How to Get Exposure and Build Web Traffic with LinkedIn Today

Last Updated Aug 5, 2011 3:36 PM EDT

Good news: LinkedIn and LinkedIn Today can drive huge amounts of traffic to a website. The bad news? Generating traffic via LinkedIn -- just like generating traffic via any strategy -- is not easy.

But it can be done.

First some background. LinkedIn Today is a social news platform that gathers stories, articles, etc. based on what LinkedIn users share with each other. If you like an article and "share" it (like by using the "share" button above the first paragraph of this post) your connections -- and their connections -- may notice and check it out.

Nice -- but it gets better.

The more an article is shared (within a relatively short period of time) the more likely that article is to bubble to the top of the LinkedIn Today home page or to sub-category pages like IT, Staffing & Recruiting, Marketing & Advertising, etc.

Hitting those pages can produce tons of traffic. For example, a couple months ago my BNET post The 5 Biggest Hiring Mistakes hit the top of the Staffing & Recruiting page. It only stayed on top for about thirty minutes but in that narrow time span generated 5-digit page views along with lots of views of other posts.

That result is no anomaly. As near as I can tell, one LinkedIn "share" typically drives four to eight times more traffic than reader tweets and Facebook "likes" combined, at least for my posts. Pretty powerful stuff.

Here are ways to leverage the power of LinkedIn and draw more traffic to your site:

  1. First, build better connections. Sharing articles with your connections can create traffic. Probably not a lot -- who has time to read everything everyone shares? -- but certainly some, especially if those connections are meaningful. Take a little time each week to build your network, but remember: Quality is definitely more important than quality. Building 30 connections who appreciate and read what you share is better than cobbling together 300 "oh, what the heck I'll connect with him" strangers only interested in boosting their connection totals.
  2. Then join the right groups. LinkedIn Groups can be powerful, especially if you join relevant groups. Membership is opt-in, so people in a particular group are already interested in that field or topic. Understanding and fostering those interests can help broaden your reach beyond your immediate connections. But only share with a group when you know the content will interest the group. Abuse your "power" and you'll lose it.
Then focus on LinkedIn Today. Sharing a link with individuals or with groups is easy. Hitting the LinkedIn Today main page or category pages is much harder and requires more than great content.

You'll need to:

  1. Check out the categories. Sub-categories are sometimes interestingly named and focused. Marketing & Advertising is straightforward, others less so. (Management Consulting tends to have a fairly eclectic set of top posts, some management focused and some not.) Spend a few days watching the article titles and topics that tend to bubble to the top.
  2. Tailor your posts. Fortunately you don't have to do a lot: What "works" for LinkedIn tends to "work" for a broader audience. Catchy titles, relevant topics, great advice or input or information... great content is great content. But every social media site's audience is a little different, and the interests of those audiences are a little different, so account for those differences when possible.
  3. Make posts easy to share. Adding a share button to your site is simple.
  4. Use internal links. Some posts strike a chord right away, others simmer for awhile. And some become the traffic generators that keep on generating. For example, my post How to Create a LinkedIn Profile That Really Connects was popular. At the bottom of the post I included a link to an older post, 8 Words That Should Never Appear In Your Twitter Bio. Thousands of the "LinkedIn Profile" readers liked the "Twitter Bio" post and shared it too... and the Twitter Bio post was once again off and running. Always make it easy for visitors to find and then share your relevant content.
  5. Keep working. Hitting the main pages of any social media site takes time and effort. But that's okay; while you're working toward that goal you will still make new connections, join new groups, and create great content. Even if you never do make it to the main page of LinkedIn Today, those actions alone will still add value to your business.
Related: Photo courtesy flickr user Coletivo Mambembe, CC 2.0
  • Jeff Haden On Twitter»

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    Jeff Haden learned much of what he knows about business from managing a 250-employee book manufacturing plant. Everything else he picked up from ghostwriting books for some of the smartest CEOs and leaders in business. He has written more than 30 non-fiction books, including four Business and Investing titles that reached #1 on Amazon's bestseller list. Follow him on Twitter at @Jeff_Haden.