The Clickbait Debate: Are We Killing the Social Network?

by | 9 Jul 23

LinkedIn is a leading professional social media platform, boasting over 700 million users worldwide. It is a potential goldmine for B2B sales and networking, allowing you to connect with potential leads, customers, and partners. However, with the recent changes in the LinkedIn algorithm, the platform has become more competitive. As a result, we see regular posts on LinkedIn demonising click-bait selfies and needless pet posts.

I’m not convinced we actually know the difference between clickbait and interesting personal content, and I also believe that far too many of us are guilty of forgetting how we want to be sold to, when we are selling (or not selling) to others.

What is click-bait on LinkedIn?

I will be completely honest with this one and say I’m not sure I know anymore. I always thought clickbait was a tactic to attract attention and generate views through content that promises something exciting, shocking, or controversial but fails to deliver the promised message. In most cases, clickbait content is misleading, exaggerated, or sensationalised, with the sole purpose of attracting clicks and views. Even if we strip out the exaggerated and misleading elements, the goal would still be a click-through.

This type of content has always run the risk of being detrimental to your LinkedIn profile as it lowers your credibility and can ultimately affect your sales performance but, the new LinkedIn algorithm now prioritises certain content to certain audiences and is designed to prioritise content that engages users authentically. This is where I’m slightly confused, as everything we read suggests ‘no more selfies’ and ‘see less pet posts’ as fundamentals of the new algorithm. This confuses me as I firmly believe that a buyer is better placed if they know what sort of person I am.

I balance the way I post to make sure people can see what I do and also who I am. I share information about my hobbies, my family, my business, and my industry. Why? Because I’m here to network first and conduct business second, and for that reason, I always try to connect with my network and contacts on a deeper level than just transactional or product. Giving them a window into my life lets them form more important views about me. Is this really a bad thing? 🤷🏻‍♂️

Why is giving the world a window into our lives a bad thing?

The short answer here is it’s not. Far too often, we forget how we like to be sold to! I want to know if I can trust the seller. I respect it if they have unearthed that we have something in common and used that to put me at ease, and I like it if we genuinely connect on a level much deeper than the transaction or product.

The numbers are clear, those who have large networks and can be trusted by those in that network outperform those who don’t and aren’t. That should be enough to make us all think about the importance of the new algorithm getting any form of censorship right.

%

of people trust recommendations from people they know

%

of buyers seek advice from a trusted connection

%

more sales opportunities for those with high social network activity

How to identify click-bait on LinkedIn.

The first sign of clickbait is a headline that seems too good to be true. They include phrases like, ’10x your inbound in a week’ or ‘Gary generated £500k additional revenue in just eight days’ and finally, ‘Follow these three steps to become a millionaire’ along with other sensational words and phrases. Clickbait content tends to have an exaggerated image or show evidence without genuine references. Avoiding content like this used to be easier, but now it often presents itself as an ad, another reason why the new algorithm confuses me a bit.

It just doesn’t seem right that someone opening up and sharing moments, people or pets that are important to them can be deemed more damaging than paid content designed to trap us into spending more money.

When trying to spot clickbait, it’s usually dead easy. If it sounds or looks too good to be true, then it usually is, and where selfies, family and pet posts are concerned, the market always decides what it wants to see and what it doesn’t, so let’s not censor or condemn it, the market will do so itself if it’s the devil many make it out to be.

How do I Avoid making clickbait on LinkedIn?

The best way to avoid creating and sharing click-bait content on LinkedIn is by following these simple rules:

  • Use authentic headlines that reflect the content accurately.
  • Avoid overusing sensational words and phrases.
  • Stay true to your niche and provide value to your audience.
  • Use visuals that are relevant to the content and are not exaggerated.
  • Find somebody willing to check and critique your content before you share it. Sometimes just talking through how you have created the content you are about to share can help.

Creating original and valuable content will attract the right audience, enhance your credibility, and ultimately drive more business.

The new LinkedIn algorithm is also designed to prioritise engagement, authenticity, and relevance. When creating content, use the right keywords, hashtags, and tags related to your industry and target audience. Engage with your audience by responding to comments and asking questions, and promote your content via other social media platforms. If you follow these tips, your content will stand out in the new algorithm and gain more visibility and engagement.

Conclusion

In conclusion, genuine clickbait content is not helpful when generating leads and sales on LinkedIn. With the new algorithm, you should create authentic and valuable content that engages your audience and reflects your brand’s values. By avoiding click-bait and optimising your content for the new algorithm, you’ll not only attract the right audience but also build a strong and credible online presence. Remember, quality always wins over quantity, so take the time to create content that resonates with your audience, provides value, and cultivates meaningful relationships.

And don’t be afraid to drop the odd selfie or post about your journey. People buy from people, and I, for one, value it when individuals share their journey with me.

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