Bullhorns & Bullseyes Podcast

Mastering LinkedIn

Guest: Jay Harrington
January 22, 2024

Episode 8

Jay Harrington is president of the HARRINGTON agency and is one of the country’s leading consultants and strategists in the areas of legal marketing, PR and business development. His particular passion and profound area of expertise is building a network and growing an audience on LinkedIn to generate more and better new business opportunities.

In this podcast crossover event — Tom and Jay also separately co-host the Thought Leadership Project podcast — Curtis and they discuss tips for publishing thought leadership and content marketing on LinkedIn.
Together, they explore the engagement metrics on the platform and the effectiveness of using LinkedIn as an advertising platform. They also highlight the importance of understanding your audience and narrowing your niche, as well as the need for sustained effort and consistency in creating thought leadership content on LinkedIn.

Takeaways:

  • Thought leadership and content marketing are effective strategies for growing networks, building reputation, and earning trust on LinkedIn.
  • Engagement metrics on LinkedIn have seen fluctuations, but the platform remains a valuable space for reaching a B2B audience.
  • LinkedIn can be used as an advertising platform, with carousel ads and video content performing well.
  • Understanding your audience and creating content that addresses their challenges and interests is crucial for success on LinkedIn.
  • Targeting specific audiences on LinkedIn requires careful consideration of demographics and job titles.
  • LinkedIn’s revenue model is based on keeping users on the platform, making it important to create and share content native to LinkedIn.
Play Video about Jay Harrington

Tom Nixon (00:01.212)
Well, we are back with another episode and I’m not sure exactly how to finish that sentence because we are doing probably what’s going to be the major crossover event of 2024 and that is the Thought Leadership Project podcast meets the Bullhorns and Bullseyes podcasts and here we all are and this is like my worlds are colliding. Curtis J. Welcome, I guess, to your own podcast.

Jay (00:27.342)
Tom, good to be here. Curtis, good to be here with you. Yeah, it’s pretty significant. I think it’s one of the major events of 2024 so far is the Simulcast podcast.

Tom Nixon (00:34.76)
so far.

I’m gonna go to bed.

Curtis Hays (00:38.9)
So far January 5th.

Jay (00:40.536)
Yeah.

Tom Nixon (00:40.72)
Yeah, it’s been a slow year so far. Well, this is great. So as listeners to Bullhorns and Bullseyes know that we Curtis and I like to talk about activities that vary both promotion and targeting. And on the Thought Leadership Project podcast, Jay and I are talking a lot about the use of thought leadership, obviously, content marketing as a way of growing networks, building reputation, building brand, earning trust.

Jay (00:43.295)
Yeah.

Tom Nixon (01:07.644)
So we thought today what we would do is pick both of your brains and I’ll be the moderator maybe and I want to get both of your perspectives on a subject that I know is near and dear to Jay’s heart and that is generally speaking the topic of LinkedIn. So we’ll kind of hit a bunch of various high notes but why don’t we before we do that for people who aren’t familiar with Jay’s history with LinkedIn just give us a quick synopsis on why you’re so active and how that came to be.

Jay (01:36.158)
Yeah, so I guess my I’ve been on LinkedIn forever, right? I mean, I think it started in 2004, 2003, somewhere in that timeframe. And like many people, you know, signed up for a profile and then did nothing with it for probably 15 years, other than maybe occasionally, you know, share some article that I’d written elsewhere and posted on LinkedIn, connected with people from time to time. It was in

2019, Tom, and this was really spurred by a conversation we had on the Thought Leadership Project podcast, which was with Laura Frederick, who’s a lawyer who posts every day on LinkedIn. And I remember coming across her profile and her posts. And I was wondering, how is this person getting so much engagement with her content? I just hadn’t noticed someone who was getting that sort of reaction to their posts. And, and so

In part, because I wanted to learn more, we invited her on the show, had a conversation with her. And what it really came down to was, instead of treating LinkedIn the way that I previously had and many others had as well, which was a place to promote content that you had published elsewhere, via a link that you share on a post in LinkedIn, Laura and others were starting to create content directly and organically and natively to LinkedIn, right? There’s no links.

