Grow Your LinkedIn Page Followers By Optimizing Your Content Strategy: Here’s How
September 15, 2019
“If you have built castles in the air, your work need not be lost; that is where they should be. Now put the foundations under them.” — Henry David Thoreau
You’ve already completed your LinkedIn Page, taking all the recommended steps to fill out the details and properly reflect your brand. But, you aren’t seeing the desired growth in followers. Well, I’ve got good news: most of your work is done. You castle has been built. Now, it’s just time to add in the foundations by connecting it with your strategy and creating a bridge to the results you seek.
We’re here to help.
Your Social Media Optimization Strategy for Growing Followers (When Nothing Else Seems to be Working)
For large, recognizable enterprise brands, the process of adding followers can often be almost automatic. People widely know the companies and their products or services already, so there’s an established level of awareness and recognition among professionals on LinkedIn.
For an organization that’s still defining its presence and looking to forge its own community on the platform, the task isn’t quite so simple. But be assured, there are a number of reliable practices to help spur your engagement and get the follower total moving in the right direction. The key lies in social media optimization tactics.
What is Social Media Optimization?
Social media optimization refers to a set of techniques you can deploy to catalyze your brand’s growth on social networks. It’s a critical component of any B2B content marketing strategy, and a highly advisable focus whether your organization has 10 followers or 10 million. There’s always room to grow that number, and considerable value in doing so.
Why Do You Need a Social Media Optimization Plan for LinkedIn?
LinkedIn is the largest online gathering place for the world’s professionals, hosting more than 600 million and serving as an active platform for networking, publishing, sharing content, and learning. Growing your company’s following on the platform enables you to gain more targeted organic reach, while also helping you better understand the people interested in your brand through Page Analytics.
Putting a social media optimization strategy in place helps facilitate consistent, ongoing growth for your LinkedIn Page, making it a more valuable and powerful asset for your organization in terms of marketing, sales, and talent acquisition. Here are the steps you can take to eliminate gaps and shore up your plan to make sure it’s clicking on all fronts.
Determining What’s Wrong: Why Am I Not Gaining Followers?
First, let’s run some diagnostics. When LinkedIn Page growth is stalling out, there are a number of common factors that could be in play. Let’s cover them, and how to fix them.
You’re Targeting the Wrong Audience
This fundamental disconnect can throw your entire social media optimization strategy awry. You can construct a LinkedIn Page that perfectly encapsulates your brand voice, and share content that is totally on-point, but if they aren’t being seen by the right members, you probably won’t see the full impact.
Take a step back to review your Page from top to bottom. Does the language, imagery, and information align directly with the people you’re hoping to reach? Is there a clear value proposition that will compel a perusing member within your niche to click “Follow”?
Beyond these orientation elements, you’ll also want to make sure you’re taking advantage of LinkedIn’s deep targeting capabilities. Did you know that, once your Page reaches 300 or more followers, you can target organic updates to specific industries, functions, seniorities, locations and languages?
You’re Promoting the Wrong Content
Maybe you’ve got the right audience selected but the content you’re pushing is not resonant. Low engagement numbers would be an indicator. There are a few different issues that might be plaguing low-performing content. For example:
Your Content Has the Wrong Focus
Are you covering topics with tight relevance to your customers, prospects, and community? Are you adding your own commentary and sparking thoughtful conversations? Are you filling the white space that competitors are missing, and providing a unique source of info and insight?
Your Content Doesn’t Have Images
It’s been proven time and time again across every social network: images get noticed. Especially sharp, interesting, and distinct images. (On LinkedIn, we see posts with images drive about twice as many comments on average as those without.) The fact is that plain text just doesn’t stand out the same on social feeds. This isn’t to say every update you share needs to have an image, but if you’re not featuring them in a majority of your posts, that may help explain a lack of traction.
Your Content Always Links to Articles
These should be part of your mix, but not the entirety of your presence. Linking to third-party or first-party content that’s in your audience’s lane is a good idea, but if your feed consists entirely of this, it probably won’t be very interesting. Make sure to splice in original thoughts, memes, videos, short stories, or descriptions.
You Neglected SEO
One overlooked aspect of LinkedIn, relative to most other social networks, is its visibility in search. Google and other engines crawl the platform, and by making a few smart moves you can greatly increase your chances of showing up in results. Follow these tips to boost your LinkedIn Page’s SEO.
