Publishing on LinkedIn has become one of the best methods for entrepreneurs, executives, and business leaders to establish their thought leadership.
Why? Because when it comes to your professional writing, people trust LinkedIn more than any other social platform. According to a survey by LinkedIn, 73 percent of people said they were more confident in the professional information presented on LinkedIn than on Twitter, Facebook, or Yahoo! Groups.
So how do you make sure your LinkedIn articles perform well? Here are 5 best practices to follow.
1. Publish long-form content, and save your shorter posts for other platforms.
Users on LinkedIn prefer content between 1,900 and 2,000 words, according to an OkDork analysis of LinkedIn post performance.
One reason is because LinkedIn users expect much more thorough, researched content than users on Facebook, for example, do. It’s difficult to present a valuable idea, discuss it, and draw a reasoned conclusion in, say, 500 words.
That’s not to say you should pad your article with extra words, sentences, and paragraphs just to reach that length. Quality content will always win out over quantity. However, if you’re finding that your posts are consistently coming in under 1,500 words, you might want to reconsider how you structure them, or dig into your concepts a bit deeper.
2. Share your stories—not just your brand’s.
As connected consumers become ever more savvy to the tricks and tactics marketers use to sell to them, it’s becoming more important than ever to employ effective brand storytelling.
While this definitely involves sharing your brand’s story, it also means you have to open up and share your own stories, too.
That certainly doesn’t mean you have to talk about what you tell your therapist—but it does mean you should be open to sharing challenging moments in your professional life, times you questioned yourself, and especially rewarding moments in your career.
This is because people are are no longer buying from companies. They’re buying from people. They trust people, not brands. And when it comes to a site like LinkedIn, which is all about building professional connections, that personal element is key.
3. Include images.
Just as readers do on any other publishing site, LinkedIn users prefer posts with images. In fact, the OkDork analysis found that posts with 8 images perform much better than posts without images—in fact, they received an average of more than 50k views, as opposed to around 6k for posts with no images.
Select your images carefully. Avoid images that appear too “stock-y” or have nothing to do with your topic. That sounds obvious, but it’s amazing how many people will include images of a rock climber in posts about upping your sales numbers. You can draw a vague connection, but mostly it just makes your post look generic.
A few good sites to browse for images are Pexels, Unsplash, and Pixabay, all of which offer free stock images.
4. Post consistently, and on a regular schedule.
Consistency is vital no matter where you’re posting, whether that’s on Instagram, Facebook, Medium, or, of course, LinkedIn.
The reason behind this is that users will be more likely to follow you and share your articles if they know there’s more to come.
If you post once, and don’t post again for a couple of months, the people who originally read your article and were interested in what you had to say will have moved on. After all, it’s not as if there’s a shortage of content for people to read.
On the other hand, if people know that you post every week on Wednesdays, they’ll be much more likely to view, comment, and share. They’ll get used to seeing your articles pop up on their news feeds every week—and as every marketer knows, you’ve got to keep your brand top of mind with customers if you want to build a following. The same is true with thought leadership: if you want to build your brand as a thought leader, you have to keep yourself top of mind for people who are interested in the topics you write about.
When it comes to frequency of posting, LinkedIn’s managing editor Chip Cutter recommends posting at least a few times per week. LinkedIn differs from other platforms to a degree in that the people using it are on the platform to make connections, learn from each other, and advance their careers. There’s a much greater chance that they’ll start tuning you out if they hear from you too frequently.
5. Expand your topic areas.
Something else that Cutter recommends LinkedIn users do with their articles is vary their topic choices a bit.
Topics like productivity, efficiency, leadership—these are all popular things for LinkedIn users to write about, but that also means that it’s especially challenging for yet another article on how to be more productive to stand out.
What’s more, there’s so much content on these topics already that saying something truly brand-new is going to be tough. These articles can therefore sound bland and generic—two impressions you don’t want to leave people with when they think of your thought leadership.
Instead, try writing about things like:
- Trending topics in your industry
- Personal stories that are related to popular workplace topics like leadership, career development, etc.
- Major trending questions and topics like the future of work, how AI is changing the workforce, and immigration reform.
6. Use appropriate hashtags.
Hashtags are important on LinkedIn just like they are on other platforms, but you’ll need to make sure the ones you use are appropriate for the business-oriented audience. That means no #blessed or #FridayFeels—instead, use your company hashtag, or employ the ones that LinkedIn will suggest when you create your post.
Try to strike a balance between niche hashtags that will help your audience find you, and more general hashtags that will give readers a broad overview of your article’s topic area—#Inspiration, #WomenInLeadership, etc.
Hootsuite recommends using no more than five hashtags per LinkedIn article, as using more can look spammy.
For entrepreneurs and leaders who are building their thought leadership, posting articles on LinkedIn is a must.
For one thing, you’ll immediately increase your visibility on the platform, making it more likely that you’ll connect with other leaders in your industry, generate leads, and gain more customers. For another, by posting your articles on LinkedIn, you’re creating an extensive library of content that will serve you for years to come, as users can come across your writing at any time—not just n the three or four days after you posted it.
Want to learn more about posting on LinkedIn? Read our post “The Marketer’s Guide to Using LinkedIn’s Native Video.”