Have you seen those impeccably formatted, expressive, and engaging LinkedIn posts? Of course, you have. The ones with the perfect bullet points, the nice numbered lists, suitable emojis, and all the modern flair. They grab attention. They get more likes. They win clicks and engagement.
So you try to include them in your marketing strategy, and - they refuse to work. You write your best content and add the spice, but the formatting does not show up in the published post. Why does this happen?
It comes down to platform code and navigating around it. In a nutshell, LinkedIn does not natively enable formatting features such as bullets, numbers, and emojis. That is a disappointment, but there are ways to make it happen. You can use dedicated software like AuthoredIn to add numbering in a LinkedIn post, insert emojis, and apply any other formatting you like.
We compiled an overview of the various styles of bullet points for LinkedIn (including numbers), the benefits of emojis vs bolded or italicized text, and some of the dos and don'ts of writing for LinkedIn and copywriting in general.
A lot of it comes down to the different impressions that different bullet styles will give your audience. You can take advantage of that to change the tone of your content and really reinforce your messages. Let's take a look.
Check marks are awesome bullets because they can convey very specific meaning. For example, you can use them to list achievements, summarize new product features, update people about challenge milestones, etc.
Here's an example of using these bullet points in a LinkedIn post about a software update.
In this post, we see a concise list of what has changed, what has been introduced, and who contributed. Check marks ✅ give us a visual cue that a problem is resolved and/or a milestone is reached.
That way it's easier to bring together bug fixes and new features under one umbrella. These are green, which adds another layer of positivity to the overall message of the post.
Conversely, you could utilize red X-marks like this ❌ to convey the opposite sentiment. Use them when listing bad practices, problems you noticed in the industry, and the like.
Finally, you could use a combined list of check marks and X-marks. This is a highly effective way to share your own solutions. Give a bad example or a bottleneck with an X bullet, then immediately offer your way of handling it under a green check mark bullet.
Such contrasts are a very persuasive format. People are inclined to remember information better when you present it in a logical, naturally linked "good vs bad" pair.
Numbers are perfect for content that features longer lists and/or step-by-step instructions. In those cases, regular bullets become too repetitive and muddle the message. The various points all sort of blur together.
Efficient numbering in your LinkedIn post makes the content flow naturally from point to point, and your audience's attention follows that direction. Take a look at this example.
This author also takes advantage of all-caps and a star emoji. Both add some attention-grabbing value, and we will talk about stars and emojis in just a bit. For now, see how effective the numbers are.
They are set in square frames, so they stand out more. There is a clear division between the numbering and the text. Moreover, there are only three items on this list. This appeals to our minds.
Consider all the contexts in which you get a call to action after a "one-two-three". You find that format in races, cleaning procedures, emergency procedures, and even college presentation plans (three main points, three subpoints each).
So, here, the numbered list serves to emphasize conciseness. It promises quick results. In a longer list, the numbers would streamline the content, maintain a logical progression, and keep everything in clearly separated, digestible chunks.
One fun part of adding bullet points on LinkedIn is choosing the design. Different shapes can give a different tone to your post. We already covered check marks as the most obvious example. The next obvious ones are dots, squares, and triangles.
Dots are the "default bullet" in many text processors, so we hardly pay attention to them anymore. But take a look at what squares can do:
This author is discussing the layoffs at Tesla from a couple of months ago. Square bullet points are an excellent choice for the topic. Squares are regular, solid shapes with sharp lines and angles, so they carry a feeling of weight.
You wouldn't stop to consider them while reading the post, but they subconsciously catch your eye and signal to your brain that "Hey, this content is serious. You should pay attention". Now compare that with these triangles:
These triangle bullets are on a coloured background, so they stand out more. Blue is associated with professionalism, honesty, and integrity. It makes the post look more dynamic and trustworthy.
They resemble the "play media" button, so there is also the effect of smoothly going to the next point. This sense of direction ends with a trophy emoji, which helps to drive home the message of the post.
If you are ever wondering how to make bullets in LinkedIn work to your maximum advantage, consider nuances like that. They add just the right amount of subtle persuasion to the text and make your content more appealing to the visual learners in your audience.
Now we finally come to the fun and sparkles. Star-shaped bullet points add that element of quirkiness and vibrant energy that you wouldn't get from more traditional designs.
They are ideally suited to listing some lighthearted achievements or especially celebratory. Examples include something being completely sold out, personal highlights, or silly and sweet "human interest stories" like children's milestones.
This screenshot is a nice example. It contains various highlights which are not all professional, but the star bullets tie them all together. The post looks cheerful, relatively casual, and implicitly more relatable.
