What are the latest trends in creating compelling and engaging content on Linkedin?
In this week's episode of The Agency Accelerator Podcast, I’m joined by one of my repeat and popular guests, Tracy Burnett. Tracey is a LinkedIn marketing expert, who helps business owners generate more business using LinkedIn.
In this episode, Tracy shares the latest trends, ideas and tips in creating content strategies for LinkedIn.
Make sure to grab a pen and paper for note-taking because this will be another action-packed episode.
Is it worth switching to Creator mode?
The key ‘new things’ in using LinkedIn
Why has LinkedIn limited the number of connection requests you can make each week?
How to publish newsletters on LinkedIn (new function)
The four (4) pillars in creating content
Understanding how to make the algorithm work for you
The importance of getting debates in your posts
Why are hashtags important and how many should you use?
How to research your hashtags
Why you should create your own hashtag
How many times a week should you post on LinkedIn?
Are Pods worthwhile?
The importance of creating high-quality content rather than any old content!
How to create content that your audience cares about
Being authentic & human in your posts
Tracey’s advice to her younger self
“...every single, robust, deliverable business development strategy takes time.” - Tracey Burnett
“I think that asking yourself this question when you're writing a post of ‘Will my audience care about this?’ is actually a really good benchmark to decide whether it’s a good post or interesting.” - Rob Da Costa
“Don't feel you need to be everywhere... Keep your marketing simple.” - Tracey Burnett
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Useful links mentioned in this episode:
- Episode 37: LinkedIn Learning - Interview with Tracey Burnett
- Tracey Burnett - LinkedIn #linkedinwithtraceyburnett
- Rob Da Costa’s YouTube Channel
- Get in touch with Rob at firstname.lastname@example.org
Hey, everyone. First of all, I hope you're having a fantastic productive week and welcome to this week's episode of The Agency Accelerator Podcast.
Today, I'm really excited to have one of my repeat guests, Tracey Burnett, and we're talking about all things LinkedIn. As you'll find out in this episode, I learned a bunch of things that I have started to implement in my LinkedIn strategy. I know that you're going to find this really useful as well. So let's get on with today's show.
Welcome everybody to this week's episode of The Agency Accelerator, and I'm really excited to have my second guest, who's been on the podcast twice. I'm really excited to be talking about all things LinkedIn today with Tracey Burnett. You'll know Tracey from a previous episode, and I'll put the link to the show notes in that.
Tracey is a LinkedIn marketing expert who helps business owners just like you guys, generate more business using LinkedIn. As I said, Tracey has been on the podcast before and actually, she is looking at the stats before I jumped on here, it was one of our most popular episodes.
I know that LinkedIn is clearly an important business development at all for our listeners. So, how are you? How have things been since we last spoke?
Yeah. Good, It was about a year ago since we spoke.
It must be yes, I don't know exactly what episode is that about a year ago.
Yeah. So, lots of changes in a busy year for me. Lots of changes on LinkedIn. It continually sorts of changing algorithms and people are more and more interested in LinkedIn.
Good. Well, let's start with that. Our focus today is going to be predominantly on what content should we promote or should we be posting? But let's just start with what's new on LinkedIn. What’re the latest things that they've changed? What’s the latest kind of tricks and tips that we should be thinking about? Then, we'll dive into the kind of getting your content strategy, right?
Okay, So I mean one of the biggest changes as being what's called creator mode. If you look at your profile, you can either have the regular flavour, or you can go into creative mode, which a lot of people have switched over to. It was meant to really increase your visibility on LinkedIn, from the research that has been done, and people that have tried and it hasn't now. I haven't moved over to creator mode because I was sceptical about it. Though, I'm just about to change because I need to do training on it.
Then, I need to do a video, and I'm gonna try it for a month or so and just see what happens. But the consensus out there is that it does absolutely nothing for your visibility or the engagement on your content. So, for those of you who don't know, the key things to it really are, instead of having a connect button on your profile, you have a follow button. You're not going to build your connections on LinkedIn necessarily, but you might build your followers.
