How I Managed to 10x Reach and 20x Engagement on LinkedIn with ONE Simple Hack

In the next 3 minutes, I will share with you an absolutely FREE LinkedIn hack that I accidently discovered. I promise it will increase your reach and engagement many times over as it did for me. Best part? It’s really simple so you’ll be able replicate it immediately after reading the article. Read on…

The story began exactly 7 days ago when I reposted two similar posts from Paul Even and Murali Vandayar within hours of each other.

The first one was about my recent talk at Google in Korea. And the other about my talk at the Academy of Sciences in Malaysia

At first glance, you would think that Murali’s post would get better engagement as he has almost twice as many connections on LinkedIn as Paul.

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What’s more Murali has 2877 followers to engage with his content while Paul doesn’t seem to have any.

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So all bets should be on Murali at first glance right?

Interestingly Murali’s post gathered 232 views and 3 likes in 7 days

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While Paul’s post had 2283 views, 64 likes and 23 comments within the same period.

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It surprised me that Paul’s post got 10X more reach and 20X more likes and even additional engagement from comments.

Why is that?

Perhaps the content of their posts you might say? You might be right.

But I suspect it’s less to do with their content or even their network but more to do with how I shared their posts. 

But before getting into the rest of the story, let me preface this by letting you know that I’m not a LinkedIn expert or “power user” by any means. Far from it. I’m an absolute novice when it comes to LinkedIn.

I consider myself a LinkedIn lurker. I set up a free LinkedIn account years ago to act as my online resume so headhunters and business opportunities could find me.

I didn’t post anything for years. In fact 2019 is the most I’ve posted in my entire 10 years on LinkedIn. And that was just 7 posts for the entire year – including the 2 posts last week. While I’ve been preaching the benefits of posting more on LinkedIn, sadly I’m guilty of not eating my own dog food. But that another story.

That said, let’s get with it, the story, or rather my accidental experiment. Here’s how it happened.

After my recent talk at Google Campus in Korea, one of the attendees, Paul Even posted a comment about it and tagged me.

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It was a great post and I thought Paul did a good job of showcasing me in a good light. So, the following day, I liked it and reposted his endorsement with the following comment:

“Massive gratitude to Google for inviting me to speak at their event. Humbled and honored to be given the opportunity share secrets that the top 1% of salespeople use to sell more and earn more.”

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As you can can see, my comment was a simple two liner. No hashtags, no tags, no smileys. I did not tag Paul and didn’t even like my own post. But I did message a few friends and politely asked them to like/comment my post.

Note: My post shows ‘edited’ because, immediately after I posted, I noticed a typo and had to correct it.

Hours later Murali Prasad Y Vandayar posted some information about my upcoming talk for the Academy of Sciences Angel Investors Initiative in Malaysia and tagged me.

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I immediately reposted it with the following comment:

“Can’t wait to share storytelling insights with scientists and researchers at the upcoming SME Clinic on Industry 4.0 Angel Investors Initiative”

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Again, I did the exact same thing as I did with the first post i.e reposted it with a short comment. No hashtags, no tags, no smileys. Did not tag Murali and did not like my post.

Both posts were less than 50 words. The first was 35 words and the second 21 words.

The only significant difference with the 2nd post was that I did NOT message anyone with a request to like or comment

Anyway, I forgot about the whole thing and busied myself with work.

2 days after the posting, Vyasa Kandasamy contacted me with an interesting question. Vyasa is one of the friends that I had reached out earlier to help like and comment on my post. He also happens to be one of Malaysia’s Top 100 influencers and a Linkedin heavyweight with over 10,000 connections…

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…. And over 8500 followers LinkedIn

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Vyasa must have been keeping track of my post because his WhatsApp message was asking if I was doing something different as my Google post. He noticed it was getting unusual traction.

I checked my post and to my delight found that the Google post had significant reach compared to the ‘control’ post. There were also a bunch of comments, and even requests.

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So the the ten million dollar question is why did the first post do better?

Could it be the #google hashtag? Maybe the Google tag carries more weight than the Angel Investor Initiative tags?

Could it be that I had not posted in a awhile? So the LinkedIn algorithm decided to push my post reach further that usual to encourage me to post even more?

Both plausible explanations but I think the answer to that question may have something to do with a new trend I’m noticing. Our communication has evolved. Digital is just not the digital it used to be.

