How Does the LinkedIn Algorithm Actually Work?

Understanding the LinkedIn algorithm is essential in the digital networking era, particularly for professionals and businesses in dynamic markets like Thailand.

LinkedIn’s vast network of almost a billion users serves as a vital platform for anyone looking to connect, engage, and grow professionally or business-wise. This knowledge is especially crucial for individual accounts, though business accounts also reap significant benefits.

By mastering LinkedIn’s algorithm, whether as an experienced business leader or a newcomer to the professional scene, you can unlock a world of opportunities, connecting with key decision-makers and accessing a treasure trove of career and business prospects.

Who’s on LinkedIn?

As of October 2023, LinkedIn boasts an impressive user base with over 4.7 million LinkedIn users in Thailand. Globally, LinkedIn has reported that about 80% of LinkedIn users are responsible for driving business decisions in their organizations, with positions such as managers, directors, owners, and C-level executives.

If we apply this percentage to the 4.7 million LinkedIn users in Thailand, we can estimate that over 3.5 million of these users are likely to be in decision-making roles. That’s a massive percentage of local decision makers and a number that no other social media platform can even come close to.

This makes the platform an invaluable tool for B2B marketing and networking, providing direct access to industry leaders and potential clients.

LinkedIn’s Algorithm: The Basics

At its core, LinkedIn’s algorithm is designed to promote engaging, relevant, and professional content. Unlike other social media platforms, LinkedIn prioritizes value over virality. This means that sensationalist content designed to rack up likes and shares may not fare as well here. Instead, LinkedIn rewards content that stimulates professional conversations and networking.

Successful content types foster meaningful engagement on LinkedIn by providing value, encouraging interaction, and building professional connections. For example:

  • Industry Insights: Sharing new research or trends in your industry.
  • Professional Development Tips: Offering advice on skills development and career growth.
  • Case Studies: Discussing successful projects or business strategies you or your company have implemented.
  • Thought Leadership Articles: Writing about your perspectives on industry-related topics.
  • Career Advice: Offering guidance on job searching, interviews, and career planning.
  • Business Challenges and Solutions: Discussing common problems in your field and proposing solutions.
  • Networking Tips: Sharing strategies for building and maintaining professional relationships.
  • Company News: Announcing new products, services, or company milestones.
  • Industry Events: Sharing information about upcoming conferences, webinars, or meetups.
  • Job Openings: Posting about vacancies in your organization.
  • Polls and Surveys: Engaging your network with questions about industry-related topics.
  • Success Stories: Sharing personal or company achievements.
  • Book Recommendations: Suggesting books that are beneficial for professional development.
  • Technology Updates: Discussing the latest technological advancements in your industry.
  • Expert Interviews: Sharing conversations with industry leaders or experts.
  • Training and Workshop Announcements: Informing about upcoming educational opportunities.
  • Regulatory Changes: Discussing how new laws or regulations impact your industry.
  • Diversity and Inclusion Initiatives: Highlighting efforts to promote diversity in the workplace.
  • Mentorship Opportunities: Offering or seeking mentorship for professional growth.
  • Personal Stories: Sharing experiences that offer valuable business or career lessons.

If this all sounds like too much hassle, you can always outsource your LinkedIn management in Bangkok to the experts.

How the Algorithm Sorts Content

When you post on LinkedIn, the algorithm initially classifies your content into one of three categories: spam, low-quality, or high-quality. This classification is crucial because it determines whether your post gets a wider audience or dwindles into obscurity.

  • Spam: If the content appears to be spammy, it is likely to be filtered out immediately. LinkedIn has specific criteria to identify spam, such as the use of excessive hashtags, irrelevant content, or engagement bait tactics.
  • Low-Quality: Posts that don’t necessarily violate spam guidelines but are still deemed low in value (like overly promotional content or content that doesn’t encourage professional discussion) fall into this category. These posts may still appear in feeds, but they will have limited visibility.
  • High-Quality: Content that is engaging, relevant, and adds value to professional conversations is categorized as high-quality. This includes insightful articles, thoughtful commentary, and valuable industry updates.

