In my last blog article, I talked about how engaging on LinkedIn is a two-way street. While most people focus on how to boost the number of comments they get on their own posts, I recommend that you focus on upping your own comment game, especially if you’re new to LinkedIn.
Let’s take a look at the why and the how.
Why Outbound Engagement?
Engagement is a huge factor on LinkedIn. Because LinkedIn is a networking platform, the algorithm is geared toward getting people talking. That means it gives more weight to comments than post views or reactions. Consequently, when your posts get a high number of comments (10 in the first hour is a good milestone), the algorithm pushes them out to more people.
Also, the algorithm takes note when you are a good networker, which means in order to get more comments on your own posts, you need to be engaging with others’ posts as well. This is what I call outbound engagement.
My goal is to comment on 5-10 posts per day, regardless of whether I publish a post. Besides making friends with the algorithm, there are a number of other reasons to work on your outbound engagement strategy.
1. Commenting counts as content.
It’s easy to overlook commenting in discussions about content marketing. When we think about creating content, we think about writing articles or blog posts, recording video, or cranking out social media posts, but comments also count as content.
When you comment on someone else’s post, you have the opportunity to reach a different audience from your own and posts that get significantly more comments than your own posts get shared widely throughout your network, which means more eyeballs on your words.
Additionally, taking the time to say something meaningful on a post that gets hundreds of comments is a sure way to find new connections.
2. Commenting builds connections.
And while we’re on the subject of finding new connections, commenting is a great strategy for catching the attention of someone in particular. If you’ve been eyeing someone as a prospect or a networking partner, figure out where they’re engaging and engage with them there.
They’ll see your comment and likely respond. They may also go to your profile to check you out, connect with you, comment on your posts, or DM you. Plus, you’ll start showing up in their notifications.
When the time is right, you can also feel comfortable proactively hopping into their DMs because you have common ground now. You can say, “I really appreciated your comment on so-and-so’s post. It reminded me of [insert story or talk about your experience or bring up a client’s experience]. I thought it was a really interesting conversation because of [something specific].” Commenting can open a lot of doors like this.
3. Commenting is a great way to gain confidence.
Outbound engagement is also the perfect place to start if you’re new to LinkedIn. The platform can be intimidating for new people. Starting out by consistently commenting on others’ posts before posting your own stuff, can really boost your confidence.
Everyone appreciates comments on their posts, so leaving a positive comment will often prompt others to respond in complementary ways. You will rarely encounter a snarky response to a comment. Plus, it is a smart way to get the lay of the land and see what others are talking about before you start directing the conversation with your own posts.
How To Do Outbound Engagement
The biggest challenge with outbound engagement is not knowing what to say. Confession time: There are days when I will scroll through my LinkedIn feed for 10 minutes without finding a post that sparks a comment in my head.
When this happens I do one of the following:
- Challenge myself to comment on the next post I see, no matter what.
- Look at my notifications and go for the low-hanging fruit.
- Go to my activity on my profile and look at the last few posts that caught my attention, and check for anything new there.
- Stop scrolling and come back later (e.g., lunch time).
However, if not knowing what to say is a chronic issue, here are some tips from other LinkedIn veterans:
“I like to show that I read your post, thought about it, and connected with it in some way. I may add an example of my own. Or ask a question. Or share my favorite part and why.”– Amanda Stern
“When reading the post, I usually just imagine how I’d react if the post was something someone told me in real life, and put this reaction into words :)”– Evgenia Lokis
“I challenge myself to find an amusing angle on something the person said – the less obvious the better.”– Francisco Mahfuz
“My tip for commenting is to imagine being told the post in person. If someone said those words to you, what would you say back? In person, you wouldn’t just say ‘great story!’ You would follow up with something else. So just imagine being in that situation and type that into the comments.”– Moshe Grunhut
You can also:
- Ask a question
- Answer a question
- Share a similar experience
- Share a different experience
- Share an associated thought that springs to mind
Keeping these tips in mind should help you avoid “what-do-I-say-itis” and get those juices flowing. I hope this gives you something to chew on the next time you’re staring at that smug, blinking cursor.
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