HERE'S HOW TO REALLY MAXIMISE YOUR REACH ON LINKEDIN
If you're managing your organisation's social media profiles, it can be hard to herd colleagues up to help share, like or post company status updates from their own accounts (aka 'social media amplification', where you get your colleagues to help extend the reach of your content by posting, or otherwise engaging in some way with a centrally-issued post).
In this blog, I'm going to talk a bit about what I've done to successfully achieve this for my company. So if you've been stuck for ages in a stalemate of status update silence, hopefully the below will help in some way.
I've read a number of posts lately on the subject of amplifying your social reach - they've been posted on quite credible sites, but I just can't help thinking that most of them don't go far enough in telling you how to crack it. The recommended tactics tend to focus heavily on 'up-skilling' and training your colleagues. In my opinion, that is not the key to growing your reach on LinkedIn. The truth is that if training your colleagues is the pinnacle of your strategy for getting more people to share your content, you're not going to get very far - not in the long-term.
I live and breathe this stuff in my current full-time role, and I've managed to get some momentum going in pumping out really strong thought leadership content on behalf of my employer, pretty much single-handedly and without spending a dime - so I wanted to stick my oar into the issue of achieving social reach, and share my approach. Who knows, it might just work for you too.
WHY IS IMPORTANT TO TRY AND AMPLIFY YOUR CONTENT?
Because there's a lot of 'noise' out there when it comes to companies and organisations getting their marketing messages. It's a cacophony of words, images, sounds, and call to action buttons, and you're competing with countless others for your audience's attention.
If you do manage to permeate LinkedIn newsfeeds successfully though, there are a multitude of benefits to be had. You can increase brand awareness, boost website traffic as well as actual interactions (e.g. registrations / downloads) on your website, raise your colleagues' profiles, and create 'fans' or advocates of your content.
It's getting harder and harder to get marketing out to the right audience at the right time - so to have the best chance of getting your messages out into the world and attract as much engagement as possible, you should be looking to maximise the amount of chances that your content has to hit the audience.
Here's what I inherited in 2015 by way of social media stats - our social media channels weren't being given the right amount of due attention up to that point, and they were a little 'neglected'. (Below: graph showing the cumulative number over the time period)
With a lot of TLC and tinkering, here's how it's looking for the past year. (Below: graph showing the cumulative number over thetime period)
The increase is engagement (aka interactions) and LinkedIn referral traffic (aka clicks) is not to be sniffed at - and it's all because we have far more clout when it comes to posting updates these days.
How did I get here?
According to LinkedIn research:
"Despite the fact that only 3% of employees share content, they generate 30% of all content engagement for a typical business."
"So that means I should spend time training up my non-marketing colleagues, right?"
TRAINING YOUR COLLEAGUES OFTEN DOESN'T MAKE AN IMPACT
Even with the best intentions, people:
- Forget or are genuinely too busy
- Aren't too busy, but can't be bothered
- Aren't bought in; they won't do it because, essentially, they don't believe it adds any value
- Need lots of hand-holding - you train them once, but they need you to go through it multiple times
- Mess it up in one way or another, even though they are enthusiastic to help you
The last two can cause you (or someone in your team) endless instances of having to spend 10 mins here... and 10 mins there... rectifying things that have gone live, or retraining colleagues again. And again. And again.
And it's kind of to be expected. It's not their job to know this stuff.
SO WHAT SHOULD YOU DO?
You're going to work on putting extension leads onto your extension leads. It's going to take a bit of work, but the results should be worth it.
My strategy kind of emerged from the old trying-things-out-and-seeing-what-works-on-LinkedIn technique. But, basically you need to:
#1. CENTRALISE STUFF
#2. PLUG IN STUFF
#3. GET ACCESS TO STUFF
#4. INVEST TIME IN STUFF
The good news is that you can use software (Hubspot, for example) to do some of the work; namely, allowing the centralisation of publishing posts, so that you can push out status updates from the same 'launchpad' each time. Any half-decent tool will also measure everything associated with this activity, meaning you can actually evaluate the success of those posts later on, and prove the ROI on time spent far more easily.
#1. CENTRALISE STUFF AND #2. PLUG IN STUFF
Identify your audience. Now think about who you have at your company - who is likely to be the most credible, trustworthy, relevant source of pushing those business messages out there? And who is likely to already be connected to a decent population of the ideal audience? What you want, is to herd all of these people's accounts into one account which you control.
Once you've worked the above out, approach your colleagues and explain what you're trying to do. If you're using something like Hubspot, for example, get your workmates to log in to LinkedIn on your computer, and then sync their account. You've now plugged in their individual profile and can start posting onto LinkedIn for them. Do this multiple times, and you've increased your potential reach instantly!
The average CEO has 903 LinkedIn connections. So imagine how much you're bolting on in the potential reach stakes, for every c-suite account you've plugged in.
(If you do have budget free to spend, you could explore investing some cash in a full social media amplification tool. These can be handy if you need to control and centralise a ton of accounts, but the control is back with your workmates - so you're reliant on them to hit the publish button. I personally prefer to control everything. I can control the timing of the release that way too.)
#3. GET ACCESS TO STUFF
If your colleagues are comfortable with the idea (like mine were), get them to give you their log in details (I always get permission in writing). This will allow you to:
- Go into their profile and optimise it (because it probably needs it)
- Connect them to more people (because they may only have 100 - 200)
- Join them up to multiple, relevant LinkedIn groups (because they are probably joined up to just a few, or none at all). LinkedIn say that you can join up to 100 groups before you reach the limit.
The last two steps above further increase your potential reach. Voila!
#4. INVEST TIME IN STUFF
So the bad news is that a lot of extending your social reach on LinkedIn will take manual labour. Now that you've joined lots of your key workmates up to lots of groups, you'll now have to go in and manually post new content into each one every time to get it out there. There are upsides to this though. One: you can fully control where the content goes, which allows you to be more targeted - and two: you can apply optimisation, quality control and tailoring to your posts.
Finding people to link to in order to build up their 'pool' of connections also takes some time, and you might have to attack this task over weeks whenever you have time, if you're up against it, like me. But if your connection request is relevant and not random, in most cases it will be accepted.
I hope you find some value in what I'm saying here. This is a long-term, tactical strategy where the rewards and progress will build over time. For it to really work well, you'll have to accept that it's not a burst of attention spent on LinkedIn over a short or even mid-term period - you'll have to keep at it in a methodical and consistent manner. I'm still at it, and it won't really ever end!
You really do get out what you put in. :-)