5 Tips for Posting Pulse Articles on LinkedIn

LinkedIn Pulse uses an algorithm to determine how it should source your post. It matches content to an industry professional’s interests. So if you are a healthcare provider, you won’t receive posts on accounting.

There are ways to optimize LinkedIn Pulse to better reach intended audiences. Here are some suggestions based on research:

1) Social Validation Ratio

Social Ratio

The LinkedIn Pulse algorithm uses as social validation ratio to determine how often it sources a member’s Pulse post, says data scientist Andy Foote. The relative number of views doesn’t matter. Instead, the percentage of likes, reshares and comments per view is what triggers a featured article in Pulse.

Sharing your post as soon as you publish is critical. Send it on to your most engaged communities. You need people to like, share and comment to achieve the right ratio. I can already see scenarios where people are gaming initial social engagement to trigger featured Pulse articles.

2) Timing Is Important

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Because social validation drives success you want to publish on days when most people use LinkedIn. Those tend to be Monday through Friday during business hours, with an emphasis on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. You can further refine time-based optimization by targeting times when people are at their desks; before work, lunch hours, or the end of the business day.

3) Format Posts for Social Validation

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Creating strong posts means requires a few things to make content more share and comment worthy. These are blogging best practices, but just for the sake of being intelligent about formatting let’s offer a few reminders:

  • Use relevant and interesting images. There’s a reason why LinkedIn suggests a strong header image. But go further. Build subheads, and use a new image every three to five paragraphs. Or you can build a BuzzFeed-esque post with subheads for every paragraph. List posts do seem to go further than the average essay, but you better be sure the content is awesome. There’s nothing worse than a lame, self-promotional BuzzFeed hack. You can also embed rich media if you have good video content or Slideshares you’d like to add.

  • Titling is important to drive interest from readers. It should also be descriptive and match back to keywords that will signal to the algorithm which audiences will prefer the post.

  • Offer links to give readers additional insights and depth. LinkedIN’s editor recommends you do this as a matter of good form.

    The social network does recommend generous linking. As far as ranking content goes, LinkedIn’s Pulse algorithm is closely guarded, but if it is anything like Google’s, it rewards posts with strong links. Generally speaking, Google likes sourcing content with frequent and credible links, as it provides an extended and good user experience. Since Google actually indexes LinkedIn posts, this a good practice regardless of how LinkedIn factors links into its algorithm. You want to rank well with your post.


  • There are those that preach long form, and others who say short form matters most. Most of the posts I see succeeding on Pulse are greater than 500 words, but not more than 1000. Brian Lang’s research confirms this observation. At the same time given how few posts actually extend beyond 1000 words, it may be the odds of success are higher with long form.

4) Write for the Audience

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It’s really important to keep content laser focused within the sector. The algorithm will source content to audiences based on keywords and phrases. And it will also exclude audiences if the content won’t appeal to them.

5) Tag Your Posts

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The 10 most overused buzzwords on LinkedIn.

LinkedIn specifically recommends tagging your posts. You can add up to 3 tags in each post, but you cannot customize the tags, instead using what LinkedIn has offered for categories. To add tags:

  • Scroll to the bottom of your post.
  • Click the Tag icon next to Add tags like consulting, sales, marketing…
  • Click into the text box and begin typing.
  • Select an available tag from the drop-down.

These five tips should help your LinkedIn Pulse Article go further than just a standard text-only piece that one might be tempted to post.

Can Flickr Catch Instagram?

Flickr celebrated 10 years of serving photos earlier this month, making it an old man amongst social networks. But the photo network is still relevant today, ranking in the top 10 social networks thanks to a resurgence under Marissa Mayer’s watch. In fact, Flickr is now ranked just one spot behind rival photo network Instagram.

In the past two years, Yahoo! redesigned the site to give it a modern feel, added new apps, gave photographers a massive amount of free space (one terabyte), and continues to evolve its feature set. Most recently, Flickr added Creations, an easy way for photographers to create their own Photo Books. The series of changes has produced a visual renaissance.

Flickr has 92 million users now, from amateur to the most professional of photgraphers. Unlike Instagram, Flickr’s robust copyright protection mechanisms provides more experienced photgraphers a safe place to post, in turn attracting higher quality images.

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Image by antony5112 on Flickr.

While Instagram may be the place for casual photo sharing and in-the-moment visual hashtagged memes, Flickr offers a search beast and credibility. Google, Bing and Yahoo alike index the site, and offer its images in their results. Tagging drives additional native search traffic, too. As a result, Flickr is a top resource for those looking for creative photos.

In my opinion, Yahoo!’s Flickr may overtake Facebook’s Instagram as the number one photography social network. What a coup that would be for Marissa Mayer.

