Algorithms. Terrifying, right? If you’ve ever attempted to understand a social media or search engine algorithm, you’ve probably spent hours trying to get to grips with it, only to find that no sooner have you almost grasped it, it’s changed again.
The good news for your B2B social media marketing is that the LinkedIn algorithm is a little less secretive than many of its competitors, so we have a fighting chance of not only understanding it but also using it to our advantage. Read on for an overview of LinkedIn’s algorithm and how you can tailor your LinkedIn activity to work with it rather than against it.
How does the LinkedIn algorithm work?
In a nutshell, the LinkedIn algorithm is a complex system which uses a mix of automation and real humans to fight spam, show the most relevant content to users and create feeds which drive engagement across the platform.
Unlike other platforms which often prefer to keep the details of their algorithms a secret, LinkedIn have helpfully produced this diagram which shows how theirs works, and we’ve explained the key steps below in a little more detail.
The first thing the algorithm does is filter your content into one of three categories: spam, low quality and clear. The ultimate aim is to assess the credibility and relevance of your post, so you’re aiming for your content to be filtered into the “clear” category to move it onto the next stage.
If your post passes this initial filter, it enters a short testing phase where it’s visible to a small audience group. Its success will then depend on whether anyone marks it as spam or hides it from their feeds, and also the level of initial engagement (reactions, comments and shares) it receives. If it generates enough initial interest, it will achieve a higher content quality score and will appear more widely in people’s news feeds.
It then goes to human editors who have the power to decide whether your content will be displayed even more widely on the platform, or stick with its current visibility.
The key to the LinkedIn algorithm is relevance
When it comes to LinkedIn posts, relevance is more importance than recency. This explains why the default news feed setting is “Top” rather than “Recent”, and is the reason you’ll often find that many of the posts you’re seeing are several days or weeks old.
A lot of people find this annoying (job updates from three months ago are rarely what we want to see…), but it’s a clear sign of the LinkedIn algorithm at play, and means that if a post continues to receive good engagement, it will remain on the LinkedIn feed, extending its life and achieving far greater reach.
Consistency is also an important factor for the algorithm, and producing consistent, relevant content should be your aim. Companies that post at least weekly on LinkedIn typically see a 2x increase in engagement, which results in greater organic reach thanks to the good old algorithm, so a clear posting schedule is vital.
Making the most of the golden hour
The first 60 minutes after posting are the most critical for beating LinkedIn’s algorithm. Often referred to as the golden hour, the engagement your post receives in this short timespan will determine its content quality score and whether or not it achieves greater visibility on the platform.
The best ways to help pass this test are to schedule your posts at times when your audience is most active (so definitely not at 5am on a Sunday morning), and to ensure your staff members pop on to LinkedIn to engage with it as soon as the post has been published. As well as the obvious tip of having a well-written, interesting post, these two factors will help give it a fighting chance.
There is all sorts of conflicting advice on the best times to publish on LinkedIn, but Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday mornings generally come out top. Rather than relying just on what the internet tells you, use your own data from your LinkedIn page analytics to see the times when your best-performing posts were sent out. This will help tell you when your own specific audience is active and most likely to engage, to ensure maximum golden hour success.
Creating high quality LinkedIn posts
So how can you write an engaging, relevant B2B LinkedIn post to satisfy the algorithm? The top component of a high quality post is relevance to your audience, so adding value in some way, perhaps through some industry news, top tips, or highlighting information that will benefit them.
Starting a post with a question to instantly engage your audience is often a good tactic, as it can help generate additional engagement and dwell-time (the time a person spends looking at your post) over more passive content. Good spelling, grammar and text layout will also contribute to your post’s quality score.
Use your company page analytics to determine the type of post content that has performed best for you in the past, as this is clearly the type of content which your audience finds the most relevant. It’s worth noting that posts with images can receive up to 98% more comments than text-only posts, so including an eye-catching image is a must.
Hashtags are also a key element of a successful LinkedIn post, as they will help widen its reach and connect it to the most relevant audience. Use between just three and five hashtags, with a mix of big, popular ones and more niche ones specific to your industry or topic. Avoid using more than 10 hashtags in a post, or you risk the LinkedIn algorithm flagging it as spam.
As we’ve seen, there are some clear actions which you can take to work with the algorithm for your B2B LinkedIn marketing. There’s a lot to consider, but if it’s done well then you can achieve steady results and stand out from your competitors.
Top tips for B2B LinkedIn algorithm success
Relevance over recency
Golden hour scheduling
High quality content
LinkedIn page analytics
It’s important to understand that designing your posts with the sole purpose of cracking the algorithm isn’t necessarily the best option. Like when AI tries to write poetry. However, focusing on these core areas will help you achieve the best result for your business and ensure you offer quality, engaging content to inspire your audience.
With so many factors to take into account, it may seem overwhelming. A B2B social media marketing agency such as Motion Marketing will be able to create and execute a social media strategy for you which will work with the LinkedIn algorithm and help keep you well away from the spam filter, with relevant, well-written posts.
If you’d like help with your B2B social media marketing strategy, our dedicated team are experts in the technology, engineering and manufacturing sectors and are on hand to support your business. Read more about our B2B social media services.