You see posts like this all the time: “Here is a great article, you should read it.”
And that’s it, nothing else. This is so lame. Really, it’s weaksauce.
You took the effort to read the article. You found it valuable enough to share it with your network.
Then you failed to tell us why it’s important.
Why It's Important
Your voice influences how people think about you and your company.
A 2020 study by Edelman, compiled from three years of LinkedIn data, found that “Thought Leadership is a powerful way to connect with B2B Decision-Makers.”
With that overly-pithy share, you’ve basically wasted your time and missed a huge opportunity to provide valuable content to the people in your network.
It’s time to improve.
Here are 5 easy things you can do to IMMEDIATELY improve your LinkedIn content.
These 5 things will add a few minutes to your post. Trust me, the time will be well spent.
I’m going to use some examples from my colleague Dr. Brian Fugate. Three years ago, he was a LinkedIn lurker. He’d peruse his feed and occasionally leave comments.
Today, he’s a master at sharing knowledge and value, and an inspiration for his colleagues at the University of Arkansas Walton College of Business.
You can follow his lead with just a few more minutes of your time per post.
Let’s get started.
1. Provide Unique Insights and Observations
The number one rule on LinkedIn is to share value with your network.
The top characteristics of high-value Thought Leadership content, according to Decision-Makers (also from Edelman’s LinkedIn study), is content that:
- Explores potential challenges or new opportunities I had not considered before
- Points out things that I had overlooked in thinking or strategizing
- Includes guidance on how to respond to the issues raised
This isn’t as hard as you might think. When you’re reading the article, make note of that one thing that inspired you to share and include it at the top of your post.
2. Tag People
Once you’ve drafted the beginnings of your value-adding post, it’s time to tag people. Each person tagged will increase your reach by allowing their followers to see your posts.
Three common reasons/justifications/strategies for tagging include:
- Giving attribution to the originator of the article. You might be sharing a Forbes article, but you can do a quick search to find the author and include their LinkedIn profile in your share.
- Shouting out someone mentioned in the article.
- Reaching out to a mentor, colleague, or expert to ask them for their perspective on the topic of your post.
3. Tag Organizations
If a company you know or admire is listed in the article, tag that company, too.
Many larger companies have social media teams monitoring those kinds of mentions, and might notice your post.
Some companies even have their own branded hashtags. Examples of this are Coke's #ShareACoke hashtag or the University of Arkansas College of Engineering's #UARKEngineering. You can add these to your post for extra visibility.
However, identifying the right branded hashtag to use may require some additional research, so stick to just tagging using the "@" symbol if you're short on time.
4. Tag Your Organization
If your organization is mentioned or relevant to your share, mention it.
The most common situation is when you are posting about an announcement or event involving your company.
You may also consider sharing your post to your company's page, if you feel the content is relevant to your audience.
5. Use Some Hashtags
Tagging and hashtagging may seem confusing. Both serve as ways to extend the reach of your post into new audiences, but there are some key differences to how and why they are used.
Company and People Tags
These tags are native to LinkedIn. As stated before, these connections give your post the potential to reach the networks of the people and companies you have tagged.
To tag a person or company, simply type the “@” symbol and continue typing the name of the company. As you type, you should see a list of names appear. Select the correct name and you’ve completed the link.
If you use Twitter, this is the exact same thing. For the non-tweeters, a hashtag is an ad hoc taxonomy people create as they share content. A hashtag identifies an affinity group around a topic. Over time, people follow these groups so they can see similar content.
To add a hashtag, type the “#” symbol and start typing your topic. If it exists, you’ll see it show up in the autocomplete list. Select your tag and you’ve created the link.
An important thing to remember is people follow these tags. Selecting a tag that only a small number of people are following doesn’t provide any value. You can search for the tag to see how many people are following it.
Whatever You Do, Don’t “Tag Stuff”
Tag stuffing is when you tag dozens of people, companies, and hashtags indiscriminately.
You might think this is getting your content to more people, but LinkedIn’s algorithm identifies this for what it is: not valuable.
Your post will be penalized and won’t show up in many feeds. If you’re identified as a chronic tag stuffer, your future posts will suffer as well.
All this is to say, don’t go overboard. Just pick two or three meaningful tags relevant to your post’s topic or industry.
In the beginning, you might just write a good observation and then include the people, organizations, and hashtags at the bottom of the post.
That is a great start! Keep doing it.
Once you get the hang of the sharing essentials, try writing your observations while also working the names of the people, companies, and industries into your narrative. Weave those tags and hashtags into the flow of your caption.
This serves a dual purpose:
- First, this looks more pleasing than having all the tags “stuffed” into the bottom of the post.
- Second, having this mindset helps you focus on the reason you were inspired to share in the first place.
Additionally, if your organization has a branded hashtag, feel free to include it when relevant.
You and your organization have the potential to delight your current and future clients on LinkedIn. You just need to take a few extra moments when you share a great piece of content with your professional network.
One extra moment to add your unique insights.
Another moment to tag people and organizations to extend the reach of your posts.
And take one final moment to add hashtags to share your insights with even wider audiences.
With these simple steps, you will help more people see the knowledge you have to share and add value to your network’s quests to learn and grow.
Interested in expanding your thought leadership on LinkedIn? Get started on your free 20 minute marketing review today.