LinkedIn Marketing: Visibility and Degrees of Connection

During my April 1, 2020 webinar on LinkedIn Marketing, live attendees sent in some of their most pressing questions about the social media platform.  Some of those questions have been answered already in Social Media Success with Lisa Perry, an online community for small business owners. Other questions require in-depth explanation or demonstration and will be answered through blog articles such as this.

The following questions are courtesy of Rich Sauser. Thank you, Rich!

How does the number of people in your network impact your ability to see/be seen by others?

With the new algorithm that is currently in place, it’s not actually about the number of people in your network as much as the quality of your connections. There are ways to reach outside of your network, but the most powerful tool you have when it comes to visibility is your ability to engage with the people already in it. Let me explain...

LinkedIn’s algorithm is based on “People you know, talking about the things you care about,” according to their senior director of product management, Pete Davies. This is a noted change from the way LinkedIn functioned before their most recent 2019 update. Before then, the more popular you were on the platform, the more visibility you’d receive. This made it difficult for average users to get any real attention. The new update addressed the disparity by breaking down the algorithm into two categories:

  1.   Posts from people you actually know
  2.   Content that relates to topics you care about

The idea is to put more weight in personal connections. The algorithm takes certain signals into consideration when determining a post or article’s visibility—interaction and information. The more you interact with connections through comments, shares, and reactions, the more likely you are to appear on their feeds. The more similar interests and skills you share with connections, the more likely you are to appear on their feeds.

Whether you’re working off a personal profile or a company page, the real key is interaction. You can’t control what skills or interests people have on their profiles, but you can determine your level of engagement with them. However, interaction is a two-way street. You also need to prioritize sharing posts and LinkedIn Publisher articles that encourage interaction. Share relevant content. If it’s relevant to the interests of your followers/connections, then it will appear in their feeds.

Remember that if you’re looking to reach outside of your network, then you should be using hashtags in your posts. This is a way to gain visibility beyond the people who follow you or are connected with you, just like any other social media platform. LinkedIn will still prioritize relevant content, so make sure your hashtags are purposeful.

Are search results limited to 1st, 2nd, and 3rd degree contacts?

Search results are not necessarily limited to your 1st, 2nd, and 3rd degree connections. However, those will always take priority over out-of-network connections, so they may be all you see in your search results.

If you’re looking for someone specific who you know is outside of your network, then you’ll need to search with added filters, like location or company, in order to find them. It is worth noting that any profile outside of your network will have limited visibility. If the option is available, you can send them an InMail to introduce yourself and make a connection, but that usually requires a Premium account.

One way to get around the 1st-3rd degree stipulations is to join LinkedIn Groups. People in the same group as you are automatically added to your network, even though they may not be within 3 degrees of you as a connection. You’ll be able to contact them directly through the group or with a LinkedIn message.

For more information on LinkedIn Marketing or to have some of your own questions answered, join Social Media Success with Lisa Perry on Facebook or contact me for a one-on-one consultation. I would absolutely love to help.

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