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Whether you love or loathe the platform, there’s no denying that LinkedIn has clout. Outside of TikTok, LinkedIn has the highest organic engagement of all platforms, averaging 3.1%. By comparison, Hootsuite says that Facebook’s average organic engagement rate is just 0.07%. (The average organic TikTok engagement rate averages at 18%)

Furthermore, 70% of users say LinkedIn is the most trusted social media platform. Research shows that investors look to LinkedIn as a trusted information source about companies and c-suite executive profiles to hear their opinions directly from the horse’s mouth.

In real terms

What’s unique about the LinkedIn algorithm, and where the secret to success lies, is that it values people. Everyone knows the phrase “people buy from people” and not brands. The LinkedIn algorithm directly promotes this idea by promoting three things:

  • Relationships – is this person a 1st, 2nd or 3rd-degree connection with me?
  • Relevance – have I previously engaged with content like this?
  • Engagement – is this getting lots of likes and comments? This is a spam prevention tool. If something is popular, it thinks other people are going to like it as well.

Worth knowing: Likes are ‘soft’ engagement, seen as passive use, whereas comments are ‘hard’ engagement, a mark that something is genuinely resonating with people.

The average B2B company on LinkedIn has around 100,000 followers. However, when you look at the actual personal profiles of its c-suite executives, the follower figure triples or quadruples. The same goes for sales teams, product teams, and dev teams.

If you combine these accrued follower counts with strong organic engagement rates and the power of existing relationships and network building, you’re opening yourself up to valuable business opportunities.

84% of c-suite executives use social media to support a purchasing decision. If they see your teams talking about something relevant to them, they’re far more likely to convert from prospect to client.

Likewise, 51% of sales professionals who use LinkedIn for social selling are 51% more likely to exceed their sales quota than those who don’t.

So you want to be a LinkedIn influencer?

It’s best to start with a strategy. Pick three objectives that align with your comms strategy, and then consider how they ladder back to and support your business objectives. Some examples:

  • I want to grow my audience in X sector
  • I want to amplify our work in X
  • I’d like to increase engagement on X content

Think about your content pillars:

  • Human interactions: remember, people want to hear your genuine opinion about something. A great example is the CEO of energy company Greg Jackson, whose Twitter channel is a masterclass in actual human-to-human interactions on social media.
  • Thought Leadership: this isn’t something you can buy, it’s something you work towards. Thought Leadership means you’re comfortable in supplying the most valuable insights to your customer’s biggest challenges, in the formats your audience consumes, consistently. Microsoft EVP Jean-Phillipe Courtois’s work to promote “Positive Leadership” is a great example of this.
  • And finally, sharing: if you want to amplify something by sharing it, try to avoid being a “great to see” person. You need to express real opinions and add value. People who follow you want to hear from the real you, so be surprising, be bold, have broad appeal and personalise i.e. make it about the audience, not your product or company.

And finally, consider investing in better content.

  • Videos are great and don’t have immense production value to impact. It can be a simple vlog taken on an iPhone. Keep it short and snappy.
  • Live streaming is great, but make sure you keep it consistent. Don’t broadcast one day and go quiet for six months.
  • Still images and photographs should be branded to ensure brand recognition that transfers into other channels.

Start today

Spruce up your profile and consider how you can get into the habit of sharing content. Start with sharing once a month and then build it up from there.

Spend 5 minutes daily looking at your feed and industry groups to see if there are any posts you can engage with – comment/like/share with your thoughts.

Monthly think about new people you’ve met/worked with and add them as connections with a personal message. Post a longer-form article every other month.

And finally, bi-annually, review your profile, and add any new key skills you have gained and new work or content you have created.

Give it a go. We’re people who buy from people – whatever industry you’re in. LinkedIn might just be the platform to help you foster those connections.