chamber of commerce, chambers of commerce, linkedin, momentum, membership, networking

I have spent the last two months mired in LinkedIn. Deep dive.

In that time, I have posted every day, engaged best practices, more than doubled the size of my network, made some outstanding contacts, and learned a lot.

I did it for two reasons…

One, to create broader awareness of what we do at Momentum, and…

Two, to pick up best practices that I can share with our chamber of commerce network.

Main thing I learned is that most people who call themselves LinkedIn “experts” are far from it.

Similarly, most organizations who claim they are excelling at LinkedIn… are not.

When you get into the trenches of LinkedIn, and start meeting people who are truly experts, it’s humbling – and it’s sometimes laughable, the people who are charging good money to “do LinkedIn” for you.

I am no LinkedIn expert, by any stretch – and I wouldn’t let you pay me to do it for you.

But, I’ve gone into it with a desire to learn and experiment, and after a few months of getting my hands dirty, I have some stuff to report that I believe can help your chamber do better.

Incidentally, the next most important thing I’ve learned is that the better that your connections and followers understand how to use LinkedIn, the better you’ll do.

So, let’s think about this all from two perspectives: (1) how your chamber can use LinkedIn better to grow; and (2) how you can use that knowledge to help your members do the same.

Let’s go…

Understanding LinkedIn’s Algorithm

Like all social media platforms, LinkedIn changes its algorithm every once in a while.

There’s been a change in the past few months, in fact.

For most of all of our LinkedIn careers, the program was to connect with people that you knew offline, to enable referrals and other interactions.

Now, LinkedIn has taken on more of the feel of other social media platforms, rewarding the posts that drive the most engagement.

“The Golden Hour”

LinkedIn experts talk about “The Golden Hour”… That first hour after you post.

The better engagement on your post during this first hour, the better the chance of LinkedIn’s algorithm noticing it, and opening it up for more people to see (this are called “impressions”).

This is why people (bad guys) use what are called “pods”… They have automation that falsely stimulates the algorithm. It looks good in the numbers, but doesn’t do much for real life outcomes.

It’s important to remember that while LinkedIn is a “networking site,” first and foremost, it’s a business, owned by Microsoft.

Accordingly, that means that the ultimate goal is to keep people on the site so that advertisers can pay them money to put their message in front of those users.

Always bear that in mind when posting – that’s the end goal.

So, the better your post accomplishes that for Microsoft, the more love your posts are going to get from the algorithm.

The Critical Importance of LinkedIn Engagement

If you want your posts to succeed, the more you can do process-wise with your LinkedIn engagement is as important as the quality of your posts (which I’ll get to shortly).

How do you keep (real) people on LinkedIn? You stimulate conversations.

Hence, a post that gets comments is more valuable than a post that doesn’t.

Posts whose comments get comments are even more valuable.

A post whose comments start conversations wins the day.

A couple takeaways from this:

  • It is essential, when someone comments on your post or tags you in their post, that you reply (in a timely way)… I’ll be honest, I rarely see chambers do this… It’s an easy best practice, and shows appreciation for them making their network available to you.
  • When you write your posts, design them for engagement and interaction. Leave open-ended questions. Ask people to comment. Remember… People like to talk about themselves. Let them.
  • As you want your members to do with you, make sure you follow them and comment on their stuff. Reciprocity is powerful on LinkedIn.

In many ways, your efforts on LinkedIn can mirror your networking efforts in real life…

You will find greater success if you approach it in much the same way.

Optimizing Your LinkedIn Profile

Another area where many people and organizations are not using LinkedIn to their fullest is in their profiles.

This is your landing page – the place that people go to find out what you’re all about.

Chances are, more professional contacts are going to land here than they will your web site.

To grow and succeed on LinkedIn, it is essential to have your profile up-to-date and attractive.

What do you want people to see when they look you up? What do you want them to do?

As a chamber, are you immediately presenting the benefits of membership, and inviting people to join, or attend an event? Are you roping them into an initiative or advocacy issue?

As a chamber executive or staff member, are you using your profile to promote your personal brand as a thought leader and advocate? Are you steering people toward your network or knowledge base?

Use your profile to put your best foot forward, and tell the story you want to tell, to anyone looking to get to know you better.

Connecting vs. Following

If you’ve ever gone through one of those spurts where you were going to “get to use Twitter better,” you may have seen this in action.

Unless someone’s content is THAT good, and you get inspiration, education or insight from them on a regular basis, following someone does very little for you, if they don’t follow back.

Yes, SOMETIMES people will see that you’re stalking, er, following them, and follow back, but what I’ve learned in my time in the LinkedIn trenches is that most people are concerned with posting and having people like and comment on their posts – NOT what they can be giving back to the LinkedIn community.

And SOMETIMES if you’re following someone and spending time (you don’t have) commenting on their posts to support them, they’ll reciprocate.

I say this… If you’re interested in connecting with someone, go ahead and send a connection request – but, add a legitimate reason why you’re doing so.

Go back to my real-life networking analogy: If you’re at an event and there’s someone you want to talk to, what’s going to work better? Going up and introducing yourself, or standing across the room staring at the person?