They’re not trying to take people off of LinkedIn to drive them to some other site. They were posting content right on the platform itself. And so that’s when the light bulb kind of went off for me. And so in late 2019, taking a page from Laura’s book, I started doing the same thing, writing a daily post on LinkedIn. And so for the last whatever, I guess three to four years, I’ve been doing that. Most business days, almost everyone without fail.

posting content there and it’s become a big, certainly the number one source of new business opportunities for me, both client opportunities as well as, other valuable marketing opportunities, relationships with reporters, et cetera, et cetera. It’s just, it’s a platform that I found my audience spends its time and attention there. And I can get more reach there on my content than pretty much anywhere else.

Tom Nixon (03:55.104)
Yeah, we want to come back to some of your, if you don’t mind sharing some of your guidance and expertise and just best practices around content. But I wanted to ask Curtis really quickly. So that’s so much, um, unless you want to answer it this way in the context that Jay answered his, um, personal sort of experience with LinkedIn. But what do you do from a, or what can brands do from a bullseye perspective in terms of using LinkedIn maybe as an advertising platform, which is distinct from what Jay said, but still important.

Curtis Hays (04:22.688)
Yeah, so as most of our listeners know, we focus primarily in demand gen, working with companies that are attempting to generate leads, oftentimes bringing that traffic directly to their website. We’ve actually, and using Google ads or other social media platforms in order to bring that traffic to their website. We experimented previously with using LinkedIn as a platform to do that, but similar to what Jay experienced, what we actually found was that

we had a higher conversion rate by keeping people within the platform. So we’ve actually been using over the last few years what would be the lead gen forms with inside of LinkedIn to serve up content or offer content to a target audience within the platform that allows them to fill out their information very easily and then get access to that content or subscribe to a webinar or something like that.

with a much higher success rate than taking people off the platform and over to a landing page, you know, website, and then expect them to do additional clicks and those types of things. Um, and so that’s been really successful. I think that mirrored with some branding efforts, um, just to build awareness inside the platform, uh, whether those are image ads or carousel ads to do some additional branding, um, as well as, uh, we may get a chance to talk about today, but

conversation ads, which are a bit new, which are just getting you in front of other users within the platform and starting conversations with your potential target audience.

Tom Nixon (06:03.548)
Cool. Interesting. Well, Jay, before we get into content specifically, I wanted to ask you on this podcast, something that you and I addressed on the other podcast, because I think it’s interesting. COVID, I think was a time when the engagement metrics that people look at and value in terms of comments, likes and reach and all that stuff impressions. They were through the roof during COVID, right? And I think everyone was universally experiencing that because people couldn’t get out and network. Some of that seems to have ebbed. I see both anecdotally in my own metrics.

And I’ve heard others even online, some people very nakedly just saying, you know, my metrics are way down. And that’s interesting. So I’m curious what you’re seeing, not necessarily personally, but just if you could comment on what your sense is in terms of the vanity metrics happening in LinkedIn, what you think that means and what if anything do users like me do about it.

Jay (06:56.202)
Yeah. So yeah, I mean, and I’ll share my own numbers and experience in terms of metrics, just to give some perspective. But yeah, anecdotally, I mean, I’ve heard the same things. I’d say that the general consensus is that engagement is down and people’s numbers are down, like the reach that they were getting previously, they’re not experiencing any longer. So from my own experience, if we go to go back to 2020, these were…

impressions on posts. So I had, I think I generated maybe a little more than a million impressions on posts in 2020. That jumped to 2 million in 2021 and then up to 10 million in 2023, I’m sorry, 2022. And so that was a big jump, you know, 500% leap. Now, that was sort of the, I think 2022 people considered sort of the heyday of engagement and reach on LinkedIn.

and people saw it take down. Now, I definitely have seen a slowdown in engagement, but I did, I topped actually last year’s numbers. I think I had about 10.5 million impressions in 2023, actually with about 25 to 30% fewer posts during the course of the year. So up a little bit, but certainly you’re seeing it plateau and I expect that to continue. And I don’t know what to attribute that to. I mean, it’s probably…

More supply, I think there’s, you know, we don’t really have any statistics around this, but probably more people sharing content on LinkedIn. And I know that’s true because you saw, you see a lot of the people putting up big numbers on LinkedIn in terms of impressions and content who are established creators from X moving over, or Twitter, you know, formerly Twitter.

moving over to LinkedIn and creating tons of content on LinkedIn now. So there’s sort of this, maybe there’s maybe more supply, maybe there’s a little bit less demand, just because like you said, Tom, during COVID, people were spending more time in digital worlds and now they’re wanting to spend a little bit less perhaps. I’m not sure if that’s the case, but whatever the reason being, it’s at a minimum of plateauing effect. And I know, like you said, from many people, engagements down. All that being said, there’s still not that many

Jay (09:17.698)
places I would say that are better, especially to reach like a B2B audience than LinkedIn. You know, while it might be trending down, you know, show me a place that’s, you know, a more ripe opportunity to get like in my case, 10 million plus impressions on content organically, right?

