LinkedIn is known as a networking and recruitment site; however, the unique nature of LinkedIn makes it a very attractive platform for B2B marketers. For example, a Hubspot research study found that more companies had acquired a customer through LinkedIn than any other social media channel. There are now over 225m registered LinkedIn members, including 77m in the US and 50m in Europe.
In my view LinkedIn should be a cornerstone platform in any B2B marketing strategy. Below are 9 ways you can use LinkedIn to improve your B2B marketing.
1. Actively use your company page
You probably already have a company page on LinkedIn, if not, you should create one. The company page is more than a nice visual page with banners. The company page allows you to:
- produce targeted status updates
- display slide presentation content
- promote your services and products
- create brand ambassadors from your employees
- customise your company page for specific audiences
- build an audience of followers
HP has attracted over 1 million LinkedIn followers and are a good case study of how to leverage followers and extend your marketing reach. See the HP LinkedIn marketing case study for more details.
2. Join Groups
Where do your customers hang out? Join groups where your customers are present and try to be a helpful member of the group and respond to questions. This takes time so don't spread yourself too thin.
3. Share content that adds value
As with all of your content marketing, share all forms of interesting content and make sure it will be valuable to people in your industry. Share content regularly and vary your content, including pictures, videos and links.
4. Encourage your friends and colleagues to share and like content
People can be reluctant to be the first to comment in a discussion but once you have a discussion going it can be hard to stop people. One simple way to get things going is to encourage your friends and colleagues to share your content and to comment on it. Another way to engage your audience is to ask questions when you post content. A number of studies have found more interaction when the post starts with a question.
5. Listen and participate
Make sure you listen and participate in the groups you have decide to focus on. This is essential if it is your own group, see next item, but it also important if you want to actively participate in other groups.
6. Set up your own Group
Setting up your own group on LinkedIn can:
- help establish you as a thought leader in your industry
- enable you as moderator to develop a very focused group without the spam that can afflict many groups on LinkedIn
- highlight and showcase your own content as you wish
- be a more select group as you can control membership
- develop relationships through interactions
- potentially generate interest and enquiries about your services
If you establish a Group remember it is your responsibility to lead it. Post regular content, encourage discussions and comment on discussions. It is hard work and takes time but it is your responsibility.
ProjectManager.com is a great case study of how to build a LinkedIn Group.
7. Ask for recommendations
It may seem obvious but ask people to recommend you or your company on LinkedIn. Recommendations are still one of the most powerful ways to establish your credibility.
8. Use LinkedIn Services
The LinkedIn sales solutions team a mine of useful information and advice. There are many paid services from premium membership to ads which may help you. Many people use Google Ads but LinkedIn ads can be equally as effective as LinkedIn allows you to focus on people rather than keywords. You can decide the level of executive you want to target in specific industries and sectors, you can place an ad directly on their pages.
9. Monitor your performance
As part of your LinkedIn strategy you should set yourself performance targets. The targets to monitor might include:
- the number of followers of your company
- the number of people joining your group
- how often your posts are shared
- the level of engagement through comments, discussions and polls
- number of click throughs to your website or landing pages from LinkedIn
- number of leads, track where your leads come from and be sure to have a lead category for LinkedIn in your CRM
- conversions achieved
With the purchase of Pulse and Slideshare, LinkedIn is going to grow in importance as a marketing platform. Take your time now to fine tune your LinkedIn marketing strategy.