When thinking about social media platforms to use for your business, most people tend to automatically think of generating leads from Facebook, or Twitter, starting on Instagram, and one of the last places people to think about is that powerful business network that is right in front of your nose; LinkedIn.
Sure, LinkedIn, when looking at Monthly Active Users (MAU), is not the biggest social network out there. LinkedIn has around 106 million MAU, compared to 317 million on Twitter, 1.79 billion on Facebook or the 700 million on Instagram. But the audience is one of the most lucrative ones.
Don’t believe us?
The overall decision makers in most companies (CEO’s) use LinkedIn the most of any public social network, the same holds for 41% of millionaires. What’s more, the LinkedIn audience has been proven to be highly engaged with content – 6 out of 10 users actively look for industry insights.
The LinkedIn platform gives your brand access to a whole host of educated, skilled and influential people with a high search intent (when you visit LinkedIn you already have your industry cap on and are actively seeking knowledge).
So if you want to reach those people who aren’t that active on most other social networks, but could have a significant impact on your organisation’s sales, it is time to start taking LinkedIn seriously.
In the past creating a valuable relationship with these people was extremely difficult though, they were swamped and there wasn’t more than just the InMail tool to start building a relationship.
However, LinkedIn has made some significant changes over the last couple of years and make it super easy to start using it for your content marketing.
You can create long-form content using Pulse, posting interesting content to the newsfeed and use bits of advertising budget to push them out to your target audience to generate leads for your business.
In this article, we show you how you can make the most out of LinkedIn for your (small) business.
LinkedIn Content Marketing Goals
Before we get to work on producing content for our LinkedIn Content Marketing strategy, we first need to figure out how we can effectively reach this highly targeted audience that LinkedIn has to offer.
And for that we need to set a content marketing approach driven by these goals:
- Be interesting. You might be included to start sharing your white papers as the primary driver of your LinkedIn Content Marketing strategy. However there is so much more to offer, you can spark conversation around a news event or a conference you’re attending. Maybe you can share some of the latest insights provided by an industry influencer, create some funny graphics about work life, or share funny graphics by others and add your remarks to them.
- Be helpful. It all starts by being helpful, producing content that presents new knowledge (to make your reader appear smarter) or that can assist in professional decision making.
- Help them help others. Content professionals on LinkedIn are always on the lookout for content that can benefit their professional network. Make sure you’re considering the shareability of everything you distribute on LinkedIn.
- Help them help themselves.When someone shares your compelling content, it makes the sharer seem smart, well-informed, talented, etc. People on LinkedIn are always looking to enhance their brand, so make it as easy as possible for them.
- Focus on achievements. You should remember that the readers of your content on LinkedIn are consuming and sharing content to further their careers. Feed their desire for professional accomplishment with your content.
- Be everywhere. Since the rise of the smartphone years ago, more and more people are consuming your content on different devices than a desktop. LinkedIn is no different, already in the first quarter of 2014, 43% of traffic from LinkedIn members came through mobile. If your content is not readable (not enough paragraphs) or if the visuals are unclear on mobile, you will lose trust and readers.
Get noticed with LinkedIn’s Publishing Platform
One of the strongest elements of a good sale is that is personal. You can share updates via your Linkedin’s Company page; There is no option yet to publish long-form content (more on that later), this gives a unique opportunity. This lets you use your companies strongest assets, your employees.
It helps empower your employees and at the same time gives a unique insight into your company. This, however, doesn’t mean you can’t share the content of your employees on your business page.
Benefits of LinkedIn’s Publishing Platform
#1 Position yourself as a thought leader
This one might seem like a no-brainer, but still, one of the main benefits of the LinkedIn Publishing Platform is of course that it allows you to position yourself as a thought leader in your industry.
Publishing content on LinkedIn adds credibility to your skillset and expertise. It is not just you saying “I know something about Content Marketing” for example, but it allows you to showcase your talent. This in return will help you to make your sales easier, because people trust you more.
#2 Reach a relevant audience with a high search intent
As we stated earlier, the people on LinkedIn are a highly targeted audience set. At first, since the first people seeing your content will be your direct connection, but second, when they start to engage with your content their connections will start to notice your expertise and your content as well.
These are the people you would like to notice your content of course! After all, you already did business with them in the past or they are leads to your business. What better way to get on their radar by showcasing your talent?
#3 Your content is displayed on your profile
One of the great features from the LinkedIn Publishing Platform, is, that it showcases the content you created on the top of your profile. This means that when a potential business client or someone else views your profile, the first thing they will see is the content you published.
By creating great, engaging copy, you can impress them enough with it that it will help you close your next deal faster.
