Posted 07.01.2020 by Meghan Crawford
Growing a personal brand audience in 2020 is much, much easier than growing a professional page. Why? The algorithm weights content from people more favorably than pages. That’s no secret.
Here’s how you cope.
First, let’s start with unpaid tactics. Some of these will be quick wins with immediate results where others may take sustained efforts over months for a payoff.
Using employees and their network to grow your LinkedIn audience
When employees post, they reach more people than the company page does. It’s easier to grow your LinkedIn following by tapping into your employees’ networks than just starting from scratch. Here are a few ways to do that.
1. Make sure all employees connect their profile to the Page properly.
It’s an easy but often overlooked part of setting up your LinkedIn profile and should be part of your profile best practices for employees.
Not sure how? Check out LinkedIn’s quick explainer.
2. Have select employees invite their network to the page manually.
You know what doesn’t work? Cold inviting people to like your company page. If you’ve ever received such an invite, you know exactly how jarring and off-putting it can be. Not the kind of first impression you want to be making.
Instead, leverage your employees’ networks — aka people who already know and trust them instead of random strangers who have no prior experience with your company. You can invite up to 100 per day.
3. Add LinkedIn page links to everyone’s email signature.
Since you’re already speaking with customers and prospects, this is a perfect and unobtrusive place to drop a link to your company page.
4. Have key employees reshare your content.
We’ve talked about using OPA (Other People’s Audiences) before and it’s no different on LinkedIn. Encourage key employees to share to their own network — key employees could be anyone on your team from founders, senior leaders, sales, or anyone in HR or customer facing, depending on the content they’re sharing.
To facilitate this process, you’ll need to notify them whenever there’s a new post. Speaking of which…
5. Turn on employee notifications for new posts.
Using this native LinkedIn feature the next time you post will send a notification to all employees who’ve connected their accounts the next time they log in (see step 1: connect your profile). Or you can keep dropping the link to your latest LinkedIn poll in Slack and tagging the whole channel and they can keep ignoring you.
6. Have key employees post original content.
Another way to access OPA is to share your employees’ content instead of the other way around. In addition to leveraging their network, you’re also positioning your employees as experts in their field and elevating their voices.
Using content to grow your LinkedIn audience:
If your content doesn’t elicit a response, you won’t reach past your owned audience. That means your audience isn’t growing. Here are ways to improve your content to earn reach — organically.
7. Create engaging video content.
Why video? Not only is video a powerful tool for digital marketing in general (84% of buyers cite branded video as a major factor in their decision to buy), it’s also specifically beneficial on LinkedIn.
The algorithm tips dramatically in favor of video content, a fact that is supported by the rise of video content on the platform and the 87% of marketers who report LinkedIn video as an effective part of their channel strategy. You can use video for a variety of applications, from product demos to case studies to behind-the-scenes series — it’s up to you.
Remember to optimize for mobile, since that’s where the majority of your audience is.
8. Ask more questions in your posts.
A perhaps straightforward but effective way to elicit a response to your content is… to literally ask for one. You can do this either by incorporating the question into your post copy or your creative (graphic or video), or by using the new native LinkedIn poll feature we’ve all been waiting for that’s finally arrived. 🙏
9. Answer all of the comments to keep conversation streams active.
Your LinkedIn feed is not chronological; instead, you’re shown posts based on an algorithm. How does the algorithm determine which posts are useful and popular enough to show (and keep showing) on your feed? A number of factors but engagement metrics are high on the list — including comments. So if you’re not responding in the comment section of your posts, you’re letting valuable, algorithm-signaling engagement go to waste.
Also, it’s just good online etiquette. You’ve invited your audience to have a conversation with you; don’t make them feel like they’re talking to a brick wall.
10. Respond proactively to community hashtag content from the Page.
You can follow up to three community hashtag topics from your LinkedIn company page. Similar to following a hashtag on Instagram, you’ll see trending content from those tags in your feed and be able to respond to those posts as your page.
Think of it this way: the comment is the content. So approach it the same way you would writing a post for your page and make a good first impression!
11. Use relevant hashtags in your posts.
Hashtags have been around almost as long as social media as we know it, although you might not have seriously considered them in the context of LinkedIn before now. But they’re still a valuable tool for search.
A few guidelines to follow: Don’t go overboard. According to Hootsuite, sticking to 3-5 hashtags per post is best. Make sure you choose relevant, specific hashtags. There’s a sweet spot between too obscure and too general that will be your niche.
