To say this year has been hard is an understatement. It was unprecedented, uncertain and down right bloody difficult. But one positive thing that you can take with you into #2021, is the growth in digital marketing, and specifically social media channels this past year. Here is our summary of the good, the bad, and the ugly for LinkedIn, and our predictions of what will trend next year.
LinkedIn has really rocked this past year. Many people have been complaining of huge drops in algorithmic reach and engagements. At ZoecialMedia we are a bit skeptical about this for a few reasons. 1) Our data tells us differently. Across all our client accounts we see continued YoY growth, even with the difficulty presented by the pandemic.
2) We believe there are just many many more people online, pushing content and consuming content, so your share of visibility just got harder, that is all. But that is why you need to be engaging and engage more to be seen.
Some of the reasons LinkedIn has really upped its' game are:
- HASHTAGS: #hashtag #hashtag #hashtag - the first 3 you use in every post are the most important ones. In fact when you copy link to post and paste it in WhatsApp or another forum, LinkedIn now includes these hashtags as part of the link. It's how you find interesting people and content, and how you optimize your feed, and how you filter what you see. HASHTAG!!!!
- DOCUMENT UPLOAD: Swipe through carousels are the bomb! We love them, people love them, and the ROI on visibility and reach is huge!
- PRODUCT PAGES: This feature is still a WIP but we believe these are really going to be a game changer next year and it starts with those companies who are already have them.
- EVENTS: They started out really badly, but now LinkedIn have really invested in the feature, not only do you get real lead generation with them, but some of our clients are reporting 3-5x the event registrations using this feature.
- POLLS: Do it! try one but remember to be engaging.
We put together a guide for LinkedIn Product pages and one for Polls that will help you be strategic with them next year. Here you go!
Let's talk #LinkedInPolls: Here is a summary of how they work:
- Questions can only be 140 characters long.
- Answers can only be 30 characters long
- You can only have up to 4 answers
- A poll can run for 1 day, 3 days, 1 week or 2 weeks, you decide
- You are not allowed poll questions related to political opinions, medical information or other sensitive data.
- HOT TIP: Once a poll is live you can edit the actual post above it but not the poll - so if there is a mistake you will need to delete and repost!
- YOU CAN notify employees of a post using the button on LinkedIn.
- YOU CAN PIN a post to the top of your profile.
- YOU CAN link to a post - so you can share it among your staff, friends, partners and advocates.
Get creative with polls: Here is a nice example we did for our client Deep Instinct
- YOU CAN put a link into the main poll post.
- YOU CAN geo-target by language, job function, university, seniority, location, company size or industry
- YOU CAN only post a poll natively, so no social posting tools and no reporting tools, you will have to do reporting manually!
- FINALLY: You cannot promote a poll on a paid campaign!
Growing on LinkedIn is HARD. If you want thousands of new followers for your company profile each month on LinkedIn - STOP ... doing this one thing!!
Expecting to get thousands of new followers on #LinkedIn each month. The harsh reality is that there is no "magic follower pill" you can swallow. It takes:
PERSISTENCE: Regular cadence of good and engaging posts.
DEDICATION: You need dedicated advocates and followers who will engage with your brand and like, share and comment to get you more visibility.
TIME: With more visibility comes more followers. You cannot buy them and if you think you can, you might be in for a shock. We ran a $3K campaign for brand awareness for a client in India, the goal we set was "engagements" which is one of the few LI goals that has a "follower" button on it. Guess how many followers came from that $3K spend?? LESS THAN 500!!!!!?
Change your goals, align your expectations, put in the effort to engage and build a dedicated following and stop expecting it to happen overnight. Unless you are Microsoft or Apple, which you are NOT!
STORIES: Our initial few observations about the new #linkedstories feature. after posting consistently for days on end....
1. You still cannot save a story.
2. About 30-35 unique views of each story, but all except one person were in my 1st degree connections, so not really getting outside my existing following.
3. There is still no way for people to like a story.
4. You can still only write a private message to the story author. You can also "unfollow" them
5. The "mention" feature only currently allows mentioning people, NOT COMPANIES.
6. Still only available on mobile, not on desktop.
7. Still no hashtag support on Stories.
8. The stories expire after 24 hours, and no way to see "old stories"
9. Still almost no analytics on story (other than how many people and who viewed it).
10. No live links
For Company Profile Stories:
1. You cannot like a story.
2. The share button allows you to send the story via messenger to people.
3. You cannot save a message
4. You cannot tag another company
5. Also only available on mobile.
6. If you go to the company profile, no way to view their stories (this to me seems the most illogical of all the non-features).
The point is, no need for #FOMO if you don’t have it yet, it needs some work.
NOW, WHAT SHOULD YOU EXPECT IN 2021:
- MORE P2P: People-to-People marketing will be the buzz in 2021. We are already seeing companies, and more importantly C-suite execs buying into the importance of active, engaged and thought-leading LinkedIn accounts this year, and it will only get stronger next year.
- PROFESSIONAL BRAND MANAGEMENT: With the need for more P2P marketing, comes the need for professional services to help you do this. We are currently managing 57 LinkedIn stakeholder accounts. From A-Z writing and posting content, engaging daily, strategically growing the network and connecting to new industry and ABM targets.
- LESS AUTOMATION: DON'T BOT!!! The appeal is real, and we understand, you are worried that investing in your employees is a waste of time and money, and they may walk out the door one day. So you set up fake accounts and bots on those accounts, or even WORSE, you run the bots on your employee accounts. But a robot can never properly emulate a thinking human. We are currently dealing with one client who has 6 blocked accounts of senior sales people on LinkedIn because they ran a bot on the accounts. The pain is real, those people can never ever connect to a potential client or person again, without first having to put in the person's email address.
- MORE VISIBILITY and CREDIBILITY. How? STOP LIKING
Don't be a 'like bunny' [Trademark ZoecialMedia], take the extra few seconds to really engage and show people your expertise, compassion, share your knowledge, friendship, support, shared interests, along with some respect.
Watch those visibility reach numbers climb for:
- more profile views
- more connect requests/follows
- more visibility
- more trust in your personal brand
- MORE ROI: Use Shield Analytics app. A full 360 degree view of your growth, engagements, reach. Like you have never before been able to get from LinkedIn. The ROI is there!
GOOD luck in 2021 and reach out if you need a hand!