If your post is marked as high-quality, LinkedIn then tests it with a small segment of your network. If these initial viewers engage with the post (think likes, comments, and shares), the algorithm interprets this as a green light to further disseminate your content.

Engagement: The Core of LinkedIn’s Algorithm

LinkedIn’s algorithm heavily weighs engagement, but not all engagement is equal. Genuine, thoughtful comments are valued more than likes or superficial reactions. This is where individual accounts have an advantage – personalized, authentic interactions reflect the human aspect of networking, which is LinkedIn’s mainstay.

LinkedIn values different types of engagements differently. For example:

  • Comments: Detailed, relevant comments on a post are weighted more heavily than other types of engagement. For instance, a comment that adds to the discussion, asks a thoughtful question, or provides additional insights is highly valued.
  • Likes and Superficial Reactions: While likes and reactions (such as claps, thumbs up, etc.) do contribute to engagement, they are considered less significant than comments. These are seen as more passive forms of engagement.

Value of Genuine, Thoughtful Comments:

  • Expanding on the Post’s Topic: A comment that elaborates on the post, offering personal insights or further explanation.
  • Asking Relevant Questions: Engaging with the post by asking questions that prompt further discussion.
  • Sharing Personal Experiences: Adding a comment that relates a personal story or experience relevant to the post.
  • Offering Constructive Feedback or Alternative Views: Thoughtfully disagreeing or presenting a different perspective in a respectful way.

Advantages for Individual Accounts:

  • Personalized Responses: Individual accounts can interact in a more personalized manner, such as by addressing commenters by name or relating the post to their experiences.
  • Authentic Interactions: Sharing genuine thoughts or experiences rather than generic statements. For instance, instead of saying “Great post!”, an individual might say, “Your insights on X really resonate with my experience in Y, particularly when you mentioned Z.”
  • Networking Conversations: Engaging in back-and-forth discussions in the comments, similar to a professional networking conversation.
  • Building Relationships: Using the platform to reach out and connect with other professionals by commenting on their posts or responding to comments on your own.

Reflecting the Human Aspect of Networking:

  • Showing Support and Encouragement: Encouraging others in their professional endeavors, such as congratulating someone on a new job or project.
  • Mentorship and Advice: Offering advice or mentorship in comments, contributing to others’ professional growth.
  • Collaborative Discussions: Participating in or initiating discussions that foster collaboration or collective problem-solving.

By focusing on these types of interactions, individual LinkedIn users can effectively leverage the platform’s emphasis on authentic, meaningful engagement, which aligns with LinkedIn’s goal of fostering professional networking and development.

The Role of Connections

Your connections play a significant role in how your content is distributed. LinkedIn favors content shared within your immediate network (first-degree connections), but it also considers the relevancy of your content to extended networks (second and third-degree connections). This interconnected web of professional relationships forms the backbone of LinkedIn’s content distribution strategy.

Many people are selective with who they accept or request connections from. However, at Lexicon, we feel that this is a mistake. Treat LinkedIn like the enormous global networking event that it is. That doesn’t mean you have to accept connection requests from every Tom, Dick and Harry. But you should certainly be identifying your ideal target audience and connecting to as many of them as possible while filtering by location, job title and industry.

You can add up to 400 new connections per month with a maximum connection total of 30,000 people. For most of us, that’s plenty of relevant potential clients.

Tips for Individual Accounts

Optimize Your Profile: Before diving into content creation, ensure your LinkedIn profile is polished and professional. This includes a clear profile picture, a compelling summary, and a detailed experience section. Your profile is your digital handshake – make it count.

Create Valuable Content: Share insights, experiences, and learnings that add value to your network. Think about what your connections would find helpful or insightful. This may be more complicated than it sounds, and a proper strategy is key. Without it, you’ll be posting haphazardly and experiencing long periods in a public state of incommunicado. Lexicon can help you to craft your strategy with our LinkedIn management service.

Engage Authentically: Don’t just post and vanish. Engage with comments, contribute to discussions, and be a part of the community. Authentic engagement is a cornerstone of LinkedIn’s ethos.

