LinkedIn – recognised as the go-to professional B2B network – could also be nicknamed the “anti-influencer” network. Our research shows that LinkedIn Influencers with more followers get a lower rate of engagement on average.
Our research looked at over 20,000 LinkedIn engagements – likes, comments, shares – and normalised the data by comparing all content to a common baseline of engagements per 1,000 followers.
The most surprising finding was a steep fall in engagement rates seen per follower as an influencer’s popularity increases.
The graph below plots the average number of comments received per post against the influencer’s follower count. An influencer with around 3,000 followers received, on average, nearly three times as many comments per follower as an influencer with 15,000 followers.
A similar trend can be seen for the rate of likes received on average for a post. The likes per follower drops to near-negligible levels after influencers reach 15,000 followers.
While similar engagement rate patterns are seen on most social networks, except Twitter, the decline in engagement is much more rapid on LinkedIn.
Chances are, when an influencer has a smaller following, the followers may feel more connected, and believe they have a higher chance of being noticed and receiving a reply to their comments. When an influencer has a larger following, on the other hand, their followers may feel like their effort will be lost among the crowd and therefore feel less likely to engage with that influencer’s posts.
Businesses are likely to see better results from content marketing on LinkedIn by working with micro-influencers – multiple influencers with a smaller, but more engaged, following – rather than influencers with hundreds of thousands of followers. In fact, both B2B and B2C brands on LinkedIn will see the highest return on investment by developing thought leadership and growing influence in-house.
To find out how influencers fare on other social networks, download our full free Influencer Marketing Benchmark Report.
Originally published: January 2, 2019
Updated: January 28, 2023