#4 Extend your content’s reach by engaging “followers”
When content resonates through the social graph of LinkedIn, it will get picked up by people who aren’t contacts of you yet. If they like what they see, they can always hit the “follow” button.
By having more followers, this will increase your content’s influence and reach, and it has the potential to show up in more people’s newsfeed. By extending your reach to people who are no direct contacts yet, you can attract the attention of new potential connections, helping you to grow your leads for free.
How to publish on LinkedIn’s Publishing Platform
LinkedIn makes the creation of quality content super easy.
After you’ve logged in to LinkedIn at the top of the page, you will find the option to share an article, photo, or update. But there is also the option to “Write an article” as you can see from the screenshot below:
After that, you can immediately start writing in the field presented to you, add a headline that will urge your readers to click, and add a compelling visual that will be used as featured visuals and you’re good to go.
Of course, you don’t always have to write content from scratch, and you can reuse existing content that you’ve already published somewhere else (make sure it is not a one-on-one copy though).
When it is ready to publish, LinkedIn will take care of the formatting, so it will always look great on their platform.
What to publish on LinkedIn’s Publishing Platform
Although the process of publishing is super simple, you still need to have content to post of course.
So what type of content works best on LinkedIn? Like we said in our intro, according to LinkedIn themselves, six out of ten LinkedIn users are most interested in reading about insights of their industry. After that, 53% are interested in company news, and 43% are interested in new products and services.
The good news, you can “steal” your existing content, add relevant industry insights (if you did not do so already), hit “publish” and see yourself and your leads grow quickly.
Engage With Influencers on LinkedIn Groups
Another great way on LinkedIn to engage with people is by using LinkedIn Groups. LinkedIn Groups are a great place to find people from the same industry, with the same interests as yourself but who are likely not yet a connection.
The goal of a LinkedIn Group is to create a place for quality industry discussions. Although they seem a bit forgotten with all the updates LinkedIn has been releasing to their platform in the last year, LinkedIn Groups are still very powerful.
By going to the “discover group section”, you can identify and join relevant groups for you, that gives you access to all the influential people in your industry.
Choose the most relevant groups for yourself and your company, depending on how much time you can spend you can join as many as possible, or maybe even create one yourself.
Next up, is regularly contributing value, insights and ideas. Groups are a great way to share your content, but even better don’t just post your content and run away, it is about building real and lasting relationships with the people that matter to your business.
So add value to these groups, post interesting articles from others that you found online, contribute in the discussions, and mostly just add value. Only by adding value, without expecting anything in return can you build those lasting relationships.
The benefits of publishing to LinkedIn Groups
The power and advantages of LinkedIn Groups are bigger than just the ability to share content and potentially meet important industry people. If you join the right groups, you can talk directly to people organically without paying for any ads (ideal for small business with a limited budget).
You can use these conversations to engage with a community and ask them for feedback on topics or ideas or contribute your thoughts to other industry-leading surveys.
Using LinkedIn Groups to get feedback is one of the most powerful ways you can use them. Truly honest reviews are difficult to come by these days.
Make sure to be active in a group for some time though, and helping others before asking anything in return. And don’t use this as a sneaky way to promote your content by posting “I just wrote this blog post, what do you think? Discuss below!”. That is not asking, that is self-promotion and is something that is frowned upon.
Another great benefit of a LinkedIn Group is that as the owner/moderator of a group you can send messages to your group members for free once a week. Members have to opt-in for this with the groups they join, but our experience is that they usually do this.
This is an excellent opportunity to get your content to a highly targeted audience without the need of building up your email subscribers list. You can use this to notify your members of new, valuable, or popular posts in your group, to continually re-engage them.
Like everything you want to use this to bring value to your group members first, and using this for lead generation, last.
There is also the ability to sent a welcome email to people after they join your group. This helps set you up as a group authority and gives you the opportunity to share links to valuable resources (including your sites) as well.
Lastly, LinkedIn groups can give you the opportunity to find out the content of other people and learn from their thoughts, insights and ideas that you can include in your content marketing. Or use this as a form of curation to find content to share on your other social channels.
Use the power of your existing network
Your existing are people that you’ve already built a valuable relationship with in the past. Why not use them to kickstart your email newsletter? By using the export contacts function in LinkedIn, you can create a .csv file with all your contacts:
- Click the My Network icon at the top of your LinkedIn homepage.
- Click Your connections on the left rail.
- Click Manage synced and imported contacts near the top right of the page.
- Under Advanced actions on the right rail, click Export contacts.
- You may be prompted to sign into your account.
- Click Request Archive.
- You will receive an email to your Primary Email address which will include a link where you can download your list of connections.
