LinkedIn is a booming platform and when we combine that with the power of personal branding, we suddenly see the urge to grow on LinkedIn.
Sadly, some people really aren’t getting it. They try to trick a billion-dollar algorithm and choose the superficial tricks to grow their LinkedIn following.
Let’s take a step back…
Why do you want to grow on LinkedIn in the first place?
Probably because you see the value of personal branding, because people buy from people (Yes, even in B2B!) and when you have a strong connection with a potential prospect, they will always prefer you over your competition (even if you might be a bit more expensive or miss a feature or so).
Combine that with the power of always being top-of-mind, since you’re always there when they’re scrolling through their feed, and you see how it can seriously affect your revenue.
How does this blog series work?
Growth hacking is a very broad term and there are loads of people who name very superficial tricks as growth hacks. In this series of three single articles here on Dux-Soup, I’ll explain ‘the good, the bad and the future’ of growth hacks for LinkedIn.
- Part 1 - The Good: Linkedin Growth Hacks that work right now (That’s this blog 🙌)
- Part 2 - The Bad: Hacks that seem to work, but will get you penalized
- Part 3 - The Future: What is going to be the next big Growth Hack?
Every week we’ll publish a new blog from this series.
How to grow on LinkedIn?
As I already mentioned, a lot of people are trying to trick the LinkedIn algorithm. Sadly, this always comes back at you like bad karma.
We’ve already seen this happen with websites trying to trick Google with keyword stuffing and honestly, that only came back at them by being banished to the third page of Google.
Why not use this powerful tool to your advantage? How?
Well, we know that LinkedIn is a business based on its number of active users. So whatever happens, LinkedIn is focused on making sure that people use the app as much as possible. The LinkedIn algorithm is simply made to serve the content that should be most interesting to you, meaning the content that sparks emotion, makes you come back more often and triggers you to interact with the app.
Every growth hack that I’ll be mentioning in this series is a different way of making use of this knowledge. I hope this background information can help you to better understand the growth hacks I’ll mention and help you to find your own growth hacks in the future.
Let’s get started!
The Good: LinkedIn Growth Hacks that work right now
1. Get your followers to contribute the first investment of the Hooked-model
As said, LinkedIn is focused on getting as many active users as possible at any moment. One of the most important ways for a business is that you make sure users come back a.k.a. retention. To improve your retention you have to understand the ‘Hooked’ model by Nir Eyal.
LinkedIn has made sure that the Hooked model is integrated in their platform. The reward people get from the platform is getting respect from their network, having interaction with other business professionals and growing their network.
But what is the investment people have to contribute?
You have to get out there, for example:
- Publish a post
- Send a DM
- Comment below a post
And that’s where you come in: Your content can help LinkedIn to get people to take such an action. If you publish content that is valuable enough that people are willing to comment or send you a DM, people feel the rewarding feeling from getting some sort of interaction with their network.
One of the examples that I really like is Dave Gerhardt, VP Marketing at Drift, who posts interesting content that entices people to post meaningful comments below his posts.
Just look at the post below: 142 comments of people who ask more in-depth questions, give counter-arguments and add more value.
This way Dave can stay top-of-mind for people, which helps his brand Drift to also stay ahead of the competition.
2. Make your content ‘snackable’
Every time that people see one of your posts appear on their feed, they have to make a choice: “Am I going to spend my time reading this post?”.
Their decision is made based on two variables; Motivation (How motivated am I to read take this action?) and Ability (How hard is it to take this action?) which are coming from the BJ Fogg model.
If you write the most interesting post possible, where you perfectly hit their main pain points, the reader will be very motivated to read the post.
But what are you doing to make it easy to take the action a.k.a. read your post?
Well during the past year, I’ve seen a lot of hacks to make it as compelling as possible to read your post. Here are three examples:
Write short paragraphs
To see a big block of text of ten lines under each other, doesn’t make it easy to read your post. Between one to three (four at max) lines per paragraph is the optimal length.
Just remember that a lot of the LinkedIn community is consuming their feed from their phone, so try to go for 1-3 lines per paragraph on phone a.k.a. mobile-friendly content.
A lot of people have taken it way too far with writing only one-line-paragraphs. At first, it might look interesting, but a lot of people see right through you and see that you’re not there to make it honestly add value. These one-line-paragraphs-only posts are a clear growth hack that had worked for some time, but doesn’t really work anymore.
