With its new features and updates, LinkedIn is becoming a social media platform that you shouldn’t overlook, especially if you are a B2B professional or B2B marketer.
With more 1 billion members, LinkedIn is now a promising channel for driving traffic, generating quality leads, building your personal brand, and more.
Here’s a rundown of the top LinkedIn best practices we’ve found — everything from figuring out what, when, and how often to post on LinkedIn to learning about your performance, audience, and competitors to maximize your presence on the platform.
Whether you’re looking to level up your company’s LinkedIn marketing or use LinkedIn to build a personal brand as a professional, we’ve got you covered.
1. Optimize your LinkedIn Page or profile
First things first: don’t cut corners when creating your LinkedIn Page or profile. A complete, well-optimized LinkedIn presence allows your target audience to easily find you on and off LinkedIn (e.g. Google). It should be your first port of call when it comes to LinkedIn best practices.
For both company pages and personal profiles, that means having a clear, high-quality profile picture and banner and filling out all the relevant fields.
LinkedIn Best practices for Company pages
To optimize your Company Page for search, LinkedIn offers these suggestions:
Insert keywords for SEO
“Incorporate keywords and phrases that potential customers might use to search for your product or service. Include them in the About tab overview, clearly representing who you are and what you do.”
There are two places on your profile where you can insert keywords: your company description and specialties. You can find this by navigating to your Company Page > Edit Page > Overview.
Link to your Company Page: "Links are essential for boosting your search ranking," The LinkedIn team says. "An easy win here is to link to your Page from your website. Also, make sure the LinkedIn profiles of employees are up to date."
On the Buffer website, we link to all our social media profiles, including our LinkedIn Company Page.
Share relevant content: "Share often. The more frequently you share content your followers engage with, the higher your Page will appear in [Google] search results." More on this to come!
LinkedIn best practices for profiles
If you’re trying to build a personal brand on LinkedIn, your first step should be to turn on Creator Mode. This will give you access to a host of powerful tools, including that all-important ‘Follow’ button.
You’ll also be able to choose hashtags or topics to show potential followers what they can expect to see more of in your content.
To turn it on, head over to your profile, then under the Resources dashboard, toggle Creator Mode on.
Next up: optimizing your LinkedIn profile. Buffer guest poster created a thorough guide of 20+ LinkedIn profile tips that’s well worth reading, but here’s a summary of his top tips:
- Choose a unique profile picture and banner
- Write a catchy headline and summary — don’t be afraid to include emojis to stand out in people’s feeds
- Write a detailed experience section — include bullet points of achievements in your role
- Add skills, endorsements, and recommendations
- Showcase licenses and certifications — Bonus tip: take a LinkedIn Skills Assessment to beef up this section
To edit all these sections, head over to your LinkedIn profile and click the little pen icons in the top right corner of each area.
2. Pinpoint your target audience
One of the first questions in your mind when it comes to LinkedIn marketing might be: What should I post on LinkedIn?
Figuring that out starts with understanding who you want to talk to — an often-missed step in social media strategy. As a business owner or social media marketer, you likely have a solid idea of your target audience thanks to your ideal customer profile (ICP). If you’re uncertain, check out our guide to developing your marketing personas.
If you’re looking to define your target audience as a LinkedIn Creator, our guide to creating a personal brand framework will walk you through it.
3. Create content that helps solve your audience’s problems
LinkedIn content marketing success calls for so much more than broadcasting your company or professional message to the masses.
Your LinkedIn post strategy should start with creating value for your audience.
Whether you’re posting from a LinkedIn Page or personal profile, you have to consistently create high-quality content that people want more of.
Here’s what LinkedIn recommends:
“While it can be tempting to sell your audience on the benefits of your product or service, ‘salesy’ content doesn’t generally perform well on LinkedIn.
If there’s one thing LinkedIn members find engaging, it’s a fresh idea. Publishing thought leadership content on your Company Page is one of the most powerful ways to grow your audience.
Naturally, you will want to publish and promote your own content, but it’s also a good idea to share engaging and insightful content from others.”
In my experience, this starts with understanding what your target audience’s pain points are — and tapping into your expertise to help solve them.
Of course, this doesn’t mean consistently posting bland how-to guides — LinkedIn has evolved from the buttoned-up platform it used to be.
As a LinkedIn creator, it means tapping into your real-life stories and experiences to add color to your learnings. You might want to add photos of yourself to your content to help your followers better connect with you (more on this below).
Founder and CEO of Growclass Sara Stockdale is a great example of this — she regularly shares funny, memorable stories to drive home her message.
