LinkedIn is a science that needs strategic and thoughtful content and network management, writes Sue Parker.
Many people are in LinkedIn jail but have NO idea that each day their sentence gets extended (sad but true). The algorithm beasts and engineering back end processes impact content and profile visibility resulting in potential incarceration (or parole). This results directly from how you may have mis-managed, attempted to game or having no regard to the quality of your LI content and the entire platform.
If you are in LinkedIn jail (or on parole) your posts will be ranked at the bottom of the barrel (if off the radar) you won’t maximise the algorithm content process, will be unable to connect easily and overall your visibility penalised. And that means you won’t get the results you want and/or need.
There are 3 main jails cells that can impact your overall feed and engagement results on LinkedIn.
- Invitations – I don’t know you, SPAM = Connecting jail
- Articles (Pulse) – Daily auto with no engagement = VOID jail
- Low Quality Content – 0-low engagement = Algorithm jail
No 2 & 3 are critical to LI results. There is a 4 step classification process which rates content and articles into Spam – Low – High quality (Image/Text/Video/Long Form/Link).
This is the chart from LinkedIn’s Engineering department showing the trail of content reach and how classifications are determined ‘generally’ (note it’s not 100%)
Your historical data matters. Depending on the classification, content is distributed to a sample size of people in your network. Once placed in front of these people, different actions have different weightings as to whether the post should be :
- Demoted because it’s low quality
- Shown to more people because it’s high quality.
- Extra editorial review re distributing beyond initial testings
The no of connections you have is also weighted against the metrics of your content. Essentially if your posts/articles have little to nil engagement – all future content goes to algorithm jail.
The quality of connections REALLY matter. High numbers of connections doesn’t always equate to higher metrics. Often it’s the reverse which impacts YOUR visibility.
DO focus on good quality content. How to judge what is good (and its up and down with the editors) but essentially content that elicits engagement and value to the reader, opinions and sharing of ideas and values.
Do NOT engage in 3rd party automated volume based plugin invitation/connection Apps & Tools (the SPAM and rejections are too risky). Auto technologies to connect with 100s to 1000s of connections daily is not just ‘spray and pray’ but will damage you enormously. This is a big subject. But it can result not just in jail but LI death row (being booted off the platform) Linked In Official article on prohibiting Apps and Extensions
Members who contravene LinkedIn User Agreement 8.2 can receive this notification:
Do NOT post constant self promotional content – aka advertisements for your business. This doesn’t engage and the rule should be 80% giving value on the platform. People also get weary of ‘look at me how great we are’ content
Do NOT always just comment ‘Nice post, Thanks’ on other peoples posts. This is classified as LOW engagement and is held in historical data – impacting your visibility.
And EVEN WORSE, don’t use 3rd party auto robot tools and extensions to post auto responder inane comments on your behalf on posts and blogs. This also damages your brand and market respect long term – because it is evident that the comments made are non human (once you pick the pattern) and have no engagement or obvious relevance to the content itself – just the keywords being picked and flung into something quite trite.
Do NOT use 3rd party content links masquerading as your content. Original Pulse articles (blogs) are important for LI integrity. So don’t use the outsourced systems that feed keyword search articles back and auto post them. This is almost considered SPAM in LI engineering world.. This continues the jail cycle to almost ‘never to be released’. How to check if this is happening? Just look at the comments, likes and shares metrics (which are often between 0-4) on such Articles.
Tip: LinkedIn want engagement on Posts and hence Blogs/Pulse articles no longer get the reach and visibility. So any campaign that promises great results with daily Pulse articles (original or not content) won’t work and downgrades the editorial reach. BUT there is workarounds here for the content Articles really are valuable BUT only when there is a link from the Posts section to Articles. We just need to tweak how we put out content and mix it up.
Do NOT use 3rd party plugins with automated Endorsements profile captures
DO minimise Posts that contain links to external websites. Put external link in the comments of your post or on your actual Pulse articles. It’s a good rule to essentially mix up what and how you post.
Check the % metrics of your content vs your connection numbers. This is critical and cull connections who are just there via 3rd party auto tools to buff up your numbers. They don’t add to yours, theirs or others content.
For example if you have a post and have 12,000 connections you would assume high engagement. BUT not necessarily if the quality of your network isn’t in tune, aligned or relevant. LinkedIn knows what is happening and historical engagement so can downgrade your visibility and feed of posts.
Do some metrics – its logical IF you have a highly engaged network that big connection numbers should equal big engagement (likes, shares, comments). If it doesn’t it is WARNING BELLS – for LinkedIn and for potential connections if they see if there is bluster, bumped up numbers without substance.,
I have spent considerable time analysing metrics on 100’s of profiles. The results are frighteningly clear when a profile is in LI content jail. And yet people are none the wiser and are often spending $$$ for systems and tools which just extend their sentences.
LinkedIn is a science and an art – and needs strategic and thoughtful content and network management.
Sue Parker is a leading LinkedIn Communications, Personal Branding and Marketing specialist. She helps clients launch, re-brand and grow their professional and creative services businesses throughout Australia by DAREing them to thrive and step up and out.