June 23, 2015
How data and analytics can amplify your social media brand
This post is the second in a series about using data and analytics to improve your personal social media brand. View the post about Twitter Analytics. An adapted version of this post appeared in the June 22 issue of PR News.
Using LinkedIn analytics can be a powerful resource in many aspects of your building your personal professional brand – whether you’re looking for a job, trying to earn a position as an industry thought leader, hoping to win new business or seeking to expand your professional network. Unlike other social media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and others, LinkedIn is almost exclusively tailored to professional connections, which makes it a crucial place to protect and build your online professional brand.
But anymore, it’s not enough to simply plop your resume into LinkedIn and hope to get noticed. Over the years, LinkedIn has continued to make enhancements that can transform your online profile into a powerful personal branding tool. One such enhancement has been the addition of analytics tools, which can provide meaningful data to help you protect or amplify your personal professional brand.
For the purpose of this piece, I used the free analytics tools available to Basic users of LinkedIn. While Premium users have access to more detailed data, even the site’s basic analytics tools can provide meaningful insights to help you build or enhance your personal LinkedIn brand. You can find out what drives views of your profile, where those viewers work and a lot about who they are – all of which can lead to actions that will help you amplify your personal brand.
What drives views
To me, this is the most interesting data to analyze, since it helps me understand which actions have the most impact on my connections. Go to your LinkedIn home page. Near the top, you’ll notice a section that says, “X people viewed you in the past day.” Click that link to access a data chart that looks similar to the one below. The first tab – Profile Views – provides insights into what drives views of your profile week-over-week to help you understand how specific actions can impact your activity – both positively and negatively.
Gauge your effectiveness over time by hovering over each week on the chart, then looking to the right of it to see what happened in that particular week to grow (or lose) influence. By taking a closer look at my analytics over the past 90 days, I noted that my highest viewed weeks were:
- April 12 through April 18: 156% increase over the previous week
- April 26 through May 2: 210% over the previous week
As a next step, I looked at my activity for the weeks my views went up week-over-week to determine what I did to drive that activity. Here’s what I found drove views:
- Publishing a blog post– Using LinkedIn’s blog publishing platform, I simply repurposed posts from the Dix & Eaton blog
- Joining a group– ln my case, most were related to marketing or women’s leadership, but LinkedIn will even make suggestions to help you find groups most relevant to you
- Adding several connections – Interestingly, adding fewer than five connections per week did not drive much activity, but adding between seven and 12 connections had a significant impact on my views
- Sharing status updates – Most notably in the form of sharing interesting articles I read (or articles I was quoted in)
(As an aside, I’d encourage you to consider using LinkedIn’s blog publishing platform, even if you don’t publish blog posts anywhere else. It’s easy to do, and I’ve found that the people who comment and “like” the posts I publish on LinkedIn are often outside my immediate network, which has allowed me to build my brand and position myself as a thought leader with a new group of professional connections. Think of it as virtual thought leadership networking.)
With these findings in mind, I now have a better idea of how to keep my connections engaged, as well as how to leverage articles and blog posts as a way to build my influence and position myself as a thought leader.
Where they work
Click on the second tab on the chart to see where the people who are viewing your profile work. Are they customers? Colleagues? Competitors? Peers? This data will provide insights to help you understand what kind of content you should be sharing on your LinkedIn profile to keep your connections engaged.
When I took a closer look at the 175 viewers of my profile in the past 90 days, I found that many of them were colleagues at my organization (likely, because I had published a blog post that I shared with them) and connections from one of the boards I serve on. I also found most of my views came from locations outside the Cleveland/Akron area where I am based. This statistic was a bit surprising, and has influenced how I now think about the content I share on my profile.
By hovering over the “other companies” section of the first chart (“Where your viewers work”), I also noted that several of my client companies were in the mix – as were some new business prospects. To me, this suggests an opportunity to share best practice or industry trend information with those important stakeholders more passively – allowing them to discover the information on their own time, in their own way.
Who is viewing you
To take it one step further, I studied the data in the last tab of the chart, which provided detail into who looked at my profile. While the data itself is anonymous, it still can allow you to build personas around the type of people who are viewing you – both by title and industry. This means you can continue adjusting the type of content you share on your page, or adjust the types of groups you might join to ensure you’re maximizing your impact on the site.
Of course, LinkedIn analytics can answer a lot of other questions too – how you rank as compared to your other connections, who among your connections yields the most influence (so you can study and learn from them) and when your published blog posts garner the most traction. The point is that there is perhaps no better place than LinkedIn to cultivate your personal professional brand. Are you making the most of your online professional brand?