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Almost Timely News, 19 September 2021: LinkedIn Experiment, Link in Bio, Email Metrics

Almost Timely News

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What’s On My Mind: Pick It and Rock It

I started an experiment last month. Across all social networks, I’ll be honest, I make a minimal effort to show up and do stuff for the most part because it’s not the best use of my time. I schedule my content in advance, and I only reply or interact if I’m tagged for relevant conversations. In short, I’m pretty terrible at the social part of social media.

Good thing I don’t tout myself as a social media expert.

But last month, after reading up extensively on the machine learning that powers LinkedIn, I decided to try taking my knowledge and my reading about how LinkedIn’s AI works and apply it. What would happen if I picked one channel – LinkedIn – and did what the algorithms were looking for?

Here’s what we know from various research papers, developer interviews, etc. about LinkedIn:

  • It uses multi-objective optimization and takes things like complaints and “I don’t want to see this” seriously.
  • It uses your network of connections to help decide what to show you.
  • It weighs your content by how fast people interact with it, and measures not only the probability of people doing stuff with your content and their networks (“downstream metrics”) but also how likely it is to keep the creator engaged and active (“upstream metrics”).

So, what I changed was this:

  • I stopped curating content on LinkedIn because I didn’t have time to interact with it.
  • I pruned a lot of first degree connections that were irrelevant to my interests and that I had never really interacted with.
  • I cleaned out my pending invites.
  • I posted once per day – and not even every day – and then checked back in frequently on that post, interacting with ANY interactions on it.
  • I made sure to interact with at least 3 people’s content each day.
  • I made sure to flag “I don’t want to see this” on anything in my feed 3 times a day, 60 seconds per checkup, and reported obvious bad behavior.
  • I made sure to tag relevant people and organizations in those posts as appropriate.

What happened? What have been the results? Here’s a look at the four major social networks year to date:

Google Analytics traffic to my site for social networks click to see the full size version

We see that for a good chunk of the year, Twitter has been my most impactful network in terms of traffic it drives. Then in August, that changes. Let’s hide everything except LinkedIn:

LinkedIn traffic to my website click to see the full size version

You don’t need to be a data scientist to figure that one out. That’s an 8-10x improvement in traffic to my website from LinkedIn because my engagement strategy and tactics were in line with what the algorithms were looking for.

Now, this is a sample of one. I already have a large number of connections on LinkedIn, nearly 30,000 first-degree connections. So your results, should you want to try this experiment, will probably vary. But doing the things that the machine learning model is looking for isn’t a bad idea. I’d encourage you to run a test for yourself. See if you can replicate this result.

As for me, I’m going to start reading up on Tiktok, I think. See if there’s a there, there from an algorithm and machine learning perspective.

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ICYMI: In Case You Missed it

If I had to suggest only one of these articles to read from this week, it would be the piece on Instagram engagement and the use of “link in bio” in posts. The reason why is I wasn’t satisfied with some of the existing studies on the topic, so I did my own.

Skill Up With Free Classes

These are just a few of the free classes I have available over at the Trust Insights website that you can take.

Thank You Notes

These are the places you’ve had or mentioned me – on your podcast, on your blog, in your newsletter. Thank you!

What I’m Reading: Your Stuff

Let’s look at the most interesting content from around the web on topics you care about, some of which you might have even written.

Social Media Marketing

Media and Content

SEO, Google, and Paid Media

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Tools, Machine Learning, and AI

Analytics, Stats, and Data Science

All Things IBM

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Good Reads, Long Reads, Interesting Stuff

Fun, Games, and Entertainment

Economics, Politics, Environment, and Society

Ad: How to Prove the ROI of your Marketing Agency

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How to Stay in Touch

Let’s make sure we’re connected in the places it suits you best. Here’s where you can find different content:

Events I’ll Be At

Here’s where I’m speaking and attending. Say hi if you’re at an event also:

  • Content Marketing World, September 2021, Cleveland, OH
  • MarketingProfs B2B Forum, October 2021, virtual
  • HELLO Conference, October 2021, New Jersey

Events marked with a physical location may become virtual if conditions and safety warrant it.

If you’re an event organizer, let me help your event shine. Visit my speaking page for more details.

Can’t be at an event? Stop by my private Slack group instead, Analytics for Marketers.

Required Disclosures

Events with links have purchased sponsorships in this newsletter and as a result, I receive direct financial compensation for promoting them.

Advertisements in this newsletter have paid to be promoted, and as a result, I receive direct financial compensation for promoting them.

My company, Trust Insights, maintains business partnerships with companies including, but not limited to, IBM, Cisco Systems, Amazon, Talkwalker, MarketingProfs, MarketMuse, Agorapulse, Hubspot, Informa, Demandbase, The Marketing AI Institute, and others. While links shared from partners are not explicit endorsements, nor do they directly financially benefit Trust Insights, a commercial relationship exists for which Trust Insights may receive indirect financial benefit, and thus I may receive indirect financial benefit from them as well.

Thank You!

Thanks for subscribing and reading this far. I appreciate it. As always, thank you for your support, your attention, and your kindness.

See you next week,

Christopher S. Penn


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