Tom Nixon (09:23.602)
true.

Tom Nixon (09:36.876)
Yeah, absolutely. Yeah. Still a huge number, right? And even if it goes down to eight million, it’s still where I mean, and you’re not you’re not paying for any of that reach. You don’t boost your posts. You actually don’t even artificially have like a engagement pod, you know, where people go and then they ask people. So it’s all organic. It obviously took time and we’re going to come back to exactly how you do it. It wasn’t overnight. I’m sure you didn’t become Laura Frederick like the next day. But before we go to that, I wanted to ask Curtis from your standpoint, because you’re an analytics.

Jay (09:42.028)
Right.

Tom Nixon (10:06.91)
yourself, and you’re looking at maybe some of the paid analytics. And I know you mentioned earlier, just a moment ago, that you see great success or greater success with the native form fills. You also mentioned to me that carousel ads perform really well, maybe outperform some other kinds of ads. What are you seeing that’s working and anything we could draw from that?

Curtis Hays (10:30.304)
Yeah, well specifically with Carousel, it gives you the opportunity to do storytelling, which I know you guys are really good at. So versus a static image, which might get glossed over, you’re able to use anywhere from two to ten slides to allow a user to kind of interact and tell a more complete story where a single post you might get two lines and then the rest of it’s hidden below the lines and somebody has to.

click the little buttons for it to open the rest of the post, right? So people want to engage with that content. People are certainly drawn into, you know, visuals and some level of storytelling. And there’s some, a lot of creative ways that people are doing that. So we definitely see, um, carousel or video getting more engagement than, um, you know, just, just a single ad. I would say any company should just experiment if they can with different, uh, post types and see what works for their audience.

Um, carousel ads are going to take a bit more as well as video to, to put together from a creative perspective. And there is some ideation that needs to go into that versus just grabbing a piece of stock photography. But if you’re going to make a concerted effort at, um, marketing your business on LinkedIn, um, yeah, I think it should be done, you know, strategically, but not, uh, sort of half heartedly, like don’t just think you can post something.

Tom Nixon (11:33.925)
Yeah, sure.

Curtis Hays (11:54.836)
Every day just to slap something up on the platform and it’s going to get engagement. I mean, you’ve got to put some effort into the creativity. And sort of expertise behind what it is you’re posting if you’re going to get the engagement.

Tom Nixon (12:09.444)
Yep. And what about any significant disparities in cost per click, either between, um, ad type to ad type or then in now. So then being maybe COVID or pre COVID and now, cause I know LinkedIn has historically been one of the more expensive platforms on a cost per click basis.

Curtis Hays (12:26.696)
It is. And what’s interesting about that is it’s actually been fairly stable. I would say over the last seven years, which at least seven years I’ve been advertising on the platforms. And I would say with most of our Legion campaigns, you could expect anywhere from like eight to maybe $16 a click. Um, so it’s, it is, uh, I mean, it depends on your industry. If you’re a law firm and maybe say personal injury, you could easily pay a hundred dollars a click inside of Google for a search campaign.

Jay (12:35.55)
I’m not sure if I’m saying it right here.

Curtis Hays (12:56.296)
Right. So, um, not that a personal injury attorney is going to be advertising on LinkedIn, but you can do those comparisons, say on the IT side, which you mentioned is one of my clients and managed services, those are 60 to $80 clicks in Google. So, um, yeah, I think there are opportunities for those businesses where there’s saturated advertising markets and other platforms to be creative inside of LinkedIn and reach their, their target audiences. But I would say those costs are stable.

But I would advise a company to experiment to try to go lower than that. So if the platform is telling you, oh, to reach this audience of IT directors, you need to be at $16 a click. There’s nothing that prevents you from putting in $7 in your bid and seeing if it works. And so we’ve done that successfully with clients and have been able to get good. I mean, really the better metric is what’s your cost per acquisition per lead.

Tom Nixon (13:53.682)
Yeah.

