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Experiments

Experiment: Do Longer LinkedIn Comments Drive More Connection Requests?

Does being original on LinkedIn generate faster growth? Here’s a thrilling social experiment that answers the question.

Michelle Martin January 2, 2024
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Wanna build your LinkedIn network fast? Don’t wanna spend hours crafting connection request messages only to be left “pending” forever? Not to fear: all you actually need to do is comment on other people’s posts.

But what kind of comments are best? Where do you leave them? What should you say? How long do they need to be? Turns out, maybe not as long as you think…

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Hypothesis: Longer LinkedIn comments get you more connection requests

We’ve all seen those one or two-word LinkedIn comments, like “Well said!” or “Agree!”.

Any comment is better than no comment when it comes to attracting new LinkedIn connections. But my hypothesis was that leaving more personalized, specific, longer comments would result in more profile views and connections.

It’s kinda like being at a party. Who do you remember talking to most: the ten people full of weather updates, or the two people you actually had something in common with?

In real life, we all like a bit more substance in our interactions, right? I figured this experiment would be a slam dunk for all of us nerdy n’ wordy people.

But LinkedIn isn’t real life, is it? When you’re purely looking at growing your network and opportunities instead of making a new BFF, which type of comment was more effective? I found out.

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Methodology

To test whether short or long comments get better results on LinkedIn, I ran a two-week experiment. Each week, I left the same number of comments on the same types of posts about topics I usually engage with. I did this so the LinkedIn algorithm didn’t change what it showed me week-to-week, which would’ve potentially skewed results. Plus, I only commented on posts by people who weren’t already my connections.

To further ensure the accuracy of this rigid scientific endeavor, I also kept everything else I did on LinkedIn the same as usual. Meaning: I stayed too shy to reach out to anyone, didn’t initiate any connection requests, ignored the 431 recruiter DMs in my inbox, and continued to put links in the body of my posts even though I know I shouldn’t.

The tools I used for this experiment were:

  • My brain for amazing comments
  • Hootsuite to auto-schedule my content at the best possible times and analytics
  • LinkedIn Premium for personal profile analytics

My ✨scientific✨process for this experiment was:

  • During Week 1, I left a total of 40 short, generic comments on posts by people I wasn’t already connected with.
  • During Week 2, I left a total of 40 longer, personalized comments on posts by people I wasn’t already connected with.

Here’s what I did each week in detail.

Step 1: Found posts to comment on

Every day, I logged into LinkedIn and found posts to comment on in a few ways:

  • Scrolling my home feed
  • Searching for posts about topics I usually read about (e.g. social media, marketing, freelancing, dogs wearing sweaters, etc)
  • Posts within groups I’m in

Step 2: Leaving a comment

In the first week, I wrote the shortest possible comments I could think of, like this one-word wonder.

comment example on LinkedIn post about adding new perspective to a team

Sometimes I didn’t use any words at all.

LinkedIn opinion you can't be a marketing girlie without being a marketing girlie

After a few days, I became surprised at how many new connection requests I was getting, and that my short, meaningless comments were also getting replies.

In the second week, I focused on leaving personalized comments that showed I really read the person’s post or tried to add something new to the discussion.

Jimmy Daly Superpath community on Zoom

Perhaps unsurprisingly, these longer comments earned more replies than the previous week’s short ones. Even though many of those “conversations” didn’t result in new connections, it was nice to discuss new ideas with others.

Ludiah Mong'are Pomodoro technique for freelancers

Step 3: Tracking the data

The main hypothesis of this experiment was to see whether short or long comments got me more profile views and connection requests. But, I also tracked how many new followers (not connections) I got as well as how many reactions and replies my comments received.

Each day, I tallied up those metrics. I used LinkedIn Premium to see the precise data for profile views and manually counted reactions, replies, and connection requests.

Results

TL;DR

  • Longer, personalized comments did bring in more connection requests than short, generic ones — though it was not a huge difference (10 vs 8).
  • Longer comments had a much more significant impact on profile views, earning 24 vs. 14 from Week 1.
  • Longer comments received way more replies (14 vs 6) than short comments.
  • Strangely, shorter comments got more reactions (e.g. likes) than longer comments (20 vs 12).

Overall, here’s all the data from the two week experiment:

Week 1 Short generic content versus Week 2 longer personalized comments comparison

So, if new connections are your goal, short and generic comments can get you there.

That said, longer comments brought in more replies and opened up great discussions with others. While not proven (yet), it’s realistic to think that this bump in engagement could be picked up on by the LinkedIn algorithm, potentially bringing more eyeballs to your content.

What do the results mean?

As I always suspected, I’m not that popular. But what does this experiment mean for you?

Well, if you’re just after new connections, much as I hate to say this, you could probably spend 10 minutes a day leaving generic comments and quickly grow your LinkedIn network to hundreds — maybe thousands — connections. Ugh.

This really isn’t a bad strategy, as shallow as it sounds. LinkedIn recently updated their algorithm to prioritize “professional” content that focuses on “knowledge and advice” (e.g. no lunchtime selfies!). The changes also mean you’re more likely to see content from people you’re connected with (or follow).

That means to get the most reach on LinkedIn in 2024, you should focus on getting lots of connections. Quantity over quality.

I’ll leave the moral dubiousness of that to you, but when it comes to time vs. value, it is better to leave short comments and get a lot of connections/followers for the least amount of time and effort.

Really, though? Isn’t it better to have 1,000 true fans instead of 10,000 followers who don’t care that much about your content?

It depends on what your LinkedIn goals are. Do you want to become an original thought leader and expert in your field? Land speaking gigs? Book interviews? Best to stick to longer, personalized comments to build in-depth connections and your personal brand.

Or do you want to scale up quickly, building a large following first without focusing as much on your original content or brand, at least for now? Then go forth and spray n’ pray those short, AI-like comments.

There is a middle ground here. Your comments don’t need to be totally generic. Sometimes short comments can still be highly relevant to the content.

blog intro comment the shorter the better

Original, thoughtful comments sound like they’re better but when it comes to getting results on LinkedIn, this experiment shows you can get very similar results with a lot less time and effort.

Or, combine the best of both worlds and use an AI tool like EngageAI to automate leaving personalized comments on LinkedIn that are still insightful, but take a fraction of the time to write. (Oh yeah, and it integrates with Hootsuite too — woo!)

You can be the smartest thought leader that has ever lived, but what good is that unless you have an audience to see your content?

Whichever method you choose for building your LinkedIn network, never forget the basics; ABC: Always Be Connecting.

Easily manage and grow your LinkedIn presence alongside all of your other social accounts with Hootsuite, your all-in-one social media management tool. Besides scheduling content, you can monitor and reply to comments, keep tabs on competitors, and boost your posts for more reach. Try it today.

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By Michelle Martin

As an ex-agency strategist turned freelance WFH fashion icon, Michelle is passionate about putting the sass in SaaS content. She's known for quickly understanding and distilling complicated technical topics into conversational copy that gets results. She has written for Fortune 500 companies and startups, and her clients have earned features in Forbes, Strategy Magazine and Entrepreneur.

Read more by Michelle Martin

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