SMT Expert Keren Baruch

The amount of interaction on LinkedIn has increased dramatically over the previous several years, with the business reporting record levels of on-platform activity – particularly, engagement with posts and updates – for five consecutive quarters.

As a result, LinkedIn has increased its emphasis on content creation and community building on the platform, which has resulted in the development of new tools such as Content Recommendations and Content Suggestions for Company Pages, which enable brands to boost their on-platform performance, as well as new analytics to measure the impact of such efforts.

And now, LinkedIn is moving ahead to the next stage of development.

One of the people working on this is Keren Baruch, the platform’s Product Lead for Creator Strategy, which also means that Keren is well-positioned to provide insight into the latest LinkedIn content shifts, where things are headed, and what brands can do to maximize their performance on the platform.
We recently had the opportunity to speak with Keren about a few topics, and the answers we received might be quite useful for your LinkedIn strategy.

1. What are the most prominent content trends that you’re noticing on LinkedIn right now?

It is clear from the conversations taking place on LinkedIn that this year has been a very dynamic one in terms of how individuals interact to their jobs. Every day, we witness millions of conversations about issues that have a profound impact on our members’ lives, from the pandemic and rallies against racial injustice to increasing sharing about mental health difficulties that individuals have encountered and how remote working is affecting the corporate world. Return-to-office preparations, Pride Month, and business travel are some of the most recent themes that have emerged as popular topics on social media.

For creators looking to keep up on trends, you should definitely check out LinkedIn Editor Dan Roth’s Creator Weekly newsletter where he shares trending topics on LinkedIn each week. As a creator, you can use this information to spot trends on the topics people want to hear more about, as well as trending hashtags. If these subjects are areas on which you have a point of view or expertise, consider sharing an interesting video or lesson that riffs off the topic – or add commentary to a conversation already in progress.

2. What strategies does LinkedIn want to use to further improve its creative tools and capitalize on its engagement growth?

We’re thrilled to announce that we’ll be stepping up our efforts to make creators feel at home on LinkedIn. For many creators, this is already their home, where they can contribute on a daily basis through posts, articles, newsletters, Stories, and Live Video. And, despite the fact that we’ve had user-generated content since 2012, we’re witnessing dialogues on a platform-wide scale, and artists are engaging with their communities through comments, responses, and messaging in order to keep their following up to date.

The continued investment in and rollout of new features to provide creators with the tools, direction, and support to produce outstanding content, ignite discussions, and grow an engaged following is something we are enthusiastic about. We have a highly motivated staff here who works really rapidly to bring updates and features out to the public while also continuing to learn from creators. The recent introduction of Creative Mode on LinkedIn is a first step toward establishing a specialized experience for our creator community, and it is a foundation upon which we will expand in the future.

LinkedIn Creator Mode

I would recommend that you stay updated on the latest creator tools by following our LinkedIn for creators page.

3. What are the most important components of a successful LinkedIn content strategy?

It’s necessary to start with the fundamentals, which are as follows:

  • Build a strong Profile – Your Profile is your personal story, where people can find you and stay updated on your activity – so make sure that it showcases who you are, what you stand for, and what you’re interested in. Include a profile photo, add your experience, highlight your best work in your ‘Featured’ section and write up a summary to share more about your experiences and interests. You can now also add a video cover story to your Profile to share more about yourself and your expertise, in a more human and engaging way. For inspiration on how to bring yours to life, check out this blog post.
  • Optimize your Profile by turning on Creator Mode – If you want to build your following and engage with an audience on LinkedIn, I recommend turning on our new Creator Mode. This will reorganize your profile to lead with your featured content and more of your recent activity, while it also enables people to easily “Follow” you instead of “Connect” – an important distinction, since you should only connect with those you know and trust.
  • Diversify your content type – Beyond posts and full-length articles, there are many ways you can connect with your followers and engage your community on LinkedIn. A few tools you can try include LinkedIn Stories, creating your own newsletter or hosting a LinkedIn Live to broadcast video content to your LinkedIn network in real-time.
  • Timing is everything – The more timely and relevant your posts are, the more you’ll likely see responses and engagement. We’ve also seen that finding the right cadence of posting is key – regularly posting, without over-posting in a single day, will ensure that your audience has time to see and engage with your posts in their feed.

