David Karel, LinkedIn's Head of B2B Marketing, recently shared some intriguing (and important) tips on the best ways to sell your products and services on the platform. And in the process, he highlighted 3 key notes to consider in regards to what it takes to truly be successful in taking advantage of the massive, B2B marketing-related opportunities on LinkedIn.
1. LinkedIn is Unlike Any Other Platform
"If you think about what LinkedIn has become, it's the first time in history of media that you can engage with the world's professionals in a single place," Karel said on a recent podcast interview. "And the opportunity is not just that professionals are gathering in such huge numbers on the platform, but that they are engaging with a unique purpose. They're coming to LinkedIn with a very different mindset then when they're going to other destinations online."
This is key - because of its "professional" theme and tone, LinkedIn users are not logging in looking for funny cat photos or restaurant recommendations.
Instead, they're visiting the platform to look for a job, find an employee, get online training, network with others, consume industry-specific content or even buy and sell products and services.
That means you have an immediate - and valuable - opportunity to build and develop 1-on-1, personal relationships with buyers who are already in "business mode" from the get-go.
2. How You Engage is Everything
Karel was quick to point out that spamming strangers with sales offers or requests for phone time is the worst possible approach you can take on LinkedIn.
Instead, he advised that you need to understand and apply the fundamentals of content, context, and relationship-based marketing.
"The key is you can reach [prospects] in this professional context," Karel said. "You can engage in meaningful way, and that's by sharing valuable content."
That includes understanding the key pain points your ideal customers have, and then "solving" those problems by creating and sharing content that both demonstrates your expertise and credibility while also bringing immediate value to anyone consuming it.
"People on LinkedIn want to connect with opportunities and education," Karel said. "They want to engage with high-quality content on the platform. That means you have an opportunity to create, share and attract people with your content."
To that extent, Karel also shared a surprising statistic - there's about 15x more expert content and advice shared inside the LinkedIn news feed than job-related posts or openings. That indicates that LinkedIn has come a long way from only being useful for job searches or employee recruiting needs.
3. SlideShare Can Be Your Secret Weapon
Karel noted that one of the most underutilized B2B marketing tools online right now is SlideShare, the presentation-themed network which LinkedIn purchased and integrated into its platform back in 2012.
"SlideShare presents a huge opportunity," he said. "You can reach large scale audiences, and visuals are so powerful when it comes to messaging and sharing your content online."
With 70 million users worldwide, SlideShare allows you to share slide decks, videos, infographics and other visually-themed content for free. It also has paid plans that enable you to gather demographic data about viewers and embed opt-in forms directly inside your presentations.
Best of all, SlideShare integrates seamlessly with LinkedIn and shows up well on Google organic searches as well, giving your SlideShare-based content even more reach and shelf life.
According to the site, "when you upload to SlideShare, you reach an audience that's interested in your content - over 80% of SlideShare's 70 million visitors come through targeted search. This can help you build your reputation with the right audience and cultivate more professional opportunities."
When it comes to selling your products or services on LinkedIn, Karel says the keys are to be helpful (not promotional), to bring value by creating and sharing unique and engaging content and to use LinkedIn's powerful member database to find and engage with the right prospects and potential buyers.
And if you've studied the LinkedIn platform for any amount of time, those themes should resonate, because they've been proven to work time and again.