What happens when you post daily to LinkedIn?
In the month of May, I found out. I did an experiment. I posted every weekday to see what I would learn.
Why every weekday?
It takes about “20 LinkedIn posts every month to reach 60 percent of your audience,” according to a data point that Carly Okyle cited in an Entrepreneur article about LinkedIn profiles.
And because LinkedIn is a social media platform for professionals, most content views are during the work week.
To make it (relatively) easy to post daily, I set up a weekly calendar:
Mondays – a Social Circle employer advocacy program post (note: opinions I share in social media and in this blog are my own)
Tuesdays – content from one of my favorite business publications, like Harvard Business Review, The Economist, or Inc.
Wednesdays – an article, based on a previous post from this blog
Thursdays – a Social Circle employer advocacy program post
Fridays – sharing a post from a colleague, an alma mater, a professional association, a favorite publication or new content based on a holiday or other milestone.
With this content calendar framework in mind, it wasn’t as difficult as I thought to post every weekday. During early morning hours, it took about 10 minutes for most posts and 30 minutes for articles.
So, what did I learn?
Engagement increased each week. How did I measure engagement? By the number of total views each week.
By week 2, views were up 25%. By week 3, up 166% over the previous week. By week 4, up 88% over the previous week.
At the end of week 4, I also noticed my profile views were up by 45% over the previous week.
Week 5 was an anomaly. Views and profile views went down. However, I posted only 4 days that week because I skipped Memorial Day. And views may have been down because some people were on vacation after the long weekend.
Content re-shared by others got more engagement. When my 1st degree connections re-shared my content with their networks, I got the highest engagement as measured by views and likes.
Analytics came in handy, as I could see whether a post got more engagement from my 1st or 2nd degree network. What was harder to know was when my content was re-shared and who shared it.
Views are measured differently for posts and articles. Articles got fewer views than posts, but generated more likes. A view of a post means that “someone saw your post in their LinkedIn homepage feed.”
The bar is higher for a view of an article. Here it means “someone has clicked into and opened your article in their browser or on the LinkedIn mobile app.”
Understanding this, it now makes sense that while views to my articles were lower than for posts, articles generated more likes. People had actually opened the link for articles.
Hashtags are important to make content discoverable. In my zeal to post frequently, I often forgot to include hashtags. That limited broader discovery of my content.
Posts on Tuesdays and Wednesdays got the most engagement. This is consistent with data showing it’s best to post in the middle of the week.
An exception to the learning above? If a post reached my 2nd degree network, then the day of the week didn’t matter. And that’s the most important thing I learned – the power of content that is re-shared.
If content is engaging enough for connections to share it with their networks, it reaches a much broader audience. It exposes your ideas to more people. And it creates opportunities to connect with more people who share common interests.
Most engagement was for posts about how to be a better leader and professional. This is consistent with LinkedIn being a social media platform for professionals in business. These posts were more likely to be positive and upbeat in nature.
And that’s consistent with a study by 2 professors whose research supported the finding that, “Content is more likely to become viral the more positive it is.”
The least engagement was for topics that could be viewed as bad news. This aligns with the analysis I did of my least engaging posts.
They had to do with what could be perceived as bad news – dealing with the death of a family member, thinking about dramatic change, and being reminded of goals we haven’t achieved.
The big question this leaves me with? How to make my content more compelling and more likely to be shared by my connections? Here’s how I’ll approach that.
- Like, comment and share others’ content. I’ll move content sharing to two days a week instead of one, and I’ll mention the person who initially posted it.
- Use hashtags so people can more easily discover content of interest. In my haste to post daily, I often forgot this important action.
- Mention people in posts and figure out if the mention feature works when sharing an article.
- Share every article to Twitter and Facebook using the convenient LinkedIn feature that pops up in the posting and sharing process.
- Study and practice how to write more compelling headlines and summaries. Experiment with what grabs people’s attention.
As I take these actions in the weeks and months ahead, I’ll keep tracking engagement with my content.
In particular, I’ll look at ways to better track when my posts and articles are shared, and by whom.
If the sharer mentioned me, that shows up in my LinkedIn notifications. Sometimes LinkedIn sends an analytics summary. But shares do not (yet) appear in the LinkedIn analytics for posts and articles.
Better capturing these analytics will help me understand which content is shared the most, so I can create a hypothesis about why.
In the meantime, what motivates you to re-share a post or article with your network?