Do you even get considered at all?
We often hear the numbers that people have a worse attention span than a goldfish.
And as many of us know the first step of every sales pitch (A.I.D.A.) is Attention, because you’ll first need their attention before you can spark their Interest, Desire and an Action.
Emojis! They are a great way to make your post stand out from the boring newsfeed. Just a bit of colour can make a lot of difference.
But use it wisely… LinkedIn is still considered a business platform. Just using two/three emojis above the fold will get the job done.
Different formats, like Videos or PDF
Everybody learns differently; some people prefer reading, others prefer visual.
At this moment, we see obviously that video is starting to grow since it’s getting easier to produce for people, it’s a new format which attracts more attention and LinkedIn really wants to promote it so, therefore, helps your posts reach more people.
The same is happening for swipeable PDF documents, which give people the option to explore more content within your post. (See the example below of one of my recent posts with a “PDF” included).
Be smart and take advantage of LinkedIn that is also pushing this content, but mainly because you’re helping your ‘readers’ consume your content in the format that they prefer. (Just don’t forget the subtitles under your video. Otherwise, you exclude the 60% of your network that is trying to consume your content on their phone without earbuds.)
3. Link back to LinkedIn from offline
Your LinkedIn network is an extension of your offline life and a place where you can stay in touch with your network.
I’ve personally found it works well to invite your network from other sites to your LinkedIn network.
For example, I ask people during my growth hacking talks to join my network in the last slide if they want to learn more about growth hacking.
And I do the same on my website, where I have about two thousand people per month reading content about growth hacking. (Probably they wouldn’t even know I wrote it until they saw the popup and joined my network.)
And recently I even saw a great way of using the NFC chip in peoples’ phones to get them to your LinkedIn. You just had to touch the phone to the card and your LinkedIn profile would automatically be opened on their phone! (Sure you can already do this with the official LinkedIn QR-code, but that’s just boring. This way you will wow them with your innovation!)
4. Keep people on LinkedIn
As we spoke about it in the beginning, LinkedIn is focused on getting as much usage of the platform as possible. One of the things that isn’t helping LinkedIn (and the same goes for all the other social media out there), is people leaving the platform, because they saw a link on their feed which let them to a different platform e.g. your blog, an interesting news article or a new tool.
Therefore LinkedIn gives a slight advantage to posts without a link in it. So be smart and don’t link to the outside world.
I know what you’re thinking “But Ward… how can I get any value from LinkedIn if I can’t direct people to my products, services or lead magnets?”.
Firstly, there also is a lot of value in showing your face to your network every now and then, but I do understand that the real conversions need to happen somewhere else and there is a solution for that:
Secondly, there is a way to get people off the platform without linking to it from your post: link to your outside content from the comments.
A lot of people have done this and it still seems to work. You can even link to that comment from your post since comments also have unique URLs, and LinkedIn doesn’t punish links to LinkedIn.
(⚠️Be aware: I think LinkedIn will understand this pretty quickly and starts to push down these type of comments as well. Possibly, a next hack could be to have a colleague share it under your post by saying “If anybody wants to read more about it, you can download the link here”. Just an idea.)
The goal was to sell out all the seats for our growth hacking workshop in Dublin. We set up a Quuu account for one of our growth hackers to curate content and post it every day via Buffer to his LinkedIn.
People in his network saw his growth hacking-related content daily and when they clicked-through to the links posted they saw a Sniply banner promoting our workshop. That’s how we sold out all our workshop tickets while spending close to nothing.
Next week: I’ll talk about LinkedIn Growth Hacks that seem to work, but will get you penalized 😬
Stay tuned for the next blog in this series next week, where some common growth hacks will be exposed. And don’t forget that I’ll be giving you an unfair advantage in the third blog of this series, when I explain what the next big growth hacks are going to be that are not being utilized at all right now.
P.S. Are we already connected on LinkedIn? https://www.linkedin.com/in/wardvangasteren/ Yes, this is a real-life example of Growth Hack number 3.2. 😉Use it wisely!)
About the Author: Ward van Gasteren
Ward is one of the first Growth Hackers in Europe. He works as a Growth Hacking Coach, coaching startups, scale-ups and corporates on implementing growth hacking their business. Showing them what is holding them back, changing their culture and training their employees on the latest skills. In his spare time, he loves to share his knowledge on his growth hacking blog to bring growth hacking to the masses.