Followers are still good because followers will see your content. They will be one of the primary audiences that LinkedIn shows your content. Though, I quite like to build my connections for various reasons that I haven't got time to go in there. You still can connect with people. But you have to go to a more menu and then drop down and click connect and all that sort of stuff.
The other thing, the sort of the sexy bit which really makes people move over, I think, is where you've got your photograph. Instead of having a photograph, you can have a little video, so I think it's 30 seconds long. That's quite nice. If you're a LinkedIn live person, if you're going live on LinkedIn, as soon as you go live for the duration of the live recording, your banner on the LinkedIn profile is basically showing your live video. That's the crux of the sort of change.
Well, I learned something because I didn't know anything about creator mode so I’ll look into that.
What I found is, I've set all my clients that don't change, especially if you've got a small number of connections. I just think it's just better to connect. And of course, this has all come in with another change, which is linking in and limiting the number of connection requests you can send out so you can only send 100 a week. Partly that's in response to all the people that are using automation, sending out hundreds and hundreds of connections or not hundreds-hundreds, but a lot of connection requests every month.
Those two things together create a mode where you just follow and limit the number of connection requests you can send concerns. That's limiting the number of connections that you can have on LinkedIn. That’s a good reason to have connections.
What LinkedIn is doing on creative is emailing members and just saying, “Hey, switch to creator mode.” You just click a switch and off you go. A lot of people just haven't really thought through or really understand what all that means, but I am going to do a video on that and I am going to test it out myself. I've got my figures for normal mode and then I'll give creative mode to go and see what happens.
I will be really interested that it sounds like Linkedin trying to become a bit more like Facebook in terms of following people and so on. But I guess it will be interesting to see you never know what their bigger game plan with this is, do you? Then, they’re creating things like this. They must have some bigger result in mind of what they want everyone to do.
Yes. Well, they've also got newsletters now. You are invited and you can join the newsletter crew. That's creator orientated. Basically, the newsletter gets published in the publishing section where you put your articles. Then LinkedIn, if you subscribe or like to that particular newsletter or that person's newsletter then, LinkedIn will email you and notify you when there's a new one.
That's good if you're on their newsletter team. That's a creative thing. The other thing is to people in the US, doesn't apply to us in the UK, but in the US they're offering I think it is $10,000 to certain creators. They’re giving that money to do better creation if you like on LinkedIn. They are going more down this good quality creation.
That sort of leads us well onto the content conversation because I think a lot of people think, ok, I've just got a post on LinkedIn three(3) or four(4) times a week, but they're not always sure about what they should be posting. Let's talk about the kind of content that gets attention. If you were mapping out a content strategy for LinkedIn, over let’s say, a six (6) month period, what would you do?
Okay, there's a number of different questions there. If I'm doing a content strategy, then I would, first of all, decide what my content pillars are. What is the sort of main pillars that you want to talk about? For instance, for me, I have a three (3) step process I take all my clients through. Those are three obvious pillars to me. That's like an unshakable business foundation, which is the marketing message, an audience, product and pricing or basic stuff for you, Robin, your audience,
Then the middle bit is all about visibility and credibility. Learning LinkedIn and how you actually get your voice heard and part of that is content. Then the third pillar is about boosting sales. Once you've got somebody interested, you've got them on the phone. How can you increase the number of sales to meetings, basically?
Those three pillars for me that they're my three pillars and they're based on my process. I've got the fourth pillar, which is general marketing because my background is called corporate marketing, Unilever and goodness. What else? I'm not just a LinkedIn expert, I'm a marketing expert.
Then, they are my four (4) pillars and then underneath that I will just map out the sort of things that I want to talk about under those pillars and then that gives me something to go back to. So if I've got four (4) pillars, it makes sense that a quarter of time; month, year, one week or however you split that out, you would be talking about each of your pillars.
That's how I do it. Then, I just go into that plan and just think for example next week, what am I going to be talking about? Specifically, what am I going to say? That gives you the theme if you like, or the content does it that way.
Also, there are obviously several different posts you can put out. You can put a straight text post. You can put out a text post with an image. You can put out a poll. You can put out a document, so in the image, you can just click through. Then it's just a pdf: document post or carousel post. Also, of course, there's a video.
