5 tips for writing LinkedIn posts people will actually read

To LinkedIn: v. to connect; to share; to learn; to communicate with customers (present and future) in a friendly, often fun, always professional space.

I realise it’s not (yet) a verb. Although it really should be. Why? As a copywriter and lover of the English language, I mostly try to protect words and the way they are used.

But, if we consider that the successful use of LinkedIn can be essential to cost-effective marketing for your business, then the verb ‘to LinkedIn’ makes more sense.

Because if you can ‘LinkedIn’ well, then you can market what you do – without ever leaving your office. Which, in terms of promoting your business in a global pandemic is a massive plus.

Whether you are new to LinkedIn, or just want to pick up copywriting tips to hook LinkedIn readers, here is my guide to writing LinkedIn posts that people will read.

Hook them with a killer headline

Wherever you are in the world, you may well have heard of the British tabloid press. It has quite a reputation.

For all the things it does badly (so many) there are a few things that the British ‘red tops’, as these newspapers are called in the UK, do really, really well.

Top of the list: killer headlines.

On a packed news-stand (those of you who consume online news only might need to use the power of your imagination here), headlines have to stand out to grab attention.

A headline has to make someone pick up that newspaper when they can only see the top third of the front page – and pay good money for it.

All content on LinkedIn is free. But people’s time is increasingly precious. You are now asking them to invest their time in reading your post. Your headline has to catch their eye as they scroll – and to make them want to know more.

A headline might be only 3-5 words. In fact, it should be only 3-5 words. You need those words to pack a punch. Spend as much time creating your headline as you do the rest of your post.

Because without a killer headline, the rest of your post might (for which read: probably will) remain unread.

What’s your LinkedIn call to action?

Marketing folk love to talk about calls to action, or CTAs as they prefer to call them. This is one slice of jargon that is worth understanding.

Why? Because a Call to Action simply means getting someone to do what you want them to do.

Do you want people to visit your website? Call your new sales team? Test your latest product? Or share your company news with others in your industry?

Whatever it is you want people to do when they read your LinkedIn post the best way to make it happen, is to ask.

It is that simple.

Ask. Politely. And, if you think it will help, then explain why it’s a great thing for them to do. (That might mean an incentive, depending on your industry).

People often save their CTA for the grand finale of their LinkedIn post. Don’t make that mistake. Your readers are really busy. If your post is more than a couple of sentences, then pepper it with gentle CTAs – because not everyone will read to the end.

Perfect your LinkedIn fold

Not even the experts can agree exactly how many words LinkedIn displays in your posts before the dreaded ‘read more…’ words appear.

But, it’s safe to say that unless everything you want to say can be condensed into two crisp sentences, you need to perfect your LinkedIn fold technique.

Why? Because getting cut off of partway through a sentence looks like bad copy planning. And worse, you might lose people’s interest. After all, there’s a never-ending scroll below your post…

Humans are, by nature, curious. If you can make them want to read more, they will.

The easiest way is to ask a question. Or you can use the fact that even the most professional folk suffer from FOMO. How can you persuade your readers that if they do not ‘read more’ they will miss out?

I am not a robot. Or how to be a human on LinkedIn

How many times have you had to click all the photo squares with bridges/traffic lights/motorbikes…? Does it drive you round the twist?

I’m guessing, yes.

It does, however, highlight a considerable benefit to being a real-life human on the internet.

No robot can (yet) communicate as we can on LinkedIn. However, lots of real-life people seem to speak to each other like automated creatures on the platform.

Faced with a wall of technology, conversation becomes stilted, and people seek comfort in simple likes and emoji emotions.

LinkedIn is the perfect place to be a professional human. Personal stories are shared within a supportive context that elevates human connections and celebrates peoples’ success.

It’s distinctly different from other social media platforms in its approach and, for the most part, everyone on LinkedIn is polite.

Treat LinkedIn like the conversation you would have with your customers at a trade show, over the phone, or in the pub. Share stories of the people behind your company logo. Toast their successes, their promotions and their new campaigns.

Put faces and names to the latest brands and products you launch. Explain how Tom in accounts makes it all happen. Give Beth in dispatch a LinkedIn pat on the back for her work with last weeks’ bulk order.

While you are singing the praises of your non-robot staff, please remember that being human on social media also means commenting on other people’s posts.

You don’t want to be the bore in the kitchen at a party who just talks about themselves, do you?

Get involved with other people’s stories and successes. That’s how this social media lark works best, and it all helps build your LinkedIn profile and audience. Win, win.

How to get people talking about you on LinkedIn (in the right way)

The very best way to market yourself on social media is to get people talking about what you have said, so they do your marketing for you.

Whenever you share industry statistics or insights, add your expert comment. Can you offer your thoughts on a market report that will help your customers focus their decision making?

Be honest, it might not win you every sale, but you will gain something far more valuable – trust in your brand.

Whenever you share something that can get people talking, with your advice or guidance, it builds your profile as a trusted source. It makes it much more likely that your future posts will be read – and shared.

People will realise fast that they can learn from your posts. Which makes them much more likely to read future posts from you.

Wait…isn’t that the whole point of this blog? Excellent. Job done.

Now, if you want a guaranteed way to write LinkedIn posts that people will read, you can employ a copywriter.

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