When it comes to marketing on social media LinkedIn comes in second only to Facebook. That’s right, marketers prefer LinkedIn to Twitter and there’s a great reason for that – LinkedIn is about work.
Facebook and Twitter are great for connecting businesses with consumers but when your consumers are other businesses trying to target them on a platform they use as their own soapbox can be a little futile. That’s not to say that you can’t target individuals on LinkedIn because you can – and with over 300 million global users it’s fertile soil.
The reason LinkedIn beats Twitter and is gaining on Facebook is that it’s a rolodex without a gatekeeper. You get straight to the decision makers and making meaningful connections with the people you want to be talking to. Twitter and Facebook are true social platforms and usually that means the person behind the account is often in marketing or customer support. LinkedIn is more of a professional networking platform and people tend to run their own accounts.
So how do you get the most out of LinkedIn?
Start with the basics
Like any social network LinkedIn requires a little effort and the place to start is with your profile. LinkedIn is built around data so the more you can provide the better chance you have of making connections. Begin with using the right keywords and phrases in your profile. Try to describe what it is you can do for people not just what you do. It might be worth using a professional copywriter to really nail your profile.
LinkedIn is a professional social network and that word social is crucial. You need to build your network by connecting with people. Start with people you know and then cast your net wider by connecting over content. We’ll get to content sharing soon but to start you should try to engage with the content of other users before posting your own.
Sharing posts, commenting and liking will help break the ice with potential contacts. Be generous with your comments and likes – they’ll come back to you aplenty sooner or later.
The final basic is to create a business page for your company. Eventually this will form the fulcrum of your social strategy as you post and share relevant content on that page on a daily basis.
Grow your network
There are myriad ways to grow your network but the best method starts with interacting around ideas and information.
Groups are a powerful way to add new first line contacts and you can join up to 50 of them. Discussion boards are a great way to get your content out to a targeted audience or to start a conversation that naturally leads to your door. Be warned that most users see discussion boards as sacred and will not receive blatant marketing posts positively. Always build your sales pitch around a discussion. The trick is to get people debating before you start talking about your products or services.
Be proactive in adding new members to your network. Don’t just wait to be invited because you’ll always be a bridesmaid. When asking someone to connect always write a custom message; the default message is really bland and says that you’re not really that keen on connecting with this person.
Endorsements and recommendations will be vital to helping you grow your business through LinkedIn. They tell your prospective customers that you’re knowledgeable, trustworthy and worth doing business with. Give recommendations and endorsements to others without them asking you – you’re more likely to get an effusive recommendation in return.
Much like Google reviews, the more recommendations you have the better it looks to your target audience.
LinkedIn’s publishing platform, Pulse, is a valuable tool to blog your thoughts or share news that is relevant to your business. With a built-in audience of 300m you may well get better traction that you would on your website’s blog.
Content published on Pulse is also directly to your profile and is showcased at the top of your profile which can send a powerful message about your company or authority in your field to visitors to your page.
Ensure you are updating your status and company page daily where possible. It doesn’t have to be a new long form article every day, it can be a quote, a video, a link to another site or just a question you throw out to your followers. The important thing is that you become and remain relevant by increasing your visibility.
LinkedIn has a Marketing Solutions suite that offers premium tools to help companies reach out to relevant audiences. These include:
- Sponsored Updates (LinkedIn’s native advertising)
- Sponsored InMail (targeted emails that are only delivered to users when they’re actually active – pretty neat)
- LinkedIn Lead Accelerator (engaging anonymous visitors to your website with targeted sponsored updates and display adverts)
- Sales Navigator (recommends leads to connect with, tracks updates pertinent to your business)
If you utilise LinkedIn to its potential it can have positive effects on lead generation for your business to help you grow.