LinkedIn Engagement Survey Initial Results

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Here are the initial results from the LinkedIn Engagement Survey

We wanted to explore the importance of certain types of engagement on LinkedIn. The sample size for these results is n=106. We will leave the survey open for another 30-days to see if an increase in sample size changes any of these results.

The survey is available at this link

Are vanity viewing metrics important to you?

Why is this vital to explore? The simple answer is because of cognitive dissonance.

If one believes vanity metrics are essential, that internal bias and need to achieve the goal of increasing vanity metrics will push out any evidence going against that belief system.

The inverse would, of course, be true, too.

If we believe they’re not necessary any evidence showing that they might have value would be pushed out by us.

Here’s the good news – the vast majority feel neutral about vanity metrics. That vanity metrics are somewhat valuable was the insights of 43%. Moreover, this makes sense. If we are trying to create awareness of something, someone, or a cause, then we would strive for higher vanity metrics.

Are you biased towards or against vanity metrics?

The initial results would show an even split on this topic.

20% view them very valuable
21% think of them as not so valuable

7% find them extremely valuable
9% see them not at all valuable

One of the great things we learn in high-end sales is the concept being if someone sells by the numbers (ratings), they will die by the numbers.

Think of it this way. We might get a rush when we get a massive amount of views on a piece of content. However, if we are in the camp that feels vanity metrics are essential, then we will start chasing those metrics. We’ll focus less on the content and more on the tactics (clickbait, gaslighting, attention-seeking) to get more views. It is impossible to hit a higher number every time.

On the other side, if one doesn’t feel vanity metrics are essential, they may begin to believe that famous people are taking away their views, even though there’s no direct correlation between their parameters and the other persons.

Bottom line is one must be mindful of our bias and understand everyone is right on this topic based on their perspective.

The importance of Likes

Let’s remember if someone likes or comments on our content; it triggers the same action. That content gets fed to a portion of followers/connections connected to them. Those are people who would have never seen our content.

There is good news here because the majority of people find likes desirable.

45% Somewhat
37% Very
11% Extremely

93% Total

However, there’s always someone in the contrarian crowd.

4% not so desirable
3% not at all desirable

7% Total

Translates to 9 out of 10 people that you give likes to will be happy. So keep on giving them.

Even more important don’t buy into the narrative that they’re not necessary. We know that reactions are essential because LinkedIn has expanded them.

The Value of Comments

There is a perception that comments are more critical than likes or emotional reactions.

There may be some truth to this but let’s face it – unless one is on the team writing the algorithm or defining the strategy of what the algorithm should achieve, then nobody knows.

Again, on a tactical level, it is merely sending the post out to a portion of our connections/followers for free!

Groupthink moves people to believe more and more in-depth comments are the goal.

We decided to take a look at the perception between short and long comments.

Here again, we notice when adding somewhat, very, and extremely desirable on short engagements we get around 90% experiencing them as positive versus 10% having a negative view of short engagements.

When we go into more detailed engagement it jumps to 93% positive and 7% negative.

Strategy suggestion – use whatever commenting approach that you feel is the best for you. Every time that we comment on another person’s post we are automatically giving them the gift of access to our connections/followers.

The Value of Direct Messages

Direct messages are the gateway from a virtual relationship with our connections/followers to an actual real-world event. That event might be one or many of the following: a friendship. obtaining a purchase of a product/service, buying a product/service, finding a job, hiring a worker, supporting another person, encouraging people, receiving support or encouragement, and so on.

I’m in the camp that believes the most robust value lies in the direct message system. It is where we can meet new people and explore opportunities at a deeper level. Also, this is where we can create groups of connections and interact with them. The current limit on a single chat is 50.

88% of people agree there is importance to direct messages.

12% view direct messages as not important.

The potential inference is that 12% of our audience does not have a desire to buy, sell, or even actually connect on LinkedIn.

Suggested strategy – make sure that you are identifying and removing the 12% of your audience falling into this category. Taking this ongoing cleaning house action will prevent us from having to do a significant cleaning when we hit the 30,000 connection limit. We will start to see patterns of what connections to not accept as well.

The Topic of Tagging People

The tagging feature is hugely flawed. The reasons people mass tag include several reasons; for some, it is a cultural thing to showcase their crucial group of people, for others it is a habit, and another group utilizes tagging as an intentional tactic to try and increase their reach for selfish purposes.