I post on both Flickr and Instagram, and I can safely say that I have never had an Instagram photo featured in a news story, book, or on Getty Images. My works on Flickr have been featured in three books, twelve were licensed by Getty Images, and hundreds have been featured in blogs around the world.

In fact, Flickr is so powerful that my photo blog regularly outperforms this blog every month. I am expecting my one millionth photo view (none of which include me) early this Spring, outpacing this blog’s page views (which includes the old Now Is Gone blog, launched at roughly the same time as my Flickr blog, but not the Buzz Bin from 2006-9).

The combination of better apps and features, higher visibility to influential photography users, and increased social function gives Flickr the edge over Instagram in my book. What do you think?

Featured image by me, shot in Philadelphia this past Saturday.

Facebook Will Not Die Easily

Did you know that more than two million people still access the Internet through AOL dial-up services? Or that the company grew by 6% last year to reach $2.3 billion in revenue? While AOL is oft considered dead by pundits, the company is surviving just fine as a media company with a legacy dial-up business.

In August of 2012, I wrote that Facebook will decline like AOL. I think its worth revisiting given all of the hot debate over Facebook’s impending cancerous death.

Before I wrote the AOL post, I originally modeled a MySpace-like death for Zucerberg and company, but that was wrong. Facebook will not die a fast death. In fact, in the past couple of years it’s become clear that the full and complete collapse of the company is impossible.

Don’t get me wrong. On a personal level, I really dislike Facebook. I personally find a vast majority of the conversations to be mundane or toxic. I am not alone, many users have a wide variety of dislikes, according to Pew Research.

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Like Olivier Blanchard, I think marketers would be wise to develop alternate methods of galvanizing their social communities. There are too many warning signs for any risk-adverse person. Facebook is vulnerable. For example, it’s not the first social network for healthy swaths of the B2B and youth consumer markets.

At the same time, Facebook is almost ubiquitous across the Internet. It’s social share buttons are everywhere. Even with McDonald’s-like weaknesses, Facebook is far and away the largest social network. It has more than three times the amount of active users (900 million) than its nearest competitors, Twitter and LinkedIn.

Economies of scale of this nature don’t collapse over night, nor do they fall in a year. In fact, the only thing that could possibly destroy Facebook is an epic scandal of an unimaginable level… Or Rupert Murdoch buying the company.

What goes up, must come down. Much of the conjecture about Facebook’s death revolves the anticipation of Something Else.

Another parallel can be drawn to broadcast TV. In spite of cable, satellite and Internet-based on-demand video services, broadcast TV continues to survive.

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Why? Because like other markets, the networks have a leadership share that’s hard to overcome. CNN, Fox, ESPN, Netflix, the Weather Channel, etc., may carve their niches, yet they cannot overcome the economies of scale that other networks have. As a result, the original broadcasters continue to purchase quality programming with top actors and newscasters, and sporting events like the NFL and the Olympics. Individual competitors can’t compete on this level day in, day out. As a result, a portion of the U.S. population retains a very basic brand loyalty.

Like AOL and the original broadcast TV networks, Facebook is never going to die. It will acquire other properties like Instagram. It will dwindle, it will likely decline, but Facebook will never disappear. The network is too big to completely fail.

What do you think?

Featured image by Louhan.

#xPotomac14 to Feature Robert Scoble, Shel Israel & Others

xPotomac is coming back this February 28, 2014! Our opening keynotes this year are Robert Scoble and Shel Israel, who will discuss The Age of Context, and how the world of media is being dramatically impacted by social media, data, mobile and sensors (see Geoff Livingston’s interview with Robert for an in-depth look at this issue).

Tickets are on sale now. If you register by December 31, receive an rely bird 30% discount using this code, EARLYBIRD. Contact Geoff Livingston (geoff @ tenacity5.com) directly to discuss sponsorship.

I have been organizing this conference and its predecessor BlogPotomac since 2008, so it’s pretty cool to see it coming back. In its current iteration, I have help from xPotomac Patrick Ashamalla and Shonali Burke (thank you for joining me on this crazy adventure!).

Before I unveil our closing keynote and additional sessions, here’s what’s new about xPotomac 2014:

  • The day has changed from Monday to Friday, providing an easier escape for media and marketing wonks who want to attend.
  • Six sessions instead of eight, with an anticipated 3:30 exit. The intensity of the sessions makes eight a bit long, in our opinion. Plus, we want to enjoy everyone’s company at happy hour afterwards.
  • The location will change from the Source Theatre. Though a great venue, the room got a little hot. We are in negotiations for a new venue, and expect an announcement shortly.
  • We will be keeping the gladiator style format (see videos from last year’s event), which people really seem to love. It offers more conversations and interaction with speakers.

