What you should know about LinkedIn’s algorithm

By John Ngala20 October 2020Social Selling

Launched in 2003, LinkedIn’s debut on the market was nothing short of rocky. With daily sign ups as low as 20 people for some time, profitability seemed unlikely–till 2006. By 2011, it officially became a listed company on the New York Stock Exchange. Eight years later, LinkedIn racked up $6.8 billion worth of revenue and is now rated as the top platform for professional social networking. LinkedIn’s growth is definitely worth mentioning but what do we know about its algorithm?

The mantra is about “people you know, talking about the things you care about,” according to Pete Davies, LinkedIn’s senior director of product management. 

As we get a closer look into how you can make the LinkedIn algorithm work for you, you’ll get to see that a couple minutes of networking every day can create a web of possibilities and opportunities.

LinkedIn: it’s all about conversations

If there’s one thing you should know about LinkedIn’s algorithm, it’s that it loves conversations. The more interactions and engagement you get on a post, the wider your reach will be. Avoid salesy, self-centered, hard to digest and self-promoting jargon. Instead, aim for meaningful exchanges, where knowledge can be shared while fueling genuine and thought provoking conversations. 

Now you may ask: why are conversations so important? 

Because in terms of engagement metrics, they level the playing field. At the beginning of 2018, LinkedIn feared that only the top 1 percent of its users (power users) would benefit from viral posts and visibility despite more and more members joining and engaging with their network. The platform seemed to solely benefit those who were already established. 

But now things are a little bit different. LinkedIn allows ALL users to gain the engagement or viral factor they desire thanks to engagement probability. This means that the more you interact on a post, the more the algorithm will work for you. 

LinkedIn’s algorithm evaluates engagement in two stages: 

The first stage is about your tendencies on the platform. It examines the probability of you sharing, commenting or reacting to a post. LinkedIn may analyze your activity, evaluating your last like, share or the person you’ve recently interacted with. This stage is called multiobjective optimization.

The second stage involves the rate at which your audience communicates with you. For your post to appear in other people’s feeds, it needs to generate traffic within the first hour. If it does, you’re more likely to maximize your engagement rate, whether it be on the day you post, that week or month. 

Beyond seeking to create a space that fosters discussion, LinkedIn’s algorithm is programmed to keep its members coming back for more. By interacting with your audience, you’re paving the way for great conversations and building long-lasting relationships.

But how do I spark conversation?

Look no further! Since you’ve understood that the networking site rewards engagement, here are some back pocket tricks you can use to better your exchanges with your audience.

  1. Break news or support posts with statistics, facts and visual content: It’s always a good idea to inform your audience of new trends or interesting developments in your industry. This proves you’ve done your research, shows your awareness and that you’re knowledgeable . Be insightful! It pays!
  2. Encourage employee centric content: Employee’s content plays a key role in using the algorithm to your advantage. Valuing their work and contribution to a company’s brand not only boosts confidence but makes for good engagement and of course–conversations. Post about them or any related content that could be interesting!
  3. Ask questions: After you’ve carefully thought about a topic, wrote it down and decided that it is good to go, make sure to include open ended questions at the end of your post. This stimulates conversation and allows your audience to ponder and reflect on a thoughtful reply. 
  4. Be genuine: Don’t shy away from being you, all of you. Share your struggles, vulnerable moments and anything else that you feel helped you become the person you are today. LinkedIn may be a professional website, but once you open up, people are more likely to engage with you and sometimes, share their own experiences.

Ramp up your personal connections 

Another way to make LinkedIn’s algorithm your best friend is to develop your personal connection list. As mentioned above, the algorithm works to promote engagement. But there’s more. It also prioritizes relevant information and people you know. 

What this means is that LinkedIn focuses on your recent exchanges, reactions, likes, and conversations with people you share common interests to adapt to your news feed. The algorithm considers the groups you’re in, people and pages you follow and the things you talk about to create a feed pertinent to your activity. 

This is called interest relevance. It means that LinkedIn maximizes your probabilities to have meaningful conversations by dividing your activity into three categories: identity, content and behavior. In terms of identity, the algorithm examines your skills, your most recent connections, job title etc. For content, it takes into account the language of your post, the number of times it was viewed and the people, companies or topics among other things. Lastly, for your behavior, it looks at where you spend your time, and most importantly, who you’ve recently engaged with. LinkedIn is designed for you to succeed, make the most of it!

Algorithm: fresh content on LinkedIn

As updates to the algorithm have gained more than 50 per cent increase in viral activity, there’s reason to believe more developments are on the way. And chances are they will help promote engagement, like the LinkedIn live feature. LinkedIn live is a perfect example of fresh content because it allows you to exchange directly with your audience in real time. If LinkedIn awards you this privilege, be sure to take full advantage of it! If it hasn’t yet, continue posting things that prompt people you know to communicate with you. 

Remember to refrain from dropping links that force users to exit the platform. The algorithm wants you to stay on LinkedIn and will reward you for fresh content.

Depending on who you’re talking to, on average, LinkedIn users spend 10:20 minutes on the platform daily.  That’s all you need to make sure you’re growing your network, communicating with your audience and taking advantage of the algorithm to reach greater heights in your career.

Enjoy!

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