Curtis Hays (13:53.852)
And so those types of metrics that we’re looking at is say, let’s not just look at the cost per click, but if we’re able to acquire a lead at, if it’s acceptable to acquire one, say at $300 cost per lead, and we can get under that inside of LinkedIn, then, you know, do it. So I think you got to understand your models and, and then see if this is a platform that can work for you.

Tom Nixon (14:19.548)
Yeah, and not to go down the wormhole because we explored this on two episodes. Was it two or three with Mario De Quillo of Assisted Living Services? He looks, and you work with him, you look more broadly at the lifetime cost of a client because if they renew, if they refer or whatever, if they up purchase, then that’s far greater number than just the cost of acquisition. So.

Curtis Hays (14:31.819)
Right.

Tom Nixon (14:43.128)
All right. So you mentioned being clever, thoughtful and creative in terms of the, uh, the ad campaign in Jay, you post it every day. And to Curtis’s point, you can’t just post for the sake of posting. So for one, explain, just clarify, because some people struggle with the, are you talking about articles or are you talking about newsletters on LinkedIn? You’re talking about just text posts as a status post update, whatever they used to call it. Um, it maybe give us some of your.

Some of the things that you’ve discovered that you don’t mind sharing with how somebody can go from, I’m not on the platform to maybe aspire to 10 million impressions a year.

Jay (15:21.47)
Yeah, yeah, for sure. I mean, I’m happy to share everything I’ve learned along the way. And that’s really kind of the way you should be thinking and approaching sharing content on LinkedIn, too. I mean, really giving away your ideas for free is the best way to stay consistently visible to an audience and build trust with that audience over time. Trust that you are an expert who’s capable of helping them solve their problems.

it’s a way to sort of make visible your expertise. So yeah, so what we’re talking about here is, like you said, Tom, just writing a post, it could be anywhere from 20 words to say 300 words would probably be the maximum in the character limit counts that LinkedIn provides, but on something that, I think should be thought leadership oriented, right? Something that expresses what you know,

in a way that addresses the questions and challenges of the audience you’re trying to cultivate. There’s more you can do. I think there’s, we can talk about the importance of kind of showing your personal side as well as your professional side through like social media content. But at the core of if what you’re trying to do is drive new business opportunities through content creation, your thought leadership content is at the core of that.

And so a lot, you know, there’s a number of things that goes into that. I mean, I think one of the most important decisions anyone needs to make, you know, as a professional or business owner, entrepreneur who’s trying to use a platform like LinkedIn is you have to pick an audience, right? You have to understand what, who your audience is and optimize for building and cultivating and nurturing an audience and not just garnering attention. And I think those are.

Tom Nixon (17:12.916)
Hmm.

Jay (17:13.442)
fundamentally two different things and people can fall into the attention trap because it feels good to you know Get a lot of engagement and impressions on posts and the dopamine hits that come from that but ultimately, you know the difference between an audience as I see it and just attention is that an audience is more of a loyal following who you know is Looking out for your content because they find it very helpful and when you do have something to offer They tend to be receptive to buying it. So

even if you’re not actively pitching anything, people who are a member of your audience are going to understand what you do, who you help, how you serve, the solutions you can provide. And naturally over time, as you continue to remain visible and build trust with them through your content, they’re gonna think of you when a challenge arises that needs expertise of the variety that you provide. So that’s kind of the objective, but audience…

understanding your audience is really important in that regard. Like for example, in my own case, I do consulting, coaching, training work for lawyers and law firms. Every one of the posts I write has the word lawyer or law firm in it, because I’m directly addressing that audience. I’m speaking to those people over time, I want to have them understand I know what it’s like to stand in their shoes. I’m writing about business development and marketing related issues. And you know, it might seem like okay, you’ve been doing this for

four years writing daily posts on LinkedIn about this narrow topic for this narrow audience, isn’t that getting old for you and or your audience? And maybe that’s true for some people. But I feel like it’s been an interesting journey from a content creator standpoint to kind of push the envelope and try to take things to the next level in a narrow domain. And, you know, people aren’t paying nearly as much attention and they’re not going to get sick of being saturated by your content.

those people who are in your audience are looking forward to it. And over time, that audience grows. I mean, just today actually, Tom, I noticed I crossed the 40,000 follower threshold, which, you know, it’s one of those things where, you know, if you were to talk to me when I had 5,000 followers and you were to say, oh yeah, how would it feel to have 40,000? I would be like, oh, that’d be awesome. Today, I saw it and I’m like, ah, okay, you know, next.