12. Mention people in your posts so their followers see it.
Get your content in front of new eyes by tagging someone — ideally someone influential or relevant to the content — in your post.
You can even shape your content strategy to do this more frequently and effectively. Include roundups and interviews in your content planning so you improve your chance at reaching other audiences.
13. Stream with LinkedIn Live.
We already touched on why using video in general is important, but LinkedIn’s new live feature is another excellent tool to up your game.
According to LinkedIn, live videos generate 7x more reactions and 24x more comments all other factors being equal. LinkedIn Live supports a variety of third-party broadcasting tools and operates similarly to other live stream platforms like Facebook and Instagram.
With current social distancing regulations and precautions, live video is an even more effective tool for building up your online community in lieu of in-person events. This makes LinkedIn Live ideal for migrating any live events you had planned or adapting serial content that might be difficult to pre-record and produce with a remote team. If you choose to do a recurring segment, make sure to go live at the same time every week, two weeks, month — however often you’ll be live streaming.
Having a consistent schedule will make it easier for your audience to find, watch, and engage with your live content.
14. Post content around LinkedIn trending topics to surface in those results.
Building ad hoc content around trending topics shouldn’t make up the bulk of your content strategy, especially if you don’t have anything new to add to the conversation. But if you’re looking to reach beyond your current audience, posting about trending topics is one solid way to get your content in front of new eyes.
How do you know what’s trending on LinkedIn? The “Today’s News and Views” feed (which used to be known as “What People Are Talking About Now”) will give you a general view of trending topics on the platform. For more niche specific topics, monitor hashtags relevant to your industry.
It’s important to choose a topic that a) you are knowledgeable about and b) is relevant to your brand and your audience. For example, if you’re an e-commerce software brand, your followers might be confused if you pop off about HR best practices. 🙃
15. Run a Dynamic Ad follower campaign.
You can run a follower ad campaign in a couple of ways.
1) You can use the follower ad format in a Brand Awareness or Engagement campaign. This ad format will show a personalized ad to all targeted members, featuring your brand’s logo and name next to their profile picture and name with a Follow button.
2) You can run an Engagement campaign. You have the option to add a Follow button to any Engagement ad formats, including single image ads, carousel image ads, and video ads instead of just the standard follower ad format. Additionally, follower ads don’t show up on mobile, so this option will reach more prospects where they engage with the platform (on their phones).
16. Create a contest.
It’s common on other platforms, particularly Instagram and Facebook, to run contests to encourage Page follows. While it’s uncommon for LinkedIn, it’s not out of the question. The key to using this tactic successfully is to consider the value exchange when determining the contest prize. It needs to be both relevant and valuable to your target audience.
For example, something like an iPad or a set of Beats headphones wouldn’t work well as a prize. While it might be effective initially in drawing followers to your page, it’s not targeted enough to attract the right followers. Anyone would be interested a pair of Beats, meaning that the followers gained likely aren’t your target audience and you can expect many to unfollow shortly after the contest wraps.
A better prize might be a free 6-month subscription to your software. It’s relevant and valuable without being overly costly. You gain followers plus the opportunity to convert the winner into a paying customer after their 6-month trial subscription is up.
17. Run sponsored job postings.
This might seem like a roundabout way to gain followers, but it works. Lots of people on LinkedIn are job hunting so a job listing is a great way to get your company page on their radar.
Some reasons they might click that Follow button:
1) They want to stay informed about the current position.
2) They’re doing research on you as a company before hitting submit on that application.
3) They want to know if any future positions open up.
While these applicants might be recruitment prospects right now, that doesn’t mean they can’t change into potential customers or advocates later down the line.
18. Collaborate with LinkedIn Influencers.
Your main goal with this tactic is to get your content in front of someone else’s audience and convince them to become your audience, too. In theory, it’s pretty similar to using your employees’ networks to grow your following except that an influencer’s reach is going to be quite a bit larger than that of your employees. Unless your employees are influencers themselves, which is very cool if that’s true.
Another key benefit of working with a LinkedIn influencer is that many of their followers are high level decision makers, aka the kind of people you want in your own audience.
While LinkedIn has their own official influencer program, which is invitation only and includes the likes of Bill and Melinda Gates and Arianna Huffington, that’s not your only option. There are also plenty of experienced, influential LinkedIn Members who didn’t make the list that you can connect and collaborate with. The key is to find an influencer whose audience aligns closely with your target audience, regardless of audience size. In fact, partnering with micro-influencers can be just as if not more effective.
