LinkedIn’s Algorithm … What you Should Know

October 11, 2023

Episode 47: LinkedIn’s Algorithm … What you Should Know

There’s these questions I get time and time again when I do talks or webinars about getting visible on LinkedIn, and I totally understand why these questions come up. We want to make sure we’re doing it quote unquote right. We want to squeeze all the juice out of LinkedIn, and make the algorithm work for us. I get it, and honestly I want that too!

And so, I’m gonna share my answers, to all the FAQ’s I get like, when should I post? Should I link in the comments or in the piece? Is it good or bad to tag people in the post? Should I turn on Creator Mode? And so on and so forth. Because I wanna give the people what they want!

But here’s the biggest LinkedIn algorithm secret I can give you, so this episode can actually live up to its clickbaity title. At the end of the day, none of this stuff actually matters as long as you are sharing with some consistency, intentionally building community, and providing value that resonates with your specific audience and the flavor of how they experience the problem you solve. And that you’re simply showing up as a genuine human. 

And this is important, because I’ve talked to soooo many, like dozens if not hundreds of impactful small business owners who become overwhelmed, burned out, and into analysis paralysis with all the social media advice and tips and tactics out there, and then end up not sharing anything on LinkedIn at all because it feels impossible to do it perfectly. So why even try?

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – perfect is not required or even helpful in this work of thought leadership. So it’s a balance. I want you to take the informational nuggets from this episode and run with what feels good, like compare it against your capacity, your values, your goals, and decide what’s right for you. And, I hope you hear the message behind this episode, which is that as long as you are showing up in your passion, lived experience, and credibility, I promise you that is more than enough.

Highlights from the podcast episode: 

LinkedIn-algorithm-secrets The Campfire Circle episode 47 highlights

When should I post on LinkedIn?”

This might be the most frequent question I get during Q&As, and the typical advice out there is to post when your specific ideal audience member is online. This answer may have made sense once upon a time, when everyone worked in the office, from 9-5, and took their little lunch break from 12-1, you know what I mean? But times have changed, and especially if you work with other small business owners or maybe creatives, or even folks across different time zones around the world – then this advice kinda goes out the window. Cause when I post something at 8am in California, that’s what, 4pm in London? I can’t control when people are online, I can only trust and have faith that enough of the people who need to see my message will, and build trust and resonance with it over time. 

Also the other reason why this doesn’t really matter is that posts on LinkedIn have a much longer shelf life than other social media platforms. You can post something on a Monday and still be getting organic views and engagement on it on Friday, or even the next week and beyond.   

But to provide an actual answer to, “When should I post on LinkedIn?”  I would say: consistently. That doesn’t mean constantly, but at a cadence that feels good for you, like maybe once per week, which is what I teach through my Lazy on LinkedIn method. 

So for example, I’ve been sharing a weekly LinkedIn post on Wednesday mornings for as long as I can remember. Sometimes – especially like last month when I was in the middle of a launch or a specific revenue generating period, I share more than that, but I hold myself accountable to sharing one valuable thing each week, and that time landed on Wednesdays. There’s no magic to Wednesday morning. It’s not inherently a better time to post than any other time BUT, because I’ve been consistent about that time, it feels like – and I don’t know, some of this is just educated guessing or picking up on vibes, since LinkedIn is not actually going to tell us how their algorithm works – but it truly feels like showing up at that same time leads to greater engagement and support and response. 

Maybe because people expect, on Wednesdays, to see a little something from me. It works the same way as a weekly magazine, you expect to see it at the same time each week. Same with our content, right? Or maybe it’s on the algorithm side – the more consistent you are, the more LinkedIn shows people your posts. And I have noticed, when you take a long break, it takes time to get the same level of engagement back. It reminds me of working out at the gym. Let’s say you take a long break from it and come back – it’s harder,  right? It takes time to catch back up to our previous strength level? It’s kind of the same thing with your posting cadence – so don’t be discouraged, especially if you’re starting out and re-starting and reach feels “low”. It grows over time, just by nature of showing up, over and over. And honestly, reach is not the best metric to gauge if this is working or not, in my humble opinion. If you want a deeper dive on that, I want you to check out my previous podcast episode, it’s episode 40 and it’s called “Measure the Magic: Tracking Resonance Instead of Reach”

Separately, I would also say, post on LinkedIn at a time when you can be IDEALLY be around to intentionally build community roughly around the same time. I know it’s almost Halloween, but as much as possible, I don’t want you to post and ghost. I love using the native scheduling tool inside of LinkedIn to schedule my batched posts, but I do make an effort to spend time engaging with people and building relationship around that same time. Which again for me, is Wednesday mornings. That does lead to more good juju on the post itself. And when you think about it, building community is such an important part of this work – content is just one piece of thought leadership. The point is attracting and then nurturing the community that shows up, I think. 

And I’ll be honest, when I first started my business and building my brand, I was more disciplined about this intentional engagement time and building relationships from a genuine space. Over time, it has created a flywheel effect. As I’ve built my audience, it has started to naturally and organically grow with aligned people without me having to do as much now, because the platform shows my content to more and more new people, because of my already existing connections.  So it’s helpful to build a critical mass of community and that’s really sped up by and supported by engaging with your people. 

This next question is truly the bane of my existence

“Should I put a link in the comments or in the LinkedIn post?” 

