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LinkedIn Updates Algorithm To Reward More Professional Content

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LinkedIn’s editor-in-chief Dan Roth has lifted the lid on what brands need to do to amplify reach and engagement – especially as the platform recently updated its algorithm in response to user feedback saying that there was too much personal posting and gaming of the system.

LinkedIn has been ranking content in a similar way to other social media platforms – via likes, engagement and reach. Content was able to go viral, which led to some accounts trying to game the system or uploading posts that have no real value to the business community.

On one hand, the increased popularity of the site is good. Activity is up 42% year-on-year, while there’s been a 27% increase in content viewed. On the other hand, it has lead to some behaviours that many don’t want to see.

As personal and work lives meshed during the pandemic, LinkedIn experienced an increase in Facebook-style posts, as well as re-posts of viral content from other platforms.

However, none of that brought any benefits to LinkedIn’s core audience – hence the algorithm change. The platform wanted a feed that was more informative and relevant to a user’s professional interest. To bring that about, LinkedIn has made two main changes.

LinkedIn’s algorithm changes

The main changes will prioritise professional content as well as content from first-degree connections, which means that brands’ posts will now be seen by more followers.

Alice Xiong, Director, Product Management, LinkedIn, via Entrepreneur

“People tell us that they find it most valuable when content is grounded in knowledge and advice, and they find it most valuable when the content is from people they know and care about.”

Additionally, posts that provide “knowledge and advice” are prioritised over anything else, which will help boost reach and engagement beyond an account’s follower base.  Under the new system, LinkedIn will look at a post and then ask..

Alice Xiong, Director, Product Management, LinkedIn, via Entrepreneur

“Do we believe we’re helping our members be and feel more productive and more successful?”

If the answer is ‘yes’, then LinkedIn’s algorithm will show it to users who are likely to find the information useful.

How to make LinkedIn’s new algorithm happy

Proving a post provides expert insight can be tricky, but LinkedIn has a plan.

Dan Roth, Editor-in-Chief, LinkedIn via Entreprenuer

“We are looking to see that you are building a community around content, and around knowledge-sharing that you are uniquely qualified to talk about.”

Roth says that LinkedIn will look at a post and see who it’s relevant to. If your post is relevant to the B2B community, it could show it to a wider audience of people inside that community. If it’s a personal post, only close connections will see it.

Furthermore, the algorithm will now take a good, hard look at the author of a post and decide whether they can speak on the subject from a position of authority. It does this using the jobs listed on a LinkedIn profile – so make sure to keep yours up-to-date and full of relevant expertise you’ve acquired.

For example, if you post about a subject in which you have no understanding of, LinkedIn is not going to grant it visibility among the community it’s relevant for.

Meaningful comments will also be rewarded. Here, meaningful means comments that contribute towards a discussion and have interest to the wider community.  For example, if you post about B2B sales and heaps of B2B sales professionals comment on your post, LinkedIn will reward you for it.

It’s also important to offer perspective and insights, and posts that do so will be rewarded. 

What marketers can do next

Businesses should focus on what they do best – and share that knowledge with the wider community.

Alice Xiong, Director, Product Management, LinkedIn, via Entrepreneur

“Think about what kind of knowledge you have to offer to help people. That is the kind of thing that will likely get you to reach the right audience as well.”

Marketers should also make sure they respond to all the comments on their post, and do so in a way that invites more discussion or debate. That will signal to LinkedIn that users feel part of a conversation that has value, which means it’s more likely to be shown to more people in that industry as the algorithm will decide it offers value to them.

To offer insights and perspective, don’t just post a link to an interesting article. Provide commentary from your point of view about it or offer advice related to the piece. That way LinkedIn can see that you’re offering unique insight, not just generic information.

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