By Tom Sandford on August 14, 2019

Linkedin changes are good news for smaller brands

The Linkedin algorithm has been updated. And it’s good news for brands with smaller followings and budgets. 

Back in October ‘18, Linkedin admitted that yes, the algorithm had been favouring the major brands and influencers and, yes, that’s not great for engagement. 

Here’s what Linkedin’s Data Scientists had to say back then…

“More and more people are using the feed and giving feedback to their network’s posts: our members generate tens of millions of viral actions (likes, comments, and reshares), and the number is increasing more than 50% YoY. However, we found that these increases weren’t equally distributed. In fact, at the beginning of 2018, we were in danger of creating an economy where all the gains in viral actions accrued to the top 1% power users, while the majority of creators who don’t receive much feedback were receiving less than ever.”

The top 1% of Linkedin “creators” (think Bill Gates et al) were producing most of the content - posts and articles on Linkedin -  and receiving all the incentives (likes, comments, shares and views) to do so. 

This graphic gets to the heart of the matter...

And so they created a new “term” to solve the “concentration of likes” conundrum. The term (part of the algorithm) “quantifies the value that the creator will receive from the viewer providing feedback on the post”. 

So, you or I might be pleased to get 10 likes and a comment or two on a post. But that doesn’t matter a jot to Richard Brandson, who routinely gets 10k+ responses. 

Anyway, they’ve been testing this ever since. A few weeks back (June 25th, since you ask), they confirmed that those changes had worked and would be sticking around. (If you’re into machine learning, read more here)

What this means for your Linkedin strategy is this…

  1. Your connections and followers are now more likely to see your posts so…
  2. Put more effort into the creation of those posts, and…
  3. Put more effort into building your community (meaning, engaging with other people on Linkedin)
  4. Stop activity that isn’t generating any engagement, it will reduce your perceived relevance to your network. 

Linkedin’s product lead helped announce these recent changes with a marketer-friendly article outlining how Linkedin think about these changes. And he included a few handy tips...

Encourage conversations

  • Post things that encourage a response. For example, if you’re posting a link, express an opinion with it.
  • Think about using the best type of post for the topic. Despite the rumors, the algorithm doesn’t favor any particular format. We have video, images, multi-images, text and long-form articles. More are on the way.
  • Use @mentions to pull other people you know into a conversation when you think they’ll have something valuable to add. Be thoughtful: only mention people that you think are likely to respond, max five is a good rule of thumb.
  • Engage in the conversation, respond to commenters and encourage back and forth.

Niche over broad

  • We know from our data that members are more interested in going deep on topics they’re interested in. Consistently we see better conversation around niche ideas (eg #performancemanagement) than the broad (#management).
  • Use hashtags (we recommend no more than three) to help other members find the conversations that match their own interests.”

I am bullish as to what these changes mean for our clients thought leadership and ABM programs. Although it’s too early to be conclusive, recent growth in engagement and profile views is leading to much quicker growth in follower numbers.

The time is now for smaller brands who understand their audience, can create high-quality content, and commit to the Linkedin platform.

This article originally appeared in our weekly content strategy newsletter. Get ahead of the latest tactics for Linkedin and other B2B channels.

Published by Tom Sandford August 14, 2019