So, yes it is true, and you may have just anecdotally noticed this, that when you put a link inside of your post, LinkedIn throttles the engagement. That’s because LinkedIn, like all social media platforms, wants you to stay on the platform as long as possible and not leave. Links take you away. So, I get it.  Initially, the kind of go-to advice you’d get, from any LinkedIn strategist, is to put the link in the comments. 

There’s a few reasons I don’t like doing that anymore. First, accessibility and ease of use. When you leave a comment with a link, it’s not always necessarily going to be the first comment that shows. You can’t pin the comment there, anymore unfortunately – LinkedIn had that feature for like 2 seconds and took it away. And people are not always going to through all the comments just to find a link, you know?

Secondly, another little LinkedIn nugget is that you get penalized – engagement wise – for being the first person to comment on your own post. So if you follow that advice, and drop that link in there right away, it’s also not great. 

OK here’s the third thing and maybe the biggest barrier or issue – you actually have to remember to go in and leave the link as a comment! This kind of defeats the whole purpose of scheduling your content out so you can chill and not worry about it. 

So then, the go-to advice became, schedule the post without the link. Then, edit your post and add the link back in, to get around LinkedIn penalizing your post. But, it’s still not great because if you EDIT your LinkedIn post in the first 10 minutes of it being live, LinkedIn will again, throttle your engagement.  

Damned if you do, damned if you don’t right?

Do you see why this is the bane of my existence? I get asked this question all the time, and part of me wants to share all of this information, but then I feel like that Pepe Silvia meme from It’s Always Sunny, with all the conspiracy theory papers on the wall. Like, I wish I didn’t know all this information. 

And you know what? LinkedIn changes its algorithm all the time. All the time. 

By the time you hear this, maybe the thing around waiting 10 minutes to edit your post will be wrong, or outdated. 

Here’s the other thing. And I guess this is really what’s at the heart of my whole argument that the algorithm doesn’t matter – it’s one thing if you get paid exclusively through brand deals. If you’re a full-time content creator or media company who gets paid by views and clicks and things like that. Or maybe if you have a HUGE membership model with hundreds or thousands of people you’re trying to enroll. Maybe then reach is something you want to think about. 

But most – or really all – the people I work with and support – and me, myself – are not full-time content creators, we just use content to grow our social impact businesses. Maybe you’re a B2B consultant, or an executive coach, or a nonprofit ED. When I think back to my days as a nonprofit executive director, if someone told me to remember when my posts were going live so I could set a timer for ten minutes and then manually add the right link – in between all the zany stuff that happens on any given day – I mean, I wouldn’t do it.   

So, I think. You get to decide. Is it more important to you to have as much reach and numbers as possible, and if so, why? Is it because you think you should, or because it’s actually going to support your goals? 

 Or, is it more important to integrate this work easefully into your overall flow, and trust that the right people you need to connect with will see and hear your message? I try to be in the second camp as much as possible these days. Meaning, I’ll just schedule the post, with the link, and hope for the best. And yes, I have noticed reach is a little lower and the engagement is not as immediate, than when I do the whole rigamarole of  adding the link in later. And really, that’s OK, because at the end of the day, I’m not trying to go to viral or become super LinkedIn famous. Like many coaches, consultants, and service providers, I’m really trying to get 1 to 5 people each month to reach out and say,  Hey, I love what you’re doing, let’s work together. Again, it’s about resonance over reach. 

But for now, I’m just gonna do one more question and if you liked this episode, drop me a line, send me a message on LinkedIn, and let me know and I’m down to do another one around the algorithm and why none of it really matters. So for the last question, let’s do: 

Should I tag people in a LinkedIn post? 

I often say that LinkedIn is kind of like a 24/7 conference or networking gathering – it just happens to be virtual and asynchronous and you can pop in and out when you want, in your jammies or even from bed! My favorite way to be! 

So with that in mind,  let’s say you had like a 5 min talk from the conference stage queued up – would you spend it just name dropping random people? Some people would, for clout or to try and build authority on the backs of other people’s reputation. But more likely, you would only mention people who were relevant to your topic. So similarly, on LinkedIn, yea for sure tag people, if they’re relevant to what you’re talking about. 

I think it’s about intentionality.  People pick up on vibes, and if someone tags me in their post, and I don’t know them, and it’s very clear I’m just tagged so that their post does better, it doesn’t feel good. I will probably remove my tag from the post – which actually ends up hurting their post, from an engagement/algorithm perspective. 

But if I am relevant to the post, and it’s thoughtful, like let’s say, someone listened to one of these podcast episodes and wrote what they learned from it and tagged me – I mean that’s like the dream – that makes my whole day when that happens. That feels awesome!  SPEAKER/RELEVANCE. And when that happens, I will always engage, and comment, and get to know that person. 

So yeah, it’s like be a good human being. Maybe that’s the ultimate LinkedIn algorithm secret – just be a good human being with other good human beings interested in the work you do – and it’ll all work out. 

Some of the detailed nuggets around the way the algorithm behaves came from Richard van der Blom’s LinkedIn algorithm report, which I’m linking in the show notes if you want to read it in its entirety or give him a follow. 

I mean, this stuff is interesting and good to know. That’s why  I’m sharing it. But always, always, always nestle the ways you work into your own needs and preferences. Otherwise, thought leadership and content creation will become a chore instead of a method for self-actualization and creativity and changemaking. And I don’t want that for you!

Feel free to reach out on LinkedIn with your thoughts on this episode, and if there are any burning questions you’ve got, other than the 3 I mentioned here. Like I said, maybe I’ll even do a follow-up episode!

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