There are many different things you can do on LinkedIn. It is notorious for not telling you what they're doing. They don't announce really any changes they make, so you don't really know what's happening with the algorithm, for example, until you see your views on the plummet or something.
At the moment, polls are getting a good contraction. They never do as well on views, but the document post does well. One of the reasons for document posts doing well is that there's longer what they call dwell time. So people spend longer on a post that's got a document because if they're scrolling through four (4), five (5), six (6) or ten (10) pages on the document, then obviously you're staying on that post longer and LinkedIn will mark you up.
The current research says that you get an 80% uplift in the engagement of score reviews. If you went on a poll: a document, you get 10% and video, you get 5%. Then, that's the increase in the reach. That's generally the views and the views of things.
A view is counted in two different ways. One is they're scrolling through the news feed and they see your posters they're scrolling through, that's a view. But on a video post, a view is counted as somebody that's playing the video for three seconds or more. You would always get fewer views on a video post, but in theory, the quality of the view is higher.
Would you say that someone should be doing all of those things or picking a few of those things that you just mentioned? Then, that's the text, the text with image, poll, document and video. That's five different types of media posts that we could put.
Yes. What I suggest is, if you want to test it out, because what works for me? Posting images don't generally work for me. But the other thing, that other caveat there is just because it didn't work for me last month doesn't say it doesn't work for me this month, so I don't I've always testing things out on LinkedIn.What I would do is I would do a mixture of those posts for, let’s say, six (6) weeks minimum and just keep a note.
The best way of doing that is on a piece of software called Shield. If you actually have the paid version, which I think is about £16 or £20 a month. It will analyse all of your posts, so it's absolutely brilliant. That's a good way of just seeing what's working, what isn't. Also, you can go back over a year or so and look at what's the highest performing posts or top five posts and then rehash them or do something similar and see if the same thing applies.
Yes, sorry to interrupt you. It's useful to know about Shield because my question was gonna be to you. Otherwise, how do we measure?
The other way of measuring is just you have to do it manually. I just don't want a spreadsheet, so I just put each post of mine on a Google document. Obviously, I don’t usually do this because I got a Shield that I would just put on a spreadsheet and then just put views. I just put what type of post it was, views, likes and comments.
All right, so those are the three things we should be measuring, just kind of being basic keys.
Yes, sorry to interrupt. People always talk about views. I just think they don't really matter that much. They do matter, but they don't matter as much as engagement. What you're really aiming for, which is actually not easy to do, is to get a debate going in the comments.
If you've got a debate going in the comments; people are answering, you’re answering their comment and so it goes on and there's some sort of debate going on. Or, people are offering their opinions then that the algorithm will actually show it to more people. But of course, we all get comments, which is a nice post mate or I agree with this or whatever it is, it's a real art.
It also depends on the people that see your post. Also, the people that see your post are going to be your first connections, your followers and also the followers of the hashtags that you put on the post. Let’s say, the first three hashtags are the most important. What LinkedIn will do, will prioritise, showing your content to the people that follow those first three hashtags. Does that make sense?
Everything does, indeed.
Then, the sweet spot on the hashtag in between was used to be more, but it's now between three (3) and five (5). If you do less than five (5) you will reduce your reach. If you have more, you're probably reducing your reach as well. I actually do test this out and I see what people do. They have hashtags and they've got absolutely no followers. That's a completely wasted opportunity.
Yes, can I just butt in there because that's a really important point and the simplest way of figuring out whether that hashtag that you're thinking of using has got any followers? It’s just opening a post on LinkedIn and clicking on the hashtag things.
Start typing the word and it will tell you the top hashtags for that because I've made this mistake before I figured that out. But I just thought that, okay, I'm writing about email marketing for agencies, so I'll write, #emailmarketingforagencies. But of course, no one's following that hashtag, whereas if I typed an email marketing, there are probably lots of people following that one. Then if you just put the hashtag and start typing the term LinkedIn, it will show you right the top-performing hashtag.
It does but there's a chrome extension and it's called LinkedIn hashtags. Just an extension and it will actually show you so you can sort of play around with that. It doesn't cost anything. That's definitely worth getting.
