LinkedIn is one of the most popular professional social networking sites, with over 800 million users worldwide. On LinkedIn, users can post content like articles, images, and videos to share news, ideas, and insights with their professional connections. One way LinkedIn users can further spread content is by sharing posts made by others. But an important question arises – do posts that are shared on LinkedIn receive less visibility and engagement than original posts? Let’s take a deeper look at this topic.
What is a shared post on LinkedIn?
A shared post on LinkedIn refers to any post that a user re-shares from another user or page on the platform. For example, if John sees an insightful article posted by Jane, he can hit the “share” button to re-post it to his own profile and connections.
The original post by Jane will now show up on John’s profile with a note indicating that he shared Jane’s post. All of John’s connections will see the shared post in their feed.
Sharing posts is a core part of how content spreads on LinkedIn. It allows users to curate and pass along content they find valuable.
Do shared posts reach fewer viewers?
At a basic level, it seems intuitive that a shared post would get less visibility than an original post. After all, a shared post is secondhand content. However, the actual relationship between shares and reach on LinkedIn is nuanced. Here are some key factors:
– Algorithm: LinkedIn’s feed algorithm determines reach and does not classify original vs. shared posts. The algorithm evaluates factors like post quality, relevance to the audience, and author expertise. High-quality shared posts can compete with original content.
– Audience overlap: A shared post leverages the audience of both the original poster and the person doing the sharing. If those audiences have little overlap, it expands the overall reach.
– Influencer sharing: When influential accounts with large followings share a post, it gives the content a major signal boost. This multiplier effect can drive huge reach.
– Virality: If many people share the same post, its distribution grows exponentially. Viral shared posts often massively outperform standalone posts.
What impacts the reach of shared posts?
While being a shared post does not inherently limit reach, there are some factors that influence how widely shared content spreads on LinkedIn:
– Authority of the account sharing: Posts shared by accounts with more connections and domain authority tend to get greater reach. LinkedIn’s algorithm favors amplifying credible voices.
– Timeliness of sharing: Content has a shelf life. If an account shares a post weeks or months after it was originally published, it likely won’t gain as much traction. Timely shares get higher engagement.
– Commentary added: Simply sharing a post as-is limits the visibility boost. Adding original commentary or insights when sharing helps increase relevance.
– Targeting of the audience: Niche, hyper-targeted posts have a more limited potential audience. Broadly relevant content is more likely to go viral with shares.
– Saturation: If the same post has already been massively shared, additional shares see diminishing returns. Too much saturation limits marginal visibility gains.
Do certain types of posts get shared more?
Yes, certain categories of content tend to get higher sharing rates on LinkedIn:
– Industry news articles: Professionals share breaking news relevant to their industry at high rates to showcase knowledge.
– Listicles and tips content: Lists and advice posts that provide value attract shares. This helps cement the sharer as an industry thought leader.
– Behind-the-scenes company content: Posts that provide insider looks at notable companies generate interest. Company employees drive sharing of this employer branding content.
– Thought leadership commentary: Posts with insights, opinions, and perspectives tend to see above average sharing activity compared to pure information posts.
– Controversial takes: Some provocative or controversial hot takes get increased sharing, as people take sides on the issue.
– Visual content: Eye-catching images, infographics, and videos tend to attract higher than average sharing levels. Visuals help the post stand out.
Case studies on shared post performance
Looking at real examples can illustrate trends about how shared posts perform compared to original posts. Here are two case studies of accounts that have analyzed the performance of their original vs. shared content on LinkedIn:
Hootsuite is a social media management platform. An analysis of their LinkedIn content found:
– Original text posts generated up to 2x more reactions than shared text posts
– However, original image posts saw lower engagement than shared image posts
– The referral traffic from shares was minimal – under 100 visits a month in most cases
Salesforce looked at their most-shared LinkedIn posts and found:
– The most shared posts generated 5-10x more traffic to their site than regular posts
– It took ~10 big shares by major accounts to create a viral effect that dramatically increased reach
– Shorter posts (under 250 characters) were more likely to be shared
Should you primarily post original or shared content?
Based on the factors we’ve explored, here are some guidelines on whether to focus on original vs. shared content:
– If your goal is branding: Publish mostly original content highlighting your ideas, insights, and expertise. Avoid over-reliance on shares.
– If your goal is virality: Share strategically in addition to original content. Leverage your audience and influencer partnerships to maximize shares.
– If your goal is lead generation: Focus on original content optimized with SEO and calls to action to drive inbound interest. Shared posts likely won’t move the needle.
– If your goal is awareness: A healthy mix of original and shared content can help broadly distribute your message rather than keeping it siloed.
Best practices for sharing content
Here are some best practices to increase the reach and impact when sharing other people’s content on LinkedIn:
– Add value by commenting on why you are sharing and what you took away from the content. Don’t just hit the share button.
– Be selective in what you share. Only share the very best content that is highly relevant for your audience.
– Time your shares well by capitalizing on trending topics and sharing evergreen content at optimal times.
– Target shares to specific groups or followers who would most appreciate the content. Don’t take a spray-and-pray approach.
– Spread out sharing of a particular piece of content over time rather than sharing repeatedly.
– Always consider if original content would better achieve your goals before opting to only share the posts of others.
Tools to identify share-worthy content
Sifting through the torrent of content on LinkedIn to find the most valuable share-worthy gems can be challenging. Here are some tools that can help:
– BuzzSumo – Analyze what content performs best for any topic or competitor.
– LinkedIn Post Inspector – See the most viral and engaging posts by influencers on LinkedIn.
– Feedly – Follow and discover content from industry experts and publications.
– DrumUp – Identify relevant articles and automatically share them to your social profiles.
– ListenFirst – Uncover the most shared domains, articles, and authors related to your industry.
– Flipboard – Curate social content into sharable magazines around your interests.
In summary, sharing content on LinkedIn can be an impactful tactic, but it depends on the goals and context. While shared posts may not always achieve the highest raw reach, they can effectively expand distribution, trigger virality, and generate engagement.
To maximize impact, shares should be selective, strategic, and add value through commentary. Both original and shared content have roles to play as part of an integrated approach. With the right strategy, shares can provide great benefits, but they are not a shortcut to reach. The quality of the content itself is still the most important factor.