Tom Nixon (19:24.058)
Nice.

Tom Nixon (19:37.629)
Yeah.

Jay (19:38.954)
whatever, it’s like most things in life when you actually hit a milestone, it’s not that big of a deal. But I think that having that audience in mind, having a consistent theme, as I mentioned, I’m writing about business development and marketing related issues. You wanna become, it’s great to become well known with an audience, but as we’ve talked about Tom before, I think it’s even more important to become known well by that audience. What I mean by that is,

Make sure that your content is aligning with your objectives and your audience’s interests. Ultimately, what you want is to create that association I was describing before between you, your brand, and your content, and the types of problems you solve for clients. Again, it’s like, how do I keep working that Venn diagram of like, what is my audience interested in? What are the solutions that I provide that I can write content about?

And how can that overlap create an opportunity where when those issues arise in the ecosystem of my audience, that they’re thinking of me to help solve that problem or adjust that challenge. So that consistent theme, I oftentimes hear people talk about like, how do you build your personal monopoly online and on social platforms? That’s what we wanna think about. I mean, a good example of this is,

I don’t know if you’ve heard of this woman, Kat Norton. She’s known as Miss Excel, like Excel the spreadsheet software. Yeah, exactly. And this is a great example of someone who’s chosen a very narrow niche for a specific audience, Gen Z and millennials, around a topic that would seemingly be like boring and of no interest whatsoever to these people. But she started creating TikTok videos involving her dancing and talking about Excel.

Tom Nixon (21:10.152)
Hmm. Yep. I do know Miss XL.

Jay (21:33.758)
and she’s built like a $5 million business. She left management consulting to go all in on her Miss Excel platform. And it’s just one of those many examples out there of like the more narrow and idiosyncratic and discreet you can become around the audience you’re serving and the topic that you’re writing and creating content around, the more it will resonate in many cases. So these are, you know, those are some big things. And then I think

One last point and then I’ll pause and let you guys jump in here is sustained effort. This is the key thing. I mean, when I shared my analytics numbers, I wanted to do that purposefully in order to, just demonstrate like this is a multi-year process where I’m literally posting probably three to 400 times a year on LinkedIn platform. That’s a lot of effort. And the reason that impressions grow every year and follower count has grown,

it’s because you’re just sticking with it. People want, I think, that instant gratification. They like the notion of the idea that, like on TikTok, you can go viral. Even if you don’t have many followers, like the algorithm will boost your efforts. It doesn’t work that way on LinkedIn, but it’s sort of a more of a meritocracy geared towards hard work and effort because over time, if you keep refining what you’re doing, you’ll be rewarded as a result of it. It kind of reminds me of that story.

Jeff Bezos told about meeting Warren Buffett, talking to him about like, Warren, your investment strategy is so simple. Like, you know, there’s not that much to it. Why don’t more people follow it? And Buffett said, cause no one’s willing to get rich slowly. And I think the same principle applies here. We’re like, you know, just start the process, sustain the effort and, you know, let the compounding start happening. And so,

That’s where I think ultimately most people fall short. It’s like they want quick results. They’re not seeing the growth that they want right away. And so they quit right before perhaps all those benefits that accrue from building an audience might be realized.

Tom Nixon (23:49.348)
Yeah. Yeah, it’s difficult for some. Um one thing you said early on that just resonated with me that I try to share with folks is that the best way well, let me step back the tagline for the Thought Leadership Project podcast is that we take expertise and we convert it into thought leadership and thought leadership into new business. That’s not overnight, right? It doesn’t happen immediately and it’s not like a gumball machine where you put in a post and then you wait for the phone to ring. Um there’s a paradox. I

generate new business opportunities is to approach the platform as though you’re not trying to generate new business opportunities. You’re there to solve problems, give away advice for free, all of the simplicity that Warren Buffett would espouse, right? Um, but then the other interesting thing that I know you’ve, we’ve both talked a lot about is this niche audience. So now we’re sort of starting to maybe segue into what we call on this podcast bullseyes, right? So, um,

I wanted to get Curtis’s thoughts on the things that you could do. These will be very intuitive and easy for you, Curtis, but explain to people who don’t understand how LinkedIn advertising works, how you can target an audience. Um, specifically in the context of something that Jay said too, if you don’t mind, which is that, um, demand for professional services, especially legal services is unpredictable. So you don’t know exactly when somebody is going to be needing to hire an attorney. You don’t know who that person is.

