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A guide to using LinkedIn as a marketing tool

We have all been guilty at times of neglecting our social media accounts and with the current COVID climate it’s time we got more focused on them. This is our walkthrough guide to using LinkedIn as a marketing tool.

Why should you use LinkedIn marketing?

If your business is B2B focused, then LinkedIn will be a key channel for you. While you can have difficulties identifying and targeting your ideal buyers (especially if they are employees and not business owners) on other social media platforms such as Instagram and Facebook, LinkedIn allows you to be visible to the right B2B buyers.

Here are some reasons why you should be on LinkedIn:

  • You have the ability to grow a very targeted B2B audience
  • The increasing popularity and success of employee advocacy
  • LinkedIn has a higher organic reach and lower levels of competition compared with other social platforms
  • A tightly curated connection base will help you reach others that are not yet connections

Why is LinkedIn marketing unique?

Understanding the history of LinkedIn can really help you make sense of why LinkedIn is unique.

As we moved into a digital world, internet users wanted a place to show off their work experience and expertise. While this started by being about skills and endorsements, it’s now about content, following and engaging.

But the desire remains the same: employees want to increase their visibility as professionals using LinkedIn. In the future, when they are seeking a new role, they’re already ahead of the game by having a fantastic profile.

Companies can win when they utilise employees’ profiles in a way that serves the employee’s needs too. When your team is aligned to your company’s objectives, they’ll be happy to occasionally share company content. It grows their audience and visibility too.

That’s why an effective LinkedIn strategy prioritises personal profiles even above the company page.

Understanding the LinkedIn algorithm

LinkedIn’s algorithm is fairly simple when compared to other social media algorithms. With LinkedIn, likes and reactions give the algorithm a little substance, but what really influences the algorithm is comments — especially those that spark conversation and are replied to by other users. This can propel a post to the top of thousands of peoples’ LinkedIn feeds.

One of the best ways to improve your LinkedIn marketing reach is to write content that inspires more and lengthier comments:

  • Current topic and relatable topics and news
  • Giveaways (ask people to comment to receive your link or freebie)
  • Ask for people’s thoughts and reactions
  • Asking questions

How to win with LinkedIn marketing

Now that we understand the LinkedIn algorithm and what makes LinkedIn unique, let’s dive deeper into best practices.

Use variety in your content

LinkedIn offers lots of different content formats. When it comes to LinkedIn marketing you should make use of this. You can create:

  • Text posts
  • Text posts with a photo
  • Uploaded videos
  • Live videos
  • Slide posts
  • Short podcast samples
  • Polls

You shouldn’t automatically assume what is the most exciting content for your audience. Experiment by testing out 3 or 4 content types. Then compare them in terms of reach and response relative to the difficulty of creating that content.

You could even take the same concept and put it in different formats so that you can test the formats more accurately. Even once you narrow down what works, you’ll create more engaging content by using 2 or 3 formats at a minimum.

Regularly post content

While everyone wants to go viral, the fact is that you can get great visibility without it. The LinkedIn platform needs to show users something new at the top of their feed every time they log in, otherwise, users will get bored and won’t come back.

People who post continuously and consistently are always at the top of the LinkedIn feed because they’re always giving LinkedIn what it wants: new content. That is what LinkedIn marketing is all about. Virality isn’t the only way to get seen. Simple posting daily can make you stand out to your ideal audience.  And the algorithm rewards your consistency.

Prioritise employee advocacy

Earlier, we mentioned that a big part of what makes LinkedIn special is the ability to utilise employees’ profiles, here we dig a little deeper:

If you post the same content to your company page and your profile, the difference might not be as drastic. But there will be a difference.

People want to hear from people, and LinkedIn knows that. That’s why the algorithm prioritises posts from personal profiles. You should too.

Here are just some ways you could be using personal profiles:

  • Find ways to get all departments involved (not just marketing) by discovering what each department cares about that overlaps with your audiences’ interests and develop content campaigns accordingly.
  • Provide templates for employees to share when posting.
  • Have employees comment on each other’s posts to boost them in the algorithm.
  • Invite employees to participate and clarify why it’s helpful for the company and their own personal brand, but don’t force them. Some people may prefer to comment on others’ posts but not to post things themselves.

Manage or facilitate executives’ participation

While some founders, co-founders, executives, and managers are active on LinkedIn marketing, others will struggle to find the time. It might be worthwhile to ghostwrite for executives who already have a following or would like to build one. You can add connections for them, post for them, and comment for them too.

Grow your audience every week

As a business, you need to wait for people to organically follow you. But as a personal profile, you can grow your LinkedIn audience through connection requests.

Unless you plan to send a very personal message, don’t write a message with your connection request. It just clutters peoples’ inboxes.

Connect with people who fit your ideal target audience. For example, if you work at a company that sells Human Resources software, then you can search for “HR Professionals” and connect with them. LinkedIn marketing works great with this.

Add 2nd-degree connections as an additional filter for the best chance of having your request accepted.

Do this for your own profile and any executives’ profiles that your content team is managing. You could also create a short brief or training to give to all team members who are participating in your employee advocacy program.

Engage with your top connections and followers

Building an engaged audience is not a one-way street. When people comment on your content, you should comment on theirs too (at least on occasion).

If you’re using Sales Navigator, just click on someone’s name whenever they comment on your content. Then click to view them in Sales Navigator and add them to a list called top commenters or top followers. This lets you build up a list of engaged followers in Sales Navigator. Once a day for just a few minutes, login and view that list and see what content they’ve posted. Comment on whatever catches your eye.

This is a great way to make sure that you’re not just commenting on what shows up in your news feed, but also on what your top followers are posting.

Optimise your personal profile

When you’re using personal profiles, you need to keep them optimised, so that your target audience can learn more about your business and how to interact with your company further. This will support the LinkedIn marketing you’re doing!

In addition to their role at your company, employees can also use their headline to showcase how they can help, or their personal passions that relate to what the target audience is interested in.

In the About section, you can have team members include more about their role at the company to help drive your audience towards you.

Distribute content

Your LinkedIn community (not just your company’s page but your employees’ profiles) should be used to distribute the content your team creates. Share blog posts, video campaigns, case studies, and more.

Keep links local to LinkedIn

This isn’t a hard and fast rule, but LinkedIn is trying to keep your audience on LinkedIn.  So if you post content with lots of links leading off the platform, you’ll see you’ll get less engagement and reach than if your content has no links or links to existing content on LinkedIn.  Sometimes it can’t be helped, but where possible it’s better to duplicate a blog post as an article, rather than linking to the blog post.

Summary

Following the above, as guidance, you’ll quickly find you can grow a vibrant community of people following and engaging with you and your content.  Get stuck in, have conversations, and see where it takes you. To learn more on how LinkedIn can improve your lead generation, register for a free trial of our LinkedIn Leads Service.

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