When Site Strategics CEO Erin Sparks spoke with special guest Shay Rowbottom, CEO of Rowbottom Marketing, for episode 320 of the award-winning EDGE of the Web podcast, they talked about all kinds of killer strategies for making the most of video content on LinkedIn. Here’s what we learned:
Just Starting Out? Create a Pod!
This is a simple but powerful thing to jump-start your video content efforts on LinkedIn for anyone who is just starting out and has no traction on the platform. You curate a group of people who have a consistent presence on the platform, maybe even from the same industry, and you form a group or pod where you all agree to help each other grow by engaging with each other’s content. You message the pod when you have new content, and then the members of the pod are liking it, sharing it, commenting on it and so forth and it then starts showing up in other people’s feeds. This is how you can speed up your early growth on LinkedIn.
A pod is just a really common-sense form of basic marketing tactics. But it’s gotten a really bad rap on LinkedIn as if it’s somehow cheating or taking a shortcut. That’s just nonsense. Anyone who has achieved success at an early age has taken plenty of shortcuts to get there, and there’s no shame in that. If you want to cut through the noise on the platform and break out sooner, a pod is going to help.
How big should your pod be? If it’s made up of people who are very consistently posting on a daily basis, the sweet spot is going to be 10-15 people. More than that and you’ll have difficulty keeping up with engaging all that content. And people who form pods also find a lot of good value in the group just from a standard networking angle. It’s really a win-win for everyone involved.
The Subjective Measure of a Viral Video
Everyone wants their video to “go viral,” but what does that even mean? How do you measure it? What are the standards?
Going viral has to be viewed differently on each platform. A video with a million views on Facebook doesn’t qualify as viral anymore, but because LinkedIn videos are still so new, you see very few videos on the platform with a million views, so that would definitely be a viral video. One way to think of it is like an uncontrollable spike. If you’re doing videos on LinkedIn that tend to get around 5,000 views and then you do one that suddenly gets 75,000 views, that would be a viral video for your page.
And the good news is that people are out there looking for those diamonds in the rough, the pieces of content like that, the ones that show a spike but probably won’t go any further because you don’t have the following. But if it gets curated by someone with that bigger following, then it could really be vaulted into the limelight.
Tips for Video Content Creation
Production values: One of the biggest things that hold many companies back from getting into social video content creation is they assume the production values have to match the cinematic quality of a movie, or a Super Bowl commercial. And of course, for most companies, there’s no way they can afford those kinds of production values. But those are not the standards you should be trying to match. Plenty of videos shot on cell phones have gone viral. Good social content doesn’t have to have the highest production values. You can and should start where you’re at with what you have. If that means using your cell phone, go for it. You can still do some editing to improve quality. And then as you build up your efforts, you can work towards spending more time and resources on upping the production values.
Standing out from the crowd: The key thing you always have to keep in mind when starting out is thinking about your audience and what would be valuable content for them. And always be willing to do what other people are not doing, such as being vulnerable. Because LinkedIn is seen as the social network for professionals, people are less willing to be vulnerable, so doing that can make you stand out. Bring in the human side of the business, be willing to talk about failure. Show the behind-the-scenes blood, sweat, and tears that go into what you do.
The nuts and bolts of structure: Keep it brief. Have a headline about the content. Don’t let the first thing be an introduction of yourself. The first line of your video should be something compelling and relevant about the topic. And always include a CTA, but make it a “healthy CTA” relevant to the content, not necessarily a direct sales CTA for your business. If you did a video about how to edit video content, the CTA might be inviting people to post comments about how they edit their video content. It invites engagement with the content, not a hard sell for your company’s product or service.
Repurposing content: This is important on LinkedIn because of the way the platform works. The posts area on your profile page only shows the posts in chronological order, so if you have a consistent presence with several pieces of content per week, no one is going to scroll back through to find previous content from a week or two ago. On top of that, content in the newsfeed has a very short shelf-life, like 24-48 hours (if it hasn’t gone viral). In other words, because of how the platform works, a lot of people you want to reach missed ang given piece of content the first time around, so repurposing is essential on LinkedIn. Study the data and choose the posts that had higher-than-average performance and target those for repurposing/reposting. If it was a star performer, do a straight repost. But if you perceive a way to tweak it and improve it for even better performance, go ahead and do it.
Livestream video: Streaming live is now an option on LinkedIn, but in general, Shay thinks live streaming is overrated. It’s good for regular shows like the EDGE podcast, but if your primary aim is consistent great content, you need to be very calculating about it, and livestreaming isn’t the best way to do that. Scripting and recording and editing is the way to go. On top of that, LinkedIn live is pretty glitchy and those kinks need to be worked out. For example, if you go live, all your followers get a push notification that you’re living, and many professionals don’t appreciate that kind of interruption during their day. Some people are actually losing followers because of it. Maybe when it works better and the kinks are ironed out there will be more value to it.
Your Needs and Expectations
What happens when people jump in but don’t grow their following very quickly and feel like failures because they’re not getting traction? One bizarre aspect to this is that the people who need the external validation of people liking and sharing their content actually have a kind of twisted advantage thanks to their insecurity because they’re the ones who wake up every day thinking about how to grow their following. They’re more motivated to get it done because they’ve attached a big chunk of their self-worth to growing that social following. It doesn’t guarantee their success, but they’re often the ones who try harder.
But this can also be dangerous waters to navigate for people who are prone to depression and low self-esteem. If your followers were wiped away, would you still have a feeling of self-worth? If your whole self-image is attached to your social following, you need to step back and rethink who you are and who you want to be. If a piece of content doesn’t perform well it sends you into a tailspin, then you don’t have a healthy relationship to your social media work and it can become more like an addiction. You need to establish a strong, clear identity apart from it.
The key to becoming successful and remaining successful is to be agile and adaptive as things continue to constantly change at a rapid pace. As soon as you get comfortable and think what you’re doing will continue to work forever, you’ll be dead in the water. Stay alert! Stay on top of the trends. And keep following the data!
Connect with Shay Rowbottom and Rowbottom Marketing
Twitter: @shay_rowbottom (https://twitter.com/shay_rowbottom)
Facebook: @ShayRowbottom (https://www.facebook.com/ShayRowbottom)
Instagram: @shayrowbottom (https://www.instagram.com/shayrowbottom)
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