One of the frustrating things about LinkedIn posts is the lack of a long-tail. Most posts peak within 48 hours and quickly die off. The above chart is indicative of a typical post’s life. If I were writing a gossip column or commenting on fluctuations in stock prices, such a pattern would be understandable; but I comment on the information industry so there is little reason that my ideas would have virtually no value to my followers after 72 hours. The problem is one of LinkedIn’s design. In their desire to be social, they forgot that good content needs to be discoverable.
The quick die off is due to several problems in LinkedIn design:
- Posts generally come to reader’s attention via the update feed which means that it quickly moves down the reader’s list. Thus, being seen by any of your followers is basically a function of timing and luck. The writer is competing against LinkedIn’s author series, sponsored updates, other posters, and various LinkedIn generated updates. It is therefore easy to have your content deeply buried in your followers’ streams. There are certainly benefits in posting earlier in the week (which I am violating here by writing this on a Saturday). Furthermore, marketing departments have an advantage over individual posters because they can task the sales force with liking and commenting on the original post. This tactic helps distribute company news and posts. It can also be used to revive older posts. A sole practitioner lacks an army of sales and marketing amplifiers.
- Posts and Updates lack a discovery tool. I’m not aware of an easy way to search the Post archive (that I’m aware of) for topics. So if I write a piece on data quality, it isn’t discoverable by the general public or my followers.
- There is no easy way to view historical posts by an individual. This is the most annoying thing about LinkedIn. If I read an author who is clearly a subject matter expert (SME) on a topic of interest, I can follow the SME to view her future content (minus the content I miss because I don’t obsess about viewing my social media stream), but I cannot read her prior writings. This is an annoying gap for general readers and an unconscionable gap in LinkedIn Sales Navigator. How can a sales rep claim to be engaged in Social Selling when she can’ t easily read her prospects’ archived posts? How is she to find the opening hooks and conduct account planning using LinkedIn when it traffics only in the ephemeral. The lack of a LinkedIn discovery tool within Sales Navigator is an immense blind spot. Users should be able to view postings and updates via keyword search and timeline views. They should also be able to filter by dates, category, and business metatag. There is a clear opportunity for a sales intelligence competitor to build a Google search against LinkedIn to deliver these gap tools. If Social123 can mine the LinkedIn universe through backdoor Google, then somebody should be able to provide me with a way to view, search, and filter company and executive posts on LinkedIn.
- There is no automated hyperlinking within Posts similar to those in general updates. Thus, if I reference an executive or a company, it is not associated with a LinkedIn profile. The silly thing is, if somebody comments on my post, she can use LinkedIn’s automated linking. Google+ supported this internal hyperlinking at launch and Twitter provides a type ahead tool as soon as the tweeter enters an @, $, or # symbol. I shouldn’t need to send a LinkedIn message to a marketing department to say “hey, I wrote about you” and hope they promote my post. This leaves me dependent upon other parties to promote my comments and increases the likelihood that content would be tailored to please those about whom I’m commenting. A simple example, I cannot associate this post with LinkedIn and they won’t promote it because I’m not kissing the hem of their garment. On G+ or Twitter, I can still tie my ideas to their profiles. On LinkedIn, that is not the case.
There is no question that I benefit from posting on LinkedIn due to the strong user base amongst business professionals. I left G+ for LinkedIn posting as soon as it became available to the masses. Other platforms are either flighty (Facebook), abandoned (Google+), or content islands that require their own promotion (e.g. blogs). As such, I will continue to post on LinkedIn while recognizing its faults.