SMT Expert Series: Keren Baruch Discusses LinkedIn Content Trends and Creator Tools

SMT Expert Keren Baruch

Over the last few years, LinkedIn engagement has gone through the roof, with the company reporting record levels of on-platform activity – specifically, engagement with posts and updates – for five straight quarters running.

That’s seen LinkedIn put more focus on content creation, and building community on the platform, which has lead to the development of new tools like Content Recommendations, and Content Suggestions for Company Pages, enabling brands to boost their on-platform performance, along with new analytics to measure the impacts of such efforts.

And now, LinkedIn is looking to the next stage.

One of the people working on this is Keren Baruch, the platform’s Product Lead for Creator Strategy, which also means that Keren is well-positioned to provide insight into the latest LinkedIn content shifts, where things are headed, and what brands can do to maximize their performance on the platform.

We recently got a chance to ask a few questions of Keren, which could provide some valuable pointers for your LinkedIn approach.

1. What are the key content trends that you’re seeing on LinkedIn?

This continues to be a dynamic year in terms of how people relate to work, and we see that in the conversations happening on LinkedIn. We’re seeing millions of conversations every day about topics that deeply affect our members’ lives from the pandemic, and protests about racial injustice, to increased sharing about mental health challenges that people have faced, and how remote working is changing business. The most recent trending topics we’ve seen include return-to-office plans, Pride month and business travel. 

For creators looking to keep up on trends, you should definitely check out LinkedIn Editor Dan Roth’s Creator Weekly newsletter where he shares trending topics on LinkedIn each week. As a creator, you can use this information to spot trends on the topics people want to hear more about, as well as trending hashtags. If these subjects are areas on which you have a point of view or expertise, consider sharing an interesting video or lesson that riffs off the topic – or add commentary to a conversation already in progress.

2. How is LinkedIn looking to develop its creator tools and build on its engagement growth?

We’re so excited to be doubling down on our efforts to make creators feel at home on LinkedIn. For many creators, this already is a home, where they contribute regularly via posts, articles, newsletters, Stories and Live Video. And although we’ve had user-generated content since 2012, we’re seeing conversations on the platform scale, and creators engage with their community via comments, reactions and messaging to help their followers stay informed. 

We’re excited to continue investing in and rolling out new features to give creators the tools, guidance and support to publish great content, spark conversations and build an engaged following. We’ve got a super passionate team here that’s running quickly to get updates and features out, and to continue learning from creators. The recent launch of Creator Mode on LinkedIn is a first step in creating a dedicated experience for our creator community that we will continue to build upon.

LinkedIn Creator Mode

I would recommend that you stay updated on the latest creator tools by following our LinkedIn for creators page

3. What are the key elements of an effective LinkedIn content strategy?

It’s important to start with a few basics: 

  • Build a strong Profile – Your Profile is your personal story, where people can find you and stay updated on your activity – so make sure that it showcases who you are, what you stand for, and what you’re interested in. Include a profile photo, add your experience, highlight your best work in your ‘Featured’ section and write up a summary to share more about your experiences and interests. You can now also add a video cover story to your Profile to share more about yourself and your expertise, in a more human and engaging way. For inspiration on how to bring yours to life, check out this blog post.  
  • Optimize your Profile by turning on Creator Mode – If you want to build your following and engage with an audience on LinkedIn, I recommend turning on our new Creator Mode. This will reorganize your profile to lead with your featured content and more of your recent activity, while it also enables people to easily “Follow” you instead of “Connect” – an important distinction, since you should only connect with those you know and trust.
  • Diversify your content type – Beyond posts and full-length articles, there are many ways you can connect with your followers and engage your community on LinkedIn. A few tools you can try include LinkedIn Stories, creating your own newsletter or hosting a LinkedIn Live to broadcast video content to your LinkedIn network in real-time.
  • Timing is everything – The more timely and relevant your posts are, the more you’ll likely see responses and engagement. We’ve also seen that finding the right cadence of posting is key – regularly posting, without over-posting in a single day, will ensure that your audience has time to see and engage with your posts in their feed.