So you do what Jay’s suggesting and you play this long game. Um, not that it’s a game, but, um, it is fun. Yeah, but you have the ability though, to target people going back to bullseyes Curtis, so you can, you can identify very specific niche audiences. You talk about what you do as demand Jen. So how can you just piggyback off if you don’t mind what Jay’s approach has been for four years. And then what you might be able to do with a client in four months or eight months or whatever.

Jay (25:19.938)
Kind of, yeah.

Curtis Hays (25:41.736)
Yeah. Well, I’ll first say maybe the biggest mistake that companies make in advertising on LinkedIn is ignoring the organic, right? So if they haven’t done any brand building and they’re not putting out any thought leadership and all they’re trying to do is sell, they’re trying to generate leads, you know, an individual even if they’re within their target audience might go and look at their page.

Tom Nixon (25:53.349)
Mm-hmm.

Curtis Hays (26:09.468)
see very little content, see very little engagement. There’s no supplemental posts. I mean, I’m not gonna convert the first time I see your ad likely and fill out a form. I maybe need to see your brand a few times before I do that. So this is my first exposure to your brand through an ad and you want me to give you some information about me for me to download a white paper or something like that. It’s not very likely that that’s going to happen.

So, we’ve seen anywhere from like a 25% increase in conversions when a company takes two or three months to build out their profile or to supplement their lead gen advertising with additional content targeted to that same audience. So here’s a bunch of free stuff. Along the way, we’re going to offer you something to opt into where we can get your contact information and put you at the top of the funnel. So, yeah, don’t make that mistake. When it comes to audience targeting,

A big mistake that we see companies doing is, so they say, okay, yeah, we want to go and target law firms and that’s something very easy to do or target a job title, target an industry. Very easy for LinkedIn to go beyond that either with audience expansion. So it thinks it may be able to, the algorithm thinks it can find additional people to serve your ads to, but they might not be in your target audience.

Um, but companies aren’t looking at the demographic reports once their ads are running and realizing that they can narrow down their targeting based on engagement they’re seeing. So you have an hypothesis at first of who your target audience is. You set up that criteria and building your audience when you create your ads. And then you wait a week or two, and then you come back in and you look at the demographic reports and say like, well, no entry level people shouldn’t be getting my ads, so let me add that as an exclusion.

Tom Nixon (27:44.188)
Hmm.

Curtis Hays (28:04.804)
Companies at this size below maybe 50 employees maybe isn’t in my target audience. So let me exclude those companies that are 50 employees and under. You know, some things that you maybe didn’t realize you needed to do at first. And I would say probably the biggest piece of advice that I actually found on LinkedIn from somebody who was putting out thought leadership a number of years ago was to not do.

job title targeting, but to use job title as a negative match. So be broad with your targeting as far as like industry or, you know, again, company sizes or, you know, those types of things. And then use the job title as a negative match because job title is a free form field in LinkedIn. You can type whatever you want. I could be called a growth hacker. I could be called a digital marketing specialist. I could be called…

Tom Nixon (28:53.585)
Mm-hmm.

Tom Nixon (28:58.386)
I’m a digital cowboy.

Curtis Hays (29:00.456)
Yeah, a cowboy. So, you know, I think that confuses people a little bit or can confuse the algorithm when you target only job titles. And, um, we found it better to actually use job titles in the inverse and use those to negatively match job titles we don’t want and be, you know, use some of the other, uh, targeting methods like industry and those types of things within our targeting. So, um.

Tom Nixon (29:16.905)
Hmm.

Curtis Hays (29:29.844)
I think those two big things are really, really important pieces of advice.

Tom Nixon (29:33.764)
one thing I learned from doing it the wrong way or maybe making mistakes is

I don’t want to look like I’m trying to serve Curtis up as like the golden child, but I would say do not try this at home. So in other words, I’ve tried to do some limited boosting of posts and some target advertising and only to learn that I know very little compared to what the experts know. So I would say, um, you know, if there’s an article that Curtis writes or a webinar that he does, just check it out and you’ll learn a lot more. Um, you think you might know about targeting, but you likely don’t.

Curtis Hays (29:49.175)
and

Tom Nixon (30:10.244)
So with that said, I will give you each the opportunity to give us final thoughts. Um, we’re kind of running out of time here. So any thing at all related to LinkedIn, um, that you would like to add as maybe a takeaway or a best practice or something we didn’t bring up Jay, we’ll start with you.

