You already know that LinkedIn is a critical platform for making connections and building your professional reputation as a lawyer in the online world. So you should look to set yourself apart as a thought leader by sharing timely and relevant content that demonstrates your knowledge and experience and engages with your audience. But how do you get more eyeballs (or impressions) on your content? How can you ensure your posts are being seen and read by your target audience?
As with other social networks, LinkedIn also has its own algorithm that is responsible for managing how your publications appear to users. In other words, LinkedIn decides behind the scenes if your content is further shared and who gets to see it. So if you want more visibility and reach, you need to know more about the LinkedIn algorithm and what it rewards.
The LinkedIn Algorithm Explained
Similar to other social media channels, LinkedIn is a mix of native, organic content and paid content – but mostly unpaid. Additionally, LinkedIn attempts to serve users content that is relevant and timely. Just like most technology companies, they use an algorithm to prioritize content that users will be most interested in.
Once you understand the inner workings of the LinkedIn algorithm, you’ll be able to achieve more engagement and more visibility with your legal content. We like to look at the LinkedIn algorithm as a 4-stage process that automatically filters all content and gauges quality and reach. Take a look at this graphic for a visual feel:
In the first stage, the algorithm judges the category of your piece: text, image, video, or link. Your content will fall into one of these: ‘spam,’ ‘low-quality’, or ‘good-to-go’. Naturally, you are aiming for that last category.
Once your content is deemed good to go, it will be displayed in the newsfeed to a small number of people. Think of this time as a test, where bots will assess the reaction the content is getting. Items with clicks, comments, likes, or shares are likely to move onto stage 3. Conversely, if items get marked as spam or people choose to hide them, LinkedIn believes that the information is not relevant and won’t be shared further. In this phase, your goal is really to generate likes and comments.
Then, the algorithm digs deeper. LinkedIn takes a look at the real quality of your content, your LinkedIn profile, and past items you’ve shared. If all of that is determined to be high quality, the content will be shared even further. In this phase, your post can be hidden, labeled as spam – or shared with a bigger audience.
Finally, the post is turned over to humans to assess the success of your post. They are looking for the reasons behind why your post has done well and then the insights are applied to the algorithm. As long as content continues to generate engagement, LinkedIn continues to share it (that’s why you sometimes see content that is weeks old – all that matters to LinkedIn is that content is relevant to followers at any given time).
How Can You Increase Your Law Firm Content’s Reach?
Since we know that LinkedIn’s algorithm essentially focuses on quality, there are a few tactics you can use to generate more reach.
1. Make Sure You’ve Covered Your LinkedIn Basics, Such as Your Profile
It needs a summary, a header, a photo, etc. Ensure that your company page is updated in the same way. The more comprehensive your profile and company pages are, the easier it is for LinkedIn’s algorithm to determine you’re a credible source, which is more likely to put you in the “good-to-go” category.
2. What Comes Around, Goes Around: Share Your Expertise!
People who are active on LinkedIn are looking for something: job opportunities, referrals, information, connection, etc. Do what you can to meet those needs as often as you can – think of the process as getting out of LinkedIn what you put in. Make sure to share content that is relevant and helpful to people, and engage with people who engage with you (respond to comments, etc). The more engagement you get, the more people will be exposed to your posts, which exponentially increases your reach over time.
3. Post Your Own Native Content to LinkedIn Pulse
LinkedIn Pulse was created by LinkedIn for members to share self-published content with their audience seamlessly. Articles you write on LinkedIn Pulse not only appear right at the top of your profile, but they’re likely to garner greater reach on the platform. This makes sense because LinkedIn wants to keep people on the platform, not clicking off to other sites or law firm blogs. Do keep in mind that longer posts tend to score better because they are likely to contain more helpful information – shoot for articles of 1,700 – 2,200 words.
4. As with all Social Media, Post Images and Videos
Video is increasingly given priority in the newsfeed by the LinkedIn algorithm. Furthermore, according to Hootsuite, video is 20x more likely to be shared than other mediums. If you want other LinkedIn members to help spread your message, video is the way to go. Short-form video is on the rise this year, as proven through our annual study of law firms, The Social Law Firm Index, so make sure to leverage videos this year on LinkedIn.
5. Leverage Your Connections
LinkedIn is all about relationships, so hopefully, you have several on the platform. Use them to promote your content where appropriate. When you produce great content, ask colleagues to share to generate interest. Or, you might collaborate on content with clients or partners, so that you can reach their network as well. The more your content is shared, the wider the audience it will reach.
6. Use Hashtags
Hashtags help users find content on a specific topic. And, if you add hashtags to your content, they’ll help you get discovered by other users, including those not connected to you. On LinkedIn, we’ve found the magic number of hashtags to include on a post to be 3.
7. Share Links Outside of Your Site
LinkedIn recommends following the 4-1-1 rule, meaning for every piece of content you share about yourself, you should share 4 pieces of content from other sources. This may seem like a lot. But at least try to share educational content from your firm’s website, and include relevant industry articles from other sources and news sites as well.
8. Use Showcase Pages
Try using Showcase Pages to target your different audiences more closely. Showcase Pages allow you to speak on the same topic repeatedly without boring disinterested audience members. This is a great way to harness the power of market segmentation.
9. Employee Advocacy
Remember how we said engagement when you first post is important? This is where employee advocacy comes in. Make sure to notify your employees when you post on LinkedIn and have them like, comment on, and share your post. This will signal to the algorithm that your post is worth pushing.
10. Use LinkedIn-Specific Features
Things like newsletters, articles, document posts, and online events are all ways to get the LinkedIn algorithm to push out your content. LinkedIn loves to see people using their specific features and tools, so make sure you’re leveraging a variety of these features. Not only is this good for the algorithm, but it’ll also help keep your audience engaged as your post type and content will differ consistently.
The bottom line is that getting exposure and having your posts shared widely on LinkedIn comes down to creating quality, relevant content. LinkedIn’s algorithms try to meet the needs of users, so their ultimate goal is determining the value content provides. They use reach to help determine this value. Use these tactics to expand your reach organically, while increasing engagement and naturally sharing your expertise. For more ideas, connect with us on LinkedIn, where we share our expert’s latest content.
Do you need help engaging your audience and driving real business results through social media? Our social media offerings can be customized to your law firm’s needs and realities. In addition to social media management, we offer social media consulting and training for our clients. Contact us today for a free consultation.
This post has been edited and republished from Mar. 22, 2021.