In order to better advise our clients at Captivate.ai, we analyzed the 2020 posts of LinkedIn Top Voices to understand the four biggest trends our clients can follow to gain more exposure on LinkedIn.
Each year, LinkedIn recognizes individuals across 14 categories for being “creators driving today’s professional conversation.” This includes both a quantitative analysis of the impact of their LinkedIn activity (engagement, posting cadence, and follower growth) as well as the quality of their body of work. Are the contributions insightful, conversational and timely? Do they seek to give and get help vs. being self-promotional?
LinkedIn’s selection, now in it’s sixth year, features a cross-section of the LinkedIn ecosystem taking a variety of approaches to add value to their community and foster a healthy dialogue around their industry’s most pressing issues.
There are many professionals on LinkedIn with massive followers: Bill Gates, Richard Branson, Jeff Weiner, and Ariana Huffington are the individuals with the highest number of LinkedIn followers according to OMR.
However, these individuals brought their notoriety to LinkedIn. While an audience can learn an immense amount from these individuals, I don’t believe they’re the best examples of individuals who grew an audience from scratch on LinkedIn. Rather, their notoriety and business accomplishments allowed them to quickly grow a following on LinkedIn.
By contrast, the LinkedIn Top Voices are “everyday people” who, because of their unique perspective as well as their persistent approach to LinkedIn, were able to build an enviable following.
As I thought of how to best advise Captivate.ai clients on how to grow their personal and company’s influence on LinkedIn, I found LinkedIn’s Top Voices to be a better and more achievable role model.
Our team at Captivate.ai looked at LinkedIn’s Top Voices 2020 posts to determine the top trends that our clients could follow to have a greater impact on their audience.
Here’s what we found.
The average LinkedIn Top Voice posts 5.6 times per week. One way to grow influence on LinkedIn is to post consistently – day-in and day-out.
There are exceptions. The maximum we found was an average of 13 times per week! The minimum we saw was once per week.
However, across the board, LinkedIn Top Voices post daily, Monday through Friday.
This is a pretty astounding commitment: to set aside time each day to reflect on what matters most to one’s community and then take the time to create high-quality content, questions, and insights that will best serve one’s followers.
Another aspect we researched was what type of content LinkedIn Top Voices are posting, and what is the impact of those posts.
Let’s start with what they are posting.
LinkedIn allows users to post a variety of content:
Images – an image uploaded directly to LinkedIn
Videos – a video uploaded directly to LinkedIn (rather than a Youtube link or link to another external video)
Text – no media associated with the post, just text.
Live Video – currently available only to an approved list of users, Live Video allows a professional to record live video, streamed directly to their followers and then saved to LinkedIn afterwards.
Articles – a link to an external article.
Polls – a means of engaging one’s audience by asking a question with preset response options
When we looked at LinkedIn Top Voices, we saw a clear trend here:
From this perspective, Images are the clear winner, as half of all the posts from LinkedIn Top Voices are Images.
Text gets the silver medal, with 34% of posts being simply text (more on this later).
Video is a distant third, with 9% of all posts.
At first blush this makes sense – its fairly simple to create or find an image to post to LinkedIn along with a text post. It certainly makes the content more visually arresting. And, compared to the time and effort it takes to create a video, images require a fraction of that time.
Next, we looked at how each of these types of post perform. Here’s what we found:
From this vantage point, Images are again the clear winner and it makes sense that LinkedIn Top Voices default to this format. Images receive far more Likes & Comments than any other type of post.
However, there is one factor that stood out the most to us here: this does not include video views.
Someone taking the time to watch a video is a worthwhile engagement, and should be factored in to this discussion.
Looking at a typical video on LinkedIn, the video receives 32X more views than the post receives Likes or Comments.
When you factor this in, video is an underused asset, receiving nearly 20X more total engagements (views, likes, and comments) than images.
While video takes significantly more work to produce than an image, that extra work may be more than justified. Video continues to be the king-of-the-media-hill; we are visual beings and like to be told a story – video remains the best medium in which to do that.
Regardless of the media a LinkedIn Top Voice uses in their post, they write a lot.
The average post contained 587 characters.
Surprisingly, of all the types of posts made, Live Videos posts had the longest associated amount of text – 761 characters.
When I do post on LinkedIn, it’s usually a frantic, “let me get this out of the way” approach. LinkedIn Top Voices, on the other hand, take their time to craft a quality post that is quite long.
Considering Trend #1, and how these Top Voices are posting every single weekday, it’s pretty incredible to see how verbose they can be, consistently.
The biggest takeway from this analysis was how these posts are about thought leadership, not sales.
While 69% of all posts used a hashtag, on average only 2.6 hashtags are used per post. I’ve become accustomed to seeing posts on LinkedIn that cram in 10 or more hashtags in an effort to be noticed. LinkedIn Top Voices, on the other hand, are much more judicious in the hashtags they use.
Additionally, only 4% of posts used a URL. While some LinkedIn Top Voices may use a URL in subsequent comments on their post, it is clear that the intention of a post is to start a conversation and contribute an insight, rather than to drive their audience to take action or click on a link.
Lastly, only 2% of posts used an @mention. Again, while LinkedIn Top Voices may be using @mentions in their comments, they are not tagging people in their main post.
While influence is still more art than science, when in doubt employ these few trends to improve your reach and impact on LinkedIn.