LINKEDIN IS THE world’s largest professional business social network with 23 million members in the UK and 500 million members in over 200 countries and territories.
Besides networking and recruitment, LinkedIn offers you the opportunity to publish content.
When you publish articles, your original content becomes part of your professional profile. It is displayed on the Articles section of your LinkedIn profile. Your article is shared on the newsfeeds of your connections and followers. Members that aren’t in your network can follow you from your article so that your next article will appear in their feeds.
Your article may be searchable both on and off LinkedIn, depending on your profile settings. Having your public profile visibility set to ‘everyone’ will distribute your articles publicly. Google will often crawl these public articles, which will help assist its algorithms to find great content with authority.
You can’t publish articles using your organisation’s name or publish from your Company Page. But you can use the publishing platform to tell your company’s story.
Your articles should share your professional expertise. LinkedIn wants articles about professional challenges you’ve faced, opportunities you’ve seized, and important trends in your industry. Focus on content that impacts professionals based on what’s in the news, or offering some deep industry insights, lessons learned, or ideas.
For example, you could:
- Give advice to someone hoping to enter your field.
- Describe what your industry or market will be like in five, 10 or 15 years from now and how it will get there.
- Describe the biggest problem your industry or market needs to solve.
- Explain the essential skill in your job or company.
- Describe how your job, profession or industry has changed since you started.
- Explain how you got started in your profession.
Use hashtags when sharing your article after publishing to help it gain more exposure. Hashtags will help your article to appear in search results.
If you’ve never used a hashtag before, it’s a way of turning a word or group of words into a searchable link. You just type the symbol ‘#’ followed by whatever word or phrase you choose. For example, if your article is aimed at job seekers, you could use the following hashtags: #jobseeker #lookingforajob #newcareer and so on. When jobseekers search for articles, your hashtags will help them to find your article.
After you’ve submitted your articles on LinkedIn, review the content analytics to see how your intended audience responded to it.
Avoid being overly promotional. Remember that audiences want to feel inspired and informed.
You can share your article:
- Across other social networks such as Facebook, Google+, Twitter, and more. You can do so by clicking the share buttons at the top and bottom of the article.
- Via email, by copying and pasting your article’s URL into your email message.
- Into relevant LinkedIn Groups. Limit sharing to one or two groups to prevent your article from being perceived as spam.
- You can also pay to sponsor your article to help position it in front of your target audience (for example, owners of organisations within the motor industry with 500+ employees).
You can build your reputation and your follower base by:
- Publishing articles frequently.
- Sharing posts on LinkedIn from the homepage share box.
- Engaging with other members by liking and commenting on their articles.
After writing 500 LinkedIn articles, ghostwriter Bruce Kasanoff says LinkedIn has become an important source of new customers.
“Selling morphed from an annoying necessity to an easy and enjoyable process: I just answer my email,” he wrote on Forbes.com.
He says using social media to attract new customers can be highly efficient but only if you focus on helping people first and selling a distant second.
“People share what helps them, not what helps you: The harder you sell, the fewer people ever see or respond to your sales pitch. The reverse is also true: The more you help others, the more people see your contributions.”
He’s also learnt that engagement matters far more than the number of people who read your article. That’s because you can reach a massive audience and still not get any leads from it. He pays attention to how many shares, likes and comments his article receives.
“Add these up and divide by total views; the result should be 10% or higher. 15% is great.”
When people take the time to comment on your article, it’s important you respond.
“You wouldn’t invite 500 people to your office and then ignore them, and yet people do this all the time on social media. You publish an article, 500 people read it, some comment, and you don’t respond at all. This makes no sense.”
Reading the comments has given Kasanoff more ideas for content.
“Nearly all of my readers are professionals who are paid for their expertise and insights, and yet they voluntarily share their wisdom with me (and everyone else) through their comments. This is the massive power of social media: It speeds up learning if you use it for that purpose. I can’t name another business site that attracts so many smart, perceptive and interactive professionals. When I pose a question, I get dozens or even hundreds of thoughtful answers. People build on each other’s comments.”
He watches his analytics carefully and keeps adapting his published articles to improve his response rates.
“Tinkering makes a huge difference: unless an article is an instant success, I often change my headlines, photos, and text. When an article works well, I try to adapt it for other outlets. Through updates (think: just like a tweet, only on LinkedIn), I test images and ideas.
“A few years ago, I uploaded a SlideShare called ‘How to See the Light in Others’ and wasn’t satisfied with how it was doing. Over the first week, I changed that SlideShare five times. Today, it has over 2.9 million views. Keep improving your work until it gets the results you want.”