How to cultivate a thriving LinkedIn feed: A green thumb guide

I noticed that the quality of my LinkedIn feed has dropped over the last few months.

I’m seeing random political posts someone I connected with 5 years ago commented on. Corporate posts from companies I follow that are 3 weeks old. Few personal updates from my network, and sometimes even the same post multiple times.

I’ve seen some people place the blame on LinkedIn, claiming the platform is getting stale. I would argue that since the pandemic, companies are being forced to bring their A-game to digital marketing, including the content they share on social media.

The LinkedIn algorithm is built to give you the best quality content it can, based on what it knows about you, and how you interact with content and other users. You’ve got to tell it what you want.

So, here are four proactive ways you can improve the quality of your LinkedIn feed.

1. On your homepage, select the ‘Sort By’ toggle and filter by ‘Recent’ instead of ‘Top’.

I didn’t even know about this feature until I started researching for this blog post. Oh wow, doing this immediately improved my feed. LinkedIn has been displaying only the most popular posts, explaining posts from outside my network that someone had commented on and repeatedly serving me content I had already interacted with.

Keep an eye on this setting though, as mine randomly flips back to ‘Filter By Top’.

Filter by feature in LinkedIn feed. | Bonny Read Inc.
The 'sort by' feature is only available on desktop.

Understanding the LinkedIn algorithm

To understand why points two, three and four are important, we need to dive into how the LinkedIn algorithm sorts, scores, and ranks content based on different signals.

In a press blog post, LinkedIn described its governing ranking philosophy as “people you know, talking about things you care about.”

Let’s break that down:

  • People You Know: In order to prioritise conversations, LinkedIn evaluates if people are in your network, if you’ve interacted with them directly through comments or reactions, if you work with them or if you have similar interests and experiences on your profile.
  • Talking About: Conversations that are authentic with lots of back and forth comments are ranked the highest. LinkedIn associates engagement with quality and wants to serve you relevant content that you have the highest likelihood of commenting, sharing or reacting to.
  • Things You Care About: LinkedIn tries to find the content that is most relevant to you and your interests. There are multiple ways to signal your interests such as by joining groups and following hashtags, people and pages.

Now that we know what data points LinkedIn looks at, these are the actions that you can take to ensure the algorithm works best for you.

2. Interact with high quality content you like and want to see more of

According to Hootsuite, LinkedIn measures engagement probability by evaluating content you’ve interacted with in the past, as well as who you engage with most frequently. Downloaded a great white paper? Read a helpful blog? Tell LinkedIn what content is most valuable and relevant to you by commenting, sharing, and reacting.

The opposite is also true. By clicking the three dots on the top right of a post, you can unfollow the poster or indicate to LinkedIn that you don’t want to see that type of post in your feed.

3. Follow relevant organisations and hashtags

Putting in some legwork can make this one pay off, though it is a bit of a numbers game. Your chances of seeing something good are higher if you follow 30 companies, then say, five.

To start off, follow your employer on LinkedIn. (You would be surprised how many people don’t do this basic step). Now think about the ecosystem of your industry – is it B2B, B2C, government or non-profit? Research relevant industry publications, market research firms, researchers, consultants, authors, speakers, industry associations, journalists, and governing bodies. Think upstream and downstream. Follow competitors, suppliers and customers.

You can also follow hashtags, which can help broaden the content you see, as trending hashtagged posts from outside your network are often shown. Obviously the more followers a hashtag has, the more people are using it and the more content will be generated around it. To find out the total number of followers, just search the tag (together with the # in front) in the search bar and hit enter.

Follow hashtags in LinkedIn to discover new topics.
Searching the hashtag will show you which are the most popular.

4. Complete your profile, including the fluffy stuff

Adding skills, interests and certifications to your profile may not help you land a job, but they do help LinkedIn recommend better connections and content.

Conclusion

So even if you’re not posting on LinkedIn, there are things you can and should do to help keep your feed active, healthy and relevant. Change your homepage filter, do the legwork on which organisations and hashtags to follow, and engage with quality content you want to see more of.