Your Content is Thin and Not Shareable
This relates somewhat to the item above about only linking to articles. In order to stand out on a feed, you want to be publishing content that is informative, unique, and worthy of your audience’s attention. Above all, it needs to be valuable. Be thoughtful about your content strategy on the platform, and your results will be likely to reflect your effort.
Your Social Media Optimization Tracking and Measurement Toolbox
The only way to know whether your tweaks and adjustments are having a positive effect is to keep a close eye on the progression of your Page’s metrics. Optimization is all about measuring, analyzing, and tweaking. Fortunately, LinkedIn offers some of the most robust reporting tools around, so you’ll have no trouble keeping a close eye on every aspect of your Page performance. It’s all about knowing what to track, and how.
Which key metrics will you track? In the current discussion, obviously follower count is our primary focus, but it’s important to set some parameters around it. How many followers do you want to gain in a month? Set a goal that is ambitious yet realistic. One suggestion is to place the bar at 5% monthly growth.
You’ll also want to track metrics that support your main objective — reach, engagement, etc. Consider aiming for a 5% increase in those realms, as well.
This method offers the simplest way to practically optimize. It’s quite straightforward: when publishing on LinkedIn, try running two versions of the same post or ad with just one variation. Then, compare the results to see which one performed better. The idea is to isolate singular elements of your posts, so you can draw conclusions about their appeal to your audience.
As an example, you might try running one version of a Sponsored Content post featuring an image with a person, against one with a picture of your product. Or, you might try two different CTA phrases. These small subtleties can often make a big difference. If interested, you can learn more about creating an A/B testing strategy for your LinkedIn ads. (You can use this technique for both organic and paid posts, but boosting through amplification will provide a larger sample.)
This will be your ultimate resource for all insights and data. Diving into Page Analytics helps you understand how each piece of content is performing, how followers are interacting with your posts and ads, and how fast your Page is growing. This is your social media optimization strategy HQ.
Social Media Optimization Strategies for LinkedIn
Optimization techniques look different for every channel and platform. On LinkedIn, there are a unique set of practices that will help ensure you’re doing all you can to grow your Page and maximize its benefit. Let’s wrap up and parse out some takeaways that you can apply right away to get your follower count moving upward.
Review Your Analytics
Chart out your Page’s activity and growth over the past week, month, and six months to establish some baselines. Identify posts that outperformed others and see if you can find any trends. Adjust your monthly content plan (you have one, right?) based on the insights you discover here; naturally you’ll want more of the types of content that are driving engagement and shares, with fewer of the types that aren’t. Results of your A/B testing will be helpful toward informing these decisions.
You’ll also want to take a high-level look at the aggregated data around your existing followers. Do they line up with your target audience? If not, you’ll want to make some tweaks to your content strategy and targeting in order to better attract the ideal members.
Finally, look beyond your follower analytics and learn about your Page’s visitors. Is there a gap between the number of people visiting and converting to followers? If so, think about ways you might close it based on some of the items we covered above.
Use Content Suggestions to Find the Right Topics and Articles
This is a relatively new feature on LinkedIn, and one that Page admins have expressed great affinity for. In short, the Content Suggestions tool provides a pipeline of topics and articles that are being engaged with by people in your audience (or by people similar to them). It’s a fast and easy way to find quality content worth sharing on your feed with a high likelihood of being relevant and valuable to your audience.
Get Active on Your Communities Hashtags Panel
This is an excellent way to gain visibility with members who are not yet following your Page, but are interested in the topics you cover. By using this widget, Page admins can explore conversations happening around hashtags that are important to their brands, and interact with members from the perspective of your organization.
To nail this form of engagement, we recommend you react to posts that resonate with your brand, comment where you have valuable perspective to add, and reshare anything that your followers would find valuable.
Use LinkedIn Ads to Determine the Right Content and the Right Audience
Ultimately, if your Page doesn’t yet have a high number of followers, it may be tough to achieve the type of scale with your testing and experimentation to formulate strong, statistically significant conclusions. Because of this, investing in paid reach makes a lot of sense. For example, when announcing a product release or launching a new content initiative, you could run A/B tests with two different audiences to see which one responds best. Or, you could target a broader audience, and then refine over time based on the traits of those who engage most.
Kick Your Social Media Optimization Strategy into Gear Today!
When it comes to growing your LinkedIn Page following, there are no universally right answers. It’s all about testing, analyzing, and determining what’s best for your brand and your audience. The biggest mistake you can make is inaction.
Want to find more guidance on accelerating growth for your LinkedIn Page? Check out our Action Plan for Small Businesses, which is chock full of tips and pointers you can use right away.