We’re not talking about broems or posts that fuel interaction. You saw them. Asking people to respond to a survey with different responses. Look, they were a little smart at first, but people got tired of them.
The social media team at Moyens I/O uses posts without links to ask questions and get to know the LinkedIn community. These posts are all about igniting the conversation – an easier task said than done, especially with LinkedIn feeds getting more crowded as the year goes on.
To see how this disconnected LinkedIn posting strategy stacks up (say that five times faster), we decided to do an experiment. Read on to see how Moyens I/O’s Social Media Strategist (EMEA) Iain Beable extracts and analyzes the numbers.
Hypothesis: LinkedIn posts without links will get more engagement and reach
In a recent Moyens I/O experiment, we found that unlinked tweets get more engagement than linked ones. We thought we’d see if the same goes for LinkedIn.
As with the Twitter experiment, our hunch was that our LinkedIn community would find posts without links and calls-to-action more engaging so that such posts would gain more reach.
Moyens I/O’s LinkedIn marketing strategy includes a mix of posts with and without links.
As in previous experiments, the aim was not to create a perfect testing environment. Instead, we went with our usual programming to test how unlinked posts perform inside.
Our testing period was 60 days from January 22 to March 22, 2021. This time period coincided with a major campaign period. As a result, Moyens I/O posted 177 links compared to 7 posts with no links.
While this may seem like an unbalanced sample set, it allowed us to put unlinked posts to a much tougher test. Linked posts had a 177 chance to “go viral” and skew the dataset, while unlinked posts had only 7 tries.
Overview of the methodology
- Timeframe: January 22 – March 22, 2021
- Total number of posts: 184 (177 linked, 7 unlinked)
- Percentage of unlinked posts: 3.8%
All unlinked posts were organic and had no hashtags.
TL; DR: On average, posts without links 6 times more Get more access from posts with links. When there are unlinked posts less shares on average, they almost got 4 times more reactions and 18 times more comments more than the average post with a link.
|Hunt per unlinked post||–||29,337.57||238.71||63.57||8.57||1,002.14|
|Hunt per linked post||–||4,713.72||65.16||3.44||9.22||293.98|
“As you can see, the data shows that posts without links outperform posts with links in terms of engagement,” Beable says.
Unlinked posts gained a lot more impressions on average, even though they didn’t have the help of hashtags or paid boosts.
The only metric where linked posts outperformed those without was shares, but even there the results were close.
The average engagement rate for posts without links was 4.12%, slightly lower than the rate for posts with links, i.e. 4.19%. This is probably because posts without links get 6x more impressions. So while the average reaction and comment scores for unlinked posts were higher, they didn’t quite achieve a winning engagement rate.
What do the results mean?
Let’s expand on the results a little more. These are our 4 key takeaways based on analysis of Moyens I/O Analytics data and the posts themselves.
1. Quality engagement increases organic reach
Likes are considered a measure of vanity for a reason. “I can quickly fly through my LinkedIn feed and like a number of posts without actually digesting the content,” Beable says.
Some also see comments as an empty measure, but it takes more effort and time than a double tap.
“Reviews tell us that a user is much more invested in the content, willing to take the time to chat and share their thoughts. Ranking the quality of engagement, comments and shares far outweigh the reactions.”
– Iain Beable, Social Media Strategist
LinkedIn’s algorithm picks up on that, too. The more quality engagement your post gets, the more likely it is to appear on people’s posts. This is most likely the reason for the average impressions for our unlinked posts. more than 6 times higher more than posts with links.
2. Worth talking to your audience
The lure of using social channels to push links and drive traffic is real. Click-through rates and conversions may be easier to tie into return on investment (ROI), but community engagement also has value – even if it’s harder to measure.
“One of our goals is to befriend the social media community,” Beable says. “We speak directly to the social media executives there to show that we understand the issues and challenges they face in their roles,” he explains.
Posts that appeal to your community build brand loyalty and generally generate good vibes. Just look at some of the replies to the messages above.
“These posts may not be a huge driver of return on investment, but with the right strategy, they can dramatically increase your share of voice, and it’s hard to put a price on it,” Beable says.
3. Don’t do all the talking, ignite conversations
Social media shouldn’t be a yell race, even though it may seem like that sometimes.
“Social is designed to be social,” Beable says. just don’t talk also talk to your followers with to them. Activate conversations and keep them engaged by engaging with responses.
“We achieved this by jumping on current trends like “tell me before I tell you” and asking our audiences direct questions about their experience working on social media,” Beable says. “I believe it works primarily because it brings our audiences together and creates a sense of unity and belonging to the community.”
Do your research before starting the conversation, Beable says. Take time for social listening to identify common issues and popular topics. Pay attention to trends, too, so you can stay ahead of the curve and take advantage of them while they’re trending.
4. Not all platform metrics are created equal
Unlinked posts lag behind link-only posts in terms of average share count. But it’s worth considering what type of content people tend to post on LinkedIn.
“LinkedIn is a little different from platforms like Twitter where retweets are common,” Beable says.
LinkedIn is first and foremost a professional social network. The return on sharing content on LinkedIn can be higher than on other social channels.
“It’s a little harder to get shares on LinkedIn because users want to make sure they’re only sharing content that’s relevant to their professional network,” he explains.
On LinkedIn, the need for content that will deliver “value” is imperative, whether it’s a thoughtful anecdote, an interesting article, or a business opportunity. As a result, posts with links may be more shareable by default, as they need to offer something of value or interest. Posts that ask questions or appeal to an audience can be harder to share (but easier to engage with otherwise) because a follower’s audience may not be the same as yours.
While this may seem like a drawback, keep in mind that unlinked posts get a lot more views than linked posts. This means that it is very possible to gain access through engagements other than shares.
Easily manage your LinkedIn Page along with your other social channels using Moyens I/O. From a single platform, you can schedule and share content, including video, interact with your network, and boost top-performing content. Try it today.