos can convey your message in an engaging, easily digestible format.
While the LinkedIn algorithm doesn’t blatantly favour video content, it’s observed that videos – published natively in LinkedIn vs sharing something housed on YouTube – often attract higher engagement rates – more likes, comments, and shares.
Given LinkedIn’s preference for engagement-rich content, this makes video a winning contender in your content mix.
Engaging with Interactive Content
Another engaging content type that deserves mention is interactive content like polls.
Polls are a fantastic way to drive interaction, gather insights, and stimulate conversations around relevant topics.
The Secret to a Winning Content Mix
The key to leveraging the power of content types lies in your ability to vary your content while keeping it relevant, valuable, and engaging.
Each piece of content, regardless of its format, should add value to your audience and align with your brand’s voice and message.
For instance, you could share a mix of industry news, company updates, success stories, thought leadership pieces, and personal insights.
You could present a data-driven report as a long-form article, share a quick tip or insight as a short post, conduct a poll to gauge industry trends, and use video to introduce a new product feature.
It’s all about knowing your audience, understanding what they find valuable, and delivering that value in diverse, engaging ways.
This versatility in your content strategy keeps your LinkedIn presence fresh, appealing, and, importantly, aligned with the algorithm’s preference for quality, engaging content.
Storytelling: A Powerful Tool for Engagement and Visibility on LinkedIn
When we talk about effective content on LinkedIn, or any social media platform for that matter, the power of storytelling is often highlighted.
But why is storytelling so important?
Simply put, we, as humans, are wired to respond to stories.
Stories engage us, make us think, elicit emotions, and most importantly, they stay with us.
In fact, science supports this. Neuroscientist Paul Zak’s research shows that hearing a story – particularly one that evokes emotion – causes our brains to produce oxytocin, a hormone that enhances empathy, and fosters trust and cooperation.
Stories have the unique ability to pull us in, connect us with characters, and engage us in a way that’s more profound and lasting than facts and figures alone.
Now, let’s delve into how storytelling can be incorporated into your LinkedIn strategy:
The Art of Business Narratives
Storytelling on LinkedIn isn’t about spinning a fictional tale; it’s about presenting your business journey, insights, or experiences in a narrative format.
As an example – rather than just announcing a new product, share the story behind its creation.
Take the audience on the journey your team embarked upon – the initial idea, the challenges encountered, the solutions discovered, and the final triumphant result.
This narrative engages the audience on an emotional level, fostering a deeper connection with your brand.
Imagine you’re a B2B tech business launching a groundbreaking software solution for the financial sector.
Instead of a straightforward announcement, you could share a LinkedIn post narrating the journey: how the need for such a solution was first identified, the brainstorming sessions, the late-night coding marathons, the testing, the setbacks, the breakthroughs, and finally, the joy of a successful product launch.
Unveiling the Human Side of Business
One of the most engaging stories you can share is the one about your clients or customers.
Have they overcome significant challenges using your products or services?
Have they achieved impressive success, thanks to your partnership?
These real-life stories not only showcase the value of what you offer but also humanise your brand.
They enable potential customers to see themselves in those stories, envisioning how your product or service can help them achieve similar results.
Interaction: The Key to Visibility
The crux of LinkedIn visibility lies in engagement or interaction.
When your story resonates with your audience, they’re more likely to react to it, comment on it, share it with their network – all forms of engagement that LinkedIn’s algorithm loves.
The more engagement your post gets, the more LinkedIn’s algorithm favours it, serving it to a wider audience.
And what better way to encourage engagement than by sharing stories that your audience can relate to, learn from, and find valuable?
So, take a moment to reflect on the stories within your business, your customers, your journey.
Each of these narratives is a powerful tool, ready to be harnessed in your LinkedIn content strategy.
Following vs Connecting: Does it Matter?
LinkedIn operates on a dual model of ‘connections’ and ‘followers.’
This can be a little confusing at first, particularly in terms of how each influences the visibility of your posts.
Here, let’s unpack the differences around LinkedIn connections and followers and how they tie into your overall visibility on the platform.
Connections: The LinkedIn ‘Friends’
When you add someone as a contact on LinkedIn, they become a ‘connection’.
Connections imply a more personal relationship – typically, these are individuals you know well or with whom you’ve had professional dealings.
They could be colleagues, friends, mentors, or even business partners.
Each connection automatically becomes a follower, meaning they’ll see your updates on their LinkedIn feed.
But while having a large network of connections may seem impressive, it doesn’t necessarily correlate with greater post visibility.
Followers: Your LinkedIn ‘Audience’
Now, let’s talk about followers.
These are LinkedIn members who’ve chosen to follow your updates without being directly connected to you.
They may have found your content valuable or insightful, prompting them to follow you, even though you’ve never interacted personally.
Why does having followers matter?
Followers can significantly boost your visibility on LinkedIn.
They can engage with your content, like, comment, and share your posts within their networks.
This engagement is noted by LinkedIn’s algorithm and can lead to your content being shown to a broader audience beyond your immediate connections or followers.
So, Connections or Followers?
When it comes to LinkedIn visibility, it’s not so much a matter of connections vs followers.
It’s more about the quality of your network and your content’s value.
A vast network of connections might seem ideal, but if these individuals aren’t interested or engaged with your content, their value for boosting your visibility is limited.
On the other hand, a smaller, more engaged follower base could significantly amplify your content’s reach.
