You won't be surprised to hear that online content consumption has risen dramatically during the past two years. Many of you will have embraced this and upped your digital tactics by adding blogs and email campaigns to your strategy. Or you may be thinking about advertising on a B2B website next year and possibly increasing your PPC spending.
But how many of you have thought about increasing your social media presence and even encouraging colleagues to become actively involved? I’m not saying you need to start using Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Clubhouse, etc, regularly, but it’s certainly worth considering some form of consistent social media marketing, particularly on LinkedIn.
Why LinkedIn is good for your business
LinkedIn has over 750 million users around the world, and over 65 million of these users are decision-makers. So from a B2B point of view, adding LinkedIn to your marketing strategy makes perfect sense. After all, what other form of marketing allows you to communicate with millions of people for very little spend?
LinkedIn is an extremely valuable marketing tool. You can mix your organic and paid marketing activity, tailor your content to different audiences, deliver engaging display ads, and support your sales activity. There are so many ways you can use it for your B2B marketing, but before you start posting, you need to think about and plan what you are going to do.
Remember, people engage with companies and people who share useful, relevant content. They ignore blatant sales and promotional messages.
Random posts won’t help you to build a relationship with your audience. So here are a few tips on how to start making the most out of LinkedIn and to provide content that engages with your customers and prospects and encourages them to take action.
What are your goals?
Before embarking on your LinkedIn marketing, think about your goals and what it is you want to gain. When you set your goals, try to identify SMART ones. These are:
Setting SMART goals will help you to measure your LinkedIn strategy's success and allow you to make adjustments when needed.
For B2B marketing, your goals could be to:
Build your brand awareness
Engage with your target audience
Position yourself as an authority on a topic or even a sector
Know your audience
For your goals to really work, you need to know and understand your target audience. If you don’t, you’ll be wasting your time and money.
Think about who you want to engage with. What are their job titles, industry and where are they based? Once you have a clear picture of who you want to target, you then need to understand them.
Who are the real decision-makers, when are they most active, what are their problems, what do they need, like, and respond to, and who else do they follow and engage with?
How to use LinkedIn effectively
LinkedIn offers several ways to effectively reach your target audience and nurture potential customers.
I mentioned at the beginning that social media is a relatively inexpensive way to reach a large audience. There are paid-for opportunities on LinkedIn, such as dynamic ads, sponsored content, and sponsored messaging, but for this blog, I’m just looking at how to gain visibility and grow your presence through organic marketing.
1. Company page – People who want to learn about your business will look for your company page, and in many cases, this could be the first interaction they have with your brand. So you want to get it right. Make sure you include your company logo, website URL, an informative description of your company, products, and services, and an image showing your brand.
And don’t forget to include a 'Follow' button on your websites, emails, and newsletters to allow people to follow your LinkedIn company page easily with just one click.
2. Valuable content - There’s no point in having a company page and encouraging people to follow you if you don’t engage with your audience. Now you’ve done your homework and understand your audience, you can show your expertise by either posting or publishing thought leadership articles, industry analysis, or opinion pieces that they’ll find interesting.
3. Posts - Content showing your expertise, anecdotes, and updates are a quick way to stay connected with your audience. Your posts will show on your followers’ homepage feeds and can be up to 3,000 characters.
4. Articles – Until recently, long-form articles were restricted to personal accounts. But LinkedIn has now extended this to LinkedIn company pages. Publishing articles such as thought leadership pieces on LinkedIn is a great way for your brand to show its authority and for you to provide valuable content for your audience, and extend your reach.
Articles that work well on LinkedIn include:
Answers to frequently asked questions
You don’t have to come up with new topics for your articles. If you’re pushed for time and can’t think of new copy, you can repurpose your website blogs
Whether it’s a post or an article, try to avoid sales or self-promotional copy. People want to understand or learn through your content. If it’s purely about your company or pushing your products and services, people will simply unfollow you.
5. Variety - As well as publishing your own quality content, try to share information from other people or companies that is relevant and of value to your audience. People don’t want to read about your company all the time. 4-1-1 is a good rule to follow if you’re unsure what you should post or share - for every piece of content you share about your brand, try to share something from another source and 4 pieces of content that have been published by others.
6. Hashtags – LinkedIn hashtags work in the same way as keywords and are a great way to increase the visibility of your posts and articles. Adding a hashtag will make it easier for people to find your posts when they search for content on a specific topic. But don’t overdo them. If your post has a long list of hashtags, it will look cluttered, so try to limit the use to around 3 or 4.
It’s best to avoid using your brand as a hashtag, as people generally search for an industry or topic. SocialMediaToday has a handy 4-Step Guide to Using Hashtags Effectively on LinkedIn that’s worth checking out for more information.
7. Images and media – Visual content is becoming more popular. Try to include an image or video that illustrates the copy. A good image or visual will attract people’s attention and entice them to read your content.
You can now upload videos directly onto LinkedIn rather than include a link from your YouTube channel or company website. Video posts achieve 3 times more engagement than posts with just text, and there is a general belief that LinkedIn gives videos priority over other posts in the feed.
8. Employee engagement - You can extend the reach of your articles and posts by encouraging employees to share the content with their connections. People do business with people, not businesses, so employee advocacy will help to build trust and enrich your brand. This also has the added benefit of building their own online presence and positioning them as thought leaders.
But remember, your company doesn’t own your employees’ LinkedIn page or profile, so you should encourage rather than tell them to share or post.
LinkedIn is a great B2B marketing tool – if you’re patient
These are just a few ways to get started with your LinkedIn marketing. Some people think LinkedIn is there to generate sales, and it can, but only if you’re patient and the people who are interested in your products and services are active on LinkedIn. It takes time, use it as part of your long-term marketing strategy, not something that’s a quick fix for immediate sales.
LinkedIn is a powerful marketing tool, it’s not about pushing your products and services, it’s about conversations and giving your audience the information they need so they can contact you or buy your products or services when they want to. Use it well, and you can build your brand presence, develop business relationships, nurture prospects, generate leads, share content, and drive traffic to your website.
As I said at the beginning, what other form of marketing allows you to communicate with millions of people for very little spend?
Need help with your LinkedIn marketing or social media strategy? Get in touch or connect with me via Twitter or LinkedIn. I can help you with your social media and write engaging posts for the different social platforms.