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Tips for trending on LinkedIn (how we did it)

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The Stories Inc. team wanted to trend on LinkedIn for our key hashtags. After research and implementing strategies, we now regularly trend for our key topics! Here are our tips for trending on LinkedIn so you can do it, too.

LinkedIn is one of the most important tools for talent marketers. This channel allows us to interact with our established connections, our connections’ connections and unconnected candidates we may not encounter otherwise. Using hashtags on LinkedIn, we can also target the talent segments perfect for open positions and building talent pipelines. If you follow and use hashtags in your posts, you have no doubt seen LinkedIn posts that trend and received notifications for trending posts.

Earlier this year, the Stories Inc. team realized that although we consistently post original and thoughtful content to the Stories Incorporated LinkedIn page, we had yet to achieve trending status. So, we did some research and implemented a few strategies. Within one week we had trended for two of our key topics!

Now, we regularly trend, thanks to the strategies that are now best practices for us. And now, we’re happy to share our trending tips with you.

The value of trending on LinkedIn

Why did we at Stories Inc. want to trend? Our motivation was not based in ego or desire for kudos, but due to our thirst for learning the best content and recruitment marketing practices. See, when you receive a notification that your post is trending for a hashtag, it means that piece of content is shown to LinkedIn members outside your network, whom you may not have any degree of connection with. It appears in feeds for a longer amount of time than most other posts using that hashtag. Significantly, users following the hashtag may get a notification to specifically read your post! 

In short, many more candidates who will benefit from your post will see it. Imagine the value of a post trending for a heavily popular hashtag like #softwareengineering (6,626,219 followers), #sales (5,653,848 followers) or #managementconsulting (4,221,462 followers). You could also achieve great targeted reach if you trend with a more niche hashtag focused on a specific role, or any talent topic related to your goals! 

How to increase your chances of trending on LinkedIn

First, an important disclaimer: some of these tips we are sharing here have not been officially verified by LinkedIn. The go-to best practices for LinkedIn posting is information shared by LinkedIn itself. Everyone should begin their research with “What’s In Your LinkedIn Feed” by LinkedIn Senior Director of Product Management, Pete Davies. He provides explicit tips, yes, but he also explains how the LinkedIn framework of “People You Know, Talking About Things You Care About” is reflected in what is prioritized in our feeds. To us at Stories Inc., this sounds like LinkedIn is communicating its core values within their algorithm.

Additionally, we gathered ideas from the LinkedIn Marketing Solutions blog and following LinkedIn Marketing Solutions. Other strategies we implemented after online research of what possibly works to help trending on LinkedIn, and we found posts by Andy Foote of LinkedInsights particularly, well, insightful. Ultimately, we found that what best worked for us and yes, got us trending, was staying true to our established Stories Inc. voice, plus these tips.

Follow hashtags on topics of interest to you and your organization

Davies of LinkedIn implicitly states, “Along with posts from your connections, you’ll also see these [hashtagged] posts in your feed. If a connection uses a hashtag you also happen to follow, it gets an extra boost!” So, liberally follow those LinkedIn hashtags of interest to your industry and talent needs.

Use hashtags in your posts, but no more than three to five

LinkedIn has publicly said that they recommend no more than three hashtags. However, midway through 2020, LinkedIn expert users began to test using more hashtags. So, the unofficial guideline is now three to five hashtags. We at Stories Inc. have found that we are most likely to trend with the first hashtag we use, so we always place the most “on the money” hashtag first.

Post content that encourages conversation, and interact with the comments

LinkedIn etiquette is different than other social media. Comments should be reciprocated by a comment in response. Go ahead, have a chat (on topic!) right there in the thread. Most importantly, LinkedIn officially urges us to “respond to commenters and encourage back and forth.”

And that concludes the officially sanctioned portion of our program. Now for our tips based upon what we found worked for us.

Post directly to LinkedIn instead of via third-party scheduling apps

LinkedIn welcomes third-party scheduling apps, and as career social media and marketing experts, we encourage their use for your social calendar and optimal use of staff time. However, we think posting natively to LinkedIn may increase your chances of trending for one of your hashtags. Could this be due to direct coding of the algorithm? Sure. But software that enables LinkedIn usage is good for business. We believe it is more likely that posting right in LinkedIn produces better two-way engagement as a user or page admin. When you dive directly into LinkedIn, your own organic and increased participation in conversations naturally follows.

Add a photo or video to your post

LinkedIn states, “Despite the rumors, the algorithm doesn’t favor any particular format.” However, we ourselves have found that non-stock photos of real people are more likely to receive reactions and comments. This makes sense from a user standpoint. It’s hard to scroll past a post in your feed containing an image of a real person, or a person you know, without tapping the reaction bar. And if you post a photo including others and tag their accounts, they’re sure to respond. Here’s the photo we used in one of our trending posts, which featured members of the Stories Inc. team. 

Engagement the first hour after you post is critical

In order to trend outside your network, you have to first prove to LinkedIn’s AI that your post is popular within your network. Online social media experts hypothesize that the first hour or so is the make-or-break time to show LinkedIn that your content is worthy of trending for your hashtag. That means it’s time to let your closest connections know you have a recent post on which you’d love their thoughts.

LinkedIn supports employee advocacy to increase brand reach, so go ahead and let your hiring managers, recruiters, featured employee storytellers and leadership team know you have posted. If the first fans of a company’s page content are their own employees, that’s a very positive thing. On this, the Stories Inc. team and LinkedIn whole-heartedly agree. Check out the first comments on a post we recently shared to our page, featuring a Stories Inc. employee team story.

Hint: the first commenters are all team members.

No team members were coerced to leave these enthusiastic comments, we swear! All of us at Stories Inc. are simply exhilarated by all employee stories, including our own. That dedication to employee stories is what drove us to figure out how to trend on LinkedIn for recruitment marketing content. We want to help you get your employee stories in front of as many candidates as possible. 

Give us a follow on LinkedI and we’ll follow you back, leave comments, and comments on your comments, and do our best to get you trending!

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