LinkedIn is about connections. Go make them.

Crafting Successful LinkedIn Posts

Ah… Everyone’s favorite part, and the critical skill to make sure LinkedIn does what it’s supposed to do for you.

If you spend enough time on LinkedIn, and see the posts that are performing well, I’m sure you’ve picked up a pattern:

  • Hook
  • Story
  • Call-to-Action

That little “see more…” tag is critical, as it triggers the algorithm when people click on it.

It means that whatever you’ve put into (roughly) the first 200 characters got people’s attention to want more.

Means you’re on the right track.

Your “hook” is what gets them to do so, coupled with:


Media is powerful on LinkedIn, and adds to the strength of your hook.

LinkedIn, as we speak, is rolling out “short-form” video (think Tik Tok) that promises to become the go-to for the algorithm.

I won’t go into specific recommendations on types of media to use – you know your members and how they digest information better than I do – except to use it.

Mix it up. Experiment. Try video. Try carousels. See what works for your audience.

LinkedIn and AI Content

AI can be a big help for the time-consuming nature of LinkedIn (and other social media).

We use it every day at Momentum… Though, mainly to strategize posting, not to write posts.

LinkedIn users are getting more sophisticated, and are starting to be able to recognize AI writing – complaining about it or, even, calling it out.

That’s not to say that you can’t write detailed prompts that can do a better job, but most people don’t… They’re just excited to save the time.

It’s important to remember, especially if you’re using ChatGPT, that ChatGPT’s “knowledge” from its last update is from December 2023… There has been a LinkedIn algorithm update since then.

Consequently, if you just type into ChatGPT, “Draft me a LinkedIn post on XYZ,” you’re using antiquated guidance – and it’s easy to see.

Best practice is to use AI to “inform” your posting, and then make it yours before hitting submit.

But, it’s an incredible tool… Try these:

  • Draft a LinkedIn post based on this article: [LINK]
  • Our networking mixer is on June 14. Draft three LinkedIn posts leading up to the event – (a) Save the date; (b) One week; (c) Last chance to register
  • Create a LinkedIn strategy surrounding our Annual Meeting and Small Business Awards on from now (May 14) through the event on October 23, focused on selling tickets and raising awareness

Personal Brand vs. Corporate Presence

There is consistent debate over whether you should focus your time and efforts on your personal profile versus your company page, and which performs better.

Being a professional networking site, LinkedIn’s algorithm seems to favor personal profiles.

Which makes sense – if LinkedIn is rewarding company pages, then what reason would brands have to spend $$ on advertising?

Of course, there are different ways to look at this.

Many companies see their employees’ personal pages as extensions of their brand – even expect their employees to forward posts (sometimes even automating that).

We have strong feelings on that, but forget the ethics of it for a moment… You’re missing out on a great opportunity.

Your chamber page is your brand, and there’s a limitation to what you can use it to say.

For example, take “I” vs “we.”

I see a lot of chambers posting things like, “We love our new member’s cookies…” or “We had the chance to attend the grand opening…”

It’s hollow. Especially since the purpose of most of these posts is to highlight the chamber’s member, or community partner, and all the “we” is doing is awkwardly interjecting the chamber into the story.

Let’s try it a different way… “[MEMBER] held their grand opening…”, and then…

Your rep shares the post on her feed, and says, “I had the opportunity to attend the grand opening and [PERSONAL IMPRESSIONS]…”

Personal will always create better engagement than corporate.

Try it, and you’ll see.

Strength of Your Network (on LinkedIn)

So, why is it important to your chamber to teach LinkedIn to your members?

It’s self-serving, and I’ll tell you why…

How many times have you had someone come up to you, in-person, and tell you they liked something you posted on LinkedIn?

Probably a lot, right? We get it all the time.

You want to shake the person, and grill them on why they couldn’t engage with the POST!

But, you don’t. You just blog about it. 😊

You see, that person might be the best networker in your chamber, and may have brought you eight new members over the past year…. The kind of member you’d take 100 of.

However, on LinkedIn, they’re kinda worthless to you…

Because they saw your post, and CHOSE not to engage with it.

In algorithm-speak, that chalks up one in the “didn’t care about your post” column.

The better your members know how to use LinkedIn, the better YOUR posts are going to do… And, the wider an audience you’re going to reach.

Wrapping Up

There’s no sales pitch at the end of this blog – more an invitation…

I’ll be continuing my learning journey, and I hope that you’ll join me, by connecting with me.

I post primarily in the AI and chamber of commerce arenas, so you know what you’re getting – and I’ll also continue to share findings, insights and best practices on using LinkedIn to grow.

Gamifying my LinkedIn engagement has yielded results, and I’d love to share those results with you.

I will tell you that I’ve taken control of the Niagara USA Chamber of Commerce (where I’m the chair) LinkedIn, and implemented the same best practices I’m giving you in this blog.

It works:

chamber of commerce, chambers of commerce, networking, linkedin, momentum, membership

chamber of commerce, chambers of commerce, networking, linkedin, momentum, membership 

Let’s grow together.

If you want to chat about LinkedIn or AI or anything about growing your chamber, reach out!