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LinkedIn status updates done right

August 30, 2015

While many may feel flooded with loads of information, LinkedIn’s newsfeed focusses strictly on business topics. In this edition of our LinkedIn tips, Ritchie Pettauer explains how you can increase your LinkedIn reach with the right posting strategy.

By Ritchie Pettauer

New LinkedIn users usually view the platform as an elaborate tool to publish and manage one’s CV. Yet while creating and maintaining a highly converting profile pages is indeed a vital ingredient, ongoing communication in the form of blog articles, status-updates and activity postings play and important role in optimizing reach and acquiring new connections.

Just like Facebook, LinkedIn filters updates, which means that only a small percentage of your connections will actually see your status updates in their newsfeed. LinkedIn’s filter algorithm is of course confidential, but the company states that their goal is “to offer every user relevant and highly personalized information”.

A small and relatively well hidden option enables you to switch between “top updates” and “all updates”, but whenever the homepage is reloaded, the option is reset to the filtered view.

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The algorithm assures that the overall number of all displayed status updates stays the same even if the number of connections and subscribed company pages increases over time. In other words: The competition is growing rapidly and reaching a high percentage of one’s contacts is becoming increasingly difficult: Time to think about your personal LinkedIn content strategy. LinkedIn’s newsfeed not only contains status updates from users, but also influencer postings, pulse updates, postings by company pages, activity notifications and trending topics („Your network is currently talking about“): A huge number of status updates is competing for a few available newsfeed slots. Since the algorithm is based on personalization, there is no blueprint, postings that perform very well in one industry might not work for another. Yet there are definitely some best practices to consider when planning your personal LinkedIn content strategy. 

Best practices: How to create popular status updates

LinkedIn provides four different types of status updates:

Text updates: text-only messages containing no hyperlinks or images. Link updates: text messages containing a hyperlink. LinkedIn instantly display a preview including the title and a featured image (if provided by the linked site). Photo postings: A single image with a byline. The width of the image is scaled down to 350px keeping the aspect ratio of the original picture. Please note: Photo and link updates cannot be combined. If the text contains a hyperlink, LinkedIn discards the images and displays the link preview instead. All three posting types allow referencing of connections and companies by typing a “+” sign followed by the name.The final step is to choose your audience. Status updates are either visible for the general LinkedIn public or for your connections only. If you previously linked a Twitter account to your LinkedIn profile, a third options cross-posts the update to Twitter.

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Content is king. Currently, link postings are by far the most popular format. This is not surprising, considering that the majority of updates contain links to relevant online resources. Long-term statistics clearly show a couple of trends though: 

  • Pure text updates generate the poorest reach. All top 100 updates from the last six months contained either an image, a link or a video reference.
  • Users browse through the newsfeed to scan information quickly. Limiting your texts to 120 characters works best. If you plan to go into more detail, I recommend to publish a blog posting instead.
  • Focus on professional articles and resources that generate value for your readers. Try to find an adequate yet inventive and catchy wording that evokes curiosity.
  • Use status updates to regularly promote your other channels (Twitter, newsletters etc.)
  • The newsfeed is no place for classical advertising. Emotional formats like an industry-specific “quote of the day” are much more likely to stand out.

LinkedIn grants a higher reach to creative status updates that evoke emotions and generate a lot of interactions (likes, comments, shares). Original, helpful and creative postings are the key to success. The key question you should ask yourself every time before you post a status update is: Would I like to see this in my newsfeed?

About the author:

Ritchie Pettauer is an independent consultant, specializing in the creating and implementation of online-marketing strategies. In addition to teaching at the Department of Communication at the University of Vienna and at several universities of applied sciences in Austria (online content management, customer experience management, web analytics), he also holds discussions and workshops on “Corporate Online Marketing and Social Media.” The popular weblog, datenschmutz, has also been part of his work since 2006.  View his full resume on LinkedIn

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