When social media first arrived and changed our digital experience, it all seemed straightforward: friend, follow, link, or connect with people you know. Write posts. Your social group would interact with them.

But naturally, as the platforms evolved and became monetized, they changed their algorithms to adapt to their audience — and their business models.

LinkedIn walks an interesting line in the world of social media platforms. After all, the entire concept of social media is predicated on the assumption that they’re social. How do you make business social? LinkedIn’s objective was to connect colleagues in a professional network. Although it started as a recruitment platform, content posts via LinkedIn now get 15 times more impressions than job posts. So thinking of LinkedIn more like a company cocktail party offers a little more context — behave professionally, stay true to your professional identity, but still engage socially.

Naturally, LinkedIn decides what information it will share, and with whom, and how often. But it all comes down to engagement. LinkedIn wants you (and your followers) to stay on their platform. Anything that keeps eyes on your feed is as beneficial to LinkedIn as it is to your company. The LinkedIn machine brain will be more likely to keep sharing your company’s posts as long as it deems them useful and relevant to your audience.

So, how can you work within LinkedIn’s algorithm and maximize your company’s posts?

1.) Encourage conversation. Keep in mind the “social” aspect of LinkedIn. If all you’re posting are “Come Visit Our Booth!” posts, hoping to attract eyes prior to a conference, you can’t be surprised by a lack of engagement.. Rather, pose a question about the conference, or state an opinion about a conference topic and ask your audience for feedback. Or better still, have one of your speakers post something insightful. And when your followers comment on any of your posts — respond! Even if it’s just a like, let your audience know there’s a human heartbeat behind your company façade. When LinkedIn’s algorithms see engagement on your posts, it’s more likely to keep serving them up to a larger audience.

2.) Value over volume and timing. As with all content, it’s not how often you post or when you post — it’s the value you’re bringing to the conversation. Don’t post five times a day, hoping that will increase your odds of impressions. And while there are stats about “best time of day to post,” what really matters more is value. If you post a dull post at prime time during the week, it won’t get as much engagement as you would if you post a highly optimized, content-rich post in the middle of the night. Your audience wants quality information more than timeliness, and LinkedIn’s algorithms lean into that — the default setting for feeds is “top” instead of “recent.” That’s why a post from three weeks ago may show up in your feed suddenly; because LinkedIn feels it’s of value to you. Encourage your company’s thought leaders to provide valuable insights your company page can share, rather than posting the same trending information that your competitors are sharing, too. Provide value to your audience.

3.) Pick the right format. As humans, we’re drawn to videos and images — so we’re more likely to interact with them, thus feeding into LinkedIn’s need for engagement. But LinkedIn doesn’t automatically share one format (like video) more readily than another (like text). Its machine brain is just looking for engagement. So, if you post valuable, relevant copy — like a compelling excerpt from your company’s blog — that your audience comments on, shares, and likes, then LinkedIn will work to share it more widely than a video that disinterests your audience or isn’t at all engaging. The takeaway on format: Choose the format that best serves the story.

Interestingly, while 98% of Facebook users are accessing the platform on mobile phones, only 57% of LinkedIn users are mobile — indicating your audience is in “work mode” at their desks.

4.) Combine organic and paid. Although previously pricing was only suited for large budgets, LinkedIn’s paid opportunities are now a very affordable way to increase the reach of your audience beyond your existing network. The minimum cost is $10 per day, but you can customize your audience to target exactly the right people, and LinkedIn will do the work for you to ensure you get the impressions you’re seeking. The key to success with paid social shouldn’t be surprising: Provide value. Don’t ask your audience to click through just for a sales pitch. Give them an amazing white paper, or a compelling case study, or an opportunity to grab a coveted seat in an exclusive webinar. Give them value.

5.) Experiment. As long as you’re staying within the brand guidelines and voice of your company, don’t be afraid to think outside the box. Social media (even LinkedIn) is a great forum in which to experiment with different approaches. It’s relatively low-cost and you can very quickly get feedback from your audience as to whether or not they’re engaged by it. SCORR recently ran a LinkedIn campaign —  #BeTheComeback — to help unite and encourage industry leaders to rally for continued innovation in clinical research after COVID’s initial disruption. By connecting with colleagues, clients, and peers, we invited thought leaders across the industry to share their plans for moving forward in a short video. Our LinkedIn channel experienced a much higher engagement rate; well above any previous initiative. So don’t be afraid to try something new!

6.) Use LinkedIn’s features. Employees are more likely to interact with their own company’s posts — which will then increase the chances that the company’s posts are seen by the employees’ extended networks, increasing the audience. To maximize this, once a week, take advantage of LinkedIn’s “notify employees of this post” feature. Since this can only be done once weekly, it’s important to make sure the most relevant post is pushed to employees. Also, don’t be hesitant to use InMail. Sponsored InMail has a 53% open rate, on average. Reach out to clients and potential clients to share engaging, relevant information, one-to-one.

7.) Use hashtags…but not too many. Hashtags expedite searches, but be sure to use them wisely. Experiment with different hashtags to avoid appearing to the same audience all the time. While one post may benefit from #clinicaltrials, another may benefit from #virtualtrials. And avoid hyper-specific hashtags. While it’s good to develop a niche, #CRO or #biopharma will give you more traction than #YourCompanyName, since most people won’t be thinking to search that specifically.

8.) Stay current. Social media channels change and adapt constantly based on the behaviors and trends they’re seeing in their members. What worked last year for you may not work this year. So keep abreast of changes. Here at SCORR, our social team is constantly assessing the platforms and watching for any new features or changes that can impact visibility for our clients.

Connect with us over on LinkedIn and let’s continue the conversation there!

Personal LinkedIn Posts

What about your personal LinkedIn page?

Keeping your own page active and engaged is a great way to help drive views to your company’s page, too, when you interact with it. Although LinkedIn’s framework is “people you know, talking about things you care about,” the reality is that every post you write will not be seen by every LinkedIn member that follows you. The machine brain at LinkedIn — as well as human influencers — determine how, when, and how often your posts are shared.

The best-performing post from my own LinkedIn channel this year was this past February. My post about my visit to SCORR’s Kearney office got more than 1,800 views in my feed. But a more recent post about the differences between a blog, a white paper, and a case study, while receiving just under 500 views in the feed, landed me a ‘your post is trending in #thoughtleadership’ notification.” – Kate Reilly, Content Director

Unlike a company page’s hefty metrics report, individuals can only see number of views, along with the companies for whom members who viewed it work, their general title category, and the city they’re viewing from. That’s not a lot to go on. Following the suggestions for company page posts is a start — but know that you’ll need to experiment a bit to decipher what works best for your specific feed. The biggest takeaway still applies: Provide value to your audience.