April 21, 2017
The Growth Hacker’s Guide to LinkedIn Publishing
I almost gave up on LinkedIn. “It’s a dying platform.” “Work is getting more social; LinkedIn isn’t.” Then, I noticed a few people driving an insane number of leads and opportunities from LinkedIn. They didn’t use LinkedIn like the majority of users. They were the one percent who understood how to growth hack it with tactics. So, I studied these top, young thought leaders on LinkedIn: Marketing Manager at Grade A, Michaela Alexis; and Director of Growth for Engagio, Brandon Redlinger. In this guide, I document many of their strategies while adding a few of my own growth hacks. Each person, including myself, has their strengths when it comes to mastering LinkedIn. When combined, you can become an unstoppable powerhouse, especially for B2B marketing.
Let’s dive into each person’s tactics:
Michaela Alexis writes many of the most engaging articles on LinkedIn. This has led to her receiving many podcast, speaking, and job opportunities. Here’s a look at the engagement on her most recent posts: What makes her LinkedIn articles different? In an exclusive interview, Michaela Alexis notes, “Linkedin is a unique community. You can’t just write. Yes, you may end up with some home runs, but you have to spend about 20% of your time writing, and the other 80% engaging and sharing updates. People need to see you actually growing to believe that you know what you’re talking about or listen to what you have to say. Trust me, there are far better writers than me, but they aren’t spending as much time as me building relationships. In terms of format, I never write anything that will take longer than 5 mins to read. Always assume people are consuming content on a quick coffee break. I follow the same format, always. First part is a personal story. Second is the result. Third is how that result can be replicated. I literally respond to as many comments as humanly possible. I answer as many messages as possible, but it’s grown so much that I’m bringing on interns to categorize my messages. I know Gary Vee is all about personally replying, and I agree with him. I also share my articles on Medium, and have had a few picked up by publications that way.” Michaela did leave out that she uses images of inspirational quotes for almost all her LinkedIn article cover photos. These perform well, especially when paired with personal photos in the article. **One key takeaway: Michaela engages many of her connections to ensure they interact with her content. She does this by liking their photos, commenting, endorsing others, and messaging them directly. This sounds time-consuming. However, if you use third-party LinkedIn tools, including Dux Soup or GPZ LinkedIn Tools, you can interact with many of your connections at scale while still adding a personal touch. Here’s an example message you could send out to build rapport with your connections: “**[first name], I want to reach out because we’re connected, and I noticed you work in [i.e. growth marketing] in **[i.e. San Francisco]**. I wrote this LinkedIn article on how [X people in X industry] can use LinkedIn to expand their network and get leads. Let me know if this is something you’re interested in and I’ll send you a few secrets I left out of the post :) Thank you for reading. -Josh” Once you’ve built up a large enough audience, start deploying published articles and status updates. How do you perfect a status update? Michaela focuses on turning her “work wins” into content. She adds a little flavor to each status by adding a short personal story and a picture of her to build more rapport and capture attention. Notice how in this status update she links to a LinkedIn article she’s written and signs off in a professional way. She also keeps her paragraphs short, so people can easily read them on mobile. Below is another work win she posted. If you examine closely, you’ll see she writes with the hero’s journey in mind. In her first post, it’s about how she leveled-up from cleaning urinals. In her second post, it’s about how she conquered her fear of public speaking.
Five key takeaways:
- Use personal pictures
- Make it mobile friendly
- Tell a hero’s story
- Focus on a work win
- Use a professional sign off
You don’t always have to focus on work wins. A few entrepreneurs focus more on controversy and intelligent discussion to get big hitters in their industry involved. Brandon Redlinger does this exceptionally well. He’ll start every status update with a hard-hitting line to generate controversy. In the picture below, he uses “Dear sales-spammers.” Now that’s a good one. He’ll then tag the relevant thought leaders in the industry, so they respond and generate more buzz around his article. Before he tags a thought leader, he first messages them on LinkedIn about their opinion on the subject matter. This way they don’t feel like Brandon’s tagging them for self-promotion. Notice Brandon’s use of caps when writing statuses to get his audience’s attention. A post status like this one will stay at the top of my news feed for an entire week, and if I already engaged with it via a Like or Comment, then I’ll be alerted every time someone else comments on it. Here’s another example of how Brandon uses this tactic. He starts off with a strong emotional statement, then proceeds to back it up with evidence. Next, he tags relevant thought leaders to get their opinion. And again, he gets a huge amount of engagement. Similar to Michaela, Brandon engages with every comment on his posts. This helps him build rapport with his most engaged audience. To further build rapport with industry leaders and awareness for his company, Engagio, Brandon does write-ups that tag them in appreciation. Smart move. While Michaela has found a way to hit a wide audience over and again, Brandon has streamlined the process for dominating a niche industry with LinkedIn content. Now to answer the most common question when it comes to LinkedIn marketing: How many times should you be posting? Post every day on LinkedIn if you’re looking to get your audience’s attention. More specifically, I’d aim for a status every day and one published article every week. If you have the bandwidth, then level up to two published articles every week. Make sure to apply content creation and distribution tactics Michaela and Brandon use. These will help ensure you get traction for your content. What happens when you add in a few growth hacks? If you want to take full advantage of your LinkedIn profile, then you’ll need to combine it with the power of Facebook Ads.
Here’s how to do this:
**1) Go to Settings & Privacy to download your LinkedIn Contacts into a CSV. ** 2) Upload your LinkedIn Contacts’ emails as a Custom Audience into Facebook Ads Manager. 3) Stay in front of your LinkedIn connections 24⁄7 with Facebook advertising If you want more engagement on your content, then run educational, inspirational, and entertaining video ads to this audience. By running video ads, your target market will have a stronger, emotional touch point with you. As a result, when you publish LinkedIn articles you’ll receive more engagement because people will have established a_ better know, like, and trust factor_ with your personal brand. 4) Run ads to a landing page Once you’ve given your audience a lot of value with Facebook video content and excellent LinkedIn articles and statuses, run a Facebook Ad to a landing page. If you’ve defined your network (e.g. only connect with growth marketers), then it’s relatively easy to offer them something worth opting into. Here’s an example ad I ran to my LinkedIn connections resulting in less than $1/lead: Now you can crush your user acquisition with LinkedIn Publishing to drive hundreds of leads and maybe a few partnerships. Write your first LinkedIn post or status today with the recommended content and design principles, and you’ll begin seeing an increase in engagement. With enough effort, you may just become a LinkedIn influencer. Are you ready?