What is LinkedIn?
Officially launched on the 5th of May 2003, it is a social platform to connect the world’s professionals and create more economic opportunities for the global workforce and make them more productive and efficient. Eventually, it was purchased by Microsoft at the end of 2016. Its vision is to empower people and organizations to be more productive.
It can also be used as a powerful B2B marketing strategy for Agencies & Brands.
Users can create connections with people and build a professional network of contacts. It was used as a job-hunting platform, but now it is a place for networking and personal branding.
How does it work?
- Organizations have a page
- Individuals have a profile with a variety of features (free, premium, sales or recruiter).
- Individuals compose and share content via their profile or composed groups.
Watch: My interview with Lucas Bakx on B2B Lead Gen thru LinkedIn for your Digital Marketing Agency.
B2B Marketing with LinkedIn
Within LinkedIn there is a massive opportunity for marketing and sales to create more conversations using the various content tools, like
- Sharing from your company page
- Encouraging your employees to share
- Using the best B2B practices and features like
- Share when your audience is online
- Share often with a variety of content
- Pinning hashtags
The idea is to increase your visibility and credibility to create more business for everyone.
Choosing the right method
You might consider I am referring to company pages and ads, but LinkedIn is an excellent medium for both personal and company B2B marketing. There are various ways you can use the tools for effective and efficient marketing.
Inbound marketing practices
The content that you create on LinkedIn like updates, articles, and native videos, etc. can be used to attract new leads. These are called inbound marketing practices.
Outbound techniques like messaging and mails can be used to reach new people.
LinkedIn supports written visual or video content. You can create either fresh content or repurpose existing content. You can employ either:
- Free Content features like publisher, native video, media on profile, group discussions, company page updates, slide share and messaging
- Sponsored content features like Ads and in mails.
B2B marketing on LinkedIn is not an either-or situation. You need to find the best practice that suits your B2B situation.
Best Practices for updates
It is better to have a strategy rather than committing random acts of social sharing. Use one of the following:
- Share when your audience is online (by using a scheduling tool)
- Share the most likely content your audience is interested in when they are most likely to be on LinkedIn (Monday to Friday 9-5 or during their lunch and commute)
- Share often, people are not afraid of this. Only a minute percentage of people will see your post. Share multiple times a day
- Share the different type of content, like comments to links to infographics and native video
- Link to company’s website
- A blog post
- Favorite quote
- A relevant infographic you found elsewhere
- Promote other people’s content. Don’t be very generous to share your competitor’s content, but your supplier’s content, supporting NGOs or government or organizations, etc
- Using visual help your post occupy more real-estate on your feed and help drag more attention to your post
Best Practices for long term updates
- Useless content for updates meant for short term and more content for long term updates
- Use the full use of description section up to 1300 characters can get exponentially more likes views comments and shares
- Make the content interesting to your audience. Be thoughtful. Share a
- Opinion piece or A training tip
- Review a product or service
- Review a useful book
- Always draft it using a text editor document as it will read better, catch grammatical errors, help you with formatting and stay within the character count limit.
- @mentions and #hashtags help increase your audience as they pull your post into a new audience.
Hashtag communities help share content to a wider audience. This can be found on your profile snapshot on the left-hand side. Once you have found them, click on discover more to find even more hashtag communities. Add the interesting communities to your list. You can pin all your hashtag communities and include them in your post by a single click by avoiding retyping. Remember, they must be relevant. Use your best hashtags at first. This will improve the reach of your posts significantly.
Best practices for Videos
LinkedIn native videos are those that are uploaded into LinkedIn naively from your phone or desktop. “This is not sharing a YouTube link”.
Native videos can be uploaded on profiles and company pages. They can be sponsored or paid to promote them to more audiences. Your video should be between 3 seconds to 10 minutes and less than 5 GB in size.
What videos can you share?
- Industry tips and tricks
- Showcase a product or service
- Client testimonial
- A recommendation
- Record an interview
- Describe an upcoming event
Don’t forget the description feed of the video. This will make your content look more professional and your post more ethical.
LinkedIn put in a lot of effort to improve its messaging platform, from online status to engaging bots and emoji. A lot can be done on LinkedIn messaging. They help enhance engagement. This is often the most neglected part of marketing. Some of the features that can be used are:
- Active status lets you know if your connection is active or LinkedIn. Use can use this to time your post to perfection
- Upload images or attachments of a market analysis or research that you think your connection might be interested in
- Group messaging can be a super ninja strategy for getting your B2B content shared by a group which is an amplification pod of like-minded influences
InMail to expand your network
LinkedIn in mail both individual and sent through a corporate account can reach B2B prospects outside of your existing network. While sending an email:
- Focus on your audience and send related emails to who they are or what they do
- Take time to research your audience and try to pull information about them and their personality and their posts, and customize whenever possible
- Please get their name and gender correct
- Don’t share a sales pitch, share something of value with them that they don’t have to pay for and create positive sentiment. Then ask if they are willing to connect and then only then go for a sales conversation.
Slide share strategy
- Use good visuals and thumbnails to grab audience’s attention
- Use less than 30 words per slide
- Keep it simple, use no more than 2 types of fonts
- One idea per slide. Tell a story with your words
Have a company page and use it effectively and efficiently
Company B2B marketing
According to LinkedIn, the average user goes through 10 pieces of content before making a purchasing decision. B2B buyers are looking to LinkedIn for that content that they need in moving forward in their decisions
Share content that increases brand recognition, solves buyer’s issues and answers their questions.
Keep an eye on analytics. Have a person follow up on them.
Aligning marketing campaign with LinkedIn
There are some strategies that companies should know in getting more visibility and engagement for their marketing campaign on their pages, to consider redesigning their marketing campaigns through LinkedIn
- Use header images and promote using your visual real estate (profile photos and background images)
- If you have any launch or event going on, update your LinkedIn page with it. Update your website at the top of your LinkedIn page
- Feed your audience with content related to the current market strategy of your business. (remember to avoid continuous promotional content)
- Add LinkedIn company page promotion to your any other content pages to
Employees are your biggest asset when it comes to promoting your content with multiple audiences on a large scale. The combined network of your employees is much larger than your company page. Tap into this extended network. There are a few ways you can make use of this asset to help your B2B campaign on LinkedIn:
- Send an email to your employees regarding an update and ask them to share it. Give them a few links they can click on and share directly
- Consider an automation tool like every one social or amplify etc
- Encourage your employees to sign up for LinkedIn. If they are present on LinkedIn, encourage them to subscribe to your page
- Use office space for displaying images related to the LinkedIn page and give an incentive to the subscription process (like a coupon for a meal or a movie or coffee)
- Link your internal employee page with links to LinkedIn. Make it seamless to transition between the pages
- Make your LinkedIn page a content hub
Sponsored video updates
First of all, get clear on your reasons and adjust your expectations when investing in LinkedIn ads
Focus on awareness rather than sales. Use your ads to navigate to a sales page or person rather than purchasing the product itself. Micro target your audiences. You get better ROI when you do this. 10 campaigns to a 1000 people yield better results than 1 campaign to 10000 people
Save your audience using LinkedIn. Split test using LinkedIn. The video or post might be the same for everyone, but the text describing the reach can be custom-fitted to every person tailored to their interests and needs.
B2B marketing is not just posting a few words on your page. Moving forward, consider the various tools and resources at your disposal to create effective marketing strategies for your company or yourself. You move one step closer to supporting the modern buyer in their buying journey by using various features of LinkedIn for marketing.