38% of people are neutral on the topic of tagging. Meaning 4 out of 10 connections don’t have a strong opinion one way or the other. The question then becomes what about the other 6?

26% approve of the behavior.

36% disapprove of the behavior.

The data would suggest that if you are a mass tagger – no matter what the intention you may be doing more harm than you realize.

Remember, the mass is neutral. If the person were pro-mass tagging, they would have voted in that direction, but they did not. Meaning the topic of tagging is situational and unique to them. They have a set of boundaries, and you need to find those if you’re mass tagging.

Suggested tactic for mass taggers – do an audit. Send a private message to those that you mass tag. Ask them if they would prefer that you continue to tag them, or leave them off of the tagging.

When a person does not engage with our comments on their post, what happens?

We wanted to expand on the importance of follow up with engagement.

Once the engagement starts what are the expectations of the person who has now engaged with us?

65% say they are neutral on this topic.

33% reveal that they have a negative feeling towards us if we don’t respond to them.

2% have a positive feeling about us not engaging back with them.

Since 98% of the people are neutral or would be upset by us not engaging back with them, we can safely assume that once engagement starts we must return that behavior.

Engagement Pods Requiring Engagements

There are many types and forms of engagement pods.

For those that are unfamiliar with the term, this is when a group of people get together and make an agreement to engage with other people’s content. If they don’t participate, then they will most likely be forced out of the pod

The primary purpose is to trick the algorithm into believing their content is becoming popular and should be pushed out to more people.

The question we would ask is, are they gaming the algorithm or gaming themselves?

From the survey, we found the following.

13.21% admitted to being in an engagement pod that forces engagement
86.79% are not in such a group.

We can infer that forced engagement pods are in the minority and not the majority.

Here are some problems with forced engagement in general. We know groups go through stages.

  1. Forming
  2. Storming
  3. Norming
  4. Performing
  5. Adjourning

Most forced engagement pods tend to be driven by a dominant personality, and this means they would define performing by what’s best for them rather than the group.

Strategy suggestion – if you are in a forced engagement pod, go into the adjourning mode by leaving the group. Two things will happen. Those that enjoy what you are doing will stay and be supportive, and of course, you’ll give that in return. Those that were using you to achieve their own goals will fade away fast. For sustainable audience growth, it is critical we shed them sooner rather than later.

Self-Promotion Engagement

Engagement pods are not the only way for people to try to game the algorithm.

Again, we ask why try to game something? It takes more work to hack something than to go through the actual beginning, middle, and end of the work.

There is a paradox. Remember the definition of that word is as follows:
a seemingly absurd or self-contradictory statement or proposition that when investigated or explained may prove to be well founded or true.

The example often given is the statement of someone saying, “That you shouldn’t criticize other people.” In that statement, the person is criticizing the people who criticize. The contradiction becomes obvious once pointed out.

How is it possible for us to self promote. Others have the power to promote us, not us. That’s what referrals are all about!

Most people do have a challenge talking about themselves but hiding behind the concept of self-promotion, doesn’t achieve their goal.

66% do not engage with a specific person’s post as a way to promote their business or to try to get a job.

34% are using this as a tactic.

When I put this stat up, as a teaser for these survey results, there was an interesting comment made where someone in the 34% attacked the other 66%.

Why did they do this? Back to the start of this survey – cognitive dissonance.

It was easier for them to attack the others as being genuine, kind, or generous, rather than to own themselves as a self-promoter.

Nothing wrong with promoting ourselves. The stat shows us the vast majority of people will not buy it so why waste time trying. That effort and energy could better be worth re-evaluating.

By the way, I like the guy whether he’s a self promoter or not. He’s got some fantastic content.

Engagement with a Hidden Agenda

61% of people do not engage with popular people to grow their network.

39% do utilize this as a tactic.

Keep this in mind when reading comments. We know that 6 out of 10 comments will be genuine. The other 4 were made to try to attract us to their profile.

Do we want to hang out with people that are only concerned about growing their network?

Is liking your own post appropriate?

Liking our post is just a trick to put it through to a portion of our network, again.

This tactic runs the risk of being perceived as us spamming our contacts. Is that worth the risk?

62% say no.
38% say yes.

Is diverting traffic in a comment appropriate?

Another way to spam is by posting a link to something we did on another person’s page. How do people feel about that tactic?

62% are against the approach
38% are okay with the idea

Remember, if you’re taking away traffic from a connections content – ask their permission first. Otherwise, you risk an unfollow and connection removal.

Gender and age data