They’re more likely to interact with your posts, boosting your content’s ranking in LinkedIn’s algorithm, and thus extending your visibility.
The bottom line?
Don’t solely focus on expanding your connections.
While a robust network is beneficial, cultivating a dedicated and engaged follower base should also be an integral part of your LinkedIn strategy.
By sharing valuable, relevant content consistently, you’ll naturally attract and retain followers, thus enhancing your visibility and influence on LinkedIn.
A Strategic Approach to Boost Visibility
With all these elements in mind, let’s wrap things up with a summary of a strategic approach to optimising your LinkedIn content for visibility.
To recap – it all starts with understanding your audience – their needs, challenges, and interests.
Once you know this, you can create content that provides value, sparks conversation, and encourages engagement.
Leverage the power of different content types, from blog posts to videos.
Use storytelling to create an emotional connection with your audience.
And remember, growing your follower base can be just as important as building connections.
The LinkedIn algorithm might seem like a mysterious beast, but with these strategies, you can tame it and use it to boost your visibility and engagement.
Frequently Asked Questions About LinkedIn Organic Reach
How does the LinkedIn algorithm work?
LinkedIn’s algorithm is essentially designed to prioritize relevant, high-quality content.
It operates in stages.
First, it uses an initial, automated filter to categorize the post, whether it’s spam, low-quality, or clear.
The posts that make the cut are then distributed to a smaller audience, such as your connections, for initial engagement tests.
Based on the engagement metrics it garners, the algorithm will then decide whether to show it to a broader audience.
So it’s not about who shouts the loudest, but rather, who provides the most value
Can I boost my LinkedIn post's visibility?
Absolutely! Visibility is like a game of chess, requiring the right moves.
One way to boost your post’s visibility is by engaging with your audience.
Respond to comments, tag relevant people or companies, and don’t forget about LinkedIn’s hashtag feature.
It’s like a beacon for your content, helping people who are interested in your topic find you.
Also, remember to post at optimal times when your audience is most likely to be active on LinkedIn.
How can I increase engagement on my LinkedIn content?
Engagement is the heart of social media, isn’t it?
To increase engagement on your LinkedIn content, it’s crucial to know your audience.
What do they want to read?
What are they interested in?
Tailor your content to those needs.
Also, don’t shy away from interactive content like polls or asking questions – they invite responses.
Engage with people who comment on your posts.
It’s a conversation, after all 🙂
And don’t forget the power of visuals. They are real eye-catchers.
What content types does the LinkedIn algorithm favour?
Well, LinkedIn, like most platforms, keeps the exact details a secret.
However, it’s clear that the algorithm tends to favour posts that inspire meaningful interactions.
Text posts, articles, photos, and videos can all do well, depending on how they’re used.
Engaging, value-driven content often gets more visibility.
Also, native content, like videos uploaded directly to LinkedIn rather than linked from other platforms, tend to perform better.
It’s like LinkedIn’s way of saying, “Keep it in the family.”
Does having more connections increase my LinkedIn visibility?
In a way, yes.
Your immediate network (your connections) are the first to receive and engage with your content.
The more connections you have, the larger that initial audience is.
But it’s not just about quantity. The quality of those connections also matters.
Are they likely to engage with your content? Are they relevant to your industry or field?
Your focus should be on building a robust, engaged network, not just a large one.
It’s a case of “quality over quantity,” if you will.
How important is storytelling in LinkedIn posts?
Storytelling is incredibly powerful.
It’s an ancient art that still works wonders in our digital age.
In LinkedIn posts, storytelling can make your content more engaging, memorable, and relatable.
A well-told story can illustrate your points more effectively than dry facts and figures.
So, bring out your inner bard and spin a good yarn!
People are always more captivated by narratives than mere information.
Can video content boost my LinkedIn visibility?
Video content is like the cherry on the cake for LinkedIn. It’s engaging, versatile, and allows you to convey more information in an appealing way.
LinkedIn users are 20 times more likely to share video posts than any other type of content.
Plus, LinkedIn’s algorithm seems to like video content, especially those videos that are uploaded directly on the platform.
So, if you have a message to share, consider doing it through video.
How does LinkedIn prioritise content in users' feeds?
LinkedIn’s feed prioritisation is all about relevance.
The algorithm considers factors like the nature of the content, the relationship between the user and the poster, and the popularity of the post.
It uses these factors to try to predict what each user will find most interesting.
So, your best bet is to make sure your content is valuable and relevant to your audience, that you’re nurturing those relationships, and that you’re fostering engagement on your posts.
Why is my LinkedIn content not getting much engagement?
Ah, the million-dollar question!
There can be many reasons. It could be that your content is not relevant or engaging enough for your audience, or maybe you’re not posting consistently, or at the right times.
It’s also possible that you’re not engaging enough with your audience in return.
Think of it as a two-way street. Also, your content might not be diverse enough.
A mix of text posts, articles, photos, videos, polls, and other interactive content can help keep your audience engaged and intrigued.
How can I grow my business leaders' followers on LinkedIn?
Growing a follower base on LinkedIn is like tending a garden – it takes time, effort, and the right strategies.
Start by optimising their profile, making it as clear, compelling, and comprehensive as possible.
Regularly post engaging, valuable content tailored to their target audience. Engage with other users’ content too.
You can also leverage other platforms to promote their LinkedIn profile, like adding a LinkedIn button to their email signature or website.
Joining relevant groups and participating in discussions can also help. And remember, patience is key. The followers will come.
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