This is why dedicated formatting tools such as AuthoredIn are so handy. They offer you many more visual options than most standard text editors, so you can get far more creative and expressive when adding bullet points in LinkedIn content.
Speaking of expressiveness, emojis are great for that purpose. After all, what better way to convey emotion than a literal icon of the emotion? Consider this author who uses the "inquisitive face" emoji to grab attention for their list of questions.
The only catch here is sensitivity. Emojis are still considered casual Internet lingo, so if your topic is very serious, you may want to avoid some of them. For example, smiley faces (with any expression) might not be a good idea in a post that touches on social issues.
Conversely, hand emojis can show your support for a cause. Consider the fist emoji as an expression of protest, the "V for peace" hand, or the "clap" between words. There are even more nuances now that various skin tones are available for all the human emojis.
So, feel free to use emojis as the bullet points in your LinkedIn formatting, just be sensible about it. While your goal is to drive engagement, you probably want to stay away from correctness battles in your feed.
Sometimes you want just good clear-cut content without all the glitz and fluff. Maybe you want to post a serious announcement or contribute an article in your area of expertise.
In those cases, you would probably leave a better impression if you started away from check marks, emojis, starts, and any other colourful bullets in your LinkedIn post.
Traditional typefaces are an excellent alternative here. Simply fall back on the good old bold, italic, underlined, and possibly even strikethrough text. Take a look at this post:
This author found a great way to put together traditional formatting and a nice numbered list. All the benefits of using numbering in a LInkedin post that we previously mentioned apply here. You get a clear flow of thought; the content is more organized, easier to follow, and easier to digest.
In posts like these, which discuss resources, you can even utilize the numbering to imply a ranking. In either case, the boldface text makes each item stand out. The titles grab more attention, making the audience more likely to remember them.
If the bullet text in your LinkedIn lists is longer than this example, consider adding some italics too. You can use it to emphasize certain keywords or insert quotes.
This type-by-type overview covered most of the "good practices" regarding bullet points for LinkedIn. It comes down to the nuances that different bullets will bring to your post. They are minor elements, on the whole, but they can dramatically change the tone of your message.
This is critically important since digital content offers far fewer contextual cues than spoken communication. We rely on formatting instead of the tone of voice or gestures. In practice, using bullet points in LinkedIn texts follows the rules of copywriting best practices.
Remember that bullets are meant to summarize. Don't make them long paragraphs. Use short, concise, clear sentences. Consider breaking them down into a few points if they get too long-winded.
Write in a way that your audience will be able to understand. Each bullet point must be accessible to people at various levels of expertise. Make them appealing to everyone, from industry specialists to enthusiastic students.
Keep the text itself at a simple reading level. Skip the complicated niche vocabulary. If you have to use a specific term, it's a good idea to include a short explanation somewhere, e.g. under an asterisk at the bottom of the post.
Also, remember all the advice that says to start with a good hook? The same rule applies to formatting lists and even the bullets in your LinkedIn profile. Write the best two items at the start and end of the list.
You want to draw your audience in and make them read through the whole bullet point compilation. Then you want to end on a strong note so that the list as a whole is more memorable for them.
The essential point we want to bring across is this: formatting is an essential part of your LinkedIn content strategy. It dramatically increases the readability of your posts. This makes them more attractive to your audience (targeted and general).
Tools like AuthoredIn are a quick and easy way to implement that. Adding bullet points to your text is one of the easiest, most effective formatting tools you have. People like content that's comprehensive at a glance.
The easier it is to understand what they're looking at, the bigger the chances that they will stick around and read through to the end. Even if the readers don't engage with the post, they will spend time on the page. A longer stay means more impressions and a bigger reach for your content.
Remember that LinkedIn values engagement across the platform. This means comments and discussions, sure, but also the amount of attention your audience gives to your content.
With effective formatting, you get more people to read your posts. You get higher levels of engagement, and the linkedIn algorithm loves you.
In addition, the quality of the posts themselves gets drastically better. Remember, readers enjoy clarity and conciseness. Bullet points are the perfect way to achieve that. Quality content means more engagement, better reach, and more success in your networking and marketing strategies.
After all of this, we just want to emphasize one thing: preview your Linkedin post. When you are done writing your text, assigning your bullet points, and polishing it all, remember to preview how the post will appear after publication.
All your hard work will have been wasted if any bit of formatting doesn't display properly. Not only is that extremely annoying, but it could also ruin your readers' immersion if one emoji fails to load or one bullet point is unaligned midway through.
Take the time to go through everything and fix any errors. Also, make sure to preview how the post will appear in different browsers, on desktop, and in the mobile app. Optimize it for different displays to maximize your appeal and get the most reach with each piece of content you publish.