This post was updated in June 2021 to reflect new changes to the LinkedIn algorithm, specifically around connection request numbers.
It can be frustrating to try to grow your business or territory on LinkedIn, not knowing why your posts aren’t getting much engagement, or why you’re not building pipeline from your messaging and content creation efforts.
After all, that’s why we use this platform, right? – to build revenue!
In this post, we’ll work through what these LinkedIn algorithm changes mean, in layman’s terms, so you can understand what you should be doing differently to ensure your content is continually seen and engaged with by your target audience.
New: Creator Love: Why Posting Regularly is Crucial for Engagement
Posting on LinkedIn frequently is not only good practice, but is essential to staying top of mind, and frankly top of the news feed. As we’ve previously explored LinkedIn focuses heavily on the professional community and rewards those that contribute to it in a natural way.
Let’s explore a few scenarios:
John is posting 2 times a month, which he has scheduled on Mondays with his Lunch break at 11am. He has noticed a lack of engagement on these posts, regardless of how well written and thought out they are.
Sally is posting 4-5 times a month at varying days and times throughout the week. Her content is well-thought-out, and stays on top of current trends and topics. She notices an uptick in engagement and requests to connect. There’s also more discussions on her posts, allowing her to use social selling techniques to reach out to those who have posted.
So, What Happened Here?
Creator Love happened! LinkedIn is rewarding Sally for being a naturally contributing member of the LinkedIn Community. Her posts are being surfaced on others newsfeeds, while Johns are simply getting lost because of the frequency and timing. Based on our research, LinkedIn rewards users that post at least once a week, if not, 5 times a month. This means if you’re only posting twice a month, consider splitting your longer posts into four to maximize engagement potential.
It’s more than just likes. You’ve spent time researching and writing and it deserves to be seen.
Best Practices for Posting Frequency
- Post 4-6 times per month at varying times between Tuesday-Thursday
- Keep these posts on topic and on trend
- Respond to comments!
Be sure to interact with others’ posts as well!
Capping Connection Requests
We’re often asked if we’ve discovered what the perfect number of outbound LinkedIn requests to send each day is.
As of June 2021, your LinkedIn profile can likely send no more than 100 connection requests per week (20/workday). Some people’s profiles can send 200 or 300 connection requests per week – across the board – but your actual limit isn’t known to you or published. It’s based on a black-box algorithm that LinkedIn built.
If you send over that limit, LinkedIn will show you an error message, asking you to only connect with people you know, and letting you know that you hit your limit for the week. In rare cases, you may potentially be required you to add an email address each time you connect with someone new.
What Is the LinkedIn Algorithm and Why Do We Care?
Simply put, an algorithm is used to turn large amounts of data into a model. We care about this, because what each individual algorithm is “taught” affects us every day, and most of the time you don’t even know it. With LinkedIn doubling down on the way users interact with their platform, they’re constantly updating their algorithms to ensure the most engaging users get the most out of the platform.
Every time you’re sipping on your morning cup-o-joe and open up LinkedIn, you make a subconscious, split-second decision to either a) yes, read this extremely relevant article that is at the top of my feed, or b) the opposite, and scroll right past.
That split second decision was you playing a role in teaching the new LinkedIn Algorithm how to better serve you, and every other professional like you.
Breaking It Down
If you decided to leave a comment after you read the post you have just given Creator Love. It’s actually called that.
Maybe you liked the post so much you reshared it creating a downstream Viral Effect.
What’s important to remember, is even if you didn’t take an action at all, the time you spent to decide whether or not you were going to, is what the LinkedIn Engineers are fondly referring to as Dwell Time.
LinkedIn is heavily taking into account these three pieces of information in order to present users with the most relevant content, for their specific needs.
The Previous Algorithm
Alright, so we understand what an algorithm is, and that we are constantly helping it learn. Plus, we’ve covered important LinkedIn Engineering Lingo. Let’s piece it back together.Prior to the algorithm change, what you saw on your news feed was strictly based on viral actions, creator love and the probability of upstream and downstream effects. It was geared towards the idea of “getting small content creators to create more content.”
This model was slightly flawed because it focused on predicting the virality and/or clickability of a post vs. if the post was worthy of reading.
Adding Dwell Time
With the newly added dwell time, or amount of time spent looking at an update after half the post is visible on the screen you are pursuing LinkedIn on, it also stops the previous algorithm from rewarding those who may receive viral actions (such as mindless likes.)
Take this recent post by Daymond John, the CEO of FUBU and Shark from Shark Tank, for example. Great person, don’t get me wrong, but not an extremely valuable post. I would most likely click like and keep scrolling, only doing so because 4,302 other people already had.
The Dwell Time variable inherently stops this from being at the top of your feed every time you sit down for coffee, and makes it more likely that you see a relevant post rather than a viral one. There’s not much to read here, and since you’re just barreling through it, it will not get rewarded.
So What Do I Do Now?
The best advice we have for you is to continue to create great, meaningful content that people spend time reading. Avoid creating clickbait style posts as you’re now being penalized. Other than that, there’s not much else you should change about your workflow if you’ve been following those two notions!
At first glance, this graph looks like job postings, videos, and articles are going to be the death of your company’s content on LinkedIn. It also looks like images steadily perform the best. This isn’t totally true!
What this graph actually shows is an introduction of a new metric called Tskip. Tskip is simply a threshold marker for posts that are viewed for less than a certain amount of time, and therefore not particularly engaging. What happens after Tskip, or the green vertical dashed line on the graph actually has nothing to do with the new LinkedIn Algorithm.
As you can see in the infographic below, the magnifying glass is highlighting the three colored lines which are almost identical in all 6 graphs above. This indicates that the time for skipping an update, regardless of the time, are almost equivalent.
LinkedIn’s Next Focus: Messaging
Messaging has been an integral part of the LinkedIn ecosystem since its creation in 2002, yet has architecturally remained unchanged until recently.
When looking at the messaging redesign there were requirements laid out by the engineers at LinkedIn that can be summed into two categories: Product requirements and Engineering Requirements.
On the product side, great things are coming for LinkedIn Messaging. This includes a faster user experience, possible third-party plug-ins that can enhance your experience and easier to use.
Let’s be honest, we all know the pain of trying to filter through the current messaging inbox – these updates will be a welcome change.
Architecturally speaking, there is an increased focus on security, up-time and availability to change architecture very quickly. What that means is the engineering team is going to be able to keep up quickly with changing times, be able to quickly detect spam, and adjust on a dime.
At the end of the day, LinkedIn’s Engineering team has a high-focus on LinkedIn Professional Community Policies – and every change they make is to ensure an enhanced respect to these policies.
We love creating LinkedIn friendly content that withstands even the craziest of algorithm changes. If you need help becoming a thought leader in your space, contact us today to get the conversation started.