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Rocket GTM 🚀 - The LinkedIn Playbook
My playbook to winning on LinkedIn
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(P.S Today's newsletter has a ton of screenshots so it looks a lot longer than it is, you may not be able to read it all from your inbox so you can read it online instead and see all the examples.)
How LInkedIn works differently to other social media platforms
Lots of examples of good posts and content ideas
How to structure the perfect post
How to master good copywriting for LInkedIn engagement
Secret about 'above and below the fold'
Lead magnets that go viral
How to convert your audience to a proprietarily owned list
I shared this LinkedIn post:
I explain how most people message me asking for more educational content around sales, marketing, and go-to-market strategy. However, when I post this type of content it gets less engagement than other forms.
The example above shows how a post talking about donating my hair to charity got 50x the views than a post talking about startup advice.
There is clearly some confusion over how to win on LinkedIn, so this week's newsletter is going to explain what my strategy has been and how you can replicate it.
LinkedIn: The basics
Engagement, engagement, engagement
LinkedIn is quite simple. All you need to know is that to build an audience you need engagement. Yes, likes, comments, and shares matter.
On Youtube, your content can be found through search, meaning videos that respond to popularly searched keywords have a good change of being discovered organically. It doesn't matter too much if your video has likes or comments. LinkedIn however, is a different beast.
When you post on LinkedIn it will be seen by your first degree connections. LinkedIn will prioritize showing people who've engaged with your content before and people on who's posts you have also engaged with too. (one reason why commenting on other people's posts is important but few people do it).
Posts being seen by first degree connections is comparable to Youtube videos being seen by a channels own subscribers.
If a first connection on LinkedIn likes or comments on your post it will show up on their networks feed too. Imagine you have two connections, each have one thousand connections each. If that person likes your content, it will display it on the feed of potentially two thousand people. That's how you access exponential organic growth, through the network of other people.
Discoverability on LinkedIn requires engagement
You don't have to pay for engagement which makes LinkedIn a crazy effective place for free, organic audience growth.
On LinkedIn engagement rules.
Below you can see I've been displayed a post by Grant Golestan-Parast, who I'm not connected with and is a second degree connection. I see this post because a first degree connection of mine (Alexander Shorthose) has liked it.
Okay so we need engagement.
Now how do I build an audience that engages with me?
Building an audience
Start by building it yourself
The great thing about LInkedIn is you have the control to build your audience since you are able to send connection requests to people. You are able find an audience and proactively seek them out. For me, I create lists in sales navigator for sales and marketers from junior to CRO/CMO positions and add them every day.
Until recently, you could send up to 3.000 invites per month depending on your acceptance rate. This made it quite easy to automate 100 connection requests per day.
At a 25% connect rate, that's 125 new connections per week. You could go from 0-5,000 connections in about 40 weeks. Considering that it's almost guaranteed growth and the audience is highly targeted, that's pretty insane.
LinkedIn killed the party
However, LinkedIn recently (like really recently) cracked down on connection requests and now you're limited to a maximum of 100 per week.
Doing the math it'll take 5x longer (more than a couple of years) to reach 5,000 people.
You can still proactively add your audience but it will be less effective method for building an audience.
So what now?
LinkedIn Creator Mode (new)
The new connection request limit seems to have coincided with a recent update about LInkedIn Creator mode which encourages content creators to switch their call-to-action button on their profile from 'connect' to 'follow' and promote featured content more widely on the feed.
My guess is LInkedIn is trying to get creators to build audiences by people following creators, rather than creators following people.
As with all social network updates, when they come out you should use them. LinkedIn is going to prioritize content from profiles that do.
Given the recent changes my advice would be:
Continue to segment and add your desired audience every week to the max number LinkedIn will allow
Switch your profile to 'creator mode' and create content that encourages people to follow you instead of connecting.
Creating content that gets engagement
There are three core types of content:
There are of course others but these cover most of my strategy.
Adding value to your audience by sharing your learnings and expertise. You don't have to be an expert already, you can simply share your learning journey.