Give Yourself KPIs: Add comments to a few of your target’s posts per day and be sure to reply to all comments on your own posts to boost your engagement. Also set yourself goals for frequency of posts and track your number of new connections each month.

Leverage Multimedia: LinkedIn isn’t just about text posts. Video production, creative images, photographs and infographics can generate more engagement. Be creative but keep it professional and relevant.

For some examples of how Bangkok-based professionals have experienced success on LinkedIn, consider the team at Connexus Global. Connexus provides a healthy mix of thought leadership, provocative discussion starters on relevant contemporary issues with a behind-closed-doors insight into the company’s vibrant culture.

For just one example of this approach in action, check out this post. This single post reached over 600,000 people and is illustrative of what the LinkedIn algorithm rewards. It’s provocative, but insightful. It draws upon Peter’s expert professional experience and provides guidance to business leaders on an under-discussed topic.

As a result, conversation went wild in the comments section with almost 400 comments from interested parties keen to join in the conversation and add their personal experiences.

The lesson from this single post is applicable to all of your content. Give careful consideration to who you are creating content for. You don’t need to appeal to the whole world, but know the brand, its services, your audience and their pain points as a starting point. With this knowledge, create content that is not focused on the hard sell, but instead is designed to start conversation and be helpful.

Leveraging LinkedIn for Business Accounts

For business accounts, the principles remain similar, with a few tweaks:

Showcase Your Company Culture: Share behind-the-scenes content, employee stories, and company achievements. This humanizes your brand and can foster engagement.

Industry Insights and Trends: Sharing industry news and insights positions your business as a thought leader and go-to source for valuable information.

Employee Advocacy: Encourage your employees to engage with your content. Their engagement can amplify your reach significantly.

LinkedIn Analytics: Utilize LinkedIn’s analytics tools to understand what type of content resonates with your audience and adjust your strategy accordingly.

Navigating the Algorithm in 2024 and Beyond

LinkedIn’s algorithm is ever-evolving, with a consistent emphasis on professional and meaningful content. As we move into 2024 and beyond, staying abreast of these changes and understanding the platform’s nuances will be key to maximizing your LinkedIn presence.

Whether you’re an individual looking to grow your professional network or a business aiming to enhance your brand’s visibility, grasping the intricacies of LinkedIn’s algorithm can open doors to new opportunities and connections.

In Summary: Key Takeaways from Understanding LinkedIn’s Algorithm

LinkedIn’s User Base and Decision-Makers: With almost a billion users globally, including over 4.7 million in Thailand, LinkedIn is a powerful platform for professionals and businesses. A significant portion of these users are in decision-making roles, making LinkedIn an invaluable tool for B2B marketing and networking.

Algorithm Fundamentals: LinkedIn’s algorithm prioritizes engaging, relevant, and professional content, favoring value and insightful engagement over virality. This approach rewards content that fosters professional conversations and networking, rather than just generating likes and shares.

Content Classification and Distribution: The algorithm classifies content into spam, low-quality, or high-quality. High-quality content that stimulates genuine engagement, especially through comments, is more likely to be widely disseminated across the platform.

Engagement Quality Over Quantity: Authentic, thoughtful interactions are more valuable than superficial engagement. Personalized responses, sharing expertise, and fostering meaningful conversations are key to leveraging LinkedIn effectively.

Strategic Content Creation and Networking: To maximize the potential of LinkedIn, it’s crucial to create content that resonates with your target audience, emphasizing quality over hard selling. Building and maintaining a strategic network of connections, including leveraging multimedia content, enhances visibility and engagement.

By mastering these aspects of LinkedIn’s algorithm, individuals and businesses can unlock new opportunities and grow their professional networks and brand presence effectively on the platform.

About the Author

David Norcross is an award-winning LinkedIn & marketing & Executive Branding expert with over 15 years of experience in the industry and over 20,000 followers on LinkedIn. He’s the founder and CEO of Lexicon as well as the Chairman of the British Chamber of Commerce in Thailand Marketing & Communications Committee.

Lexicon is an award-winning brand storytelling agency focusing on telling impactful stories for clients based in Thailand and South East Asia.


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