If you’re a business – big or small – you want to be seen and heard, attract potential customers and also network and engage with your clients, prospects, followers, connections and fans. You also want to be able to show your expertise and offer value to your audience.
To do that you need to create or share valuable content with them and engage with them.
Are you being drowned out by the Big Guys?
I’ve noticed on LinkedIn in particular, that when it comes to “expert opinion”, the bigger the company (or if they are one of the selected influencers), the more they and their views are promoted. I have also heard that posting links from big publishing and news sites on Facebook gets further reach too.
Yes, you could argue that they deserve to be recommended as their hard work, business success and PR has paid off – but there is a disproportionate balance in who is being heard and endorsed compared to the value they bring to specific audiences within that platform.
Take LinkedIn’s Pulse recommendations for example. We are provided with several daily article suggestions which we’re invited to share and distribute. Most of this content comes from what is trending, which in turn tends to come from the LinkedIn influencers and big companies or publishing sites like “time” and “forbes” etc. If you click on “see your news”, again you get the option to “follow channels to get articles from both influencers and top news sources”.
While this is all well and good and there may be some good content there, these companies have to cater for everyone so the content can be quite broad and therefore not always relevant to everyone’s business, or the community and target audience that they share content with.
This is a merry-go-round and it’s YOU who is losing out
What is happening is that the same content is being shared around and around = more likely to show in trending and recommendations of what to share = more shares = more traffic (visits) to that website = better SEO and ranking for that website = that websites articles show up first when people searching on the internet (e.g. Google) = leads to more shares and more traffic to that site …. and so it goes on.
So how does that affect you? Well their articles and web pages are coming up in the top search engine results – yours are not! They are becoming known as the expert – you are not. They are getting more reach and engagement – you are not.
You may be writing great content and sharing it everywhere possible but if people are too busy just posting suggested content that is put in front of them, they are not seeing yours.
An opportunity to get a slice of the LinkedIn pie?
Up until now, publishing on LinkedIn has only been open to a select group of 500 influencers. Influencer posts tend to get over 20,000 unique views, over 250 likes and 80 comments, on average – not surprising though in my opinion considering that they are constantly being pushed in your face and perhaps because people like to go and comment on these posts to try and get noticed.
But now LinkedIn is opening up its publishing platform to all users. However you may have to wait a little while as this is being rolled out in stages starting at 25,000 users and then rolling out to everyone else over the next few months. It is also creating specific channels that will support targeted content for a variety of industries so there is potential to stand out as a leader in your chosen category.
So will this now balance the scales of big guys vs small guys and allow everyone a chance to be seen and heard? According to Dave Kerpen it does and also that you can make money blogging on LinkedIn !
Like Dave, you too could get 16 million page views, 300,000 followers, thousands of sales leads and more than $1 million of revenue!
But before you get all excited and start publishing on LinkedIn, you might want to consider the following:
- Dave was an influencer, 1 of only 500 people who was having their “follow this person” and their content pushed out to a large audience – now you will have to compete with up to 277 million other people who are also trying to be seen and heard
- The number of influencers is supposedly to remain unchanged, though there may be potential to break into these more exclusive ranks by writing posts that find a wider audience engaging with and sharing their content
- LinkedIn shouldn’t replace publishing to your own company blog which you have control over. When you publish to LinkedIn, you’re essentially renting the space – if LinkedIn decides to change its rules, you’re at their mercy.
- LinkedIn will obviously take quality into consideration when determining the algorithm of how content is distributed. Poor quality will hinder your potential. Sound familiar? Like Facebook deciding what posts from your Facebook Business Pages are shown to those who have liked your page. Whether this is down to poor quality is debatable as you are encouraged to pay to have your posts seen – so will LinkedIn follow suit?
Are you sharing content from your community or just lazily recycling top posts?
Not every business is the same and it seems that SMEs are more likely to be using LinkedIn to show expertise, connect, learn and share. Their experiences are quite specific and highly valuable to others, so why do we not promote these enough to provide balance and authenticity in what we’re sharing?
Whilst the spectrum or recommendations could be widened or tailored to suit specific sectors or industries, the blame is not solely on LinkedIn (and besides this could change with the new channels and open publishing platform). We ourselves allow this to continue because with most social media channels, we have a knee jerk reaction to automatically sharing – to fill a required weekly quota of posts – and these suggested links are too easy to regurgitate.
Instead why are we not reading or finding truly relevant articles, where we can ourselves, share and most importantly comment and provide our own views. Why are we not supporting our own communities and endorsing the people we really value?
Despite the trend for content creation, we’re still veering towards content proliferation
We’re missing out on a great opportunity to promote and engage with our contacts not only on LinkedIn but on other social channels as well, and instead sharing the content from the those who often do not take the time to engage back and provide no reciprocation – well how often have you had a thank you from one of the big publishing sites for sharing their content and giving them a mention? Don’t get me wrong some of the content is good and I share it too but don’t throw all your eggs in that one basket.
Does sharing of the top content establish you as a thought leader and bring in clients?
With the volume of information we can access, we seem to be creating more noise by lazily recycling top posts than encouraging genuine conversation through authentic and realistic opinions and viewpoints of our own peers and colleagues. Do you actually follow your contacts’ posts, do you filter in their feeds and share what they’re saying?
But it takes too much time and I can barely keep up with what I am doing now
Well actually, it takes a lot less time than you think and even if it took a little bit of extra time, is it not worth it? If you are just posting stuff without reading and thinking it worthy of your audience or not engaging with people or getting any results from what you are posting, then you either need to relook at your strategy or just not use social media at all if you are just posting for the sake of posting.
Firstly you may need to do a little bit of cleaning and sorting of your lists, connections and followers (a bit like file management) – the sooner you start the less there is to sort through! Then use the many tools out there which can save you heaps of time and agony!
So, think before you post and share!
Before you press that re-post / share / retweet button, ask yourself if it provides value to the people you’re sharing this content with and what will make them want to hear from you again and listen to what you have to say. While only posting suggested and top content from those outside your community of ideal clients may not really damage your business, it is certainly not doing much to help it.
We would love to hear what you think and invite discussion – please comment below!