Earlier this year I wrote a tongue-in-cheek post to illustrate how to 'hack' the LinkedIn algorithm to get a lot of views. It took me 2 minutes to write a post, and I got over 2,000 views just that day.
Just as Google ranks web pages based on an algorithm that looks for 'engagement', social media platforms such as LinkedIn are also discerning in terms of the posts they will make visible to other members.
Here was my LinkedIn post:
It was purposefully silly, just to illustrate some of the things LinkedIn is looking for to evaluate whether your post is "engaging". But imagine what you can do if you follow these same techniques but with helpful relevant content!
Don't Take The Reader Away From LinkedIn
Don't Edit Your Post Once It Has Been Published
Whatever you do, once you post something, don't edit your post! LinkedIn seems to reset any momentum you have with your post if you edit it after posting, as if you are starting a brand new post. This is to avoid a "bait and switch", where a malicious author could insert spam content into a post once it's started to go viral.
A reader of mine linked to this algorithm report where the author observes: "Don't Edit your Post in the first 10 minutes. This results in 10% reduction in reach and possibly as much as 40%".
Build up Trust with the Algorithm
Just as Google builds up a "Page Authority" number associated with each web page it is aware of on the internet and uses this to decide what content to rank for searches, LinkedIn must certainly build up some kind of authority rating for each of its users. If your posts tend to always get a lot of engagement, over time LinkedIn will trust you more and serve your content to a broader audience by default.
It Depends on The Topic
Whatever you write about, the algorithm parses the text of your post and decides what it is about, then tries to show it to members that have an interest in the topic. Of course, if you post about a niche topic, you may not get the same broad readership as posting on a more general topic, unless your network all shares an enthusiasm for the niche topic. To help LinkedIn know what your post is about, consider using hashtags at the end of your post (e.g. #productstrategy).
Engage with Others
LinkedIn wants an engaged community of members that comment on each others' posts and engage in discussion. As such, if you comment on someone's post, that person is more likely to connect with you. LinkedIn promotes content of people you recently connected with. If you are regularly engaging and connecting with new people, LinkedIn tends to view this as a cluster or community and share content between those people.
Respect the Culture of the LinkedIn Community
In the early days of LinkedIn, I recall people would post advertisements about their products and services constantly, and it was a very boring experience. These days, LinkedIn members tend to react better to inspirational stories or stories that illustrate professional principles. Whether the platform's algorithm has shaped this trend or not, it seems clear that the LinkedIn community now has its own culture of inspiring stories and supporting others.
A Useful, Relevant, Inspiring Post
At the end of the day, no amount of hacking the algorithm will make up for simply posting useful, relevant, and inspiring thoughts to your social media feed. In fact, too much of the above is very likely to backfire, just as my ridiculous post illustrated at the top of this article. LinkedIn's algorithm might think you are being engaging, but the actual humans you are connected to will obviously find it annoying. You have to strike the right balance.
For example, I posted excerpts from this very article on LinkedIn's "Digital Marketing" group. I received 43,821 views and 212 likes. I didn't use emojis, video. It was simply useful and relevant to the target audience!
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