LinkedIn is a powerful tool for business marketing, if you know how it works and think strategically. While many business owners dismiss LinkedIn as essentially a hiring platform, it actually offers great opportunities to network, generate leads and build your brand; and because LinkedIn marketing is often overlooked, doing it right can offer a fantastic competitive advantage.
Is LinkedIn marketing actually effective?
You’re likely investing a lot of time, money and effort into getting your business found, and unless you’re doing something astonishingly red-ocean, you’re also faced with the challenge of positioning i.e. communicating why you’re a better choice than the “other guy”. This is particularly difficult for B2B businesses, which generally requires a lot of face-to-face networking; something that was certainly a challenge during much of 2020 with social distancing, restrictions on gatherings, and event cancellations making today’s pipeline of leads smaller than it could have been otherwise.
Face-to-face business development is indispensable for many businesses, but it’s time-consuming, and it shouldn’t be your only source of leads – you’re leaving money on the table. What’s more, having a great LinkedIn marketing strategy reinforces your offline efforts; the prospects you meet at that social will almost certainly Google you afterwards, and finding a personal and company LinkedIn that communicates your value proposition is an opportunity to showcase your business in a way that means you’ll be remembered. What’s more, research indicates that the lead generation marketing results are better on LinkedIn than on any other social platform, and 78% of B2B marketers rate LinkedIn the most effective social media platform at helping their organization achieve specific objectives. Impressive, right?
What about the B2C space, you might be wondering? There’s often a focus on how to leverage LinkedIn for B2B marketing, and how the platform works for generating leads for B2B businesses, but it’s actually a highly effective B2C marketing tool as well! Well, as Hubspot rightly points out here, the audiences that you’re reaching aren’t just professionals – they’re also people, with purchasing power, who make decisions about how they spend their income. If your target market is children, you can reach their parents here. If you create content that resonates with audiences, and they engage with it by liking or commenting, that update can be shared with members of their network who may not have discovered your business otherwise. Win!
Using LinkedIn for business marketing
Now that we’ve convinced you about the effectiveness of leveraging LinkedIn for marketing, you’re probably wondering how LinkedIn marketing actually works and how you can take advantage of the opportunity. Here’s our top tips for making the platform for your business.
Let’s start with some of the basics:
Define your audience.
Who do you want to reach, and how are you going to reach them? Not all leads are created equal, and achieving ROI (in terms of both money and time) doesn’t just require saying the right things, it requires saying them to the right people.
Keep your profile up-to-date and relevant.
Profiles really do matter, so keep both your personal and business profiles looking great. Optimise, share wins, and express your personality. Encourage your employees to do the same. Your business profile should tell viewers at a glance who your business is and what it does, explain why you are different, and offer compelling reasons to choose you.
For example, our short-but-sweet elevator pitch:
“We are Glide, the Digital ROI Agency. We help businesses establish a direct return on investment from their marketing and media spend.”
Who we are, and what we do, in a nutshell. What’s yours?
Optimise your page for search.
Think about what keywords your audience might search for to find you, and include them in your About tab overview to make it easy to understand your business and what it can provide to them. Share high-quality content regularly; LinkedIn has stated that “the more frequently you share content your followers engage with, the higher your Page will appear in search results.” Finally, include relevant links; for example, to your business page and relevant product/services pages.
And now, the nitty-gritty
Have an outreach strategy.
So you’ve defined your audience, your profile is on-point and you’re search-optimised. You’re ready for audiences to discover you. Inbound, covered! However, this is just one side of the LinkedIn marketing coin, as it were: with outbound marketing, you can discover audiences. Go back to that definition of who your audience is, and think about what keywords you can use to search for them, what groups they may be members of, what interests they may have, what positions they may hold and so on. If you’re providing services to human resource managers, search for human research managers. Providing a tool for social media managers? Find them, and message them. You get the drift. When this is done right, it can be very effective; when it’s done badly, it’s spammy and annoying, so make sure to tailor your message to the individual you’re interacting with and make it personable, not copy-pasta.
Publish content that adds value.
Thought leadership pieces are a great way to share your expertise with your network, who will engage with it, and often those engagements will be shared with others in their network – social proof and lead generation, all in one!
Avoid “salesy” content; if you create content that informs and engages readers, the sales will come naturally. We can vouch for this: when readers like you explore the fantastic range of thought leadership pieces we have on our blog, we get results. We show that we know our stuff, and we give free, actionable ideas that give businesses like yours a taste both of who we are and how we can help. Likewise, you can give readers a taste of your expertise, share your personality, build your “likeability”, and make people want to do business with you. And don’t confine yourself to creating your own content: mix it up by adding relevant content from other users, and interact with relevant content shared by your connections and in groups, putting you in front of wider audiences in turn.
Finally, don’t neglect rich media marketing: digital asset management platform Webdam finds that visual intelligence is on the rise, the average person gets distracted in 8 seconds, and that posts including images produce 6.5x more engagement than text-only posts. Visuals engage audiences, and help them retain messaging. More on that in their gorgeously visual and memorable infographic here.
Want to know more about content marketing for business? Check out LinkedIn’s excellent guide to leveraging thought leadership on LinkedIn, and explore our posts on the secret sauce to building brand love and what the professionals are saying about content marketing.
Get wise, advertise.
LinkedIn can be great for paid advertising. Promoted and sponsored content on LinkedIn is less obviously identifiable on main feeds compared to other platforms like Facebook; the posts are marked as sponsored/paid posts, but blend into news feeds in a non-distracting manner, and because LinkedIn is a platform for professionals, ads tend to be less spammy overall – users don’t have the same advertising fatigue. What’s more, when they’re using LinkedIn, they have their “business hats” on, so if you’re offering a solution that intrigues them and has potential to help their business, they’ll be listening.
With LinkedIn, there isn’t that much advertising, and it blends in seamlessly. Don’t get us wrong, Facebook is still a fantastic platform to reach people, and it converts like crazy when it’s done right; but LinkedIn has distinct advantages of its own, and a lot of untapped potential; by getting in there before your competitors do, you can kick business goals.
A couple of quick tips:
- Use Sponsored Content to boost your best content directly in the feeds of the right people. This can grow your following by getting your updates front-and-centre in front of relevant audiences you may not have reached otherwise.
- There’s several other ways of running ad campaigns on LinkedIn: Message Ads, Dynamic Ads, and Text Ads. Check out Campaign Manager, LinkedIn’s all-in-one advertising platform. The platform lets you set a budget, select goals (clicks vs. impressions), and control your campaign’s timeline.
- Target and retarget! Campaign Manager lets you choose from 20 different audience attribute categories, including interests, member groups, skills, company name and much more, so that you can reach the right people with your message. And once you’ve reached them once and they’ve engaged, use retargeting to keep the ball rolling.
Test, measure and react.
Analytics are invaluable for understanding what is working for your business and what isn’t, and who it is working with. Try out some A/B testing, gain insight from the results, and pivot your strategy and tactics accordingly. A century ago, renowned American businessman and marketing legend John Wanamaker famously said “half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don’t know which half”; if he saw what marketing analytics makes possible today, he’d be thrilled. You can quickly recognise what marketing efforts are wasteful, and you can do better.
Get a link in, with LinkedIn
As you’ve seen here, LinkedIn can be a fantastic platform to reach professionals, in their decision-making capacities both at work and at home. We’ve run highly effective LinkedIn marketing campaigns for many clients, from startups seeking equity investment to professional services firms looking to raise awareness and close sales. Want to know more about using LinkedIn marketing to connect and convert? Let’s talk.