• Diana De Jesus

What I Learned By Building My Brand: Part 2 The Basics of LinkedIn for Brand Building as a CSM

I kinda picked LinkedIn as my go-to platform by mistake; I wasn't being all intentional about it!


I was looking for a job and LinkedIn, as we all know, posts tons of jobs so it just made sense to me.


But back when I started posting on the platform, I had no idea what I was doing. I did that thing we all have done at least once... Post about a job opening from our company and hope that somehow it went viral 😂


LinkedIn was, and in many ways, still is a mystery. But in this post, I want to share with you what I've come to learn over the past year or so about the platform. It's soul-crushing when you're putting your everything into a post to watch it then flop. Luckily, there are little things that we can do to help our engagement. I'm going to dig into:

  1. The very basics of LinkedIn

  2. Different type of content on LinkedIn

  3. The "Golden Hour": Stretching your engagement

The very basics of LinkedIn


So... No one really knows how the algorithm *exactly* works. LinkedIn isn't vocal about its inner workings but, there are plenty of speculations. Back when I started becoming curious about the algorithm, I ran into this super detailed article that helped validate and clear things up for me.


Some of the things mentioned in this article still ring true today however, many have noticed the algorithm has undergone changes. Things have certainly become harder on the platform for people who want to generate content 💔


Alas, if everything in life were easy, everyone would do it so we won't get hung up on these changes. We can still create our brand on LinkedIn so let's dive into the basics.


What works on LinkedIn


Posting at the same time every day - Pick a time of the day and try to post as close to that time as possible. This generates consistency for yourself and your audience. A rule of thumb here is to get a sense of where your audience or targeted audience may be and post at a time that makes the most sense. For example, I have many connections in the US, India, and Europe, so posting at 5 PM ET is probably not the best time for me. I stick to posting at 9:00 AM ET.


White spacing - I'll focus more on the content type in the next section but, people write in short spaced out sentences for a reason. It grabs your attention and makes it easier for you to digest the content. Take a quick look below. Which one do your eyes naturally go to?


Adding relevant tags - It's recommended to include a maximum of 3 tags in your post. And not just any tags, tags that actually make sense with what you're posting. Here are a few CS tags to help you get started:


Tagging a relevant person - If you're writing a post about someone or a handful of people, it's okay to include them in the post. In fact, if they engage back with your post, I noticed that it has a further reach as it also gets picked up by their connections.


What doesn't work on LinkedIn


Adding external links in your posts - This is a highly debated topic. I've tried it myself several times and, the results are... Including external links in your posts are a hard pass. Here's what LinkedInsights had to say:


...links can damage post-distribution...text+external link reduces distribution by between -25% and -50% and a post with just the external link (i.e no text) fares worse, between -50% and -80% distribution

Re-sharing a post - Another hard pass is re-sharing posts. The reach is very minimal. "I think one reason re-shares are less appreciated is that they’re a weird love child of the original poster and sharer, with neither side’s built-in audience engaging" ⬅️ this explanation on question #13 from the LinkedInsights post sums it up nicely.


Tagging a lot of people - This one is personal 😜 You want to build your brand organically, not force it on people. When every post you put out there includes 20 tagged people so that they can comment on your post, it's not working towards building your brand. If the outcome that you're after is going viral, this may be the thing for you but if the outcome you're after is building your presence, I recommend using this sparingly.


Posting at odd times - Weekends? Midnight? It can work but should you count on it as part of your "strategy?" Maybe not. It's not to say that your posts won't get any engagement, but again, you want to reach your audience, and timing is part of that.


Different type of content on LinkedIn


We have a selection to choose from when it comes to the content type we can produce on but not all content is treated equally on LinkedIn. Let's explore each one in more detail.


Text


This is the primary content type on LinkedIn. The majority of my posts are text-only as it's simply... the easiest option to go with. Looking through my stats (I use Shieldapp to track my LinkedIn performance), the posts that have done the best ––high engagement and a high number of views–– for me have been in this format.


Here are the key takeaways for text-only:

  • If you’re going to add a link, add the link in the comments

  • Write like you speak

  • Break up your sentences using white space

  • Use no more than 3 tags

Videos


I love me some videos 😍


When videos were first introduced, other content-type like text-only were downranked and lost a large number of impressions but that has all changed, things are more balanced now.