Also, you can always see the people that have just taken a Facebook post or an Instagram post, and they just copy and paste that. They've probably got somebody that's not very experienced, just basically repurposing the content across different platforms. Also, they've got three million hashtags on this, a complete waste of time.
You would create your own hashtag. I've got, #linkedinwithtraceyburnett. Always ideal to put your name. It takes time to build that, but it sort of creates some sort of community. I've got people that I follow and I just click on their hashtag and I conceal their posts and so that they can create a community that can give people a chance to engage with multiple posts because they've got all your posts in one feed. It will take time, certainly for me and probably most of us to get to over 400 followers of our hashtag. That will definitely give you a lift in your post engagement too.
How do you create a good hashtag just by simply typing it into your post and then using it every time in all your posts?
I just put on my post something like please show me some love and follow my #linkedinwithtraceyburnett. For any hashtag, all you need to do is click on the hashtag and then click follow. It's really easy to follow any hashtag and you just create your own. But obviously, it's of no value if it hasn't got anybody in there. I've put that on every post, probably for two or three months, and I don't know how many people have got 20 or something. It does take time to build it.
It's like every single, robust, deliverable business development strategy takes time. As I always say to people, if you don't start it today, you won’t get the results you want tomorrow. Whether that be the number of followers, connections, leads or whatever it is. It’s really good that you've given me an action as soon as I get off this podcast course, create my own hashtag because I haven't done that. But guys listen to the advice Tracey Burnett is giving you because this is really robust concrete practical stuff that will make a difference for you.
Let me ask you this. We've probably asked you this before, but it's worth asking again in this conversation. How many times a week do you think someone should be posting on LinkedIn?
Okay, so I try and post every day. It can be a real struggle sometimes, and it's better if you do it in advance. Ideally, I post three times a week; Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. They're the best days, really. Try what works best for you. For example on a Saturday. Few people are on LinkedIn on a Saturday, but the ones that are do have more time.
I think it's something like 60% of LinkedIn members check in on the weekend or on a Saturday. Only 20% of people on the feed that normally post actually publish anything. In theory, there is a little bit more opportunity, but again, it's something to test. If you're going to post then post in your local time.
They say between eight (8) and ten (10). I just never can manage that, because I've always got meetings late. I'm just not an 8:00 am to 10:00 a.m. person. I know you are, Rob. Then, Tuesdays and Thursdays are good. I would do Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and I would try and set aside time to actually write those posts in advance. It's just so lovely when you've got a week's worth of posts written, you just need to literally get them posted five minutes.
Yeah. Let's just touch on one other subject, because I think you and I have spoken about this offline, and we're both part of this, which is the use of pods as a way of increasing engagement. For the listeners, could you just explain what a pod is and what your views are on it at the moment?
Okay, a pod is a group of people that get together. They just dropped their link into a LinkedIn group, Telegram, Slack or wherever. It's a group of people where you just drop the links and then each of you comments on the other people's posts and they'll comment on yours. It's just a way of how it all started.
Was that the algorithm? Once you post, the algorithm will show your post to a small percentage of your first connections. Then, if they engage, if they like or they comment, then the algorithm will deem that post to be a good quality post up. Show it to more of your first connections. Then, if it still gets engagement, they'll show it to more of your first connections and their first connections, which are your second connections. That's sort of how it works.
How that pod started was, okay, we can beat the algorithm, and we could all post within an hour. Then we'll comment within that, an hour period. Then we should get that lift, and we could trick the algorithm into thinking it's a great post. Then, that will show it to a wider audience. I think LinkedIn doesn’t like pods. They absolutely don't and I do wonder whether or not they can identify people that are in the pod.
Where the pod is very strict, so it's a certain day of the week and it's a certain time frame like the hour that I said. It's always the same people commenting. The algorithm is going to pick that up. I just wonder whether it's detrimental or not. I've got no evidence for that.
In theory, it's a good idea and there's a couple of external companies that basically that's their business. You join a pod that seems to have where the people have also got your audience. You just drop your link, and then the software automatically puts the comments in of the people that have heard that pod.