There are a variety of ways you can collaborate with LinkedIn influencers, from producing a webinar together, co-authoring an article or infographic and tagging each other in posts, or even sponsoring some of their content.
There’s a lot of advice out there about how to boost your LinkedIn company page’s visibility and following. While plenty of it’s perfectly good, actionable advice, there’s also advice that might not work for every brand. Or maybe it works but the return on investment is too low to make it worth your time and effort.
Here are a few tactics that could be worth testing but definitely aren’t easy wins.
19. Sponsoring posts as a mechanism for new page likes.
A good rule of thumb is that content that performs well organically will also perform well as a paid campaign. That’s the basic idea behind sponsored posts on LinkedIn. The problem with this in the context of a follower campaign is that while your post may have performed well organically, it probably wasn’t built with follower growth in mind. It was designed to drive traffic to your blog or educate your audience about product features or share a company update or… You get the idea.
It’s also difficult to prove value with a single piece of content. A single video or carousel might not be enough to convince someone that your page is worth a follow, even if it’s your top performing video or carousel.
20. Cross-promoting to your other social media channels.
There’s nothing inherently wrong with leveraging your existing audiences to grow your LinkedIn company page. Unfortunately, much of the advice we’ve seen surrounding this tactic goes something like this: “Share a link to your profile and ask your audience to follow the account.”
Simple, direct, and often ineffective.
The reason you won’t see much engagement with a post just asking for follows is because it probably isn’t hitting any of the four E’s of content creation: entertaining, engaging, educational, enriching. In other words — it’s not content that provides value.
In fact, instead of providing your audience with value, these kinds of posts ask them to provide the value and give nothing in return for it, other than the promise of a good time over on LinkedIn. That’s a pretty flimsy value prop. What’s the fix here? Be more specific and show, don’t tell.
Are you running a LinkedIn Live series that they won’t want to miss? Do you regularly publish LinkedIn articles that are full of helpful tips and knowledge? What do they get out of following you on LinkedIn that they don’t get on Facebook, on Twitter, on Instagram?
Cross-promote your content, not your page.
21. Joining and participating in LinkedIn Groups.
Unless it’s your own, it may be difficult to generate followers in Groups. That doesn’t mean no one has ever had success growing their page following through LinkedIn Groups, but ultimately that’s not the purpose of Groups.
According to LinkedIn, Groups “provide a place for professionals in the same industry or with similar interests to share their insights and experiences, ask for guidance, and build valuable connections.” They also state in their list of best practices for contributing as a Group member to “avoid self-promotion.” You can of course walk the line between not spamming the Group with follow requests and never sharing your own resources, but it’s not a tactic that will yield immediate results or even any results without a significant investment of time and effort.
You have to build trust and provide value first, without the expectation of a follow or a sale.
You’re likely already doing most if not all of these, but getting back to basics is a great troubleshooting tactic. Make sure you’re covering all your bases with your LinkedIn company page from the ground up.
22. Update your profile fully.
The most basic of basic first steps, so we’ll just cover the major points quickly:
23. Post content regularly.
There’s no definitive rule for how often to post on LinkedIn because audiences and content strategies vary dramatically from one business to the next. However, there are a few guidelines to follow.
Struggling to fill up that content calendar? Keep a swipe file of social media content ideas to reference.
24. Post quality content.
More important than posting regularly is posting quality, useful content. Useful content will be educational, entertaining, engaging, or enriching — or a combination of any of the four.
25. Use Page analytics.
Take advantage of LinkedIn’s Page analytics to gain valuable insights into what content works, who your audience is, and how best to reach them. We recommend recording your most helpful social KPIs in a monthly scorecard. This makes it easier to deduce the reasons behind lifts and dips in traffic, engagement, and followers and respond in an agile way.
26. Add links and follow buttons on your website.
While this is a basic part of setting up any new company social presence, it’s easy to overlook as it’s not part of the actual account set up process. There are a wide variety of widgets and plug-ins you can use to direct site visitors to your LinkedIn page, no matter what hosting platform you use.
We hope these 26 tips and tactics will help you grow your LinkedIn company page followers and start earning new, qualified leads. Did we miss something absolutely crucial for growing your company page? Tweet @wearesculpt with your best LinkedIn growth tactics!
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When you publish a post that starts building great organic engagement, amplifying your reach to more people becomes the next goal. And this is where Facebook ads come in.