I was recently doing some research into how AgTech firms were using LinkedIn for content marketing. The results were interesting and, in some ways, counter-intuitive to what I expected.
I analysed the LinkedIn activity of company pages of 30 AgTech firms (10 each from the US, Australia and the UK). These were selected from the Crunchbase company database of firms that identified themselves as offering AgTech products and/or services. The largest 10 from each country were chosen based on their Crunchbase score.
It should be noted that this is not necessarily a representative sample of AgTech businesses but is large enough to draw some tentative conclusions. Also, there will be some characteristics of the AgTech sector that differ from other industries but some of the broader lessons from this research are still relevant more generally to B2B companies.
The following metrics from their LinkedIn pages and posts were used in the analysis:
Company Size (employees listed on LinkedIn);
Average Posts per Week (based on most recent 3 months of activity);
Reactions (Total Likes and Shares of last 5 posts);
Comments (Total for the last 10 posts);
Engagement Rate (calculated as ((Reactions + Comments) / Followers) x 100
Note: Likes, shares and comments from company employees were taken out of the equation
The table below shows the averages across the 30 companies.
|Company Size (employees on LinkedIn)||78 (lowest = 2, highest = 487)|
|Followers||5,309 (lowest = 93, highest = 28,922)|
|Posts per Week||2 (lowest = 0.1, highest = 5)|
|Reactions (Total for Last 5 Posts – Likes and Shares)||150 (lowest = 2, highest = 465)|
|Comments (Total for Last 10 Posts)||15 (lowest = 0, highest = 43)|
|Engagement Rate||5.7 (lowest = 0.7 to highest = 33)|
Companies have been anonymised except where I’ve pulled out some with above average engagement rates below to highlight the types of content they are posting.
Looking for any relationships between these metrics, I ran some simple Pearson Product-Moment correlations using Excel. These obviously don’t explain any causal links but the results were interesting:
Correlation between Post Frequency and Engagement Rate = -0.36 ( firms that posted more often tended to have a lower engagement rate – only a weak correlation)
Correlation between Number of Followers and Engagement Rate = -0.35 (firms that had a higher number of followers tended to have a lower engagement rate – only a weak correlation)
Correlation between Number of Followers and Reactions = 0.55 (firms that had higher numbers of followers tended to get more reactions – a mildly significant correlation)
Correlation between Post Frequency and Reactions = 0.07 (no correlation)
Correlation between Reactions and Comments = 0.55 (posts that had high number of reactions tended to get more comments – a mildly significant correlation)
What drives LinkedIn engagement?
- Frequency of posting is not enough to drive engagement. Quality and relevance of posts to your audience is more important. A closer analysis of content with higher engagement rates showed that a focus on positioning posts in a broader industry context resonated better with readers.
- Higher follower numbers does not drive engagement. Again, it is about posting content that resonates with your audience. Focus, focus, focus.
- Higher follower numbers may increase total reactions to posts but that does not necessarily lead into a deeper engagement. Liking a post is easy, making a comment takes more work. Trying to stimulate useful and constructive conversations, however brief, within your industry is better than chasing followers. Encouraging comments and discussion will more likely increase followers rather than the other way round.
Successful LinkedIn Posts
Below are some examples of LinkedIn posts from the sample that had above average engagement. The engagement activity may be relatively small but bearing in mind that most LinkedIn company posts drive little or no likes, shares or comments these examples give an indication of what works.
LinkedIn Company Page 1 – Multus
Posting about events attended by other similar companies provides a good opportunity to make some broader points about the sector as well as mention other attendees and the event organiser. While allowing your company to show its relevance to your sector, mentioning other companies in a constructive way helps avoid the dangers of appearing to brag.
LinkedIn Company Page 2 – Ivy Farm Technologies
Adding a human element to your LinkedIn content helps it stand out from overly-corporate posts. This is a good example of linking what the company does in the context of broader global events with the work of an employee and some good photos.
LinkedIn Company Page 3 – Anuvia Plant Nutrients
Announcements of joint ventures and/or successful funding rounds with a commentary about the benefits they will bring to your company and the broader sector offer potential for engagement by partner companies, funding bodies and other players in your industry.
LinkedIn company pages offer a relatively easy way to demonstrate what your company does and where you sit in your industry. However, most companies are not making the most of this opportunity.
As with many social media pages, too many companies create them but then neglect to spend time building an audience through posting organic content of interest and/or value to potential customers, partners, employees and suppliers.
Put yourself in the position of the people you’re trying to reach and ask if what you’re about to post offers them anything useful or interesting.