LinkedIn Polls Have Worn Out Their Welcome

Last week was the breaking point for me.

When I logged in to linkedIn, there was a poll waiting for me on my homepage feed. A few minutes later I was notified that there I had new posts waiting for me. Another poll. Later on, another one. So I started counting. I refreshed my feed ten times before I stopped. Here is what was at the top of my feed those eleven total times.

Poll

Poll

Poll

Poll

Poll

Poll

Poll

A post by a connection

Poll

Poll

Poll

I am sick of polls taking over my feed.

The way I see it, there are two reasons for the proliferation of Polls on LinkedIn. The first is that the algorithm for some reason seems to think that Polls are what we want to see. The second is that when people see LinkedIn rewarding Polls with prime placement in the feed, that’s what people are going to post. And how can you blame LinkedIn users if they see LinkedIn rewarding the Pollsters?

But the problem isn’t the Polls in and of themselves, it’s the general low quality of them. Yesterday I saw one asking which of the colors listed wasn’t a primary color. A few minutes ago someone asked who the respondents wanted to win the football game tonight.

The worst part is that now I don’t participate in Polls that I think are worthwhile as the LinkedIn algorithm may take my participation as a signal that I want to see more polls.

So I came up with my own system for a low Poll diet. For any poll that is mundane or uninteresting (which is most of them at this point):

  • If it was posted by a connection, I unfollow them.
  • I see a lot of Polls from second degree connections. In these cases I mute the Pollster so I don’t have to see any more of their junk, and I unfollow the connection who commented or participated or liked the poll.

My feed has already started to improve.

The obligatory disclaimer: I do not work for or have any association with LinkedIn, other than being a user who pays them for his Sales Navigator subscription every month. For some reason LinkedIn gave me early access to the LinkedIn Newsletter. I have no idea why, but thanks for reading.

Want more like this? (note that that was a question, not a poll) I publish a weekly email newsletter on using LinkedIn effectively for Sales and Marketing. Each newsletter typically contains two to four articles, it’s free, and you can unsubscribe anytime. Here’s a link to the sign up page: https://practicalsmm.com/contact/

Cleaning The Deadwood Out of Your LinkedIn Homepage Feed

I was notified by LinkedIn that someone had commented on one of my LinkedIn articles yesterday, and going back I realized I had written and published it over five years ago in August 2016. With thanks to that person, Brendan G, whose comment nudged me to write this update.

There are two parts to this, the “macro tuning” and the “micro tuning.” In the Macro tuning you “tell” LinkedIn what type of content you want to see, and who you want to see it from. Micro tuning refers to the adjustments you make on the fly.

Macro tuning – telling LinkedIn what you want to see

On a macro level, LinkedIn decides what you see based on who you have interacted with lately on LinkedIn, and what your settings are in the My Network tab. Here’s how mine looks:

Clicking on any of these eight network sources will allow you to manage them. For example, clicking on Pages allows you to decide which companies you want to Unfollow to remove their posts from your feed.

Some quick thoughts:

  • Connections I manage on a case by case basis from my homepage feed itself. I talk more about these below in the Micro part of this newsletter.
  • People I follow are the people you have chosen to follow that you are not connected with.
  • Groups are the ones you have joined.
  • Similarly, events are the events you have signed up for. I have a bunch of events because as the company page admin for my clients, when I set up an event on their pages, I am automatically signed up for the event.
  • Pages are the companies you follow.
  • Newsletters are the newsletters you subscribe to.
  • And hashtags are the topics you have chosen to follow. Hashtags have a real effect, one that you see in your feed. I suggest you go for categories and hashtags that are as narrow as you can find. Selecting #strategy – which has millions followers will result in all kinds of posts pertaining to strategy. But #designstrategy with twenty thousand followers will result in much more targeted content. This is another area you should experiment with. Like performing searches, there is a sweet spot for getting the “right” amount of results that will fit your purposes.

“Micro” tuning – telling LinkedIn who and whose content you wish to see

Micro tuning is adjusting your feed based on what LinkedIn presents you. Note that while you have indicated to LinkedIn which people, topics and companies you want to see, LinkedIn is making constant adjustments to what you see based on both your activity on LinkedIn and how you respond to what’s in your feed.

You can adjust your feed via each individual post presented to you. On each post is a menu that presents itself if you click the three dots at the far top right of the post.

For the purposes of this discussion, the three important options here are “Unfollow”, “Mute” and “I don’t want to see this”.

Unfollowing applies to connections and people you follow already. Unfollowing is a good option if the person you are connected with is worth staying connected with, but they tend to overpost, or post non-professional content or content you are not interested in. I tend to unfollow someone who is a repeat offender.

Muting appears to be the case when someone you are connected with or following posts something you are not interested in, and someone you follow or are connected with liked it, commented on it, or shared it.

I have found the ability to mute and unfollow people to be particularly valuable with the prevalence of Polls on LinkedIn. I am not interested in general-interest or quirky polls from connections, and I am not interested in them from non-connections either.

Clicking “I don’t want to see this” will bring up another list to choose your reason why you don’t want to see it.