You can then import these contacts in your Email Service Provider (ESP), or Customer Relationship Management (CRM) tool of your choice and contact them outside of LinkedIn.
Be sure to don’t automatically start including them in your regular newsletter from the start though; you don’t want to spam your contacts and make them dislike you. Send a welcome email telling them about your business, make it personal and tell them if they want to be kept informed that they can reply to keep subscribed for example.
Your LinkedIn Company & Showcase Pages
Although all the previous examples are examples focused on the individuals within your company and the action they can take to help your business to the next level and generate leads, there is also a way for company’s to showcase their brand identity on LinkedIn.
Your company page should represent the highest-level information about your business.
A Company Page helps LinkedIn members learn about your business, your brand, and job opportunities with your business. Company Pages are also an excellent way to establish industry expertise.
If your company has different business identities, you can also use the “showcase” feature, to show different brand identities that are connected to your the mother brand.
The benefits of LinkedIn Company Pages
When LinkedIn Company Pages were created, they were primarily used as landing pages for the Human Resource department of businesses.
Although this is still one way of using your company page, your company page is also becoming the perfect place to drive business results, raise brand awareness, promote career opportunities and educate potential customers on your products and services. You can do this by sharing the content of your employees created on LinkedIn, or by sharing content created outside of LinkedIn.
Think of your company page as your page you might also have on Facebook. It is an outlet next to your main website, which helps drive traffic to your site and provides an opportunity to promote your products, services and content.
Your LinkedIn Company page, as a result, helps you with free (although you can boost this with ads) marketing opportunities and increases the credibility of your brand.
If you don’t have a strong website yourself, you can also use this page as a way to promote the awareness around on your brand in search engines. By doing keyword research, you can identify the keywords that are important to your business, and you can include them in the copy of your page.
How to create a LinkedIn Company Page
Most businesses probably already have a LinkedIn company page, and if this is true, you as a marketer should just ask the correct access to start creating content on your company page.
If you’re just starting out though, you still need to create a page. And just like publishing an article on your profile, the creating a company page is pretty straightforward (you do need a personal LinkedIn profile for this though):
- Go to the “Add a Company” page, and enter your official company name and your work email address. (LinkedIn will send you an email to verify the creation of this page and that you’re eligible to create your Company page)
- Choose the people who can administrator your page
- Fill in your company details (you can provide things like the industry that you’re operating in, company size, etc.)
- Add a banner and logo
- Create a company description. (You only have a maximum of 2K characters to describe what your company does and why someone should follow your brand. Be sure to include your Value Proposition and that you’re using your company’s brand voice.
After those steps, you click “publish”, and your new LinkedIn Company Page is online.
What to do on your LinkedIn Company page, and what are some best practices?
As with everything online, just because you “build” something doesn’t mean people will come. This also holds true for your LinkedIn Company Page, just because you have one doesn’t mean that followers will come. You can boost your chances of success though, with the following LinkedIn business tips and strategies.
#1 Use the power of your employees
The biggest part of this entire post is dedicated to empowering your employees so that they will make your company stand out from the crowd on LinkedIn. Your company page is no difference, you need your colleagues, your employees, they are your biggest and first brand advocates. By adding them as followers to your page you can indirectly make use of their network.
By asking them to add your “Company Page” to their profiles as the current place they work at, they will automatically turn into followers of your page. Making it easy for them to get noticed about any posts you make so they can easily share it with their following.
#2 Let your brand personality shine through on your page
Just like your companies Facebook page, your Twitter profile page, etc. LinkedIn offers the ability to adapt your company page to let your brand personality shine through.
By using the style guides you created for your visual brand, you can make your banner image more creative.
Ask yourself why someone would want to be spending time reading your company profile? Include relevant links to your website, your blog, and so on.
#3 Provide valuable content
Your brand personality is mostly not enough to the static parts of your company page to keep people interested. The best way to grow your audience and to keep your followers interesting is by providing value to them.
Try posting different types of content that your target audience might be interested in. Things like company news, thought expertise, the content created by your employees. Make sure to be consistent with posting, and posting on a regular basis, and mix it up.
Next to that, try to actively engage with your followers by asking them what matters most, or what they’d like to see.
By making it as attractive and valuable as possible, you for sure will be starting to amass more followers and gain company recognition over time.
LinkedIn may not be the biggest or the sexiest social networks of them all, but it is one that houses some of the most profitable decision-makers across numerous industries.
Just that fact alone, makes it a perfect fit for B2B companies, especially when trying to reach upper management.
The least approachable people within a company, become approachable again and content marketing can be your secret weapon to break through.
How are you using LinkedIn at your company for generated leads and getting a higher return on your content marketing? Leave a comment below!