Dorothy: Do – do you suppose we’ll meet any wild prospects?
Tin Man: We might.
Scarecrow: Prospects that – that we could do business with?
Tin Man: Uh, some. But mostly lurkers and likers and commenters.
Scarecrow: And likers?
Tin Man: [nodding] And commenters.
Dorothy: Oh! Lurkers and likers and commenters. Oh my!
With apologies to the 1939 movie “The Wizard of Oz”.
LinkedIn is constantly changing its algorithm about what gets the most visibility to your network and others on the platform. Last year LinkedIn seemed to be showing a significant preference for showing likes from your connections in your newsfeed – followed by comments and shares and then in last place your original posts. This year, there may have been a shift – or not! This might change at any time, but my approach to what to share on LinkedIn should remain relevant no matter how LinkedIn messes around with the algorithm.
*NOTE – No matter what your activity, it is only going to show up in the newsfeed of a fairly small percentage of your connections’ newsfeeds, so regular, consistent activity is important.
What you like is likely to show up in the newsfeed of many of your connections. It will show with your name only, e.g., “Sandra Clark likes this” followed by the item you liked. That item/post will show the author’s name and their headline.
When you comment, it may or may not show up in your connections’ newsfeeds. Your name and headline will show – this is powerful free advertising if you have a good headline. The person who wrote the original post will see it, along with others who are interested in that post and following it. Your most recent comments will also show up under your “Activity” section on your profile, showcasing your involvement and potentially your thought leadership.
Your name and your headline (hopefully something more than your job title) show along with your post or post image with a link. Having your original content along with your name and headline in people’s newsfeeds is optimal, but you can’t do much to control the LinkedIn algorithm that decides what content they will share with others.
Does this mean you should give up on posting and spend all your time “liking” or commenting on content? “Oh my – no!” That would mean you’re never allowing others to like or comment on your content and not showing the extent of your thought leadership. Commenting on others’ posts allows you to grow your influence and visibility beyond your immediate network. Posting gives you the opportunity to be make a significant impression on that one person who matters – a prospect or a hiring manager.
What shows up on your profile page and why it matters
When I meet someone or am asked to connect with someone, I always look at their LinkedIn profile page, and I look at their “ Activity” section to get a sense of their interests and thought leadership. If I see nothing, I figure they’re not engaged much on LinkedIn or have nothing much to say. And that can be okay if that’s your choice in the way you are seen online but if you want to take advantage of this amazing, if often frustrating tool called LinkedIn, then you need to pay attention to how you’re participating online.
LinkedIn stopped showing “likes” on your profile page in May 2020. On that page it shows only comments and posts. If the only thing you are doing on LinkedIn is “liking” posts, it may appear that you’re not involved in any conversations at all. There is a way to see someone’s activity that consists only of likes but who’s going to bother? If you have a variety of activities, you can click on “see all” and then you will see everything – comments, likes, posts and shares. If I see mostly “likes,” I may think you’re rather superficial, adding nothing to the conversation. If I see all the same comments – “Congrats,” “Congrats”, “Congrats” I may think you’re a nice person who is constantly congratulating other people but again, you don’t seem to show anything much else about yourself. I do encourage people who are just getting started on LinkedIn not to be afraid to do or say simple things – we all have to start somewhere and build up our courage to be seen in this very visible public space. But if you’re getting serious about using LinkedIn to be seen by either prospects or potential employers, you need to up your game.
My recommendation about what you should do on LinkedIn with all these options is …drum roll, please…
A little of everything.
Write a variety of content that others can like and comment on (see my article on “Posting Content on LinkedIn” for ideas on the types of posts you can do.)
Comment on others’ posts – get noticed by those people who wrote the post and who might become connections or event prospects.
Like others’ posts – be seen in the newsfeed of a larger number of your connections – it may only be a superficial “ping,” but do it regularly and consistently, and you may see results over time. And it doesn’t take much of your time.
I am a believer in the value of LinkedIn to grow your relationships and your brand and that it can offer great opportunities for business opportunities or jobs. I would love to talk with you about the benefits to you being more active on LinkedIn and the type of activity that would work best for your personality and your goals. Please schedule a free 20-minute strategy consultation to see how I might be able to assist you.