Usually, I click on “I don’t want to see this” when the post is one of:

  • Non-professional
  • It’s the same post LinkedIn showed me earlier. This happens to me a lot. I will come back to my homepage ten times in one day and every time, LinkedIn presents the same post. LinkedIn must really think I should see it.
  • The post is old. I am surprised but this happens more often than I would have thought. LinkedIn will show me a post that is four days old.

I will be honest though, in that while unfollowing people has had a wonderful effect on cleaning my feed, I am not sure that rendering my reasoning why I don’t want to see an individual post has any effect at all.

Since I started aggressively unfollowing the Poll people, my feed has improved immeasurably. I actually see posts on topics I am interested in instead of a poll on whether I prefer coffee or tea.

And because everyone asks: no, you can’t choose to just “unsee” likes or comments from individuals. You either follow them and see everything, or unfollow them and see nothing.

In closing, I would encourage you to do two things: Be cognizant that there are things you can do to improve your feed, and experiment with your settings, both macro and micro. See if your feed “feels” more relevant to you after a week or two.

The obligatory disclaimer: I do not work for or have any association with LinkedIn, other than being a user who pays them for his Sales Navigator subscription every month. For some reason LinkedIn gave me early access to the LinkedIn Newsletter. I have no idea why, but thanks for reading.

Want more like this? (the newsletter I mean, not the disclaimer) I publish a weekly email newsletter on using LinkedIn effectively for Sales and Marketing. Each newsletter typically contains two to four articles, it’s free, and you can unsubscribe anytime. Here’s a link to the sign up page: https://practicalsmm.com/contact/

Connecting On LinkedIn Has Its Privileges. Here Are Four Of Them.

One is obvious, the other three less so. But the more you use LinkedIn, the more the “less so” ones become important.

When you are connected to someone on LinkedIn:

  • You can send each other messages directly over LinkedIn. This doesn’t replace email, the phone or whatever messaging system you use, but it does come in handy for LinkedIn-centric messages such as referencing someone you know mutually on LinkedIn, or drawing their attention to someone or something of interest on LinkedIn.
  • You have visibility into your connection’s actions on LinkedIn – you will be notified when they do things such as posting or commenting, sharing or liking someone else’s post. Once again, the same notifications apply in reverse – they will have a window into what you are doing on LinkedIn. By default you are considered part of each other’s network on LinkedIn, and connections see what the other connections in their network are up to.
  • You rank higher in your connection’s search results on LinkedIn. As LinkedIn is one huge database full of people, an obvious application is to use that database for searches – for suppliers, vendors, prospects, experts, new staff, information, discussions on specific topics …anything. And one of the things you will find is that LinkedIn wants search results to be relevant to the searcher, and if one or more of their connections get found in the search, LinkedIn will tend to list them at or near the top of the search results. If you are searching for a WordPress expert, it makes sense for LinkedIn to list WordPress experts you are already connected with first.

So if one of your connections looks for someone in your field, you are going to appear high in the search results. This is why it is a good idea to connect with prospects. This may seem a little odd, I mean, who would forget you and what you are good at? Why would a search be needed? The answer is actually quite simple. Some people amass huge networks of connections on LinkedIn – two thousand, five thousand or more. It is pretty easy to forget people when you have that many in your “connection rolodex.”

This happens to me often – I have a large network and I will be asked something like, “Bruce, do you know anyone who works at Goldman Sachs?” Often it is a skill, profession or company I am not as familiar with and I really don’t know what I am going to turn up (I picked the company name at random, but it turns out I do know someone at Goldman Sachs).

  • Connections show pathways to other people on LinkedIn that you didn’t know exist. You may find a prospect on LinkedIn and see the little “2nd” postscript after their name and then the person or people both you and that person are connected with on LinkedIn. You can use this information in two ways. The first is to name drop the mutual connection’s name in a message or invitation to connect, which implies you are worth connecting with too. To be fair, this is the easy thing to do, which makes it the thing most people do, but it’s a pretty weak approach. The second – and better – use is to use that mutual connection or one of your mutual connections as an intermediary, and ask them to introduce you to the person of interest to you. Alternatively, you can ask if you can use them as a referral, or even just ask them for information that can help you with on this person you are interested in.

Any tool that provides pathways and ways of contacting prospects, suppliers and vendors, experts, or prospective partners is a good thing. Any tool that allows you to build thousands of pathways is a powerful thing.

Direct messaging, notifications, search result prominence, pathways to prospects. Being connected means a lot more than you probably think it does. Start taking advantage of the privileges you have been given.

Obligatory boilerplate: I do not work for or have any association with LinkedIn, other than being a user who pays them for his Sales Navigator subscription every month. But I was an early subscriber to Sales Navigator and have a grandfathered subscription where I pay a lot less than I should. Don’t tell LinkedIn. Thanks.

Want more like this? (the newsletter I mean, not the disclaimer) I publish a weekly email newsletter on using LinkedIn effectively for Sales and Marketing. Each newsletter typically contains two to four articles, it’s free, and you can unsubscribe anytime. Here’s a link to the sign up page: https://practicalsmm.com/contact/