I’m generally not a negative person. If there’s something new to try, I’m usually the first to sign up. In fact, some may say I’m over-enthusiastic.
But while I’m always staying up with the latest social media trends, I draw the line at cheating the system (as much as the engagement rate may give me a temporary ego boost)! I’ve recently seen a lot of “LinkedIn hacks” and services that promise the world and it can make my blood boil.
Why? Because businesses desperate to get ahead are the most likely to fall prey to these promises and they’re the most vulnerable and less likely to be able to bounce back from social media strategies that go wrong. And I know from professional and personal experiences that they almost always come back to bite you.
So I thought I’d share the 6 LinkedIn algorithm hacks that are circulating today and why they’re nothing more than a short-term fix to your social media strategy. And what you should focus on instead!
6 Common LinkedIn Algorithm “Hacks”
Connecting With Everyone To Build Your Network
We’ve seen some LinkedIn “experts” and even social selling agencies advocating a spray-and-pray approach to connection requests. After all, who doesn’t want to secretly meet the 500+ connections mark on LinkedIn - and then more? A large network feels like an achievement.
You may get away with sending 100 connection requests and achieving a 30% acceptance rate but what about your long-term goals and objectives?
- Can they add value to your ongoing learning?
- Are they customers or prospects you wish to engage with?
- Do you share common interest or passions?
Take a leaf out of the influencers book. We’re now seeing that micro-influencers drive much more engagement and better business outcomes than those with mass followers. All because they’ve cultivated a network of loyal and relevant followers, instead of focusing on numbers.
Automated Connections And Follow-Ups
Software that not only automatically makes connection requests with 2nd or 3rd degree contacts but has built-in auto-responder features sounds like a dream come true. But it’s also too good to be true!
The minute you automate your messages to potential new contacts, they’ll fall into the “spam” category of connection requests we all hate to receive. And while we’re fully behind marketing automation, sending a ready-made follow-up to a new connection can ruin any chance you have of making a personal connection.
Using Clickbait Methods
LinkedIn news feeds are starting to fill with what would be better placed on Upworthy - posts that draw people in with the promise of something better.
There’s a world of difference between a catchy headline or opening and clickbait. As Alex Cattoni explains on LinkedIn: Clickbait or Catchy Hook? How To Write Headlines That DON’T Suck, clickbait differs from a catchy headline that can reel people in that it’s:
“An intentionally sensationalized, vague or misleading headline that leads to content that’s irrelevant, provides no value or just straight out lies. You know, real... fake news.”
As she rightly points out it can harm your brand loyalty and you’ve likely lost that customer - or LinkedIn connection - forever.
Whether it’s a clickbait headline or a LinkedIn “hack” such as encouraging people to click on photos for a big reveal - these short-term tactics can do untold damage to your brand.
If there’s one “hack” that was always destined to fail, it’s LinkedIn pods - a group of people who commit to engaging with each others’ posts to trick LinkedIn’s algorithm into thinking that the post must be good quality.
The comments from pod members are often unmistakable, generally offering nothing to the discussion except sickly praise. (And in Britain at least, fawning praise can expose you to ridicule.) Not to mention the typos that show all the hallmarks of a comment made without any thought.
It’s no surprise that, although LinkedIn pods worked back in 2020, LinkedIn’s algorithm has been updated to detect pod-like behaviour and mark your posts as spam. Other users will spot this and call it out, too.
You would think that plagiarising content or stealing others’ ideas would be a given no-go on a saying on a professional network. But as these posts show, it’s surprisingly common.
Who can forget the flurry of posts when pub lockdown rules were lifted, with people humble bragging about how they’d bought the same old man a drink?
While this example may be more extreme, if your audience gets a sense of deja vu when they read your posts then it will ruin your long-term chances of being seen as a go-to source of original insights and the latest industry news. Who wants third-hand information, after all?
Zero Input Done-For-You Social Posts
A hack is really any way to save time or “beat the system”. So what better than a service that promises to do it all for your business, with zero input from you?
The truth is that there can never be any shortcut to great social posts. As we said in Why And How To Use Copywriters As a Relay Race to Social Media Authenticity, people expect to connect with real people on social media - not your ghostwriter!
While your leaders may be too busy to write their own posts, they can still help ensure it’s genuine but they will need to provide some input, such as:
- Providing at one of voice brief
- Sample written material for tone of voice
- Audio/video recordings to quickly share their thoughts on a subject
Responding to messages should never be delegated, though - it’s just a recipe for disaster. And the long-term goal should really be to give them a kickstart social media presence that they can then build on after they’ve experienced the effect of an active and relevant social media presence.
The LinkedIn Algorithm Always Wins
LinkedIn algorithms - or any search or social platform - are constantly updated and reviewed to ensure that they deliver the best possible experience for their users. While cheats may work for a while, they won’t fly under the platform’s radar. So if you’ve spotted a trend, they have too – and if it negatively affects their users’ experience their team of top developers/software engineers will be working hard to penalise these tricks in their future updates.
And in the meantime? When you employ cheat methods to try to beat the system, as we’ve seen, they often result in a bad experience for your network. So while you may not see the effects immediately, you can expect your engagement rates to fall and your long-term goals to drop- such as leads, sales, brand loyalty and customer satisfaction levels.
So what should you do?
Focus on building long-term relationships. It’s as simple as that! When you change your focus to:
- Quality over quantity connections
- Considering what content your audience wants to read
- Engaging with others because you have meaningful insights to add or you’re genuinely happy for their achievements
That never goes out of fashion.
It’s just like relationships in real-life. We all crave genuine connections with people and when those around us take a genuine interest in what we have to say and we share things in common, the relationship builds. When it’s faked, it makes us feel uneasy - even if we can’t quite pinpoint why - and we find ourselves shying away from contact.
If you want to know the social selling strategies that work now (and aren’t quick-fix-paper-over-the-cracks strategies), then why not trial our social selling eLearning for free?