4. Should businesses be adding hashtags to their LinkedIn posts – and if so, what hashtag tips would you recommend?

Using hashtags on LinkedIn helps you to establish your credibility and expertise, reach people who value your insights, and jumpstart meaningful conversations over shared interests by surfacing in search. 

A few helpful tips for using hashtags on LinkedIn include: 

  • Use them correctly – Be sure to include the # sign before any keyword or phrase. Avoid any spaces, punctuation, special symbols or emojis
  • Don’t overdo it – We recommend using no more than three hashtags per post, and leveraging both broad and niche hashtags for increased exposure 
  • Do your research – Before including a hashtag, type it into the LinkedIn search bar to make sure it has strong usage in order to connect you to the most relevant audiences.
  • Go niche – Try going as specific as possible for increased exposure (#TED2021 vs. #marketing)

5. What’s the most common mistake you see people make on LinkedIn, in regards to their content and posting approach?

It’s one thing to start a conversation, but it’s another thing altogether to cultivate a meaningful discussion. We’ve seen a lot of magic happen in comment threads, where creators are engaging with their community. The most successful creators are the ones who take the time to give more than they get, who are curious, and stay invested in learning. That’s why we encourage creators to not only to create content that’ll spark a conversation, but also to actively engage in that conversation through the comments.

Some prospective creators are also afraid to share because of a misconception that posts need to be “polished” or “professional looking”, as if they’re writing an academic paper. Our best advice to content creators is don’t be intimidated: experiment with different post and content types and don’t worry about crafting the “perfect” post.

6. Do you think that LinkedIn is getting too casual and personal, or is there room for both professional and personal insights on the platform?

Over the past year, we’ve seen living rooms become board rooms, and closets become workstations. Remote workers have been a part of countless kid cameos. With everything that’s changed about the professional world in the past year, all of us need to rethink the lines between personal and professional.

LinkedIn should be, and is, a place where people are encouraged to share their personal experiences and insights in a genuine way, as it can inspire others who might be dealing with a similar situation. We’ve seen a number of posts recently from women talking about their return-to-work experience following leave or a career break, unemployment challenges, working from home with children, coming out at work, and more. I’m personally excited to see how LinkedIn creators continue to push the boundaries around bringing the real, raw authentic experience into the professional community. 

For example, Elizabeth Gullivers talks about her very real experiences of being a mom during COVID, while Samantha Lamont has shared her personal journey as a trans woman, and how it’s impacted her career and relationships with coworkers.  

Each of these creators sparked a vibrant conversation among members, who relate to these experiences, creating a real sense of community. 

7. What content types are gaining the most traction on LinkedIn? 

People have been receiving strong engagement on LinkedIn when they utilize a variety of different content platforms. We’ve also seen creators who leverage multiple content types to tell their stories – for example, a member might post a long-form article and then leverage stories to help promote the article or give a behind-the-scenes look at how it came together. 

We’ve also seen that using visuals within posts, such as adding video, photos, etc., tends to help boost content views.

Ultimately, regardless of content type, it’s about developing a relationship with your audience and ensuring your content resonates with them.  

8. What’s an underrated strategy that you’ve seen produce strong results on the platform?

I really love LinkedIn Polls as a great way to get input from your audience on a topic, and it can be the type of content that can help continue a conversation.

LinkedIn polls

Through polls, you can gather and analyze data that can also then be used to create additional meaningful content. LinkedIn Creator Carson Tate, for example, leveraged data from her LinkedIn Poll about work structures to influence a larger LinkedIn Newsletter on the topic.

Keren Baruch is the Product Lead for Creator Strategy at LinkedIn, developing the next stage in creator tools for the platform. You can check out more about Creator Mode, and LinkedIn’s coming creator plans, here.

Socialmediatoday.com

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