In a digital age in which the majority (70% to be exact) of consumers prefer to learn about products or offerings via content versus traditional advertisements, the value of content marketing is undeniable. However, within the modern content marketing landscape, cracking the code of evolving algorithms across each social platform can, at times, feel like an impossible task. It’s not just a matter of putting out content at a frequent cadence nor is it good enough, at times, to produce great content. That’s only one piece of the larger puzzle that is content marketing in a digital age. Rather, truly reaping the rewards from the creation and distribution of social content requires a robust understanding of which platforms your content can be seen, and engaged with, most.
Within the hotel and travel technology space, we operate with the understanding that a large portion of content will fall under the ‘pay to play’ category — meaning that established publications will attach a cost to editorial features. This can range from press releases to blogs, white papers to email newsletters and more. While this is an undeniably important segment of a successful content marketing approach, utilizing existing platforms that offer free exposure and outreach are equally integral to growing brands. So, the question becomes — how can brands, especially within the hospitality realm, come to understand better the algorithms at work and how to maximize their free exposure?
The answer lies in a platform you may have underestimated — LinkedIn, which boasts over half a billion users and about half that number log in every single month. It gets better – over 61 million users are senior level influencers, and 40 million are in decision-making positions and 79% of B2B marketers report that LinkedIn is an effective source for generating B2B leads.
Similar to the trajectory of other popular content sharing platforms such as Facebook and Instagram, LinkedIn recently announced plans to overhaul its newsfeed algorithm. This news follows the realization that the top 1% of content creators and thought leaders were receiving the dominant majority of engagement, while the other 98% were seemingly left in the dark. In fact, according to HubSpot 63% of marketers say their top challenge is generating traffic and leads. Eager to ensure that budding creators get better engagement on the content they share, LinkedIn has created a new algorithm method — coined ‘the Robinhood of Algorithms’ that should address this uneven distribution head on. Moreover, guess what? This could be a game changer for travel and hotel brands hoping to build engagement and visibility around their hospitality offering. Let’s break down the changes:
Previously, LinkedIn would prioritize its newsfeed based on how likely a given viewer was to engage with a given post (with engagement being represented by likes, comments or re-shares). So, let’s imagine I shared a blog about the ‘Ten Most Innovative Hotels of 2018’ to my LinkedIn feed. The platform would display that to other users based on their anticipated engagement, while also considering my network and the subsequent relevance of that content.
While this worked well for the bigger players on the platform, the method failed to consider the (scaled) appreciation of engagement across companies and thought leaders of different sizes. While an industry giant may not care much about one more “like” or “comment” from an unknown follower, smaller hoteliers and budding hospitality thought leaders are eager to embrace each all levels of engagement. In fact, according to Barrilleaux and Wang’s findings, creators who receive 10 or more likes on their content are 17% more likely to post again in the following week.
Taking this into consideration, LinkedIn has modified their feed ranking system to include indicators of how much value each user will place on their content and the subsequent viewer feedback they receive. This will ensure that smaller creators (in our case, smaller hotel brands and budding hospitality thought leaders) who frequently distribute high-quality content, can receive the engagement they deserve. These changes can be summarized in the following considerations:
-How likely a viewer is to engage with a creator’s post.
-How much that viewer’s network will want to see it.
-How much the original creator will appreciate the first ten likes of that post.
Not only will this help to level the playing field of content distribution across the platform but should also contribute to the curation of a more relevant, personalized newsfeed for active users. Publishing content to LinkedIn also becomes a part of your professional profile, helping to build credibility and establish your position as an industry leader. Considering that LinkedIn hosts a community of more than 575 million professionals around the globe, the platform represents an exciting opportunity for hoteliers to reach other industry leaders, prospective guests, and vendors. In fact, it’s noted that the platform drives 80% of B2B social media leads. With so many engaged executives, influencers and thought leaders, LinkedIn becomes a thriving hub of prospective connections, leadership and business opportunities across industries.
LinkedIn has seen a great deal of growth, innovation and thus evolution since it first burst onto the scene five years ago. Now, LinkedIn is a powerful engagement platform that enables companies to get their content in front of prospective buyers and to amplify their brand voice. I would argue that there’s never been a better time to utilize LinkedIn as an integral piece of your content marketing strategy to establish your hotel and travel brand as a trusted industry leader.