You know about it. You're probably on it. Odds are, you even get on and use it once in a while. But have you ever considered your LinkedIn account as an integral part of your marketing strategy?
The truth is that LinkedIn is a great choice for businesses reaching other businesses.
Why LinkedIn Matters for Your Marketing Strategy
Not only does it allow you to connect with professionals and engage with them on a personal level, but according to recent stats we've learned that over 80% of B2B leads generated from social media come from LinkedIn. According to a Hubspot report, LinkedIn produced more leads than even many company blogs.
Why is this?
Partly because LinkedIn is seen and known as a "business person's" networking platform. LinkedIn is mostly a platform for B2B, or business to business, companies. In other words, it’s for companies that sell directly to other businesses.
And while there may be less traffic on LinkedIn than on say, Facebook for example, its users are much more open to learning about products. While LinkedIn is smaller than some other social networks, it’s still incredibly huge. It has more than 300 million users and is growing daily.
How Well Does LinkedIn Work for Generating Leads Really?
We are not trying to say that marketing on LinkedIn is more effective than blogging or inbound marketing, but it can have an effectiveness that will out-perform less-than-stellar content marketing efforts.
According to LinkedIn, businesses are 50% more likely to buy a product if they’ve already engaged with the seller on LinkedIn. All of which supports the case that being engaged on and strategically leveraging the potential of LinkedIn is a marketing imperative for4 B2B companies.
Steps For A Better LinkedIn Marketing Strategy
The key is to first grasp that LinkedIn is a platform that will allow you and your company to create awareness of your product or service, engage with your clients, customers, and prospects, and build a community of advocates and allies.
1. Optimize your profile.
There are a couple of items here that are often overlooked such as a poor profile image, or none at all. This is one of the main places to shine! Your image should be somewhat professional, preferably a nice headshot, and high quality.
People are fickle and if your image is shoddy or missing, that's how it will reflect on you and your business in the minds of other users. In addition, your profile information needs to be optimized for search engines. How do you do that?
- Include relevant keywords throughout your profile information
- Use a keywords in a headline specific to your company or profession
- Include links to your company website and social media accounts
- Regularly update your profile content
2. Try to get Recommendations.
The way LinkedIn is structured it is very easy to give and receive Endorsements. But the problem is that these can be given by any connection without any real knowledge of you or your skills.
Recommendations, on the other hand, are provided by people who know you and really having something good to write about you, your company, or your abilities. Be a giver here, too, and don't be shy about asking for them.
3. Make connections properly.
Without connections you will be a lonely face in a sea of users. But simply clicking on the "Connect" button is not only lazy, but it is impersonal and can reflect badly on you. Take time to craft a simple, but heart-felt request. People will respond and they will appreciate that you did so.
Remember: Connections on LinkedIn are not just numbers - they are real people.
4. Reach out and really connect.
Connections are a gift and an opportunity. Far too many users simply work to pile up numbers and never follow up with most, if any, of their newly made connections. This can be done by hitting the "Like" button on their posts, commenting on the same, or both.
An occasional message or InMail is a great way to nurture relationships, and they reflect well on you and your company. Make it a habit to reach out to a few people every week.
5. Update your status regularly.
Too many users set up their accounts, fill it with relevant information, and then seemingly walk away. The maxim "Out of sight, out of mind." applies painfully well to LinkedIn. It really is easy to post occasionally and keep yourself visible to your connections while giving something of value.
According to Marisa Smith, "A good guideline is to post one article per week and 1-2 short updates per day." You don't have to be a writer or a blogger here - just passing along good, relevant articles and commenting on other's posts will suffice.
The formula is for you to post your article once a week to all your groups on different days. Share articles you think each group will find interesting on different days. Comment on what others write or have a discussion going once a week. Hootsuite is a good platform to automate posting your own article and sharing an article. When you are commenting, go to LinkedIn and just comment on a few groups' articles a day.
6. Try your hand at using LinkedIn Pulse.
On your LinkedIn post box you will see a pencil on the far right. Click it and you will go to a page that says "Create a Post." You can write something fresh or integrate one of your favorite blog posts along with your pictures.
There are a number of benefits from making use of LinkedIn's "Create a Post" option:
- More viewers and potential leads-if you have great copy, it will be shared and you will get likes as well as new followers.
- Brand awareness and reputation-the more you publish your articles and get your audience's attention, the more you are increasing your brand awareness and reputation as an expert. One article that takes a long time to get views on your blog can easily get hundreds of views using LinkedIn Pulse.
- Link to your website-while publishing these articles you have the opportunity to drive traffic to your website. Companies using LinkedIn Pulse have seen a jump in website visitors. Just be sure to link your post to your website, blog or even a landing page.
7. Avoid "Selling" constantly.
Actually, you should avoid selling, period. If you engage with connections with the aim to help, inform, and bring value, then the opportunities to sell to them will come on it's own.
This rule applies to your posts and any contributions you might make to Groups you join and participate in. Overt selling and "spam-my" content is frowned upon here.
Why using LinkedIn for business is a "must have" option
With so many individuals and companies signing up for LinkedIn (currently over 7,000 every hour) it makes no business sense not to be there. But just "being there" is not enough. Like with any good tool, you must learn the basics of using it well and proficiently to realize the benefit of it.
If you are considering getting help with your company's marketing efforts, it is helpful to have the insights of a third-party, a marketing professional, to assess and assist with your strategy.
BroadVision Marketing offers helpful information on how to use LinkedIn. You can get free advice during your Free Complimentary Inbound Marketing Session which will help you learn more about LinkedIn and its place in Inbound Marketing. You can also call BroadVision Marketing at 707-799-1238.
Jaco Grobbelaar is the owner and CMO of BroadVision Marketing. BroadVision Marketing works with business owners to put in place inbound and outbound marketing strategies that consistently secure new clients. The BroadVision Marketing Training Center is located in Petaluma, CA and primarily serves companies in the San Francisco Bay area.