How does LinkedIn Marketing work in 2021?

Trying to dominate LinkedIn as we head into 2021?

It is a platform with over 766 million users, most of whom use their networks to promote their affiliate programs. You can do the same with yours.

The only problem: LinkedIn is not the same platform as it was a few years ago.
LinkedIn initially gained a reputation as the social network for people to connect with their colleagues. People are now connecting with people outside their circle of past coworkers. Anyone working in the same industry as you is likely to accept your connection request.

This change in LinkedIn’s positioning means it’s more like a forum — and less like a platform for aggressive sales pitches.

People accept link requests and want to see their content in their news feeds.

So what does this mean for your LinkedIn marketing strategy? Here are five key things about the LinkedIn algorithm that will help you create engaging content in 2021.

1. Write text-only posts

Text-only posts have been proven to outperform other types of content on LinkedIn.

Videos, slideshows and images can achieve solid engagement rates. But in my experience, text-only content provides better access. This means you can reach a wider group of people, even those who don’t follow your profile yet.

The same concept applies to links you add to your LinkedIn content. Once LinkedIn recruits a user to its platform, it doesn’t make sense to redirect them to an external site (like your landing page).

They want users to spend maximum time on their platform. Writing text-only posts helps them achieve their goals; hence why you will be rewarded with higher news feed placements for this.

(Side note: If you need to direct people to an external page like your website, post a text-only post and leave the link in the comment.)

2. Give the value for free

Too many people think LinkedIn is a place to sell stuff.

Older recommendations say that if you want to promote the new referral program your business has just created, you should talk all about it on your LinkedIn profile. The same goes for any new features you add.

The truth is that: No one cares about product-related content on LinkedIn. People want human connections there, not brand connections.

A great way to do this is by offering value – advice someone can get straight from your news feed without having to visit your website.

This can be:

Check out how Harry Dry did it. It offers a free smart marketing trick to anyone following its LinkedIn profile:

The best part? LinkedIn’s algorithm will reward you Value on the LinkedIn platform will encourage their algorithm to push you higher in your connection’s flow.

Check out Tapfiliate’s affiliate and referral marketing features 👉👉

3. Be a conversation starter

We’ve already touched on the fact that LinkedIn users are starting to treat LinkedIn like a forum.

People want to chat with other people, find new content, and join conversations. (The opposite of the cold, bestselling LinkedIn became infamous in the early 2010s.)

Include this in your LinkedIn marketing strategy as a conversation starter.

This could be as simple as posting text-only content and asking if anyone else has done something similar. Ashley Amber Sava puts this into practice:


You can also start conversations by asking people to share a story. For brands that manage an affiliate program, it might be:

  • Their favorite referral program
  • Top tip for convincing partners to join their program
  • How did they find the sweet spot for affiliate commissions?

The more people comment on your LinkedIn content, the better. It proves to the LinkedIn algorithm that your content is interesting.

Don’t forget: LinkedIn wants people to spend more time on their networks. If your content is interesting, it will push it up in other people’s news feeds. This helps build LinkedIn’s reputation as a great place to engage in conversations.

4. Share controversial content

We already know that LinkedIn wants people to chat on their platform.

A surefire way to get people talking under your post is to share controversial content in the form of video, text or image posts.

Do this using a simple two-step technique:

  • Pick a fight: find a common idea in your industry that really gets people talking; someone who convinces people that their ideas are correct.
  • Flip it over: share why you agree or disagree with that thing.

We can see this in action with Eric Siu’s LinkedIn post. It raises a fight (SEO is dead) and turns a popular opinion upside down (why he thinks SEO will always have a place in marketing):

seo is dead

Eric’s post received 27 comments and almost 100 interactions.

It shows that controversial content provokes a reaction in people. Even if this is just a comment to explain why they disagree with you, these conversations are what LinkedIn users want.

5. Ditch cold areas

LinkedIn is no longer a sales platform for spammy sales reps to post crappy conversations.

Do not you believe me? I received some chilled conversations in my boss’s LinkedIn inbox and forwarded them to people at the mall. Not a single person wanted to hear more about the “great business strategy” my talk had promised. Except for Santa Claus. Watch this video to see how it goes!

Keep this in mind when writing LinkedIn content.

Stop talking about how great your brand and company are. Turn the key to your audience: what value will they derive from following you?

Make LinkedIn your most profitable social platform

As you can see, LinkedIn has changed dramatically over the past few years.
But knowing how it’s changing and the type of LinkedIn algorithm rewards can help you make it your most lucrative social media platform as you move forward into 2021 and beyond.

Remember to prioritize text-only content, give free value, and eliminate cold pitches. Your goal is to start a conversation with people who follow you. That’s the secret to breaking LinkedIn and potentially going viral.

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