What Works For This Black Creator on LinkedIn in 2023

Who even knows anymore? A few useful algo-busters and some puzzling developments

Hello friends,

I honestly don’t know if I’m still going to be talking about this next year, but I thought I’d give it one more shot. I’ve been tracking what happens with content created by Black creators and activists on LinkedIn, and while I myself and many others have had content suppressed, there are some to whom these observations don’t apply, which is great.

Limitations on Audience Growth

For context, my audience has grown during the year, from 3,000+ to 4,200+ connections and from 5,000 followers to 16,800 followers. Before you get excited, that growth rate is relatively slow compared to that of others, which suggests some suppression, too. If people don’t see what I post in the first place, they can’t be motivated to follow me to see more. While it’s never been about the numbers for me, the maths isn’t mathing.

Last year I surmised that suppression would decline once I reached the 10k follower mark - that hasn’t happened either. My gut feeling is that being critical of the platform isn’t the way to unlock the algos - and I have been pretty critical.

Content Tanking Tactics

Three years into being really active on this platform, there are a bunch of platform features that have guaranteed reduced content visibility for me. Again, your mileage may vary, and there are occasional exceptions.

Resharing LinkedIn posts. Nope, still not working. Most reshares get limited visibility. Considering the size of my audience, you’d expect at least hundreds to see reshares. Most of the time that numbers in double digits. Workaround: Write a post about the post you want to reshare, and link to the original in the comment thread. That still works sometimes.

Sharing external articles in the body of the post. Still mostly a waste of time. I suspect that some publications get more visibility than others, so it may depend on where that article is published. For example, if I share something from the New York Times or Washington Post, do more people see it than when I post a Medium or Substack article? Maybe; I don’t have enough data for a firm conclusion. Again, I get the best visibility when I write a post and share the link to the article in the comments.

Resharing LinkedIn page content. Maybe it’s me, but nothing posted on the page does particularly well, despite it having hundreds of followers, and reshares of page content still tank. I maintain the page anyway, but I often feel like I’m wasting my time.

Thirsty tagging. Thanks to Jahmaal Marshall for this description of the practice of tagging a gazillion people in posts (also mentioned in an excellent post by my sister Lisa). Not only is it disrespectful of their time and energy, but if the people don’t respond, the algo penalises you. It’s better to tag fewer people who will definitely respond. You can also tag people in the comments, but again, please don’t overdo this as a good LinkedIn citizen.

Things That Puzzle Me

Sharing videos - a mixed experience. This was interesting, because I launched my book this year, and the video animation that Louis Ceaser IV created for me went viral. It is the only one of my video posts to do so. The recording from the launch LinkedIn event also did pretty well. All other videos linked within posts tanked. So I continue to avoid sharing videos, and when I do, I’m likely to share the link in the comment thread.

Mysterious virality. The last post that went viral for me broke one of the rules, in that I talked about racism (spelled correctly without the usual algorithm busters) and about bigotry. It was an apology for a lapse on my part, and it was seen widely. Despite LinkedIn’s advice to the contrary, turning off comments did not hurt the post. I can’t draw any conclusions yet, but I’m paying attention to it.

What Works - and How it Works

For me, the best performing posts on LinkedIn remain text only posts. In most cases they:

  • avoid any trigger words

  • don’t tag anyone LinkedIn is already suppressing (and that list seems to be growing)

  • don’t use hashtags unless they are really general

  • don’t include external links

Once a post gets some traction, it’s fine to go back and add hashtags and links. I tend to do that if people are reposting, because that keeps everything in one tidy package.

Other Observations

When I was talking about this post on LinkedIn the other day, my TL;DR was “who tf knows anymore?” That’s how I feel.

For Black and Global Majority creators, relying entirely on LinkedIn or any other social media platform isn’t a good strategy. As we’ve seen, they can change ownership, change focus, become unsafe, disappear, or boot you out.

The only sensible thing is to build your own platform side by side and let people connect with you there. This newsletter is one of the spaces where people can connect with me, and when Substack opens up the chat feature for other platforms, I’m going to encourage my LinkedIn audience to connect with me here on the newsletter.

Allyship Actions For LinkedIn

As you know, I love to ask readers to take meaningful action. Amplifying the voices of Black and Global Majority creators is one action you can take. This helps them (us) get seen, get heard, and get paid. And that’s pretty meaningful to most.

Thanks for reading,


© Sharon Hurley Hall, 2022. All Rights Reserved.

I am an anti-racism writer, educator and activist, Co-Founder of Diverse Leaders Group, the author of “I’m Tired of Racism”, and co-host of The Introvert Sisters podcast. If you value my perspective, please consider upgrading to a paid subscription.

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