At the end of June, LinkedIn made changes to how it determines what content you see in your feed. This is a regular occurrence for most social networks, the regular tweaking of the all-powerful algorithm that can make or break your content.
This Entrepreneur article lays out what’s changed. In short, LinkedIn is prioritizing showing you posts from people you already know and content that shares “knowledge and advice.” These are the two keys to successful content at LinkedIn, according to LinkedIn itself.
But according to Clayton Durant, director of emerging media and platform strategy at MikeWorldWide, those of us who use LinkedIn for thought leadership should stop worrying about the algorithm.
“I’ll look at what’s happening around the algorithm from a creator standpoint, but I’m never going to make any drastic move because I already know what my audience wants,” Durant said.
It’s that audience that sits at the core of everything you should do on LinkedIn — no matter what the kingmakers behind the scenes are up to.
LinkedIn is a creator platform
LinkedIn’s genesis was as a digital resume with some social networking features. It’s also still a major platform for jobhunting. But Durant said it’s expanded far beyond those roots and become a platform home to creators just as powerful as some you’d find on TikTok or Instagram — albeit in the professional space rather than lifestyle.
But that audience might be much smaller. Whereas a TikTok influencer can easily reach millions of people, a great thought leadership post from a Fortune 500 CEO might reach just 10,000. But if those are the right 10,000 people? You’ve got it made.
“People want specific sorts of knowledge and information,” Durant explained. “Specificity matters so much on that platform, hence why it goes all the way back to, what is your personal brand? And what is your purpose? And how are you writing? And who is your audience?”
Durant holds that if you really answer those four questions and live it through your thought leadership content, you can worry much less about changes to the algorithm.
If you’re providing specific, interesting content to a niche audience, “the algorithm’s going to feed you no matter what, because you’re providing incredible value,” Durant said.
But it takes effort to build a community that will find you time and again, no matter what the algorithm does. And as you work with executives or other thought leaders on developing their personal brand, you need to home in on what their voice is and what value they can bring that no one else can.
“I think where this is all leading is that the algorithm changes (are) also underpinning this new fact that companies have much more of a reason to put their executives out there because consumers want to see the people, not the company as much,” Durant said.
What drives LinkedIn success
Durant believes that success on this creator-driven LinkedIn is consistency (posting at a regular cadence, whether that’s multiple times weekly or a few times each month), a thoughtful point of view and engagement, and a strong personal brand.
It’s only if all three of these are working in tandem that you’ll see real, lasting success.
“You’re the CEO of this really big Fortune 500, Fortune 1,000, or big private company, what do you show up as? What are you trying to offer to said community?” Durant mused.
It’s only when you understand what your executive’s unique value proposition, voice and cadence is that you’ll find algorithm-proof success on the platform. Durant gave the example of a client who owns a cloud services firm that works with streaming companies like Netflix.
“What we work on with him is not just to have him talk about the cloud but have him really be more thought of as an entertainment and streaming executive thought leader,” Durant said. “So we’re having him comment on a variety of different things, and really leveraging really savvy, social copywriting to help really cut through the content and cut through the noise on the platform. Because great ideas and great personal branding uplift everything beyond what a traditional algorithm had to do.”
Rather than focusing on changes to the algorithm, focus on building your executive’s community, voice and brand. Then you’ll be unstoppable, no matter what the algorithm throws your way.