How I got 54,642 eyes on a LinkedIn post

And what difference it’s made for my business

First, that’s a lot of eyes and time for a full disclaimer. I’m assuming that every person who looked at my post has two eyes.

So, let me be honest, and tell you that it was 27,321 views, which means (roughly) 27,321 two-eyed people.

The Hook

Until about 6 weeks ago, I’d never had a post with more than 300 views. But this one seems to have struck a chord.

No, it’s not a highly emotional post.

First have a read of it, then I’ll show you why I think it resonated, what it does and doesn’t mean in terms of engagement and (especially) new business.

A couple of quick observations. This is a short post, like a status update. It’s not an article (formerly called LinkedIn Pulse Posts).

Also, it doesn’t have any images or videos or even links or call to action. Posting without these things seems to be important on LinkedIn if you want to get lots of people seeing your posts. In some ways, I’m breaking the rules of social media engagement. I woudn’t post on Facebook without a face in my post. But LinkedIn seems to like text-only posts.

What about the content?

In the first sentence, I speak about a very common complaint on LinkedIn: lots of connections, but no engagement.

And because it’s got a bit of controversy about it: “ha! Who does this guy think he is with so many connections?” it touches a raw nerve.

Most importantly, the first few words are critical, because people looking on mobile devices (especially) are only going to see that snippet, and then decide whether they’re going to read it, like it, comment or share.

“A giant game of join the dots”

The key to this post’s popularity seems to be that I’m saying it’s OK to be nice, be helpful on LinkedIn and not to expect to get immediate work out of it. So, this seems to have help people manage their own expectations, and reinforce what they were thinking: “I may need to be on LinkedIn, but I don’t know what to say to get work from it. Is that OK?”

“But, I really do want to get work from LinkedIn!”

Of course you do. And here are a couple of things that you may not have noticed from those statistics.

Comments: only 5. Did you see that? Out of 27,000 people, only 5 have made a comment (and one of those comments is my own). Is that what you’d call engagement? No, not really. So, this seems to be a feel-good sort of a post, without a clear call to action.

Likes: just over 200. Yep, not bad, but still, it’s only one in every 135 people who click the “like” button. Oh boy, that’s not what you’d call “engaged”, is it?

“So, where’s the engagement? (And how does it lead to work)?”

Here’s where the magic happens.

First, if you’re not familiar with the terminology, a 1st degree connection on LinkedIn is someone who you have sent an invite to, to connect, and they have accepted. (Or vice versa). Now, when your 1st degree connections like a post of yours by clicking the Like icon, then their 1st degree connections see it and might themselves come along and like your post … or even comment on it.

When people who are not my 1st degree connections click “like” or comment on my post, I send them a small, personalised invite to connect. If they accept it, they will almost certainly first look at my profile (and get to see that I’m a business coach). And they will also become a new 1st degree connection of me on LinkedIn.

So, what do I write in that invite?

It might say something like this:
“Hey, John. Thanks for the like of my post. I noticed from your profile that you worked at <company>. I love their breakout space.”

Or (better still), mention some personal connection with their location or their interest. “Hey Maria, thanks for that like. I visited Portugal a few times some years ago. All too brief, but I really loved it.”

“But does that lead to work?”

Actually, yes. As a business coach, it’s easy to start a dialogue like this and have people surprised at someone giving them positive, constructive feedback. But if I weren’t doing business coaching, it would still be a no-brainer for me.

A friend of mine is looking to start his own landscaping business. (I know exactly nothing about that space). Another colleague—who isn’t going to be a business coach—has run his own landscaping business, so I can put them in touch. Simple.

LinkedIn is the new black

I think it’s only the last couple of months that LinkedIn has suddenly got on peoples’ radar. A lot of people have had a profile, and feel frustrated that they are just not getting the connections (and prospective work) that they want.

My join-the-dots approach seems to have gained some traction, and in the time it’s taken me to write this article, my original post has been seen by 27,519 people—up from 27,321. That’s 198 extra viewers, or 396 eyes.

Want to connect with me on LinkedIn?