Educational content tends to perform better when accompanied with a video, perhaps learning from a real human rather than text is more engaging.
Video content is amazing for building rapport and deep connections with your audience. They see your face and hear your voice so they feel like they know you. In many ways, they really do.
The trouble with video on LinkedIn is the 'views' always seem lower. Less people are committed to watching a 60 second video vs reading a text. Remember 80%+ of video is consumed without sound so subtitles are crucial.
Personally, I believe video posts must always be accompanied by text which also shares the value hidden inside the video. You don't want to limit your audience to just people dedicated enough to watch the whole clip, if you did that you'd be limiting the number of people who could engage with your post.
The high barrier to entry for videos means it's important to have a captioned title which clearly hooks the viewer into committing their time.
The worst way to do video is have no title, no subtitles, and no text in the post explaining what the video is about. I imagine these videos consistently get lower than average engagement.
For other types of educational content you can interview other industry experts and get their take on something. This works great because you can tag your guest and they'll share with their audience increasing discoverability.
💡 Write a list of the content creators with big audiences in your industry and team up with them to create content. That way you can leverage each other's audiences. This is a tactic very common in the Youtube space but still highly underutilized on LinkedIn
Forget 'always be closing' ... think 'always be adding value'.
Another crucial mistake is just talking about business. People want to know who you are. Sharing vulnerable stories creates a deeper connection.
People are more likely to engage with content produced by people they like and know.
Here are some examples.
The most viral post I ever made was in fact a storytelling post about my wins and failures in my life to date.
Posting lead magnets
Posting high value lead magnets on LInkedIn and requesting the audience to comment in order to receive access is a super powerful way to go viral.
Offers could be anything from an ebook, a PDF, or even a Notion template. The number one mistake people make is just sharing the content piece outright on LinkedIn. By doing this you get ZERO distribution value from other people engaging because they've got access already.
If you're going to post something of high value, then share a little bit of value in the text/video section and request a comment in order to be DM'd the offer.
I used this technique on the below post to get 1,914 comments (half of those were me replying however) and 517 likes which led to a whopping 271,143 views.
That's 18x the size of the MGM Grand arena in Las Vegas 🤯
Here's a more recent example of a lead magnet.
I shared a post using my online knowledge based stored on Notion as a lead magnet.
Instead of just sharing the link in the post, I provide context and ask the audience to type "Share" in the comments if they want me to DM the knowledge base to them.
The post receive nearly 40k views and around 300 people asked for access.
Save the gold for below the fold
LinkedIn doesn't show the entire post on the feed. In the above example there is a 'see more' button. Everything you see without clicking 'see more' is considered above the fold. Everything you see after clicking 'see more' is considered below the fold. Your goal is to get people to read the entire post therefore whatever you put above the fold must attract people to find the gold below the fold.
Everything you put above the fold should be there to entice someone to see more. This is called your 'hook'. You'll notice a recurring them in my posts that the first line is often a bold statement that requires more context to fully understand, but is intriguing enough to click for more.
A big mistake content creators make is putting their resolution above the fold. The resolution is akin to the 'key takeaway' or the' punchline' of the post. The resolution is that 'aha' moment where the whole post makes sense. You must save the resolution for below the fold otherwise no one will click for more.
Equally said, if you hide too much from above the fold and there is no catchy hook then no one will care. It's a fine balance.
Below I talk about a 'Minimal Viable Week', but I leave out enough context to get the audience to click 'see more'.
Number of lines above the fold
So now you know, the key to high click-through-rates is mastering what you put above the fold and ensure it's just enticing enough to click more.
But, you must know how much text to put in.
Text only posts have five lines above the fold, where as text + image posts have three.
For text only posts there are five lines above the fold.
Another text only post with five lines above the post but this time you can see a slightly different layout when there are longer sentences.
When writing your post you must be conscious as to what will appear above the fold and make sure that your resolution or key takeaway is not present here.
