When I originally wrote this post in 2019, it was incredibly easy to go viral on LinkedIn.
Nearly 3 years later, LinkedIn’s algorithm is still giving a ton of reach to creators.
However, the cat is out of the bag. Every B2B marketer on the planet knows that a strong LinkedIn presence is one of the most best ways to help you get more customers / clients.
This has led to increased competition for attention.
You can still get your content to go viral on LinkedIn, but you have to know what you’re doing.
In this post, I’m going to break down the exact tactics (with examples) you can follow to get your content to go viral on LinkedIn.
Why bother with LinkedIn?
There’s 9 billion content impressions on the LinkedIn feed weekly and only 3 million users share content weekly (source).
Lot’s of eyeballs, not a lot of noise.
LinkedIn’s algorithm is favoring marketers right now…
- The algorithm has a slow decay, meaning your content will linger on feeds for days (or weeks). Networks like Instagram, Facebook and Twitter decays within hours.
- When a person in your network comments on your update, it will show in their feeds. That means your content gets a true viral effect by pushing to friends of friends, not just friends in your network.
LinkedIn understands the more visibility they give us marketers, the more we’ll use (and promote) the platform. Once they reach scale, they’ll gradually decrease organic visibility to sell more ad units.
It’s the same thing Facebook did in 2012, Instagram is going through the shift from organic to paid visibility right now.
The point is, now is the time to take advantage of LinkedIn.
Whats the secret to LinkedIn?
The key to LinkedIn visibility is engagement on your posts.
The LinkedIn engineerings team refers to this as “velocity”. The faster you can get engagement on your posts, the more visibility the algorithm will give your content in people’s feeds.
Special considerations for LinkedIn
LinkedIn is distinctly different than any other social network. There’s some nuances you need to consider…
Treat LinkedIn as a micro blogging platform
I like to use my updates essentially as long form Tweets, or how I used to update my Facebook status back in the day.
Use it as a place to create unique thoughts tailored to LinkedIn’s natural audience.
I’ll be covering different content tactics in the next section.
Commit to hosting and promoting your LinkedIn content
If you have a video to share, you can still upload it to IGTV, Facebook and YouTube…But you should upload it directly (natively) to LinkedIn as well.
More importantly, you need to commit to promoting your LinkedIn URL as the main source of that content.
For example, let’s say you create a video – “Top 5 Google Sheets Hacks”. You upload it to your blog, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. You need to promote your video (hard) to trigger the “velocity” portion of the algorithm.
That means taking your LinkedIn status update and cross promoting it on other channels. I like to use:
- Email list
- Facebook ads
- :60 teaser video on Instagram with a link to LinkedIn in my bio
The key is getting your URL in front of people right away to drive engagement and tell the LinkedIn algorithm your update is worthy of more eyeballs.
Make sure your profile is visible to the public so you can reach your network’s connections as well
If you want true vitality on your content (i.e. reaching people who are NOT your connections), you need to make sure your profile is set all the way public.
Here’s a quick guide on how to do so.
Don’t use it as a content promotion channel
They’re not going to give your content visibility if you’re promoting your blog or other networks.
You need to build trust with the algorithm by creating content specifically for LinkedIn (aka “native content”).
Once you build authority you can push links from other places, but it takes time and repetition before you can do so.
Articles or posts?
The tips given in this article are focused on posts, not articles. My data also shows posts getting a lot more exposure in the feed that articles.
Articles are better for long form evergreen content (i.e. guide to SEO). Articles rank really well in Google search, so think of them more as an alternate platform to publish blog content.
Posts are better for micro content, in the moment tips – like you used to update Facebook status or Tweet.
Use hooks and stories in your posts
An engaging hook is critical to stop people from scrolling and pay attention to your post.
On LinkedIn, you only get two sentences to set the hook. A few tactics I’ll use are:
- Asking a question (i.e. Struggling to get your FB ads to convert?)
- Stating a controversial point of view (i.e. You don’t need employees to build a successful company. Let me explain…)
- Leading off with data points (i.e. 44% of people in relationships are NOT happy)
A good hook will get that critical initial engagement needed to set your content viral.
Let’s get into some real life examples of marketing tactics that work on LinkedIn.
1. The relatable story
Julia Altamofen 20 Alpha Pharma cycles McCoy went on a light rant that we can all relate to – dealing with LinkedIn spammers. She created a a quick IG Boomerang as the media to accompany it. This update works well to connect with people on your feed and pick up easy likes and comments. However, I wouldn’t expect a post like this to generate much more than engagement. I’d suggest a small tweak to her copy to add in a few tips about how to write cold outreach emails the RIGHT way, to demonstrate her [awesome] expertise on copywriting.
2. The lesson learned
Robert Sweeney shared an update about a developer he passed on who went on to do great things. This “lesson learned” shows a great deal of humility – we all make mistakes, this story connects and motivates people that you can still make mistakes and be successful.
3. The thought provoker
Dave uses a great hook to grab your attention and keep you reading further. He then dives into a story about how he quit his job to pursue his dream. Real life stories about overcoming the odds are an incredible way to build engagement on an update.
4. The open ended question
Hailey hooks us with a story about a dinner party with VCs, and parlays that into a conversation about social klout on LinkedIn. She mentions a means to measure your influence by checking your Social Selling Index. She drops a link in the comments for how to check your score and invites you to comment back on her status with your results. The combination of competition, curiosity and open ended questioning drove her post through the roof with engagement and visibility.
5. The personal moment
LinkedIn is a business network, but sharing personal stories is an amazing way to break through the noise and connect with people. John shares a deeply personal story that resonated hard with people, driving a lot of comments supporting his story.
6. The ego bait
Engagement is key on LinkedIn, but engagement from power users takes your status to another level. A great way to do that is feature power users in an update. You could do an interview, or simply tag power influencers thanking them for their work and efforts. This generally will result in the influencer commenting on your post, driving up your velocity significantly.
7. The hack
People go nuts for “hacks”. Sharing these short tips is an easy way to get your content to go viral.
8. The controversial point of view
While I do suggest showing your personal side on LinkedIn, there is a certain level of professionalism I suggest you maintain. When I say controversial, I wouldn’t suggest talking religion or politics, but rather picking a controversial topic within your industry and arguing for or against it.
9. The giveaway
This is my favorite tactic to generate real leads and sales from LinkedIn. If you have something of value to give away (coupon, discount, ebook, video series) use your status to generate interest and ask people to comment in exchange for the value. This tactic worked wonders helping me generate over 250 opt ins to my training platform.
LinkedIn is dying for you to get involved right now. You might think these tactics are only generating fluff (i.e. engagement and awareness), but these are a critical part of the buying process.
I’ve said it a million times, but people don’t buy from companies they don’t know. With all the noise on the web now, it’s harder and harder to break through (without paying for it).
Use this as an opportunity to create value in your market and spread your reach. While it may not result in direct sales, it will help your overall marketing efforts.
Want help with your marketing strategy? Grab a time on my calendar, let’s chat.