A key part of social selling is sharing content that is helpful and valuable to potential customers to build trust, relationships and credibility. Curating content to share, both content you create and third party content, is an important element in this social selling process.
LinkedIn is the key network for B2B sellers to engage prospects and buyers. But what kind of content works there? To curate content effectively it is useful to understand the type of content that engages people on LinkedIn.
To help answer this question we took the 100,000 most shared posts published on LinkedIn Pulse last year and analysed the content that gained most engagement through social sharing. This is what we learned from the data.
LinkedIn Headlines That Engage Readers
The most used words in headlines in our sample of 100,000 posts on LinkedIn Pulse can be seen from this wordcloud.
Words such as new, future, digital, data, sales and marketing are some of the most used in headlines.
However, just because a word or phrase is frequently used doesn’t make it effective. We had a look at the headline phrases that gained the highest average social shares. We only included phrases that were used at least 60 times, just to rule out any outliers such as a phrase used a number of times by a LinkedIn influencer.
The three word phrases in headlines that gained the most social shares were as follows.
Many of the top phrases were action orientated such as ‘how to avoid’. The top trigram “we need to” received significantly higher average shares . Here are some examples of headlines using the phrase:
Four Types of Engaging LinkedIn Content
The trigram analysis and our research identified four broad types of content that had high levels of engagement. These were:
- Advice on career development
- Insights into industry trends and the future
- Case studies and lessons
- Productivity tips and performance improvement
We look at examples of each of these below.
1) Advice on career development
LinkedIn is a professional network designed to support career development, hence, it is no surprise that posts on career development resonate with LinkedIn users. This example post on developing your skills as a leader received over 20,000 shares.
2) Insights into industry trends and the future
The research shows that articles about trends and new developments in an industry consistently create engagement on LinkedIn. Words such as new, and phrases such as ‘the state of’, ‘the age of’ and ‘the future of’ all appear to resonate well on LinkedIn. Below are a few examples of ‘the future of’.
As we’ve said before, it’s vital for social sellers to be tuned into the emerging trends in their sector, and to share them with their audience. It’s a great way to build your reputation as a trusted advisor. It’s also a great way to introduce yourself to someone. Rather than a generic connection request, share something useful about their sector, and add your own thoughts. You’re sharing value rather than asking for a sale. Far more likely to get you connected.
The types of industry content that appears to engage audiences on LinkedIn includes industry reports, statistics, surveys and latest news.
3) Case studies and lessons you need to learn
It was a slight surprise to see how well posts on lessons and learning did on LinkedIn. Most people are motivated to do their job better and appear to be keen to learn how to improve. Here are some examples of popular posts focused on lessons learned through experience and case studies.
There is a lot of potential for case studies in specific industries or sectors. Here are a couple of examples that were well shared on LinkedIn.
Many of the more successful posts focus clearly on the reader and why the reader needs to pay attention. They make a promise about the importance of the lessons learned. We can see this through successful phrases that connect the content to the reader, for example:
- ‘why you should’
- ‘you need to’
- ‘we need to’
Her are some examples:
- Startup Lessons: This Is Why You Need To Move Quickly
- You Can Apply What Samsung Learned to Your Business
4) Productivity Tips
This next category of productivity tips is closely related to lessons and case studies but has a more specific focus. Short list posts on tips, habits or things to avoid doing resonate well on LinkedIn. Here are some examples.
- Bad Habits You Must Break To Be More Productive
- 7 Productivity Tips: How to Work Smarter and Not Just Harder
These productivity tips can be very general and non industry specific, such as this one.
When you are creating or curating content for your audience on LinkedIn the research suggests it may be helpful to focus on the following topics.
- Industry trends, particularly new insights and trends
- Case studies, relevant to your audience
- Productivity tips, both specific and general
- Career development
These content types appear to resonate well with the LinkedIn audience. Does the content you create and share fall into these categories?
Share Other People’s Content
Do you need to create original content to build relationships on LinkedIn with prospects, influencers and buyers? Absolutely not. If you’re in sales, you probably don’t have time to create a lot of original content anyway.
The good news is you you can use OPC – Other People’s Content – to build your authority. Here’s how:
- Find relevant content for your network: You can check multiple sites and sources, or save time using a content curation tool like ours or others to pull it all into one place
- Curate as a team: Collaborate with your sales and marketing colleagues to find the best content to share, based on the guidelines above
- Add your insights: Don’t just reshare. Make it personal. What’s your take on the content, do you agree with it, is there a context you can add to make it more relevant for your network?
- Be selective and targeted: Share general “Top of Funnel” content more broadly, but share particularly niche, insightful content more selectively, perhaps a few days with key prospects before you generally share it. Think of the message you’re sending – if you’re building relationships with a key set of stakeholders in a prospect, you want to be the one who brings them personalised insights ahead of others.
- Keep doing it: One share does not a social seller make. You need to build a daily habit, regularly sharing insights and building your network’s awareness of you, and your authority as an expert.
Of course, you need some of your own content too – and you should be working with your marketing team to create that. But you can’t just share your own content, or you’ll come across as promotional. Think 70/20/10: share 70% other people’s content, 20% your own branded content, 10% personal, fun, more human content.
To get started on finding that 70% that will engage your network on LinkedIn, try our social selling tool. Find content on any topic and filter it by your preferred sources, collaborates as a team and share directly to LinkedIn. We think it’ll save you some time – we’d love your feedback.