Curtis Hays (30:26.9)
Well, actually, can I ask Jay a question before Jay jumps in? Because I get pushback from companies when I bring up LinkedIn. And that question usually is, well, isn’t LinkedIn a place where people go and shop for jobs? There’s still this mindset that it’s more of an HR kind of talent acquisition platform, and it’s not a thought leadership social media, B2B, everything you’ve talked about today, Jay. So.

Tom Nixon (30:29.044)
Sure. Yeah.

Curtis Hays (30:53.484)
To those companies who still believe that, how do you address that pushback?

Jay (30:59.818)
Yeah, I mean, I would just say go on LinkedIn and see what your newsfeed’s becoming increasingly populated with, which is the type of content, the variety of content that we’re talking about here today, I think by and large. LinkedIn has, if you’ve followed along, I mean, they’ve been making a conscious effort to become more of a creator platform over the years. I mean, they have, you know,

opportunity to turn on what’s called creator mode and your profile now, which emphasizes your content over your job history, you know, with the understanding that they’re trying to make sure that people, you know, they’re trying to adapt to the understanding that people are looking to, you know, grow their businesses, not just get a new job on the platform. So, and I would say this also, and I’ve heard this anecdotally from many people,

I think one of the reasons LinkedIn has become a more robust creator and content platform, the way that people would think about Twitter slash X or Facebook or Instagram in the past is that it tends to be, in my experience, a much more kind of polite and welcome environment for creators and for content, especially of the B2B professional services variety. There’s not that…

sort of toxicity that you see on other platforms and where people hesitate to post anything because they don’t wanna get trolled or they don’t wanna get attacked or they don’t wanna get canceled and all the reasons why we worry about creating too much content. But LinkedIn is just fundamentally different in that respect. It’s probably changing, it’s probably becoming more of that and it probably will over time. But as of right now, I mean, I think it’s in a good spot. And if you’re trying to reach

that type of audience. I mean, I know my domain is the legal industry, but lawyers are on there. I mean, they’re taking breaks from work and grabbing five minutes worth of content on LinkedIn. And I imagine that’s true for many other different industries as well. I mean, I know it is because I know many people who I’m friends with or worked with who are doing the same thing in other little pockets of LinkedIn as well, whatever their niche area is.

Jay (33:18.049)
it’s become much more of a creator platform. I mean, to me, that’s what it is almost as much as it is a recruiting platform anymore.

Tom Nixon (33:26.608)
And you can also tell that they’re, they’re trying to emulate Facebook or whatever it might be Twitter with the features that they introduce, right? They’re trying to like, you know, hear down video and remember when, um, what was it clubhouse was a thing and they started doing, you know, live audio. Right. It’s like, so they are consciously trying to be a place where people dwell, which is how you sell advertising. So I would remind them, uh, these naysayers what the revenue model is for LinkedIn.

Curtis Hays (33:26.709)
Mm-hmm.

Jay (33:33.358)
Mm-hmm.

Jay (33:40.915)
Yeah.

Tom Nixon (33:53.232)
Right. It’s to get eyeballs and to get, you know, people staying, uh, Jay, were those your fun? Go ahead.

Jay (33:53.377)
Yeah.

Yeah, and can I? Well, yeah, let me just continue that thought. And this will be my final thought. But I mean, Curtis, building on that point, too, I think, you know, to people who push back on you, I would say that, you know, the key thing to remember, and I think this is where a lot of businesses make a mistake is they think, well, we’ll we have our LinkedIn, like company page, and we share our blog posts there. And we share announcements and that kind of thing. The when it comes to

like reach on LinkedIn though, it’s so critical to appreciate, which is true of all platforms is, if you really want to get organic reach, you have to have your people creating and sharing content, not just your company page, that’s great and all. But as with all social media platforms, you know, they’re looking to get companies to advertise and boost content. And they’re giving individuals, you know, broad distribution and reach as a result.

because they’re not gonna get individuals paying to boost their posts. And they want people on the platform to consume content that’s paid for by companies. I mean, that’s just the fundamental way of the business model of social media. So if you don’t have, for example, your executive team, your salespeople, your professionals, whoever it is that’s interfacing with your customer or client base, they’re not creating and sharing on LinkedIn, then you’re just not gonna be visible on the platform.

Curtis Hays (34:59.786)
Mm-hmm.

