While much of the social media marketing focus is given to Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat, you can't ignore the value of LinkedIn. The platform now has more than 467 million members, and their audience is engaging with the platform at a higher rate than ever.
Having a strong LinkedIn presence can help build your brand credibility and expand your social media presence - it may not be the most exciting or flashy network, but it's worth considering whether it's worth your brand putting in the time to solidify its LinkedIn presence.
So how do you go about doing that?
This week, LinkedIn has released a new guide with seven tips on how brands can expand their LinkedIn presence - and importantly (especially for those starting out), none of these tips require monetary investment. You can implement them free of cost, which is a great way to assess whether there's value in the platform for you.
Here are LinkedIn's seven tips.
1. "Get Active on Your LinkedIn Company Page"
LinkedIn's first tip is to build out your LinkedIn company page and regularly update it with "content designed to appeal to your target audience". This includes filling out all the relevant data fields and ensuring your Company Page has an appealing header and client-relevant info.
In terms of specific tips, LinkedIn says that brands should:
- Keep your headlines and text short; about 140 words with a clear call to action
- Use video and unique images for visual interest and avoid stock photos
- Make page management easier by integrating it with popular social media management programs
There's are several reasons why shorter posts work on LinkedIn.
First off, you're trying to grab attention in the news feed, so short, to-the-point messaging is clearer.
But secondly, LinkedIn users can also share your updates via tweet, which means any longer than 140 characters and the information is cut-off.
Previously, LinkedIn has provided this example from HubSpot as a good company post template.
Video, of course, is growing on all platforms, and LinkedIn is no exception. But aside from video, which can be difficult (and expensive) to produce, adding images to your LinkedIn updates is also effective - previous research has shown that LinkedIn posts with images can generate up to 98% more engagement.
And the last note on integrating LinkedIn with popular social management platforms is obvious - connect your LinkedIn Page into your Hootsuite account and it's much easier to schedule posts and maintain an active presence. But you do need to be aware of how your LinkedIn posts are presented when doing this - the preview images attached to your posts can be presented in different sizes and it's important to experiment and ensure your content looks how you want it to when you posted through third-party providers.
2. "Spotlight a Brand or Business Unit with Showcase Pages"
As noted by LinkedIn, "some members of your audience may only be interested in a specific brand or initiative".
It's important to cater to this, and one way of doing so is via Showcase Pages.
As you can see in this example from HP's LinkedIn Page, Showcase Pages enable you to build product or section-specific pages within your main presence so you can give more focus - and more specialized attention - to each element of your business.
Through your Showcase Page/s, you can also create and share content that relates specifically to those areas, and you can add a follow button for each element.
LinkedIn advises that brands should use keywords in their Showcase Page names to boost search potential, and cross-promote showcase content on their main page to increase awareness.
3. "Use Analytics to Inform Content and Boost Sharing"
As with all the major social platforms, LinkedIn has in-built analytics tools to help you understand and optimize your content performance.
As you can see from the video, the data highlights when your audience is more responsive, who your audience is (by demographic profile) and provides insights on individual post performance.
The data is available for both your main company page and showcase pages.
4. "Show off Your Thought Leadership with Long-Form Posts"
LinkedIn's publishing platform has come a long way since being launched back in 2014. Since then, more than a million LinkedIn members have utilized the option, and posts are now being uploaded at a rate of more than 160,000 every week.
A key benefit of long-form publishing on LinkedIn is exposure to a defined audience. The people who follow you on LinkedIn are different from your audience on Twitter or Facebook - the focus here is on professional material, enabling you to establish your expertise and build your industry presence.
There's also the potential benefit of huge reach.
Not every one of your posts will reach every active member (it won't even reach every one of your first degree connections), but there is always the possibility that your posts could get picked up by LinkedIn's editors and added to one of their highly viewed content channels.
And if that happens, the results can be significant - as you can see in this image, one of my posts (bottom right) last year was picked up on a Pulse channel, resulting in significantly more reach than regular posts.
If you're looking for tips on what to write about, LinkedIn recently produced a new report which examined the top performing Publisher posts of 2016.
5. "Establish Authority on LinkedIn SlideShare"
SlideShare is an under-rated content channel. As noted in a recent SMT post, more business owners frequent SlideShare than they do other popular social channels like Facebook and Twitter. Given this, and given the fact that LinkedIn also owns SlideShare (meaning enhanced integration between the two), it makes sense to investigate how to partner the platform with your LinkedIn presence.
As noted by LinkedIn:
"You can embed SlideShare presentations directly into your Company Page updates. These presentations can be simply slides, but can also include video, and can be used for unconventional formats like tall infographics."
LinkedIn also notes that SlideShare has its own analytics tools, while you can also insert clickable links into your SlideShare content.
Also, images are important - the most popular SlideShare presentations have 37 or more.
6. "Maintain Engagement with Regular Updates"
LinkedIn suggests that companies look to maintain their LinkedIn engagement by posting at least twice a day.
Of course, this is a relative measure - what works best for you may not work for someone else, and vice versa.
The best way to determine your own optimal posting frequency is to test for yourself and see what your audience responds to.
In terms of what to post, LinkedIn has previously advised that businesses should look to start conversations by asking questions relevant to their target audience and to provide 'snackable' updates that people want to share with their networks.
You should also look to respond to comments to boost engagement and maintain activity.
7. "Enhance Your Audience Personas with Advanced Search"
And the last tip LinkedIn has provided is to use the platform's search functions to learn more about your target audience and their interests.
LinkedIn search is a vastly under-valued resource, and while they have recently made some changes to their search options, there are a heap of ways you can use the existing (and updated) options to uncover relevant insights.
LinkedIn suggests that brands can use search to:
- Examine job titles and skills to uncover potential topics and motivational factors
- Review endorsements to find out what your audience values and the language they use
- Get granular by filtering results by location, current company, industry, and more
There's some interesting options to consider here, especially for those looking to get started with LinkedIn or boost their platform presence for the new year. And worth noting again, all of these functions are available free of change. You can opt to upgrade to Premium or to pay to boost content as you see fit.