LinkedIn is sometimes a tough nut to crack. But it can be a positive channel as Connor McLoughlin of Wokingham Borough Council says.

LinkedIn? Shouldn’t we give control to HR? That’s where people go to find a new job right?’ 

Sure, it can be used for recruitment, it’s where people go to talk about work after all.

But LinkedIn is a legitimate news feed. And it’s one where we can adjust our messages to help reach more even more of our residents and partners.

Since we opened our account at Wokingham Borough Council two and a half years ago, we’ve more than doubled our followers by repurposing content with the right emphasis. 

As this has grown, we’ve found that more people who see our content each month has trended upwards (see graph below). 

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You don’t start with a NextDoor-sized following (those generous people giving us five-figure audiences), but you’ll probably have a few thousand. We started at 2,500.

We’ll top 400,000 impressions in 2021 and that’s the kind of awareness which I’m sure all public bodies want to tap into.  

Easier to repurpose

The Ofcom Online Nation 2021 report says 27 per cent of adults aged 16 or older use LinkedIn, making it the sixth most popular social media platform. 

But crucially it’s the third most popular where the content is arguably not video-led, like Instagram (second), YouTube (third), Snapchat (fifth), and TikTok (eighth).

Your Facebook and Twitter content is more easily put onto LinkedIn than any other channel. 

If you’re lucky enough to have one of those social media scheduling tools, you might just need to tick an extra box and make a few changes to your copy.

A simple change to emphasis, or bringing something else to the fore, maximises engagement for LinkedIn. Things we find which always work are:

  • Shout about great news for your area
  • Leverage your partners on shared projects
  • Celebrate your colleagues and their successes

Example: Safe place for successes

For example, this post about the borough being a healthy place to live here.

And this post about investment.

We find LinkedIn is a place where our great news for our business and our area are celebrated by our audiences. 

New film studios in our area and our borough coming top of the ONS health index (see above) are two examples of this in 2021. Both had more impressions (6,000+) than we have followers (less than 4,500 at the time of posting).

On Facebook these items were dampened with pessimism from a few residents, the type all local authorities deal with on that channel.

But on LinkedIn we only see positivity and it helps us to higher engagement rates. Colleagues, residents and partners amplify this with their networks and help us celebrate the success.

We are always happy to be the hook people work from to promote something themselves.

Example: Celebrating teamwork

Here’s another example this time also involving video.

And also this post here.

In the public sector partnership working is essential. It’s also essential it’s celebrated. 

We find when we draw these partnerships out in our LinkedIn posts, tagging our partners in, they always perform better. 

The companies/businesses, and sometimes their staff, we work alongside want to mark these too. People are proud to work with us and bring benefits to our residents.

We’re fortunate to have several large construction projects taking place across the area, linked to additional housing in our borough in recent years.

There’s also a chance to share content, hence some of the excellent video content we’ve been able to promote in the last 12 months.

Put your colleagues at the front of the story

Our work is done by great people. LinkedIn is the right place to talk about them and what they do for us.

Look at your stories. It might work better on LinkedIn if instead of talking about the thing, we talk about the person who did the thing. 

Or we make sure we factor the people who were involved into the wording of a post in a way we wouldn’t on another channel.

We’ve all had to re-nose a news story or press release, apply the same to your social content for LinkedIn and you’ll see the engagements jump up.

And if you are using LinkedIn for recruitment, no potential staff member is going to be deterred by a workplace that shouts about the great work of its colleagues. 

But what does the data tell us?

These points of focus have helped us more than double our following in two years, with consistent growth in the number of people who see our content and engage with it. 

In the last year, we’ve seen total engagements alongside audiences of local authorities with followings five times ours (see table below). LinkedIn provides this data for ‘competitors’ in its native analytics if you’re interested. 

There’s no competition for audience but it helps to know if what we’re doing is resonating and providing value to those who do see our content relative to similar organisations.

Council Followers Posts Engagements Average engagements per post Engagements to followers ratio
Wokingham Borough Council 5,640 288 8,393 29.14 1.4881
County council 1 26,111 216 8,543 39.55 0.3272
County council 2 26,674 195 8,777 45.01 0.3290
New, large unitary 4,983 488 7,016 14.38 1.4080
Similar sized unitary 6,536 241 2,848 11.82 0.4357

Data correct as of 13 December 2021

Make it work for you

If it’s a channel you’re already using or one you’re looking to unlock, these are a great place to start with adapting some of your content from other channels. 

Lift and shift. Repurpose with purpose. It won’t involve a 9:16 video. 

You could bring lots more eyeballs on some of your biggest projects and get to highlight your perfect partnerships or celebrate your colleagues. After the last few years, we could all do with a bit of the latter. 

Connor McLoughlin is senior communication, engagement and marketing specialist at Wokingham Borough Council.

Original source – The Dan Slee Blog » LOCAL SOCIAL: Is it time for a Local localgovcamp?

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