It automatically drops in comments under their name. But that is just so false. You can spot it a mile off because I'm not the sort of person that says right on or whatever. I just wouldn't do anything like that. So it needs to sound like you. I mean, it just totally ruined your credibility. I definitely stay away from those. I think people are moving more away from pods.
Yeah and I think I would concur with that because I know Tracey and I have both been part of another pod before. I've actually just stopped posting in that pod now for all the reasons that you just said. First of all, quite a few, there were 30 or 40 people in it, right?
Some of those people just were not my target audience. You’d be thinking, why is a salesforce or salesman commenting on my agency post? It didn't make any sense. Having been investing that time, which is sort of an hour or two hours a week on it, I have just concluded that the return on investment isn't worth it. Then, I stopped in that part now.
Yes. So then, return to the original question about how often you should post. Post as often as you can, but make sure if the idea behind posting is to get as many people commenting on that post as possible. Then it follows that it should be high-quality content. They don't bang anything out for the sake of it.
Many people say that I'm attending this event today and just put the event details. I mean, who cares? I don't care. I want to learn something or I want to sort of have a different point here, a different point of view on something. That's a sort of, I personally would engage with the people that I would follow.
Somebody is going to enrich my life in some way. I think I would concentrate on the quality and really hone in. That's why again, Rob, you and your audience on this. You've got to be very clear about your audience, very clear about the challenges they have and very clear on where they want to go in life or in their business. Once you know that, then the content of your post is going to be so much higher quality.
That's like one of your three pillars, right?
I completely agree. I think asking yourself this question when you're writing a poster, which is, will my audience care about? This is actually a really good benchmark to decide whether this is a good post because it's interesting. I did post a personal post this week that you probably saw.
But actually, that posted it really well. Then, you could argue that I'm contradicting what I'm about to say. If you're clear of your audience and you're asking yourself, will they care about this? Will they be interested? Does it actually add any value to their lives? Then the answer is yes, it's a good post. If the answer is no, then perhaps it's a bit too of an introspective post, or you need to revisit the idea that you have.
Yeah, but I think people need to see the real person as well. Also, I think the post that you did, Rob just showed another aspect of your life and just added a different dimension to you as a person. I'm an introvert. I don't really like posting what's going on in my life, and I didn't necessarily think LinkedIn was really the right platform to be doing that all the time like Facebook is.
I've been thinking obviously video is quite good. I mean, this week I went totally out of my comfort zone and posted and you probably saw it, Rob. Do you know the bloopers video which showed a completely different side to me? I didn't put any sound on it because I swore in a few times. It's exciting to do that with off-brand, but it's taken me four years to do that.
Maybe there's a lesson for both of us here because maybe that point about showing you are human and the whole forceful version of you is really good. Just for the listeners’ point of view, in case they're wondering what I posted. I just simply posted the fact that we, my partner and I, have launched a new YouTube channel and new website, which is documenting our travels, and that's not an agency thing.
I wouldn't do a podcast about that, though I may do one day, actually. But I was surprised at how much engagement that got organically because I kind of was just doing it because I want to get some more YouTube subscribers, which has been good. Anyway, I think like with your bloopers, really that it's just showing us as human beings and letting people have a little look at another aspect of this, which is perhaps it's good should be part of our strategy for our content.
Yeah, and what I've been thinking about in the recent week or two, because the personal posts if you're talking about grief or something like that, I've got a client who is a group grief coach. She got hardly any followers and connections. She writes this post and they seem to get a load of engagement, which you're talking about feelings and something. Not that it's her personal grief necessarily.
I think like you. Just so the listeners know Tracey is very fortunate to be living in sunny Spain while I'm sitting in rainy England and we'll send some of it our way. The fact that you can make your business work in Spain on your terms and you've probably got clients in the UK and all over the world. I think that's something that people are really interested in.
Part of my goal with my travel stuff is that, like you, I can actually work from anywhere. I'm really excited that I've just booked five weeks in South Africa next year. Now we're allowed to travel again. I think things like that you can let people know a little bit about as long as it doesn't look like you're bragging and because people perhaps, aspire to that or are interested to know.
