You have valuable content to share—be it long posts, articles, video, or audio—but it’s not being seen and appreciated by your audience. You conclude that your efforts are being wasted. They are if all you’re doing is flooding your connections’ feeds with your content.
One viable form of content not listed in the paragraph above is comments written in response to other LinkedIn members’ posts. While you might be posting like a bandit, you’re losing half the battle if you’re not commenting on what other’s post.
First of all, what not to do
As mentioned above, don’t flood the platform with your content. This is intrusive and, quite honestly, comes across as desperate for attention. I was asked by Orlando Hanyes during an interview on Career Talks how often a person should share content on LinkedIn. You can watch the video here.
I thought for a moment and responded with, “Enough to not come across as obnoxious.” I continued to say that what’s more important is commenting on the content that members in your network post, because when it comes down to it, you’re really communicating with the LinkedIn community.
You’ve read and heard it said that simply reacting to what others post is not enough, and it’s not. I’m guilty of doing this on occasion, but it’s usually because I’ve received the same treatment from the people who are quick to hit “like” and move on to other posts. I need to be better than those who simply react.
For job seekers, avoid simply reacting to what others on LinkedIn post. Follow the the key elements of commenting mentioned below. You’ll find it to be hard work, but it’s essential to being noticed on LinkedIn.
How to properly comment
If you’re someone who needs to know the quantified length of words for a comment, I won’t provide it. The reason is because a one-word comment might be as effective as a 200-word comment. But this is very rarely the case. It’s been stated that a five-word comment is the minimum.
What’s most important is the value of your comments. One thing I advise my clients to do is read the post or article, listen to the podcast, or watch the whole video before commenting on them. The person who produces content probably put a lot of effort into it and would like to know it wasn’t all in vein.
There’s nothing more annoying than someone writing, “Great post” and leaving it at that. This is a great opportunity to continue the conversation started by the poster. Also consider ending your comments with a question. I’ve seen a post take on a life of its own because of the comments it generated.
“Bob McIntosh, this is, by far, the most complete and well thought out set of interview advice, including video interview advice, I have ever seen in my 30 years of recruiting. I will be sure that all of my candidates see it from this point forward...
“I would like to add an additional point to it however. Please remember that an interview is a two way conversation and that you want to make sure that at the conclusion of the interview the interviewers leave knowing all of the things about you that you wanted them to know.
“I suggest that you choose the 3-5 most important things and make sure that you work those things into an answer you give somewhere during the interview. If, however, you get to the end and there is one point you have yet to bring up, when the interviewer asks if you have any questions, you ask a question that starts a conversation that allow you to bring up your last point!”
Note: did you notice that Wendy tagged me? By doing this, I saw in my Notifications that she commented on my article. Make sure when you comment on someone’s content that you give them a heads-up. They’ll appreciate this.
Reciprocation is key to success
It might seem counterintuitive but in order to receive, you need to give. This is the essence of networking. It’s also good manners.
Here’s how it works: in the course of your search for content to consume, you happen upon three posts, two articles, and one video that are written by your connections. For each one, you write a substantial comment of anywhere between 20 to 30 words (again, an arbitrary number).
The LinkedIn members who produced the content and see your comments will naturally feel they should return the favor whenever you produce content. I explained to Orlando Haynes that this is the natural flow of communicating on LinkedIn.
Comment within reason. Of course you can’t comment on everyone’s posts. That would require you to spend the majority of your day on LinkedIn. I have two rules when it comes to reciprocation.
- Put a healthy limit on how much commenting you’ll do. Another one of my valued connections, Karen Tisdell, uses a 9:1 ration. In other words, she attempts to write nine comments to every post she produces. Karen also states that you can “suck the air” out of previous content by posting too often.
- Write more in your comments than your connections do. I mentioned above that if someone only reacts to what I produce, I’ll do the same; but this is only if it’s a recurring theme.
Helping the poster helps you
There’s power in alignment with LinkedIn members who have sway; dare I say, are influencers. While this doesn’t help you immediately, eventually you will become known by the LinkedIn community.
Job seekers should get in the habit of commenting on as many posts they can. Their face and tagline will appear more often, especially when they comment on posts written by people who have a large following. (Don’t take this to mean that you stalk members with a large following.)
If you want people to engage with your posts, you need to engage with them first. Remember reciprocation? I asked Kevin Turner, whom I consider to be extremely knowledgeable in all things LinkedIn, what he considers to be the benefits of commenting on LinkedIn:
“Commenting is definitely part of the overall platform math. Value add commenting (not drive-bys) on others’ posts is showing engagement within the community and [In] values that as part of your predictive [nature].
“If the Author is highly followed and respected, one of the biggest values for a commenter is alignment, basically riding their coat tails. If the Author, as described above, is outside of your 1st or 2nd level connections the biggest benefit may be reach. The other biggest value is in building a support reputation and perhaps some return reciprocity.
“Is Commenting as valued by [In] as Posting and Nurturing that conversation, absolutely not. I do believe many Creators push it because in its own sense, it is self serving. The more the Author convinces others that commenting is a big deal, the better their posts do.“
Although LinkedIn doesn’t count your comments in their algorithm (a four-step process including: creating content, user flagging, universal filtering, and finally human editing, any content that passes with flying colors will reach your feed), it reasons that the more you comment on “quality posts,” the more you’ll be noticed by top contributors.
Another valued connection of mine, Erica Reckamp, made it her mission to comment on as many posts as she could. I reached out to her one day and asked when she would start posting her own content, because what she wrote in form of comments was truly outstanding. Her response was something akin to, “In good time.” Now she is posting on a regular basis.