This is true for LinkedIn Company Pages as well. Be guided by your brand tone and style, but don’t be afraid to explore pop culture trends, memes, and GIFs in the way that successful brands like Chili Piper do:
4. Engage with your followers
Whether you manage a LinkedIn company page or a personal one, this advice applies. The LinkedIn algorithm prioritizes engagement — likes, comments, and reposts — so encourage your followers to interact simply by thoughtfully responding to their comments.
If you’re responding to comments, see if you can continue the conversation by asking them another question in the thread. At Buffer, some of our best-performing content is a question in and of itself, like the one below.
Don’t limit your interactions to your own content, either. More than one LinkedIn creator has told me they find their follower count spikes not when they post their own content but when they engage thoughtfully with someone else’s post.
A word of caution on this front, though: While this makes sense for those building their own brands on LinkedIn, it might be a little tricky with LinkedIn Company Pages. Jumping into the thread as a brand might come across as pushy or sales-y.
On the other hand, if someone has mentioned your brand in their post, responding is a must. LinkedIn offers you an easy way to keep up with mentions, too. Just head over to your page, click Activity on the left-hand side, then choose Mentions.
5. Make use of the analytics
Setting up a social media content calendar for LinkedIn isn’t a one-and-done job. It’s an initiative process, and it means checking in on your LinkedIn metrics as often as possible to double down on what’s working and tweak what’s not.
LinkedIn Profile Analytics
If you’ve turned on Creator Mode, you now have access to a host of great data to tap into. To find it, head over to your LinkedIn profile and click on the View all analytics button on the top left.
Here, you’ll find data on four metrics:
- Post impressions: The number of times your posts were displayed on screen.
- Followers: The total number of people that currently follow you (including connections and non-connection followers).
- Profile viewers: The total number of people who viewed your profile.
- Search appearances: The number of times your profile appeared in search results.
Click on each of them to dive deeper.
If you’re still fine-tuning your LinkedIn content strategy, check in on post impressions regularly to monitor the performance of your posts. Here, you’ll be able to set a date range and analyze both post impressions and engagement.
LinkedIn Page Analytics
Besides measuring your LinkedIn marketing performance, your Company Page analytics is a great tool for understanding what valuable content your followers like. To find your LinkedIn analytics, head over to your Page and then click on Analytics on the left-hand side of the window.
Here, you’ll find a wealth of information, including:
- Content: The performance of all your posts, which you can filter by impressions, unique impressions, clicks, reactions, comments, reposts, and engagement rate.
- Visitors: How many people are viewing your page, which can be filtered by both page views and unique visitors.
- Followers: An overview of your total followers plus new followers within the last 30 days. You’ll also get a look at your follower demographics.
- Leads: The details of potential customers you’ve gathered through paid LinkedIn Lead Gen (lead generation) Forms.
- Competitors: Track and benchmark the performance of your competitors on LinkedIn. You’ll see an overview of their follower metrics, organic content performance, and trending posts.
- Employee advocacy: Gauge trends in employee and member engagement with content recommended to employees on the My Company tab.
Now, this is a lot of data that may be a little overwhelming if you’re new to the platform. In terms of LinkedIn best practices for digital marketing, we recommend keeping an eye on these two things to start:
Understand what content does well on your Company Page
To find out what content your followers like, go to Analytics > Content. Scroll down to the content engagement table and look for outliers — both posts with impressions and clicks much higher or lower than the rest of your content.
If the post fell flat, try to pinpoint why. Was it a bad time to post, or was the format something that didn’t resonate with your audience? Do the same for your top performers and experiment with replicating different elements in new posts to see if you can nail down why the post was such a success.
Learn about your followers and visitors
This tip works great if you have had your Company Page around for a while and have gained a sizeable following.Go to Analytics > Followers and scroll down to the demographics section. You can filter this by location, job function, company size, industry, and seniority.
This info can be immensely helpful in creating new content that speaks to a large chunk of your audience.
Using this information at Buffer, we can tailor our posts to their interests by sharing content relevant to their job functions. This could include content on marketing (which we write a lot about), startups, and technology.
You also get similar information about the people who visit your Company Page but aren’t following you yet under the Visitors section of your analytics.
6. Experiment with photos and videos
Once you know what to post on LinkedIn, here’s a tip to help you drive engagement to your LinkedIn posts.
According to LinkedIn, one of the best LinkedIn posting strategies is to use rich media like images and videos. They found that images lead to a 98 percent higher comment rate, while links to YouTube videos can result in a 75 percent higher share rate.
This is something we've seen at Buffer and I've noticed on my own content: photos and videos always seem to perform better, and this makes sense — a great visual can stop the scroll in the LinkedIn feed so much better than lines of text.
7. Use data to find your best time to post
So now you know what to post, how about the best time to post?