Here is how I try to makes sense of the new trends and how our digital communication has progressed. Our storytelling skills have evolved, in response to new challenges caused by ‘communication upgrades’ that have triggered by technological development. It can be explained as 4 great waves.

The First Wave of Selling

This is ‘old school’ selling. It started with the birth of the printing press and continued on with the invention of the TV, basically the pre internet days of one way communication. When the large companies with massive advertising budgets dominated communication channels. In this case, the conversation was mainly one way from brand to buyer.

The Second Wave of Selling

With the birth of the internet, the playing field was leveled and the buyer started to join the conversation. Now, not only did the debate become two way. These were the days of Web 1.0, where company websites were just replicas of offline sales materials.

The Third Wave of Selling

With the advent of Web 2.0, and the smartphone everything started getting ‘social’. By this time, it was very clear that not only was the playing field leveled, the buyer had become dominant and a force to be reckoned with. You could see this especially the brands that vie for attention on review sites like Glassdoor, TripAdvisor, G2 Crowd etc – where a small missteps can bring a well established brand to its knees.

The Fourth Wave of Selling

I believe have already entered a new phase. It’s a brand new wave of communication where technology, AI, machine learning, big data is playing an increasingly bigger role in the way we communication and share information. With the rise of bots, we have in effect 3 players: Brand, Buyer and Platform. I recently read called PLATFORM: THE ART AND SCIENCE OF PERSONAL BRANDING by Cynthia Johnson. In Chapter 9 she talks about how we’re now having a ‘3-way with a robot’. It’s an excellent introduction for anyone interested in branding themselves in today’s hyper attention driven world.

To succeed in the fourth selling wave, one would need the blessing of the Platform Gods, the likes of Google, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter etc. With these networks it’s a game of snakes and ladders. If you accidentally make a wrong move you can be severely punished and fall behind, but if you make the right move and appease the Gods, you will be richly rewarded with attention, fame and money on a scale you have never seen before.

So what are the rules of the new game? What are the algorithms rewarding and punishing? Well, I’m not expert but I’m going to hazard a guess. These platform eat human attention for breakfast lunch and dinner. Attention for them is the same thing as money for us. Where the attention goes, money flows.

The platform survival depends on how many people turn up and how long they stay. As such the algorithms are designed to get people to stay as long as possible on the platform

So any time, you help add human attention to a platform, (for example sending external traffic from WhatsApp to them), you will be ‘rewarded’.

If you can make that traffic you sent hang around a little longer (to read, reflect on the content, write a comment, to share), you will be rewarded even further.

And conversely, if you do something (e.g provide external links) that takes existing traffic away from the platform especially to their competitors, you will be ‘punished’ with limited reach.

What I think worked

  1. Connecting with a number about 30 of my friends over 7 days using WhatsApp and Kakao Talk.
  2. Getting people outside the usual territory of action i.e. Seoul and Kuala Lumpur, e.g from New York, Paris, Manila, Singapore and Jakarta to like my post.
  3. Having a power user and top Linkedin influencer like and comment on my post. And then leveraging his/her network

Moral: It’s not just what you share, it’s also who you share it with and share it with and how you share 

What would have make these results even better.

  1. Share get people to share and like your post within 60 Minutes of you posting it as the algorithms are time sensitive
  2. Get as as many ‘heavyweights’ as you can to like and comment on your posts. Had I known, I would have included more top influencers.
  3. Respond to each and every comment in a timely manner

I noticed there comments to my post, and perhaps it was rude but I did not want to answer them just yet. I wanted this to be an ‘apple’ to ‘apple’ comparison of my two original reposts. I did not want to jeopardise experiment with creating engagement with any new activity from my end.

Caution: Be careful not to spam or annoy people. I realised that about half of the 30 people I had initially messaged did not respond. Maybe they were busy. Maybe I didn’t have enough social capital with them. Or maybe I had offended them by sounding cheap and needy!!!

One person was kind enough to actually message me back advising me that me doing this sort of thing was counterproductive and it would actually hurt my reputation.

That got me thinking. The experiment really begs a deeper question. Should you ask friends, family and your co-workers to like your post in the first place?

Does shameless marketing only help with some vanity metrics at the expense of real reputational damage?

So tell me, in the comments below. Is it a good idea to ask people to like your post via dark social or email to enhance your reach?

As I mentioned at the start, I’m not expert and just learning and feeling my way through this algorithm thing. I would appreciate some comments. If you have have another idea why my Google post did better, I’d love to hear about it!

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