What You Need to Know About TikTok Carousels

In this article, we’ll cover TikTok carousels – what they are, what they look like, and why you should make them.60 Days, 58 LinkedIn Posts, 568,000 Impressions: Here’s What I Learned

A few years ago, LinkedIn was my strongest marketing channel for my job search coaching business, Recruit the Employer, and I had amassed over 40,000 followers. But then I got a full-time job and put my business — and my social media presence — on pause. 

When I decided to relaunch my company this year, I knew returning to LinkedIn would be part of my social media marketing strategy. But as I started to step back into it, I realized it’s an entirely different landscape than a few years ago. The platform is more saturated with content creators, so it takes more to get attention, and different post styles and content themes seem to resonate. 

Not only could I see these trends while browsing my own feed, but I also tried reposting some of my most popular content from a few years ago, and it completely flopped. For instance, when I shared this post three years ago, it got around 20,000 impressions. I revised and reposted it recently, and it only saw 3,000 impressions and a fraction of the engagement.

I decided to go back to the drawing board and experiment. I committed to spending two months posting nearly every day, with the goal of trying as many different content approaches as possible. Sixty days, 58 posts, and 568,000 impressions later, I analyzed everything to determine my LinkedIn strategy moving forward.

Now, I have a new playbook for best practices for LinkedIn, which I’m detailing here. That said, every audience is slightly different, so I’m also including details on conducting your own experiment to give your content the best chance of resonating with your audience.

What performs well on LinkedIn now

Based on the results of my experiment, these are the guidelines I follow when I batch-create my content each month. 

Text-based posts still reign supreme, but keep them snappy

LinkedIn had come out with new post styles since I had last used the platform, so a big goal of my experiment was to understand which would give me a strong ROI (return on investment). I tried polls, picture posts, carousels, plus text-based posts of various lengths.

Ultimately, I learned that my bread and butter would still be text-only posts — on average, they receive 5,000 to 10,000 impressions each, with top-performing posts seeing 20,000 or more. Plus, they require less effort than others (more on that in a bit).  

But text-based posts require a slightly different style than before. A few years ago, my best-performing posts were dense and storytelling-based, but now the content needs to be much shorter and choppier, almost like a series of sound bites.

Even if the posts themselves are longer, they get more attention if I break the content up into one-line points interjected with line breaks. It makes the content more easily skimmable when folks are scrolling and forces me to get to my point more succinctly — plus, it’s much easier for me to write.

I like to think of it like writing a persuasive paper where every single line is driving people to read the next one.

Polls can serve their own purpose

The other post style I’m excited to pepper into my social media content calendar more frequently is polls. While they were not necessarily my highest-performing posts at around 15,000 impressions each, they provided value in other ways.

For one, they are good for engagement. People love taking quizzes or sharing their opinions, so these types of posts often have the highest amount of interaction and conversation. One poll with 300 participants also garnered 21 comments and 10 personal messages.

60 Days, 58 LinkedIn Posts, 568,000 Impressions: Here’s What I Learned

But more than the metrics, these polls have become a valuable tool for me as a business owner. I can beta-test an idea and see if it’s worth pursuing. I did that with a podcast idea, and I got some interesting feedback that helped me think differently about it. 

60 Days, 58 LinkedIn Posts, 568,000 Impressions: Here’s What I Learned

I can also ask questions to understand ways I can better serve my target audience: Is this a problem that your team faces? Would your team be interested in this sort of solution?

60 Days, 58 LinkedIn Posts, 568,000 Impressions: Here’s What I Learned

The other valuable aspect of polls for business owners is that you can see exactly who responds to them. So, if I pitch a business idea, I’ll reach out directly to the people who voted that they’re interested and start a conversation. It’s a strong way to warmly pitch new business.

I don’t want to do polls all the time because followers may burn out on them, but I like to incorporate them as a second post some days or when I need to fill a hole in my content calendar. 

Your hook is everything

A catchy headline is critical to an article performing well, and similarly, a good hook for a LinkedIn post leads to much better results. And because the platform only shows the first few lines of a post in the feed, that hook has to be no more than a sentence or two.

I found three types of hooks that were the strongest for my audience. The first is sharing numbers or data. Just like quantifying information catches a hiring manager's eye in a resume, quantifying information catches readers’ eyes in the feed.

The second is sharing a strong (and maybe slightly controversial) opinion. These are especially valuable when the goal of a post is building my audience — nothing expands reach like a take that gets people talking.

Finally, when the goal of my post is to reach my ideal customer and move them down the funnel, I like to call out who I’m talking to directly and lean into a problem they may be facing.

Don’t be afraid to get personal

LinkedIn used to be more traditionally professional, but now people are craving connection with the creators and business owners they follow. Many of my most successful posts involved sharing a bit about my personal life, be it my career journey, my experiences as a working mom, or even my faith.

That said, too many leaders overshare in the name of being “vulnerable.”  My rule of thumb is not to post if:

  • I'm doing it to gain sympathy likes. 
  • It could damage my brand's image or reputation.
  • It could embarrass a loved one.
  • It wouldn't be something I'd want my parents or grandparents reading.

It's okay to be vulnerable, but be careful that you aren't just emoting online. Find a community of friends and family to share the inevitable rollercoaster of emotions—not your LinkedIn followers (and potential customers!). 

How to conduct your own experiment

What works on LinkedIn is always changing. Plus, what worked for my business and audience might not work for yours.

So, rather than copy my strategies directly, I encourage other business owners to run their own experiments. Give it at least 30 days of daily-ish posts, give yourself permission to try a variety of approaches (and know some of them will fail!), and use the best practices below to make the most of this exercise.

Start with what’s working for other people

While other people’s structures and strategies might not work for you, they’re a shortcut for starting your experimentation. 

While doing my experiment, I loved browsing LinkedIn to see what posts were succeeding for other people and thinking through how I could apply that to my content.

I always tried to look at creators outside of my niche to ensure I wasn’t directly copying anyone, and I even bought templates from some creators. I especially liked looking at the work of Justin Welsh and Lara Acosta. I still try to do this regularly to keep up with changing preferences on the platform.

Consider the effort that goes into posts

When analyzing your posts’ results, it’s important to consider not only the success metrics but also the ROI. For example, carousels are consistent at getting me 5,000+ impressions, but they don’t consistently perform better than text-based posts, and they take so much more effort that the juice wasn’t worth the squeeze. 

It’s about working smarter, not harder. I think I’ll see more success by having the bandwidth to pump out more text-based posts rather than spending all my time building a few carousels. 

Make sure the content aligns with your brand

Even if a post succeeds, it’s essential to consider whether it’s the right message for your brand. For example, some of my most popular posts were when I called out companies for bad behavior—but I realized that I don’t want to bring that negative energy into my brand ethos. Don’t repeat your most popular posts without ensuring that’s the type of content you want to be known for. 

Post regularly!

In my experience, posting five days a week (at least) is the key to building your LinkedIn presence. Even when the numbers flop, the consistency has allowed me to increase revenue, make meaningful connections, and get feedback on product features. 

After my experiment ended, I still post five days a week and even more when I’m feeling inspired. It’s less about hitting a certain metric and more about connecting with my ideal client. 

LinkedIn is such a great place to be, especially if you’re selling to a B2B audience or professionals. Take the pressure off yourself to be perfect every time, and just commit to showing up. I think you’ll be surprised by how quickly you discover what works for you.

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