How to Leverage LinkedIn in 2019

In  2018 LinkedIn reached 10M Australian registered members. A milestone figure given that in 2010 there were only 1M members.  With the Australian population sitting at 24.9M and LinkedIn being a professional business platform the statistic is significant.   In this article I  review some of the main changes in 2018, current statistics, algorithm updates,  how to leverage LinkedIn in 2019 and the  6  pillars to build success.

Statistics:  42% of members access the platform multiple times daily or weekly.  74% of B2B buyers use it for purchasing decisions and social proof.  79% of B2B marketers view it as the most effective marketing channel. And  91% of executives rate the platform as their No. 1 choice for professional content.   Hubspot reports that LinkedIn is 277% more effective at B2B lead generation than Facebook and Twitter.

So it is undeniable that LinkedIn is a ‘must have’ vs a nice to have.  If you are not leveraging the platform in some way you are definitely missing opportunities in the social selling and digital marketing highway.

LinkedIn has transformed the way professionals network, distribute information, share content, build personal brands, influence and position subject authority, amplify product reach, generate leads and of course recruit staff.  Like any transformation (be it a revolution) there are great  positive and negative elements along with frustrations and teething issues.  That applies also to users/members as they navigate the opportunities.   And it can feel like a battle for visibility and traction with the ongoing changes and divergent professional opinions on how to present and succeed on the platform.

2018 has seen more changes and updates than ever before.   In January there was a whole new user and profile interface (which was different on mobile  and desktop)  Rollouts of changes are totally random and disparate. Now let’s be frank, LinkedIn want to maximise revenue and a positive and robust user experience is tied directly into that.

A few key changes in 2018 include updates and additions of:

Native & Sponsored Video,  Company  Pages, Groups, QR Codes, Find Me & Event Tools,  Voice Messaging, Security & Data Protections, Sales Navigator Deals, Marketing Solutions,  Analytics,  Search Functionalities,  Hashtags. Document Loading on Posts (this will be huge)

But the biggest and ongoing challenges and changes occur with the algorithms and distribution of content.   The change circa 18-24mths ago from preference weighting of articles to posts has been tricky (as is the elements and links within which can penalise reach).

Given the explosion of subscribers and the (illogical yet fashionable) notion  to invite anyone and everyone into your network, the ‘Notifications’  tool and feed system would have writhed with the surge and the deluge of  content and members.

Creator Side Optimisation Feed Enhancement

LinkedIns’ manager of data science (content) in San Francisco, Bonnie Barrilleaux announced an encouraging and partial re-dress of the algorithm to be fairer and less influencer biased  Spreading the Love in the LinkedIn Feed with Creator-Side Optimisation    Her video  ‘Perverse Incentives in Metrics is also compelling viewing in understanding  how and why much occurs on the platform.

2019 will be bigger and more competitive on LinkedIn and in business in general. So how can you get the best results from the platform?  The cliché of Know-Like-Trust is a truism that  will continue to drive  success but it’s the application that will be the golden nuggets.

The 6 pillars to build LinkedIn success

Crystal Clarity

Get crystal clear on what your objectives and ideal results are.  Are you willing to invest the time and attention to achieve this (or even delegate)?  Unpack and define your personal brand equity.  How do you want to be perceived?  How do you want to integrate your business and personal brand?  What do you want to be known for (expert authority)?

Profile & Summary

Be real, direct and inspiring.  Clichés, lazy cut and paste banality does not build trust and inspire brand equity.     Be the best version of you and your business – not a different you.  Write in the 1st person (3rd person appears ego driven and disconnected).   Share the core of what you do, the problems you solve, your backstory and have a great photo and aligned and creative banner image.

Have a dynamic headline with the right keywords, searchable skills and brand value.  Don’t try and game the fields as it will damage search, your account and overall user experience. Check in with the LinkedIn User Agreement

Company Page: Ensure you have one set up with a logo to link back to your profile

Learn how to structure a powerful LinkedIn profile with our free Ebook.

Connection (Social) Strategy

Be clear and focused.  Big connection numbers give a false illusion of power and connectivity.  It is simply not always true.   Do not use 3rd party plug in tools (this is against the LinkedIn User agreement and you risk suspension).

Personalise invitations – make people feel a little special upfront and show relevance. Don’t be lazy.   Sales Navigator is a great tool to integrate into your strategy and especially with a larger sales team pipeline focus.

Content (Consistency) Strategy

A diverse and thoughtful content mix of consistency across video, podcasts, posts, articles and document download (new function in Posts to download brochures, presentations etc – this will be a big game changer).   Saturation of content isn’t always effective, neither are many systems to game-share content to elicit greater reach (and it can compromise your profile and account).  Don’t just follow what everyone else is doing. Step up and out.

Integrity and quality vs quantity is key. There are some great ways to get higher visibility but need a hands on and multivariate marketing approach (on and off the platform).  Always align content strategy to business objectives, your voice and purpose.

Engagement (Communications) Strategy

Show genuine interest, build personal brand equity and network reciprocity.  Respond, comment, engage politely and respond to messages and all content engagement.   Etiquette and manners really impress and matters.  Be careful of what you write online. Be generous, give recommendations, support others by introducing them to your network and treat all with respect.

Sales (Relationship) Strategy

We are all on LinkedIn to do business, be seen and/or sell something somehow, sometime.  The current rhetoric that ‘people don’t want to be sold to” is fear based and can freeze outreach and new conversations.   It’s a bit like the Goldilocks bed tale – too hard, too soft, and just right. Tone, style, warmth and business relevance matters.

How do you like to be approached, engaged with? Coalesce that with your human values, business purpose and solutions in social selling strategies.   Encourage a phone conversation with a natural flow of next steps to learn more about each other.   It’s the HOW you communicate that matters.  Be genuine, do your research show salient value. You don’t know if either party will be a seller, buyer or referrer to each other. Be open in mind and context.

LinkedIn is the No. 1 platform  for professionals and businesses to network in Australia and the world . There will be more changes in 2019 without doubt.   But the fundamentals on how to  leverage LinkedIn in 2019 and the  6 pillars to build  success will not really change that much!

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