    Additional Speakers

    Our closing keynote for xPotomac is Jim Long, a.k.a New Media Jim. Jim will lead a session on the rapidly changing world of video, and its implications for social networks and content creators. Currently, Jim is the Washington bureau videographer for NBC News.

    Cox Digital Media Director of Social Media Integration and blogging pioneer Toby Bloomberg will join us from Atlanta. Toby will discuss her insights and perhaps an adventure or two based her work with over 70 TV, radio and newspapers properties in using social media as a catalyst to build stronger brand-to-audience relationships.

    Nonprofit marketers Danielle Brigida, National Wildlife Federation, and Allyson Kapin, RAD Campaign will add insights into the nonprofit sector’s struggles with new media. They will engage in a conversation about what is working, what hasn’t worked, and why.

    Our final two sessions focus on corporate adoption of advanced media and the native advertising debates. These speakers will be announced in January.

    This post was originally featured on the xPotomac site.

    Still Time to Catch Up in Social

    No one likes to hear they are out of time.

    Unfortunately, time is running out for businesses that haven’t fully integrated social media into their communications mix.

    Businesses are in grave danger of not only becoming laggards, but also getting lapped on the next generation of media technologies. Some companies have been experimenting with forms of social media for the better part of a decade now.

    Today, technology firms are building new tools with sensors, location data and mobile networks access that are empowering incredible one-to-one communications. These contextual outreach tools come in several forms, from marketing automation to mobile apps and location-based marketing programs.

    Major brands like adidas and CARFAX are using next generation solutions to increase sales, strengthen brand loyalty, and reduce operation expenses. Meanwhile their competitors continue to waffle, broadcasting messages with tweets and Facebook messages, failing to build online communities.

    You can see that even the social network broadcasters, while flailing, have at least made a worst case scenario entry into the media form. Many claim that social does not deliver ROI, and in return those that follow can claim the businesses who don’t engage fail to offer anything of interest. Yet they have a toehold, a minimal entry from which to begin should they choose to invest in larger engagement or custom content for their stakeholders.

    Social media is tough for brands because it requires a deft personal touch that contradicts the way marketing worked in the industrial era of business. It was called mass communications for a reason.

    Fractured media began occurring in the form of blogs and social networks at the turn of the century. As the first decade closed the web 2.0 revolution had come and gone, and mass communication properties were weakened, or worse were going out of business. Social media offered people something a little more personal and unique to their interest levels, plus they could talk with like-minded individuals.

    Now with contextual media, brands and willing customers can finally engage in one-to-one or one-to-a few communications. Let’s not kid ourselves. For any company of significant size and scale this takes work.

    Contextual marketing is a different type of strategy that heavily relies on data and algorithms to build microniches. It does require human guidance. Managing a database intelligently and creating the right content and deals for a micro niche audience requires a deft touch that in many ways is the exact opposite of mass communications.

    The good news is that these new marketing technologies are imperfect at best, and in some cases, are in their earliest phases of development. There is still time to catch up in social media. Some brand might even leapfrog social.

    What do you think? Has time run out for brands to get their social acts together?

    Image by Driek.

    What Taco Licking Crisis?

    Taco Bell was shellacked on social media and PR channels earlier this year when an Instagram photo appeared showing an employee licking a stack of tacos. Yet, there seems to be no brand crisis at all, rather a blip on the incredibly powerful ascent of the fast-food restaurant.

    According to AdAge, “Taco Bell in 2012 posted an 8% increase in U.S. same-store sales — more than twice the 3.3% gain of industry leader McDonald’s.” And there seems to be no slowdown in sales.

    Taco Bell has done more than just launch the uber popular Doritos taco line. They have dominated the male millennial demographic, launched a healthier Cantina line, engaged in effective marketing to the Hispanic sector. The fast food chain has deployed diverse creative talents to appeal to these audiences, working with American and German creative teams.

    All of these positives prompted AdAge to dub Taco Bell its marketing brand of the year.

    In the end, Taco Bell’s swift action in the Instagram crisis resolved the matter quickly. They found out the culprits worked at a franchisee, confirmed that the tacos were not served to customers, worked with the franchise owner to terminate the employees, and issued a public statement.

    The usual blogger drama ensued, but customers — the brand’s true word-of-mouth advocates — were satisfied. Or felt the positives of the resurgent Taco Bell far outweighed an inaccurate Instagram photo posted by a maverick employee.

    The taco licking social media crisis shows once again that online drama may not actually impact brands as much as negative voices would like us to believe. Online digerati don’t make or break a brand; rather, it’s a complex blend of product marketing, satisfied customers and their peer networks who build word of mouth, and traditional PR and advertising.

    Money talks. Blogger hyperbole: well, that’s another outcome.

    This post ran originally on the Vocus blog. I am on vacation until September 30 and will not be commenting. The floor is yours!