Jay (35:18.506)
and it’s such a target rich environment that it’s a real missed opportunity as a result. So make sure it’s your people who are creating content native to the platform. And yeah, don’t try to, your strategy shouldn’t be push people to our website, push people, we gotta get more people to our website. It’s just not gonna work. It’s okay to just have them looking forward to reading and consuming your content on LinkedIn because they’ll naturally again,

create an affinity for you and your brand as a result of consistently consuming good content on the platform. Don’t try to drive people off. LinkedIn doesn’t want you to drive them off. So you’re just fighting an uphill battle if that’s what you’re optimizing.

Tom Nixon (36:01.7)
Yeah, they will artificially suppress some of that content that is designed to take people away from the platform. So, great final thoughts. Curtis, any final thoughts from you?

Curtis Hays (36:01.861)
Mm-hmm.

Curtis Hays (36:10.82)
Yeah, and I’ll add, just to add some analytics to that, I mean, we see that both from the advertising side as well as any of the organic referral traffic, we see really high bounce rates on websites when people come over from LinkedIn as LinkedIn being the referrer. One hypothesis for that, because we see a lot of that being mobile traffic, is you’re inside the LinkedIn app and then you’re leaving the app, you’re loading Safari or Chrome and then viewing a separate website.

They maybe didn’t realize they were going to be leaving the app or that whole experience didn’t go well. The site loaded kind of slow, um, you know, and those types of things. So you do have to be really careful with that. And that that’s really why we believe a big reason why if you’re doing ads inside of LinkedIn and you’re sending people to a landing page, they’re most likely, I would say 75% of that traffic is going to be on mobile. Those people are leaving the native app, loading the browser and they’re, they’re going to drop. They’re.

And the likelihood of you converting there is extremely small. And at $10 a click, you could spend $1,000, get 100 clicks, and not get a single form fill because 80 to 90% of that traffic bounced. So that’s the be careful piece when you get into LinkedIn advertising, which is way different than Google advertising, which everybody thinks, like, I gotta send people to a landing page, I gotta send people to a website. And then focus on the landing page being the problem.

Tom Nixon (37:23.357)
Yeah.

Curtis Hays (37:38.804)
and it’s not the landing page being the problem. It’s the experience that the user wants to have. So yeah, think carefully about that.

Tom Nixon (37:45.88)
That was the point I was going to make. It is just a punctuate that. Cause I was thinking the same thing. Not only do the platforms not want you to send their traffic off to somewhere else. The user’s there to scroll a feed for a little bit, right? They don’t want to go to a bunch of different websites. That’s an interruption. So keeping it within the platform. Cool. Awesome stuff guys. Um, my final thoughts are, I would like to thank Jay for coming on the bull horns and bulls eyes podcast with Curtis and I, and I would like to thank Curtis for coming on the thought leadership project podcast.

Jay (38:14.158)
I’m going to go ahead and close the video.

Tom Nixon (38:15.734)
with Jay and I, this was great. This was definitely the crossover event of 2024 so far. Um, I didn’t want to make Jay feel bad. So I let them off the hook a little bit, but just as a little bit of initiation, Jay.

Round these parts, we dress for success. All right. That was backwards. That we’re just for success. Yeah. I have a natural, aren’t I? So I have the cowboy hat on next time you’re on be prepared. Come with the requisite attire. All right, gentlemen. Okay. Cool. Thanks. And we’ll see you both on your own podcasts. Thanks everyone.

Jay (38:31.188)
I’m out.

Jay (38:34.55)
backwards. Looks like you know your way around a cowboy hat.

Curtis Hays (38:39.148)
Hehehehe

Jay (38:43.242)
All right. I’ll look out for the box in the mail. Appreciate it.

 

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Additional episodes:

Curtis Stefanie Hays

Episode 7: The Entrepreneur's Journey

A familiar face and name joins the podcast this week, as Stefanie Hays (Curtis's better half) joins the show to share her journey as an "accidental" entrepreneur.

Aimee Schuster Episode 5

Episode 5: Aligning Sales and Marketing

Fractional CMO, author and frequent podcast interviewee Aimee Schuster joins our pod to break down her view of what ails many sales and marketing departments in organizations today.

Tom Nixon Curtis Hays

Episode 4: Going Meta on Bullhorns & Bullseyes

In a very "meta" episode, Curtis and Tom discuss the meaning behind "Bullhorns and Bullseyes." What are some examples of "bullhorn" tactics, and what are some examples of "bullseye" methodologies?

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