I’ve had a couple of different social media-focused job interviews in the past two-three months, and I can’t even tell you how many times — OK, probably about six — someone has said to me, “Well, our company has 2,300 followers on LinkedIn, but we’re just not getting traction there!” (Another variation: “We share the stuff with all our 500+ employees, and some of them aren’t sharing, and when they are, it’s still not getting traction!”) First of all: social media is rooted in behavior, yes, but it’s also highly contextual. The content that would be popular on your FB page won’t necessarily be popular on your LinkedIn page (and vice versa), and where the traffic goes is different. Facebook (and Twitter) are great at sending traffic to a specific source — namely, the article/content you just posted — whereas LinkedIn tends to send the traffic right to your homepage. Consider:
That’s all important because if LinkedIn can get people to your homepage, and your homepage is of interest … that direct connection back to what you do will ultimately mean more than search + social. You can clearly use LinkedIn as a driver, then. But how?
Here’s content from LinkedIn itself directly about that idea. It’s summarized by Buffer — cool blog overall — here, and the big takeaway is this: 60 percent of users on LinkedIn (the highest sub-category) primarily report being interested in “industry insights.” The next thing (53 percent) is “company news.” There’s likely a gray area between those two somewhere, but basically, remember this: people are on LinkedIn to grow themselves professionally. That’s not why they’re on Facebook, and unless they’re a journalist, that’s probably not why they’re on Twitter. So pasting the same message to all three places probably won’t get you a ton of traction, ultimately.
This should be noted, though, because it flummoxes people of an older marketing generation. A single post on LinkedIn only reaches about 20 percent of the audience it could reach (that number is actually far lower on Facebook/Twitter, relatively):
Let’s say you have 1,000 people following your company on LinkedIn. Everything you post is seen by roughly 200 people — and not by 800. That seems like a terrible value proposition, right? In a way, yes — but you can off-set by knowing a little bit more about the context around what to post (above), when to post (basically, weekdays in the late morning) and how often to post (20 times per month, which is roughly once per workday in a given month). Here’s how Buffer breaks it down:
More posts will naturally lead to a larger percentage of reach, but there will come a point of diminishing returns. A certain percentage of your audience will always be impossible to reach—because they never log on—so you’re really looking to hit those who log on and scroll their top updates. Twenty updates a month will get you in front of 60 percent of your audience, and there’s no guarantee beyond that.
60 percent isn’t amazing, but it’s three times better than the 20 percent you’d get off a couple of isolated posts here and there — so stick to a regular posting strategy, but remember: not the same stuff as Facebook. Your LinkedIn content needs to be “industry insights,” or SMEs/best practices. That will resonate there, and drive traffic back to your homepage — which is ultimately better for you (in all likelihood) than driving traffic to one specific post (even if that post has a great call to action, you still want people investigating your broader array of ideas at the homepage level).
As a company, you can track analytics on LinkedIn — so do that. Don’t fear big data: if you see that content around “innovative ways to run a meeting” posted at 11am on Thursdays is driving big, well, keep doing content like that around that time of the week. The whole thing is an inexact science, to be sure, but it can be gamed — and remember, when some old-schooler tells you “20 percent isn’t worth it,” remind him/her that (a) it can be 60 percent if you’re regular and focused and (b) the direct-mail or local TV spot he/she is clamoring for probably won’t reach an engaged number near 20 percent either. The business of human choice — which is essentially what marketing relates back to — is extremely diverse and nuanced. LinkedIn is a great way to angle towards connections for people looking to grow themselves professionally, though — and in a world where only 13 percent of the workforce may be engaged, there’s a good deal of people looking for just that.