While it's clear that I get more views on text-only posts, my engagement is a lot higher for my video content. Shieldapp defines engagement as the following:

Engagement rate in the chosen period, calculated as views-to-like/comment/share ratio.

For context, my engagement rate for all posts (including videos) is 2.36%. For videos only, my engagement rate is 5.92% 🔥 these stats are great but my favorite thing about producing video content is all of the new connections that I make because of it.


Key takeaways for videos:

  • They are time-consuming!

  • Native videos work best (i.e., not embeds from YouTube)

  • Make sure to add text to give your audience context to the video

  • You can create them on your phone. You don't need fancy equipment to start

  • They have a higher engagement rate AND will bring you more genuine connections

Images


Image posts are a great way to bring variety to your content! These pair nicely with text (what is this a wine and cheese blog?!). Question #11 on the LinkedInsights article asks, "Which content performs better (text, picture, document, video, live video)?" and according to the response provided image + text = 100% reach.


Frankly, I don't post enough image + text content so I can't really weigh in on this but definitely a point to keep in mind.


Key takeaways for images:

  • Gifs are images 🤯

  • Add text... every post needs text because text = context


Re-shares



It 👏 NEVER 👏 works👏


I know it's tempting because it's easy. You just re-share it and BOOM, you've created content. Oftentimes, we share it and don't even provide context as to why we shared it in the first place.


Do I still reshare? Yes! But my excuse is that I'm resharing content that I've created on another LinkedIn profile of mine (like Open Book of Customer Success or Customer Success en Español)


Key takeaway for resharing:

  • Avoid it as much as possible

  • Share a link to the post in the comment section instead

Other content types


There are other types of content I haven't had much experience with like Documents,

Stories and Articles. Proceed at your own risk 🙃


The "Golden Hour": Stretching your engagement


Hear me out, because this last point is really important!


Firstly, what is the "Golden Hour?" Here's what our friends from LinkedInsights defined it as:

“Nurturing your post, especially in the first 60 minutes by reacting and responding to everyone who has taken the time to engage is essential if you want to reach the maximum possible audience.”

So what does this mean for us? To start, we can't post & ghost. That's when you put your post out there into the world and just fuggedaboutit. You have to be around to engage with the comments in your post.


I know it's hard; This last week for me has been nothing but posting & ghosting because...TIME. But it shows in my stats.


Besides ensuring you're getting high engagement by sticking around when you post, it's also flat-out good manners to reply to people who took the time out of their day to comment on your post.


Here's how the algorithm works:

source: https://www.linkedinsights.com/the-linkedin-algorithm-explained-in-25-frequently-asked-questions/


Now let's see how this actually plays out in real life.


Below are two posts I shared recently on LinkedIn. One had an excellent Golden Hour, while the other did not. Let's start with my post that flopped.


The flopper

Post stats

  • views 2,126

  • likes: 25

  • comments: 10

  • engagement rate:1.69%

What happened?

The Golden Hour here didn't happen and it's because there was no alignment between comments, views, and likes. While I had the majority of comments come in at the same time, I wasn't around to continue nurturing it. I find that it still managed to get a good amount of views considering the stats but, the engagement was still low.


The golden hour hero

Post stats

  • views 7,014

  • likes: 166

  • comments: 24

  • engagement rate:2.71%

What happened?

Look at those beautiful lines all working together 🙌 For this post, by 9:20, I had already brought in 20 comments by engaging with people who had commented on my post. This resulted in over 2X views and a 1% increase in engagement.


Now you know... Post + stick around to engage with those comments = success!


You know the LinkedIn Basics, now what?


Woo, that was A LOT! I hope this post was helpful to you and that you feel at least 1% more confident about building your brand on LinkedIn. If you haven't checked out the first part of this mini-series on figuring out what in the world your "brand" is, I highly recommend it!


Next up on this mini-series, I'll cover the next B in our 4 Bs framework, which is "Build." Build is all about nurturing the community you are creating for yourself and keeping up the momentum.







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