When most people think about the lynchpin of their LinkedIn strategy, they think about stuff like:
- Optimizing their profile
- Posting phenomenal content
- Taking their LinkedIn relationships off platform
- Sharing about new offers and showcasing their work
- Sliding into the DMs of their most promising prospects
All of these are fine answers. But not one of them is as powerful as engagement. And without a strong engagement plan, none of the other aspects of your LinkedIn strategy has as much power. Let’s consider why engagement is so important and some simple ways to boost your LinkedIn engagement, both outbound and inbound.
What do I mean by engagement?
There are a few ways to measure engagement on LinkedIn. First, you can look at the number of comments you get on your posts (inbound engagement). This is key because if your audience responds to your posts, they’re (a) most likely reading them carefully and (b) feeling inspired enough to take a few minutes out of their day to join the conversation you started.
Of course, if most of the comments are “THIS ^^^^” or “right on” or “congratulations,” that doesn’t really count as engagement. Why someone would comment in this way as opposed to hitting one of the reaction buttons is beyond me. It’s nice, but it’s nothing to write home to mom about.
I pay more attention to the number of substantive comments I get than to the number of reactions I get because one of my goals is to connect with my audience and start conversations. These are the kinds of raving fans who will send referrals your way.
There’s another way the algorithm measures engagement on LinkedIn and that’s YOUR level of engagement (outbound engagement). Yes, engagement is a two-way street, which is one reason it’s so powerful.
When you leave substantive comments on the posts of others in your network, not only does the algorithm take notice, but your network does as well. Others in your network will get a notification letting them know that you (one of the cool kids) have commented on another post, prompting them to take a look at it too. And the person whose post you’ve commented on will likely return the favor for you. This is a great way to build your LinkedIn community.
Your LinkedIn Engagement Strategy
So, what’s a smart LinkedIn engagement strategy? Since engagement is a two-way street, we need to talk about (a) how to increase engagement on your posts and (b) how to increase your engagement on others’ posts. I’ll discuss (b) first.
Here’s my outbound engagement strategy:
- I set a timer for 10 minutes. I scroll through my feed and look for interesting posts where I want to chime in on the conversation.
- I leave 3 or 4 comments.
- Throughout the day I check notifications and return to conversations that I find especially interesting. I may respond to replies to my comment or reply to other comments.
- I only leave comments that move the conversation forward.
- If at all possible (i.e., if the number of comments is under 50), I read through all of the other comments before commenting myself because I don’t want to repeat what someone else has said, but I will amplify others’ voices when I agree.
I use this strategy regardless of whether I’m posting my own content on any given day. For example, I post Tuesday-Thursday, but I engage with others’ content Monday-Friday. And I use this strategy when I’m on vacation or find myself with some time to kill while waiting at my dentist’s office.
7 Simple Ways to Boost Your LinkedIn Engagement
Now that you have a strategy for outbound engagement, let’s look at the other side of the coin. How do you get more people to engage with your content? Here are seven ways to increase inbound engagement.
1. Post phenomenal content.
Your audience won’t engage with boring content no matter how much time you spend formatting it, creating carousels, or playing around with other “tricks” of the trade. So, if you want engagement, you’ve got to work on your content.
The best way to get better content is to come up with your topics before the day you intend to write your posts. Pick 1-3 themes and spin out some post topics related to each one. Then, block some time to write your posts each week.
When you batch create content, you’ll notice patterns you wouldn’t otherwise notice and it may even inspire topics you can add to your list. If your posts start to feel too repetitive, inspire yourself by scrolling through your feed or check out these 9 post templates with examples.
2. Format your posts to encourage engagement.
No one likes to engage with a wall of text. And keep in mind that 57% of LinkedIn’s total traffic comes from mobile users. So make sure your posts are formatted for social media.
This means that white space is your friend. While you’ll see a lot of people using the 1-line paragraph throughout their posts, that feels a bit choppy or overly simplistic to me. I prefer varying my paragraph length and keeping my paragraphs under three lines.
Also, if you’re a person who likes emojis, go for it. They can add some color and interest to a text-based LinkedIn post, which can increase engagement.
3. Include a call to action (CTA).
At the end of each post, encourage your connections to comment by asking a thought-provoking question or providing some other call to action. If the goal of your post is to get people to click through to your blog article, for example, let them know that you’re sharing the link in the first comment (I recommend this rather than including the link directly in the original post).
One technique I often use is starting and ending a post with the same question. This is a way to get them thinking as they read and reminding them that I want them to actually answer the question at the end.
4. Include 3-5 hashtags at the end of each post.
Hashtags are also a good way to boost engagement. You can research hashtags by typing your hashtag into the search bar and clicking on it in the drop down menu. This will show you how many followers each hashtag has and then you can strategically choose 3-5 to gather at the end of your post.
5. Prioritize replying to comments on your posts.
The whole point of inbound engagement is to build relationships by starting conversations. Now, even if you follow all of these tips above to the letter and you end up getting a good number of comments on your post, if you don’t reply to those comments, you’re shooting yourself in the foot. So, make sure you come back to continue the conversation you started.
I try to reply to all substantive comments I receive, with a few exceptions. If I’m particularly busy, I’ll come back in the afternoon or evening and reply to any comments I’ve gotten throughout the day. Otherwise, I check my notifications fairly regularly and reply as the comments come in. Even if I’m getting comments on posts that are weeks old, I’ll reply because it’s fun to revive an old conversation with a friend.
6. Post at the same time every day.
When you post consistently at the same time each day, you start to build an unofficial community. Others who also post at that time will see your posts pop up in their feed, and before you know it, they’ll recognize you as the #ghostwriter (or whatever your speciality happens to be) on LinkedIn.
The algorithm will help too, showing your posts to those who have engaged with your posts in the past. So the odds of increasing engagement will be in your favor if you post at the same time each day. As for the optimal time, I aim to post 8:30-9am my local time because a lot of people check LinkedIn before they settle into their regular 9-to-5 work.
7. Feature posts at the top of your profile.
This last tip is especially important if you have creator mode turned on. When you use creator mode, you will choose hashtags to include in your profile. Make sure to include at least one of those special hashtags in each of your posts. Then, make sure to feature at least three posts per week. Feature a post by going to the three dots at the top of your post and choosing the option.
I keep a rotating list of about 5-6 featured posts at any given time. Now, whenever people stumble onto my profile, they can read some of my content easily. It’s a good way to put your best posts front and center.
Engagement is an overlooked piece of the puzzle when it comes to LinkedIn strategy. But one of the things that makes LinkedIn such a great place to do business online is that it is a networking platform. And engagement is key to getting your networking machine up and running.
If you’re stuck on your LinkedIn engagement strategy or want to talk about how our team can help you create phenomenal content, let’s chat!
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