4. Would you suggest that businesses use hashtags in their LinkedIn postings – and, if so, what hashtag recommendations would you give them to use?

By appearing in search results, hashtags on LinkedIn may help you establish your reputation and expertise, connect with others who respect your insights, and initiate important conversations around common interests by surfacing in search.

Here are a few pointers on how to effectively use hashtags on LinkedIn:

  • Use them correctly – Be sure to include the # sign before any keyword or phrase. Avoid any spaces, punctuation, special symbols or emojis
  • Don’t overdo it – We recommend using no more than three hashtags per post, and leveraging both broad and niche hashtags for increased exposure
  • Do your research – Before including a hashtag, type it into the LinkedIn search bar to make sure it has strong usage in order to connect you to the most relevant audiences.
  • Go niche – Try going as specific as possible for increased exposure (#TED2021 vs. #marketing)

5. As a content and posting expert, what is the most common error you see individuals make on LinkedIn in terms of their content and posting strategy?

It is one thing to initiate a conversation; however, it is quite another to foster a fruitful exchange of ideas. The magic that happens in comment threads, when creators interact with their audience, is something we’ve witnessed many times. The most successful creators are those who put in the effort to give more than they get, who are interested, and who are committed to continuing their education. We urge creators to not only create material that will start a conversation, but also to actively participate in that conversation by leaving comments on their posts and sharing their thoughts with others.

Some prospective creators are also apprehensive about sharing because they have the impression that their postings must be “polished” or “professional appearing,” as if they were producing a research paper for an academic publication. To content creators, our greatest advise is to not be intimidated: experiment with different post and content kinds and don’t stress about writing the “perfect” piece.

6. Do you believe that LinkedIn is becoming too informal and personal, or do you believe that there is place on the site for both professional and personal insights?

Living rooms have been transformed into boardrooms, and closets have been transformed into workstations in the last year. Remote workers have appeared in a slew of films and television shows including children. With all that has happened in the working world in the last year, we all need to reevaluate where the borders between personal and professional life should be drawn.

In order to inspire others who may be struggling with a similar circumstance, individuals should and should be encouraged to share their own experiences and thoughts on LinkedIn in a real way. Recently, we’ve seen a lot of articles from women discussing their experiences returning to work after taking time off or taking a career break, unemployment problems, working from home with children, coming out at work, and other topics. Personally, I’m looking forward to seeing how LinkedIn’s designers continue to push the limits when it comes to delivering the genuine, raw, and true experience into the professional setting.

For example, Elizabeth Gullivers talks about her very real experiences of being a mom during COVID, while Samantha Lamont has shared her personal journey as a trans woman, and how it’s impacted her career and relationships with coworkers.

Each of these creators prompted a spirited discussion among individuals who could connect to their stories, resulting in a genuine feeling of community being created.

7. What sorts of content are garnering the greatest traction on the social media platform LinkedIn?

When people use a range of various content platforms on LinkedIn, they have seen a significant increase in engagement. Creators who use a variety of content formats to tell their tales have also been identified. A member may publish a long-form piece and then use stories to help market the article or provide a behind-the-scenes look at how it was put together, for example.

We’ve also seen that include visual elements in postings, such as video, pictures, and other images, tends to increase the number of people who see the material.

Ultimately, regardless of the sort of content you create, it is all about building a relationship with your audience and making sure your material is relevant to them.

8. In your experience, what is an underappreciated tactic that has yielded impressive results on the platform?

Using LinkedIn Polls is a fantastic method to gather feedback from your audience on a particular issue, and it may be the sort of material that helps to prolong the conversation.

LinkedIn polls

Through polls, you can gather and analyze data that can also then be used to create additional meaningful content. LinkedIn Creator Carson Tate, for example, leveraged data from her LinkedIn Poll about work structures to influence a larger LinkedIn Newsletter on the topic.

Keren Baruch is the Product Lead for Creator Strategy at LinkedIn, developing the next stage in creator tools for the platform. You can check out more about Creator Mode, and LinkedIn’s coming creator plans, here.