With 300 million users, LinkedIn is the internet’s third most popular social media site. It’s a social network for business professionals who are interested in creating career connections and learning more about their industry. Most of its users are over 30 and 69 percent of them have a college degree. They are also uniquely engaged with site content, in a way that far exceeds Facebook or Twitter. LinkedIn users are 50 percent more likely to buy from a company that they follow on LinkedIn and four times more likely to visit their website from LinkedIn than from either Facebook or Twitter.
In 2012, LinkedIn began publishing original content by distinguished business writers and personalities: Richard Branson, Jack Welsh, and Airanna Huffington. LinkedIn referred to them as “thought leaders” or “influencers.” Earlier this year, LinkedIn decided to open its publishing program to its entire user base, which means that every LinkedIn member can now write with the hope of becoming a prominent Linkedin-fluencer. Click the pencil icon in the “Share” box on your LinkedIn page to launch the program. Completed articles appear on your profile and are shared with contacts in your network. If enough people read, like, or share them, LinkedIn will begin sharing them with users outside of your network in an ever-increasing circle, and perhaps even to the entire site.
With so many other users competing for attention, creating quality content is obviously the biggest challenge for any LinkedIn publisher. So, how do you stand out from the crowd?
- Good writing. Your thoughts need to be organized, focused, and easy to read. Avoid complicated verbiage and use a conversational tone. It will help engage your readers on more personal level, as if they were talking to a friend or trusted colleague. LinkedIn also don’t enjoy deciphering complicated language. They also don’t like being told how to think. Avoid inflammatory and proactive words. Presenting your ideas from a detached perspective will let your readers make up their own minds about them.
- Quality Content. The primary reasons people read articles on LinkedIn is to gain insights into their industry and to learn about new products. Don’t use LinkedIn as a marketing tool; use it to establish your expertise. Talk about your industry and what you’ve learned about it. Focus on how-to articles and lists (e.g. “10 Best Business Practices”). They are the most widely read.
- Longer Articles & Short Titles. Popular posts on Facebook and Twitter tend to be short, but LinkedIn users appreciate in-depth looks at subjects: 1900-2000 words. Conversely, they engage with articles that have short, pithy titles: 40-49 characters.
- Add Pictures & Subdivide. Long blocks of text can be intimidating, which is why articles that break up their content with subheadings and pictures get the most views. Create either five or nine subheadings, no more, no less, and nothing in between. For some reason, articles with five or nine subheadings receive significantly more views. Space pictures throughout the article however you like, but make sure to keep one right at the top of the post.
- Publish Often. The more articles you publish, the more people you’re likely to reach. The best publishing times are in the mornings, Monday – Friday. Avoid the weekends. Your goal should be 20 posts per month.
- Links & Videos. It’s established that sharing links in your article boosts viewership by 200 percent. Videos are more controversial. They increase the likelihood that your article will be shared but reduce the chance that it will be read.
If you’re at a loss for subjects to write about, don’t be afraid to use LinkedIn as a resource. Join a LinkedIn group centered on your industry and find out what people are talking about. Their discussions are your best leads.
Those are the best practices for LinkedIn writing. Next time, we’ll be exploring the colorful world of Pinterest.
Got any LinkedIn tips or experiences that you’d like to share? Leave a comment. We’d love to hear about them.