LinkedIn has found that “[u]pdates posted in the morning usually earn the highest engagement, with a slight bump occurring again after business hours” but also added that you should “[e]xperiment to see what works best for your company.”
At Buffer, we believe that there isn’t a universal best time to post on social media. With LinkedIn feed algorithm, the concept of “a universal best posting time” is now less relevant.
Instead, focusing on your best time to post on LinkedIn is better. Here are two ways to figure it out:
Using LinkedIn Analytics
Here’s how to find your best time to post to LinkedIn with LinkedIn analytics:
- Experiment with different posting times and record those times
- Go to the Content section of your LinkedIn Company Page analytics or the Impressions section of your personal page analytics
- Identify the few top posts with the highest CTR or engagement rate, depending on your goals
- Compare those posts with their posting times
Is there a trend? If you could identify certain times that do better than the rest, you could continue to post at those times. Otherwise, experiment with a few new posting times.
LinkedIn doesn’t allow filters or provide the published time of each post, so you might find this method tedious — which, if you have a Company Page, is where Buffer comes in.
Here’s how to find your best time to post to LinkedIn with Buffer:
- Log into Buffer, then click on the Analytics tab at the top of the page
- Click on the Posts tab
- Scroll down to Post Insights
- You can sort your posts by the impressions, likes, comments, clicks, and engagement rate. You can also select a custom timeframe or choose from the preset list.
- Once you have sorted your posts according to your preference, do you notice any trends? Are there times that performed better than the rest? Unlike on LinkedIn Analytics, you won't have to navigate away to determine when your best-performing content was posted.
8. Post consistently
LinkedIn has found that 20 posts per month can help you reach 60 percent of your unique audience.
More posts will naturally lead to a higher reach, but there will come a point of diminishing returns. A certain percentage of your audience will always be impossible to reach — because they never log on — so you’re really looking to hit those who log on and scroll their top updates.
Start with 20 quality posts per month and scale up if you see that a fuller schedule comes with more benefits. As it turns out, if you post once a day for four weeks and skip the weekends, you’ll hit 20 posts on the dot — perfect.
Ultimately, it’ll be great to study similar Company Pages, learn what’s working well for them, and experiment with those ideas on your own Company Page. A good starting point is to look for Company Pages that have a similar follower size as you but a higher follower growth or average engagement (i.e., dividing social engagement by the number of updates).
9. Help your colleagues help you
If you run a LinkedIn Page, one of the best groups of people who can help you with your LinkedIn marketing is your colleagues or employees. They can help you boost your posts and increase your company's visibility on LinkedIn.
Here’s how to help them help you:
Encourage them to engage with your posts
Engagement on your posts will help spread your posts to more LinkedIn users, and it turns out your colleagues could be the greatest asset to building this engagement.
LinkedIn previously found that employees are 70 percent more likely to click, share, and comment on an update than a typical LinkedIn user.
You can take advantage of this by making it easy for your colleagues to engage with the content. Send them links every time you post or when critical updates go live. Asking for engagement is sometimes all it takes to get your colleagues involved.
Encourage them to fill out their LinkedIn profiles
LinkedIn offers a great explanation of how your individual LinkedIn profiles influence your brand:
“Your LinkedIn profile – and the profiles of everyone else at the company – are the peaks that come together to form the mountain range that is your brand.”
Besides that, it’s just a wonderfully simple way to spread awareness of your brand. If you are in a company of 50 people, that’s 50 profiles with your company’s name with a quick link to your Company Page. According to LinkedIn, it makes your company more visible in search results both on and off LinkedIn.
Help them build their personal brand on LinkedIn
This one might involve a bit more effort, but you’ll see the return on investment in spades. Plus, creating company thought leaders is a win-win for both the company and the employee.
According to LinkedIn, content posted by employees is seen as three times more authentic and has a click-through rate twice as high as brand accounts.
So, where to start? We’ve got a thorough guide to empowering your employees to build their personal brands on LinkedIn, but here’s a quick summary:
- Help them find their niche: The audience guidance above is a good starting point.
- Support them where possible: Whether that’s an in-depth personal branding course or occasional guidance, both go a long way!
- Lead by example: If company leadership also creates and shares content, it might feel more accessible to them.
- Give them the time and tools they need: Building a presence on LinkedIn takes time and effort. Encourage them to engage during their working hours. Access to tools like Buffer can be beneficial, too!
What have you found works best for you on LinkedIn?
Are there any hurdles you’ve found to getting fully involved with your LinkedIn marketing?It’d be great to hear your experience. We’re experimenting here at Buffer, too, and we’d love to know what you’ve been working through. Leave us a comment below, or find us on LinkedIn.