But I agree with you, someone who's a grief coach. That is tough. I have a hard time sometimes with my clients. Let alone someone who's having that grief coaching all day long. That must be a tough one and also a tough one from a social media perspective.
Yeah, it can be. I think talking about me and Spain or you and travelling in an RV or camper van. I often talk about the genius zone. Obviously, you can say my genius zone is LinkedIn marketing, but what other genius zones have I got? That has to be food for me. I'm a complete foodie, a very good cook and got 350 cookery books. I love entertaining. I've been sort of playing with how I can mix that in with LinkedIn marketing.
Yeah, there's definitely when this is a really interesting podcast, I think. Because like for me, travel is a big passion which is ironic in a couple of years, we just had and, I've written about spending time in South Africa before. The life lessons and the branding because playing it back to my audience. But I think there is a whole conversation here about having these passions that we can interconnect with our business and that we don't always have to totally keep them separate. Just ways of figuring that one out. I need to come and visit you and you can cook for me.
Well, Spain is much more campervan friendly than the UK or England. I've also just come back from Scotland and they are super friendly. You can park and wild camping aggressive. In England, you can't but in Spain, you can. Listen, unconscious of time and we having a chat about all sorts of things.
But let me just ask you the same question that I've asked you before. But I'm going to be really interesting to see if you answer it the same way because I can't remember what you said. If you can go back in time and give yourself a piece of advice to your younger self just starting in business, what would it be?
We're just starting in business that was like 30 years ago. We would like to remember that far back. I tell you what, I'll answer that question from the perspective of going from driving around, binding proposals and presenting proposals to agencies. Funny enough that's where I started. I then obviously decided to go online about 14 years ago, and I think the advice I would give to myself then is, “Don't feel you need to be on every social media platform and have your finger in every single marketing tool, pie, technique and whatever.”
Because I think and I still see this today as people feel that they need to be everywhere. The thing is a solopreneurs and certainly are a very small team. You don't have the time or the money to do anything well. If you're going to pay somebody $5 an hour to do social media, then yes, you might be able to be on all the platforms, but you're never going to do it well.
Don't feel you need to be everywhere. What's your marketing strategy? Focusing on what you think the best one is going to be. You can always change later. The other thing with me is don't listen to all these gurus who say that you just need to buy the Facebook appetising calls. Then, you just need to buy and have to do a webinar course and so on. Then, they say is by this course, you're gonna be swinging on a hammock in the Caribbean on your laptop 30 minutes a day and earning a million pounds month.
I would say, just ignore all of those people. Don't feel that you need to consume all this information because the chances are enough right now to start, so just keep it. Keep your marketing simple.
Good advice. I think that would be particularly true for anyone that's starting their business now, where they are bombarded constantly with all these supposed gurus, like you say, standing in front of a fancy yacht that isn't theirs. Claiming that they can make you a millionaire overnight for doing nothing. We all know that's not true. You've got to put the graft in. So good advice, Tracey. If people wanted to get hold of you. What was the best way for them to reach out? I'm assuming by LinkedIn.
Yes. LinkedIn would be really good. You can find me on LinkedIn. It's at linkedin.com/in/traceyburnett.
And what was your hashtag in case people want to follow that?
Right. Well, I will go and follow that, and I'm gonna go and create my own. Thank you so much for joining us again. It was really useful. I know when you come on the podcast, the listeners are going to leave with lots of really practical, tangible advice, which is kind of what we're trying to do here. If you want to know more guys, then go check Tracey out. Thank you so much for joining us today and enjoy the sunshine while it's still last.
I will. Thank you, Rob.
Wasn't that an interesting episode? I hope, like me, you've got a few tips of things that you can do different, like one of the things I've got. I'm going to create my own hashtag and see if I can start building our following using that. But there were lots of other really actionable tips that Tracey shared with us. So I know you're going to find this one useful, and if you did, please consider leaving a review. Have a fantastic rest of your week.
A brilliant relaxing weekend, and I will see you next Thursday for the next episode of The Agency Accelerator Podcast.