Last week, my good friend Tim Foley published his first article on LinkedIn. (Woo Hoo! Go, Tim!)
Prior to publishing his article, he reached out to ask me for some advice on posting.
In rapid-fire succession, I quickly texted him the top 6 tips that have helped me use the LinkedIn publishing platform to grow my business from about 500 to 3,113 connections, land me press mentions, and acquire customers internationally.
Tim utilized the tips and his powerful network to receive 171 article views, 22 likes, 4 shares, and 6 comments. The coordinating caption for the article netted him 1,360 views in the feed, 26 likes, and 3 comments. Not too shabby at all!
I was so impressed with his piece, that I want to share the tips with a broader community. So, without further ado, here are…
The top 6 things you can do to maximize your article’s exposure on LinkedIn:
- Use photos from real life or visually appealing photos, NOT corporate stock photos.
Whether viewers are consciously aware of it or not, bland corporate stock photos SCREAM solicitation and have no emotional impact on the reader. You want your photo to disrupt the reader’s action of aimlessly scrolling through the LinkedIn feed.
Most sponsored updates and photos from publications like Forbes or Entrepreneur articles (content that is highly visible in the LinkedIn feed) features stock photos. So, if you have a more interesting, emotionally compelling photo, you can capture their attention using differentiation.
When I was writing my article, “Stop Swimming in Shark-Infested Social Media Waters,” I almost grabbed a cliché image of a younger woman or man on social media. As I scrolled through the 100+ images that were clones of each other, I realized I was NOT excited by anything I was seeing in the photo.
I instead opted for the image below, figuring it would make people look twice when perusing through their newsfeed.
The tactic worked. The article had over 200 views, the majority of which came from my SECOND network, not my first. While the photo isn’t the only reason for the article’s success, the piece did receive more exposure than comparable thematic articles I’ve written in the past that featured typical stock images.
2. Publish the piece on multiple platforms.
I’m a huge advocate of small business owners not spreading themselves too thin on social media. As such, I only actively market/engage on two platforms– Facebook for my weekly show and LinkedIn for my articles. Since my LinkedIn articles stem from my Facebook shows, and since my Facebook network is larger than my LinkedIn network, I sometimes publish the links to my LinkedIn articles to Facebook. When I do this, the article sees a spike in views, which in turn boosts the article’s popularity on LinkedIn, ultimately gaining it more views on LinkedIn. See what I mean here:
Key takeaway: If you have a large following on another platform, use it to increase views on LinkedIn, which will effectively boost its popularity on LinkedIn, and gain you more readers.
3. Shout it out to the LinkedIn editors.
Few people realize that you can tweet at the LinkedIn editors. It’s just about the only thing I use Twitter for anymore. If they see an article they think is newsworthy, you increase your chances of it taking off in Pulse.
4. Write long form caption copy that prefaces the article. Also, tag people in the caption when you can.
Think of the caption for your article as you would a trailer for a movie—it provides context and excitement for the main attraction.
So, instead of just publishing the article, or having a short intro like “Here are 3 things you can do to increase your social media following” write longer form copy like:
“Four years ago, I had 50 followers on Twitter. It was so discouraging that I almost decided to abandon the platform altogether. Before leaving, I decided to give it one last push. I studied up and learned from experts like @Gary Vaynerchuk and @Amy Porterfield and kept my head down for three months to build my network. I couldn’t believe the results. I was able to set meetings with the CEOs of three Fortune 500 companies, and I gained a guest blogging spot in Forbes. Here’s how I did it.”
As you can see in the example above, you give the reader a compelling reason to read the article. They understand how reading it could benefit them as it did you.
5. Know when to post.
Hubspot says that the LinkedIn community is most active from 7:30am-8:30am, 12pm, 5-6pm Tuesday-Thursday. We can safely assume this is because most business professionals are using the platform during working hours, and Monday and Friday’s are spent either diving back in from the weekend or checked out thinking about the weekend. Personally, I always find the strongest time to publish is early morning. You let momentum build for the rest of the day.
6. Use narratives when you can.
Of all the advice Tim used in his article, this was the one he REALLY took on, and he did it wonderfully and in a way that I haven’t seen many do it. Tim shared how volunteering helped to greatly expand his network by using a story with a clear beginning, middle, and end. He supported this story with coordinating photographs. It was real, it was relatable, and it was endearing.
Remember, facts tell and stories sell. People connect to examples. Create an emotional response in your reader by weaving in a narrative that shows your key points in action.
There’s no doubt that publishing on LinkedIn can have a HUGE impact on your business and your influence. In addition to taking these 6 tips on, I highly encourage you to post consistently (at least once or twice a month if possible). Consistent publishing and LinkedIn activity mean increased brand awareness that will build your reputation as a thought leader. While Tim did a solid job at incorporating these tips into his article, it’s important to know he is a VERY active LinkedIn user with a strong, highly-engaged network. This enforces a point that I share with a lot of my clients– personal branding is not a short-term play, it’s a longer-term strategy that takes serious commitment. However, if you dedicate yourself to it, you’ll see phenomenal results like he did, even with your first article!