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How do you find new people? How do you attract followers? Who should you follow and engage with on LinkedIn that will get you noticed? And how should you engage?

Today I thought I would deconstruct these ideas and share some (hard won) experience, based on my own article posting on LinkedIn over the past seven years.

First prerequisite: you need a good LinkedIn profile. There is no point in generating interest in yourself and having that interest die away because you have a mediocre profile. If you want new people to follow or connect with you, your profile has to be engaging and complete. By complete, I don’t mean you have to fill out every section, but I do mean that your profile has to get this message across: “I am someone interesting that it would be beneficial to know.” 

Second prerequisite: Have some of your content readily available for your profile visitor to see. You want your visitors to see that you understand their problems, have valuable insights into those problems, and that you have worked on similar problems in the past. That means having content in the “Featured” section of your profile, and having articles in your Activity section that your visitor can see read. You want content that gets across the idea, “This is the type of value that I add.”

Now that your profile is ready to receive visitors, how do you get some of them? 

Here are three things I look for in someone to follow and comment on. 

  • They have a big following. This is a surprising element that a lot of people miss. “LinkedIn math” says that the algorithm puts content in front of a small percentage of an author’s connections and followers, so all things being equal, it is better to comment on a post from someone with 3,000 followers than one with 300. And better still with someone with 30,000 followers.
  • They write or come across well in their content. Look for people that get engagement on their content. You want writers who make people think and want to get involved in the discussion. 
  • Your logical audience follows them.  And here is the tiger trap most LinkedIn users fall into: they run off to comment on competitors posts, thinking they can scoop people away from them. Don’t do this. It is largely a waste of time thumb wrestling with your competitors – on their “turf” no less. You are at a huge disadvantage, starting with the fact that your competitor – the author of the post – can just delete your comments any time they like. 

Instead, let’s look for greener pastures. 

Where and how to look for these people.

Look for other people and companies who appeal to the same customer profile you do. For example, if you are a blogging consultant, you might want to look at people who post on WordPress, Shopify or SEO. The easy way to think of these people and companies is, “Who else are suppliers to my target demographic?” These people appeal to the same audience you do, but are not competitors.

How to engage with these people once you have found them

First things first: never share someone else’s content. You lose when you do. When you share someone’s content, LinkedIn will give some credit to the author by means of distributing the content to more people, but almost zero distribution for you. You wind up doing the author a favor, and you get nothing in return. 

While we are at it, don’t “like” or use the other one-click reactions either. No one – most likely including the author – will even notice you liked the content. 

When you engage with someone else’s content, always do so by commenting. 

When you comment, tag the author and thank them. You want the author on your side and it’s just good manners to thank them for publishing on this topic.

Next, your goal is to come across as someone interesting. You do this by starting relevant conversations in the comment thread. You choose to explore an aspect of the author’s post, or bring up an idea related to the post. Your goal is at minimum to get a comment back from the author, and in a best case, draw other readers in and get their comments. Comments are interpreted by the LinkedIn algorithms as “up votes” on the relevance of the author’s post. The result is more distribution of the post to the authors network, and distribution to a small portion of yours. Should your little sidebar conversation in the comments thread draw in more people and more comments, LinkedIn will further amplify the posts distribution. 

In the end, if you have done a good job with your comment, people will come along, see your comment and think “that’s interesting. Who is this person?” They go to your profile to check you out – and remember how you prepared your profile for this eventuality – they find you interesting, and you get a follower or connection request. 

To be successful on LinkedIn you need visibility, and commenting on other people’s content is one way of doing so. 



At Practical SMM, we pride ourselves on delivering highly effective LinkedIn strategies.