Last week I had the pleasure of joining the Recruiting Brainfood Live chat to talk about how to successfully tie your LinkedIn posting efforts to your business goals. I thought it could be useful summarising it in a blog post, so here we go!
If you looked closely at the guests of the show – Mitch Sullivan and I – you’ll realise our situation is a little different than that of an average recruiter. Our audience is most definitely present and active on LinkedIn, because we mostly address recruiters.
So before you even consider increasing your efforts on LinkedIn, make sure it’s the right platform. That will probably be the case if you’re recruiting for sales, marketing, even IT, but there’s still a lot of industries where people are not very likely to hang out online all the time, and even if they are, it may be on a completely different platform.
That being said, if your target audience happens to be on LinkedIn, miniblogging can do wonders for your brand. I may teach sourcing, but I probably wouldn’t be able to fill my trainings by trying to source and approach recruiters to join them. Instead, I make sure to keep engaging my network by sharing tips, articles etc. When they’re ready to join a training session they know where to find me – and that means I don’t have to spend time looking for them.
I remember how anxious I was when I first started promoting my blog on LinkedIn. I could barely focus on anything, thinking of how people will react to what I said. It took a lot of time and practice for me to calm down. It took me even more time to figure out what works and what doesn’t.
The truth is there is no easy way to start and no way to prepare. You simply have to start writing and do it regularly. You may notice this advice is very similar to that shared with aspiring writers and there is a reason for that. LinkedIn miniblogging may not be literature, but it is still producing content.
Action is hope. At the end of each day, when you’ve done your work, you lie there and think, Well, I’ll be damned, I did this today. It doesn’t matter how good it is, or how bad—you did it. At the end of the week you’ll have a certain amount of accumulation. At the end of a year, you look back and say, I’ll be damned, it’s been a good year.
– Ray Bradbury, a 2010 interview with Sam Weller, published in The Paris Review
So if you’re really serious, simply write one update and see what happens. Wait a couple of days and repeat. That is all there is to it 🙂
There is something that Mitch said in the chat that I think it the most important advice recruiters could ever get. He said he reads more than he writes. Simple, but very powerful, because reading allows you to become more interesting.
I’m very lucky to be the daughter of a woman once caught reading a catalogue of dentist equipment before going to sleep. My mum just happened to work in a dentist shop at the time and quickly realised that she’s fascinated by everything she was in charge of selling. She was and still is my example to follow.
To be interesting, be interested.― Dale Carnegie, How to Win Friends and Influence People
I laugh at this, but that is the sort of attitude that will help you become successful at recruiting. You will struggle to post content relevant to your target audience unless you become interested in what they find interesting. You want to have a conversation at their level to really engage them. This doesn’t mean you have to learn to code to talk to programmers. After all, you don’t need to be an artist to discuss art. But you will have to go beyond what most employers expect of their recruiters.
You would think the content itself is enough to attract attention, but there are certain mechanisms specific to LinkedIn that you need to be aware of in order to create trully engaging content.
The first one is how your update will be presented to your audience. It doesn’t take a social media ninja to notice that only the first two or three lines are visible in the feed. If you want to read more, you need to click on “see more”. It would stand to reason that the number of clicks on “see more” will be one of the signals that the LinkedIn algorithm will use to determine how interesting the update is.
This means you have exactly two or three lines to arouse the interest of your reader. I’m a big fan of short stories and I remember one of my favourite writers (I can’t for the life of me remember which one!) said that it’s more difficult to write a short story than a novel. That’s because you only have one paragraph to engage the reader in the story. Well look at this as your challenge: you don’t even have a full paragraph, you only have one sentence.
Keep in mind that the format that’s most engaging, especially in this context, will be questions or statements that appear controversial in nature. If you’re tying miniblogging to business outcomes, the first one will probably be easier to start with.
You don’t necessarily always have to use storytelling to get the best results. But I would argue that it is the perfect way to transform your job ad into a more interesting piece of content.
Unfortunately, after a couple of hours of looking, I can’t find the appropriate quote (it would probably be easier if I had a copy of the book in English), but I believe that in “Winnie-the-Pooh” the main character was described as someone who loves listening to stories, especially stories about himself.
Let’s be honest. We all love stories about ourselves and so do your candidates. Which is why rewriting a job ad as a story where your potential character is the main character is such an interesting idea. Especially considering that most recruiters will focus on the company as the central “character” of the job ad. Remember, this isn’t just about addressing your potential candidates in the second person, as Mitch reminded me in the Twitter exchange before the chat 😉
Plus, most of the “you” and “your” were used when describing what you want.— Mitch Sullivan (@mitchsullivan) August 30, 2019
That’s called “demand language”.
You see it a lot in ransom notes.
Last but not least, if you are considering miniblogging in order to achieve specific business outcomes, you need to measure your results. One of the biggest mistakes I see recruiters make is failing to follow this advice.
You’re not trying to become a LinkedIn celebrity. At the end of the day, what you need is to find candidates for your roles. If your LinkedIn activity doesn’t get you closer to that goal, you should probably use the time needed to write updates in a more productive way.
Personally, I look at the audience I reach (that is the number of impressions under my posts) and at the engagement level of the audience (expressed by the number of clicks on the links). The first number is available under your LinkedIn update. You can find out the second one by using a URL shortener – I like bit.ly because of how simple it is.
These two numbers also allow me to calculate the click through rate. That’s important, because the CTR allows me to compare the results I achieved with different posts in a very simple way. A high CTR means you managed to target your audience properly and the call to action (click on the link) worked well. A low CTR can mean that you either didn’t manage to narrow down your audience to people interested in engaging with your post, or the call to action itself wasn’t compelling enough.
Now that you know my secrets, what are your tips for posting text updates on LinkedIn? 🙂