LinkedIn recently said they were getting complaints from users that there are too many posts with personal pictures that were better suited to Facebook, so they have made changes to how the feed works and what you can expect.
According to a recent interview published in Entrepreneur Magazine with LinkedIn editor & chief Daniel Roth, he noted that LinkedIn activity has surged in the past few years. The company says it saw a 42% year-over-year increase in content shared from 2021 to 2023, a 27% increase in content viewed, and now has three professionals joining every second.
“During the pandemic, Roth says, people’s LinkedIn posts became much more personal. “Our homes and our work lives got enmeshed,” he says — and users started sharing the sorts of selfies and family photos that they might once have posted to Facebook.
Then some users leaned into other actions that have become endemic on social media — like trying to game the algorithm to gain as many likes and followers as possible.
As a result, many LinkedIn users started complaining. “They were saying, ‘I don’t want to see that anymore — now I want to learn how to get better at what I’m doing,'” Roth says.
So LinkedIn set about trying to make its feed more relevant and informative, and not just engaging and sticky. As a result of the changes — which we’ll get into below — the company says it’s seen an 80% reduction in people complaining about irrelevant content on their feeds.”
Two changes to pay attention to
#1 – Build your followers because it is more likely your followers will see your posts
Again, according to Alice Xiong, a director of product management at LinkedIn “People tell us that they find it most valuable when content is grounded in knowledge and advice,” Xiong says, “and they find it most valuable when the content is from people they know and care about.”
So far, LinkedIn has seen a 10% increase in people viewing posts from people they follow.
For those of you who may be confused about the term ‘Follower’ and ‘Connections’ here is a refresher
Connections and Follows
Connections are members who invite and connect on LinkedIn. If you’re connected to someone, you’ll both be able to see each other’s shares and updates on your LinkedIn feed. You can also send messages to your connections on LinkedIn. Following someone on LinkedIn allows you to see the person’s posts and articles on your homepage without being connected to them. However, the person you’re following won’t see your posts. By default, you will follow your 1st-degree connections, and you can always unfollow them. “
You can reach a larger audience by encouraging others to follow your activity and read what you’re sharing on LinkedIn, without adding 1st degree connections to your network. I do this with a clear call to action in the footer of my posts asking the reader to click on the bell at the top of my profile to follow my posts.
#2 Posts that share “knowledge and advice” are being prioritized throughout the platform
This is the counterbalance to change #1 above — and it’s a primary way that your posts can reach people who don’t currently follow you.
LinkedIn’s system is now evaluating whether a post contains knowledge and advice, and then showing it to other users who are likely to find the information relevant and useful. “For us, the most important part of the equation is, Do we believe we’re helping our members be and feel more productive and more successful?” Xiong says.
Here’s how LinkedIn identifies knowledge and advice:
Here’s where things get really interesting — because how can an algorithm recognize when a post is full of genuine knowledge and advice?
“We are looking to see that you are building a community around content, and around knowledge-sharing that you are uniquely qualified to talk about,” Roth says.
Roth and Xiong didn’t share every metric the company uses, but they did identify a few:
(NOTE: this is common practice by LinkedIn to never divulge too much information, keeping us guessing at their intent)
First, the post speaks to a distinct audience
“The way I like to think about it,” Roth says, “is that every piece of content has its own total addressable market. And you have to think about, well, who am I trying to reach with this thing?”
LinkedIn is thinking about that too. Its system looks at every post and basically asks: Who is this relevant to?
Sometimes, the answer is a small number of people — maybe you’ve posted about your family, and so the system decides it’s only relevant to your closest connections. Or maybe you’ve posted about B2B marketing, and the system will start showing it to people inside that community.
“Advice to give to the creators out there is, think about what kind of knowledge you have to offer to help people,” Xiong says. “That is the kind of thing that will likely get you to reach the right audience as well.”
Second, the author is writing in their core subject area
When you post something on LinkedIn, the platform isn’t just evaluating the value of your post. It is now also evaluating you — and whether you’re an authority in the thing you’ve posted about.
“Because we have the professional profile of record,” Roth says, “it helps us be able to make sure that we are getting the right content to the right people.”
The takeaway here is to stay in your lane of expertise!
When I work with clients on their content strategy, I encourage a mix of post styles, but I always teach them to post what they know, what their ideal customers want to learn from them, and keep it consistent. If you have ‘followed’ my posts for any length of time you know I post about LinkedIn.
Third, the post has “meaningful comments”
In the past, LinkedIn would amplify posts that got a lot of comments. As a result, some users banded together into “engagement groups” — essentially agreeing to quickly like and comment on each other’s posts, as a way of boosting them.
LinkedIn wanted to stop that.
Now it rewards posts that get what Roth calls “meaningful comments.” This means that people aren’t just dashing off empty comments — stuff like “great!” or “so true!” — but are instead actually responding to the content of the post.
LinkedIn is also considering who these commenters are — are they random people, or are they from a particular group? For example, imagine that you post something about marketing. If a lot of marketing professionals comment on your post, LinkedIn sees that as a positive sign.
NOTE: A best practice when you comment is to make it at least 5 words that have relevance to the post that would be meaningful to the person making the post.
If you are the author of the post, you want to always respond to comments as quickly as given because your post will be favored according to Roth who says. “Our system is like, ‘This is a conversation, and people want to be part of this conversation. Show this to more people.'”
Fourth, the post has a perspective
LinkedIn uses artificial intelligence to classify posts into different categories — including, for example, whether a post contains opinions and/or advice. In part, it’s looking to see whether a post is offering generic information (which is less rewarded) or is drawn from the writer’s perspective and insights (which is more rewarded).
If you posted a photo of the funny sign, LinkedIn would show it to fewer people. But if you add your personal perspective of how the funny sign relates to your business as an example, the post now becomes relevant to more people.
The bottom line, we all can offer perspective from our own experiences!
Lastly, what LinkedIn thinks success looks like
Roth and Xiong know: Some people want a lot of likes and followers on LinkedIn. It can be a useful brand-building tool and can lead to more business.
But they want users to think differently. Instead of just reaching lots of people, they say, they want LinkedIn users to focus on reaching the right people.
That’s a big reason why, as Roth says, the LinkedIn system does not reward what are considered ‘viral’ posts.
He says it’s helpful to think of LinkedIn as a digital version of the workplace, where there are a lot of teams with a lot of individual conversations. No single discussion is relevant to every person across every team — just as no single piece of content should be relevant to everyone across LinkedIn.
“It’s very rare for someone to stand up with a megaphone and shout to the whole office and everyone’s like, ‘Great, I want to hear more from this person yelling at us with this megaphone,'” Roth says. “So, if stuff’s not going viral in the workplace, it shouldn’t be going viral on LinkedIn.”
Time to update your content strategy
Based on this new algorithm, you may want to update your content and learn new ways to get your network to engage with your posts. Here is an article that offers ideas.
If you’d like to work with me on your content strategy and marketing, schedule a free call with me to discuss. https://joannefunch5-5.youcanbook.me/
Finally, the quality and consistency of your posts are what will win ‘followers’ and opportunities. Stay in your lane and share your expertise, building your authority in your industry, if you do this, people will follow.
*Thanks to Jason Feifer, Editor in Chief, Entrepreneur Magazine for this great interview with LinkedIn