What happens when you don't respect the fold
In my below post I unintentionally broke my own rule. My first line "Harsh truth for startups" seems to be resolved by the second line "It's never been easier to build great product".
This was not intentional.
In fact, the second line was supposed to be context to build up to the resolution, but unfortunately it read like a resolution itself. If you click on the post you'll see that the resolution had nothing to do with product being easy to build
Click on the post and you'll see that I did actually keep the juicy learning below the fold, but the way I wrote the above the fold text made it sound like the post was complete.
it wasn't, but I didn't give the reader the motivation to click further. This post, naturally failed.
How to structure a post
As you can see from the above screenshot I try to follow the same format for most of my posts:
(Hook) The hook is designed to be a bold statement, think of this like a newspaper headline.
(Context) In the remaining lines above the fold I provide additional context, being careful to not give away my resolution. The context must build on the hook while encouraging the viewer to want more.
(Content) Once the viewer has click for more they're now below the fold. Here we can give the real value piece of the post and provide the full content, this may be a story or the crux of your shared learning.
(Resolution) Once you've provided the full content you need to wrap it up with a resolution. The resolution is designed to provide your reader with an 'aha' moment that pushes them to like the post. I find the best 'aha' resolutions are in the format of short, punchy, quote like phrases.
(Call-To-Action) If you have a good resolution you'll likely get a good engagement through likes alone, but if you want comments you must call the reader to action with a CTA. Depending on the post the CTA could ask the audience to respond to question, share their experience, or post a word in return for being sent a lead magnet via private message.
A powerful CTA can make your post go viral
Here are a few examples that have worked for me.
Even I was surprised by how many people responded with photos of their pups. Over 80 people replied to my CTA and the remaining 80 comments were me replying and engaging back (which is super important to build a connection with your audience).
Copywriting over content
You may have a great story or great lesson to share, but don't forget that your copywriting is just as important, if not more, than the content itself.
Make your post easy to read.
For example, change your posts from this 👇
To something that looks more like this 👇
Quick tips for readability:
Break a long sentence into multiple short sentences
Add space lines in between your text to make it more digestible
Add emoji's 🙌
You want a balance of short lines, then longer lines. Almost like a wave (thanks Justin Welsh for this analogy).
Owning your audience
If you've built a highly targeted and engaged audience then all these likes, comments, and views are great but you don't truly own your audience unless it's outside of LInkedIn.
LinkedIn can change the algorithm (and often do) or block your account. It's far better to own your own audience so I try to ensure that I capture my audience through my own proprietary channels.
For example, this newsletter.
I created a website www.alfie-marsh.com which has a sign up form on the homepage. I made sure to leverage the prime real estate on my LinkedIn profile via the tagline to direct people to my site.
Now everyone who see's my post will see this CTA. They don't even have to click on my profile thus it truly is every single person who views my post will see my website link.
Since putting my website link in my tagline a few weeks ago I've grown my newsletter from 0-238 subscribers, largely because of the organic reach I'm getting on LinkedIn (and also because you guys keep sharing the newsletter with your friends - thanks again and please continue to do so 🙏).
There are 756 million users on LinkedIn and only 1% of those people create content.
How many of that 1% create GOOD content that people care about?...Not many.
There is a huge opportunity to build an audience through LinkedIn and it's been a very fun journey doing so up to now.
Here are my key takeaways from this weeks newsletter:
Engagement is the #1 most important thing on LinkedIn to grow your audience
Proactively add your audience via connect requests
Switch your profile to 'creator mode'
Use video for educational content to make it more engaging
Use lead magnets to encourage people to comment and don't give away the value upfront
Save the gold for below the fold
Make sure your above the fold text doesn't give away your resolution but entices to read more
Post structure: Hook, Context, Content, Resolution, CTA
Capture your audience by using your tagline to direct to your website
If you got this far, thank you.
If you found at least one useful thing from today's newsletter it would mean the world to me if you could share it with just one friend and continue to help us grow organically.
Thanks for your support everyone and have a great week!