5 Lessons from Posting on LinkedIn
I've had my LinkedIn account since 2018. But I rarely used it. I had an outdated headshot my friend took of me, my basic education, and two jobs I worked in college. Last year when I took the Google Data Analytics Course I decided to go back onto LinkedIn to showcase my certification. I wanted to connect with other data analysts and jumped into the data community. I tried posting on LinkedIn a few times after that but I rarely got any engagement (likes and comments) or views. I decided to try Albert Bellamy's challenge the Linkedin HardMode Challenge. You can view my project for that here. I enjoyed creating content and after the challenge I decided to post twice a week. A frequency that I could remain consistent with.
I decided to challenge myself and commit to posting for 6 months and add this experiment to my 5 Lessons Series. I wrote about my commitment to this challenge in my article, Consistently Creating Content on LinkedIn . I fell in love with the process of content creation. I also enjoyed connecting with other content creators and data nerds.
How did I do?
I had the following goals:
reaching 400 true followers; and
2,000 average post views.
Well here's the results of my metrics. As of writing this article on 9/22/22 I have:
3,120 total followers, with 840 connections meaning 3,120 - 840 = 2,280 true followers. By "true followers" I mean I'm subtracting my total follower count which is 3,103 from my connections (who are automatically following me) to get 2,000 "true followers". I did this because I didn't want to "cheat" and gain followers by connecting with a bunch of people. I wanted to gain followers who were interested in my content.
3,600 average post impressions. As a note post views changed into post impressions (as of April 2022)
I succeeded in my goals. In fact I surpassed my initial goals. While there are others who have grown more than me I'm still proud 2,000+ people decided my content was worth following. While I don't want to be "all about followers" and it's not the most important metric for me. I do feel proud that this many people found my content worthy to follow.
I committed to posting every Tuesday and Thursday. I wanted to remain consistent but give myself a doable amount. This was my plan to gain followers and improve my average impressions:
Post twice a week
Engage with everyone who comments (either replying or reacting)
Engage on LinkedIn (weekdays)
Comment on at least 3 other posts
React to 5 posts
Connect with other active members on LinkedIn
I will also follow up in 6 months to talk about my growth and what else I've learned from a year of creating LinkedIn content.
4,000 true followers;
4,500 average post impressions; and
45 average post likes.
I'll be continuing with this plan to grow my network. But I'll be adding a few things like having more coffee chats and connecting with at least one new person a week.
Now onto the 5 lessons I've learned by consistently creating content on LinkedIn.
5 Lessons from Creating Content on LinkedIn
Focus on providing value
Connect and support other content creators
Write what you want to read
Find a balance between conventions and your own style
Lesson 1 - Focus on providing value over gaining follower
While I do enjoy seeing my follower and engagement (likes and comments) go up. I remember that what I want to focus on is providing value. I can make a generic post that gets views/likes but if it doesn't provide at least one person with value then I don't want to write it. Value doesn't have to mean educational. Sometimes I'll post about my mental health struggles. If it helps at least one person feel less alone then I've achieved my goal of being valuable. As someone said on one of my posts (I'm sorry can't remember who), if I provide good content who cares if the views aren't as high. Especially for someone who is not doing this as a business, more of a hobby/side project.
Lesson 2 - Connect and support other content creators
Focus on building relationships and engaging with other people's content frequently. One of the things that helped me grow is to connect with people in the data community. Along with other content creators. I also try to engage and support posts from my favorite creators. I have notifications on to support their latest post. It helps foster relationships between me and the other person. As I said in my plan, I comment on at least 3 posts a day. My comments are more than saying "insightful" or "thanks for sharing". Which I see as the same as reacting to a post. I wrote about my method for commenting in a LinkedIn post.
Lesson 3 - Be authentic
This sounds cliché. But people are more receptive to those who are authentic. No one wants to be friends or connected with someone who is fake. Authentic can mean whatever to you. For me it means the way I write (content and comments) which has a mixture of humor but generally I like to have a tone of professional and friendly. I don't post selfies or photos of myself, but there are plenty of successful creators who do. I do like to share a bit of my personal life on LinkedIn. To help my connections to get to know me better. But I'm not going to share the same things as I would with a friend. A few things I do share are: my dog, love of building LEGOs, weightlifting and my volunteer work.
Lesson 4 - Write what you want to read
A lot of content creators talk about writing for an audience. But for me, I like to write content that I would like to read. It makes the writing process easier for me and more enjoyable to write. I'm more likely to stick to content creation if I enjoy it. I'm not doing this for a business so I don't have a particular audience in mind or a product I'm trying to sell.
Lesson 5 - Finding a balance between "conventions" and your own style
With any tool there are usually a few conventions that are generally followed. Like with writing, a new paragraph usually means the start of a new idea. Bullet points are a short list of items. For LinkedIn here's a few conventions that are used (as of writing this article)
Using the first 3 lines or so to hook the readers
Using emojis to break up your text (LinkedIn doesn't let you format your text using underlines, bold or italics). Only plain text, spacing, upper and lower case, emojis can be used.
Hashtags at the bottom (to keep them all together and make the text easier to read)
Breaking up your text into shorter sentences and paragraphs for readability
Focus on being concise, generally shorter posts do better. People have short attention spans on social media. If people want longer form content they usually find it on other websites
Images help with engagement
These are generally followed. There's some posts a that are so similar they look identical to each other. These are used solely to drive engagement. In the beginning my posts were lengthy. The style was similar to my blog posts. But after practicing I developed my own style. I merged standard conventions with my own way of writing. I think it's one of the reasons why my post engagement went up.
It's been 6 months since I began this experiment and I don't plan on quitting. I've connected and built a network full of other great people in data. Writing about my data analytics journey has been a way for me to document my learning. I've also enjoyed helping others start their data community. If you're thinking about posting on LinkedIn I encourage you. Feel free to tag me, I would love support anyone's work.