Your B2B LinkedIn Algorithm Cheat Sheet
Don’t have the time to read this right now? Download the cheat sheet here and take it with you to read later!
With 94% of B2B marketers using LinkedIn for content marketing, it’s not surprising to see our clients asking when the best times to post are and how to gain maximum engagement. Well, this all depends on LinkedIn’s algorithm. Over the past two years, algorithm updates have increased by more than 50% as the platform hits 310 million monthly active users.
First let’s take a look at how the LinkedIn algorithm works.
The LinkedIn algorithm has two primary goals:
- Prioritising relevant content
- Promoting engagement
To understand which posts are more personal to you, LinkedIn considers who you’ve interacted with directly. This could be via shares, comments or reactions. It also considers information on profiles such as similar interests and skills, along with numerous other factors.
To drill down into the ‘interests’ sections further, just because you’re connected with someone, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you enjoy exactly the same style of content. So, the LinkedIn algorithm measures a post’s affinity to someone’s interest based on the groups they’re in, the hashtags they use, and the pages they often follow.
It also goes one step further and analyses the language of the posts and accounts for people and topics that are mentioned. So, for example, if you’re constantly tagging the same person in posts, the algorithm may be more likely to show you their content over the content of other users.
The key to making sure that your posts are seen by as many people as possible is interaction, and the LinkedIn algorithms ranks this in two stages.
The first stage is to evaluate the likelihood that you will share, comment or react to a post.
This may be measured on content that you’ve liked and shared in the past, or who you’ve interacted with. This process is called the ‘multi objective optimization’.
The second part of the algorithm looks at feedback to your content. The hour after your post has gone live has been affectionately deemed by B2B social media practitioners as ‘The Golden Hour’. LinkedIn uses this hour as a test bed, it shows your post to a select number of users and if the content accrues a decent amount of engagement, the algorithm then goes on to share it with your wider network.
Now you have more of a technical understanding of how the algorithm works, let’s delve into some top tips on how to make sure you’re optimizing content for the algorithm.
1. Remain Relevent
In order to do this, you need to know your audience. Start by conducting thorough audience research. Use the analytical tools available on LinkedIn paired with intel from other platforms, or even competitor audiences to build personas. Then map out interests and really get to grips on the type of content your audience read and engage with.
This should be the key to any marketing strategy and should be used when crafting posts. Being relevant also refers to the types of content you publish. Rich media is key to this, for example, posts with images in usually get twice as many comments as a simple text post, with videos gaining nearly 5x more comments. Therefore, consider using video as a medium to communicate your message and drive up engagements. It almost seems too simple but using the content that the platform prefers means that your content is more likely to earn points in the ‘interest relevance’ and ‘engagement possibility’ sections.
“One tip I would recommend is trying to create a branded hashtag. For example, if you’re running a camoaign or launching a new tool, you could create a hashtag which is worth following. And if people reshare the post they’re more likely to use a hashtag. For example, Google created a hashtag #GrowWithHashtag to create a community for over 2,000 trainees, that can connect and share their thoughts on the platform.”
2. Promote Content Far and Wide
When people hear the word ‘promote’, they almost instantly think this requires a monetary value, but this isn’t always the case.
There are numerous tactical ways creators can gain extra traction on LinkedIn. For example, make sure you’re tagging all relevant companies and individuals within the post. You should also be using keywords and relevant hashtags to gain further reach.
3. Encourage Engagement
The LinkedIn algorithm values high engagement, particularly posts that stimulate conversations through comments. But how do you do this?
One of the best ways is to simply ask a question. This could be by asking your audience to share their opinion or ask for their insight on a particular topic. This not only sparks conversation, it also positions your brand as thought leaders and can provide your company with the opportunity to learn more about your target audience.
Although you can’t simply expect people to always engage with your content if you never interact with anyone else’s. A top tip would be to always return the dialogue and respond to people’s comments.
4. Time is Critical
The faster the engagements form on your post, the more likely the algorithm is to rank your posts. A way to optimise this is to post at specific times.
Test the proposed times and see which one’s work best for your audience. And don’t forget to combine this with your own research. For example, if you’re trying to target the postal industry, although the stated best times may be 7.45 A.M. we know that postmen are out on duties and therefore posting later in the evening may work better.
This all depends on your target audience, and when they’re most active. Another thing to consider is if you’re targeting people based in different countries and time zones, so there may be some variations.
5. Build Your Community
Simply owning a LinkedIn account and posting frequently is not enough.
LinkedIn highly values the number of connections you have, and how relevant these are to you. Therefore, the key is to grow a healthy network, which will ultimately boost your content rewards.
With regards to your account:
- Make sure your personal profile is complete, and updated constantly
- Encourage all employees to state that they work at your company, and use designated hashtags
- Join & participate in LinkedIn groups, or even host your own
- Take time to endorse colleagues’ skills – This helps not only build up their profile, but it will be more likely to reveal your profile.
- Constantly join conversations and be active
- Be personal – build a brand voice that’s friendly and approachable
With any form of marketing, including social media marketing, analysing data is key. LinkedIn has its own, native analytical tools but there are also other tools such as Hootsuite that allow you to further understand your post performance.
Each month take some time to understand why certain posts performed better than others. This could be attributed to the time you posted or maybe you asked a question and tagged relevant members. LinkedIn is a great place to get your content seen by the right people, but you need to continue to experiment, analyze, and update your strategy.
To sum up, comments are king, they will provide you with more views than likes and shares. You need to respond to all combinations, if you want to maximize reach. Engagement within 60 mins is crucial for the success of your post. Use a minimum of 3 hashtags, keep a list of the hashtags your followers are using/commenting on. Only ever tag a maximum of 5 users and only tag people you know will respond. If you only have time to give a quick reaction, come back later to leave a comment. Focus on the quality and not the quantity of your posts.
At Halston Marketing, we take every opportunity to learn from the work we do and we like to pass those learnings on to you.