Have you ever wondered why some of the content you post to social media performs really well (with a high number of likes, comments and shares) and some posts don’t? It could be the subject matter, the time of day when you posted it, but it also could be algorithms working in the background.

Social media success is much more than sharing and liking content on the platforms used by your target audience. It’s about being strategic about when you post, what you post and where you post.

With social media being an incredibly powerful way to connect and inform especially now in 2020 due to COVID-19, it’s never been more important to use social media. That being said, it’s only worth using social media if you’re going to post content of value to your audience and you understand how the social platforms work. For this article, LinkedIn is really the focus.

Here are some tips to expand the reach and power of your content in no time.

  1. Don’t just hit “publish” without adding introductory text to a post. You should add text that explains what you’re sharing and why, and tag anyone who is mentioned in the post. In addition, use relevant hashtags (more on that later).
  2. Share your content to multiple LinkedIn groups in addition to posting it in your feed. Since the pandemic, LinkedIn groups have surged as they provide forums to share ideas and content with like minded individuals. Did you know that you can share content to your groups and reach a wider audience, including individuals to whom you aren’t connected (2nd and 3rd degree connections). I regularly do this myself and it has helped to build my brand. Just make sure the content is helpful, not self-promotional and educational.
  3. Use appropriate hashtags in your posts to reach your target audience. Hashtags are trending and commonly used search terms on social platforms (a hashtag uses the # sign followed by the term, so for example #socialmedia). Some users follow and search for content using hashtags and their usage is increasing across all social platforms. Incorporating hashtags into your social strategy will enhance your ability to reach prospects, clients and other interested parties because individuals who are following or searching that hashtag may see your content even if they are not connected to you. I would recommend using 3 to 5 hashtags, and doing research on LinkedIn before you post the hashtags. The best way to find the right # is to use the search functionality in the main search bar and type in a term to see how many followers it has. Too many followers will ensure your posts aren’t read as will using a hashtag with few followers. The suggestions that come up when you type in a post aren’t always the best ones to use because they’re based on the context and not the number of followers a hashtag has. I am against making up your own hashtags because that won’t help your content be discovered.
  4. Did you know that when you post something to LinkedIn, it doesn’t automatically appear in the feed of all your Connections and Followers? LinkedIn decides where your writing will appear. The initial sample it picks is pretty small. LinkedIn waits to see if that small sample interacts with your writing (e.g., by “liking” or “sharing” it) before distributing it to a broader audience. When you post something on social media, ask close friends/colleagues to like or share your content immediately after you post it. This will encourage LinkedIn to distribute your content more broadly. When you receive comments, respond promptly as LinkedIn measures the immediate impact of a post in deciding whether to circulate it more broadly.
  5. Post content at the most strategic times, which has historically been during commuting hours on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursdays. Since COVID-19, I have found that any time is good except after 8pm as business professionals are on LinkedIn seven days a week. Remember to consider time zones when you’re posting content. If you are in NYC and you’re trying to reach a target audience in Silicon Valley or London, you’ll want to take the times into consideration. Don’t worry, you don’t have to stay up all night or get up early as there a number of online tools that enable you to schedule future posts.
  6. Don’t forget about sending content via email. I find so many businesses are no longer sending emails and are instead relying on social media to distribute their content – and this is a big mistake. There is no better direct way to reach clients and prospects (if your contact list is updated and segmented) than email. Why? Because it puts the content directly into their inboxes – whereas on LinkedIn they may or may not see it due to whether they are on the platform and LinkedIn’s tricky algorithm. So, if you write a substantive blog post or article, make sure to send it directly to your mailing list so you increase the likelihood that they will see it. Better yet is to send a personalized note along with the copy letting them know you were thinking of them and why they might find the article of interest. Be sure to comply with advertising and professional ethics rules when you email content – if you use an email marketing platform – which you should – you will cover your bases on this.
  7. Periodically write articles for third-party publications (these have a built-in strong readership already and can help you with credentialing) and then share this content on social media, tagging the publication in your post as well as tagging any co-authors (use the @ sign to tag an entity or a person). This will expand the reach of your content.
  8. Use a content syndicator. I can’t sing the praises of JD Supra enough in helping me reach a wider audience for my personal content as well as the content of my clients and former employers. Content syndicators help to amplify your content and disseminate it by industry and sector. They are well worth the investment if you want to maximize your content assets. I have seen many individuals and companies acquire clients as well as speaking and writing opportunities and media placements as a result of their content being spotlighted with JD Supra.
  9. Interact with your connections’ (especially referrals clients and prospects) social posts by liking or sharing them. This will help build relationships and encourage others to return the favor by sharing your content too.

I hope you’ll try out some of these tips. What works for one person may be different than what will work for another, depending on the industry and target audience. Social media success is about consistently posting and refining your strategy based upon what resonates with your audience. Use your analytics and user trends to help guide the way.