With its professional population and ever-growing user base, LinkedIn is a prime target for B2B marketing efforts. But in order to effectively market there, you need to understand what that particular audience is looking for.
To make your B2B message as powerful as possible, use these three tips to guide your LinkedIn marketing:
Provide intelligent content, helpful advice, and high quality engagement. Basically a continuous stream of proof that your business is home to smart people.
Create a well-optimized company profile page that is integrated with the profiles of all current employees.
Ensure you have a consistent tone for all posts and interactions, which means writing a widely understood social media policy for all page admins and employees.
1. Intelligent Content Is a Must For B2B Marketing on LinkedIn
The above demographics are clear: LinkedIn features highly educated, high-income adults in the peak years of their career, with a very slight skew towards men. They want
smart, engaging, and useful content without the fluff.
Provide value and don’t waste their time, and they will be much more likely to think of you and your business when the time is right.
That may not be this week or even this quarter, but remember, B2B social media marketing is about the long sell:
“instead of approaching each new contact out of the blue and trying to explain how you’re qualified to do this or that, you can show them your expertise by participating in group chats and discussions. When you finally do contact them, they’ll have at least some idea of what your brand represents and the services it offers.” 1
There are several key locations where you need to posting content and interacting to position yourself as a valued member of the LinkedIn community: Pulse, group discussions, and, if you can manage it, employee profiles.
Using Pulse for Content Marketing
Pulse is LinkedIn’s content distribution network, in which they provide, “The news and insights you need to know,” according to their site. You can easily contribute content to Pulse simply by clicking on the little pencil icon at the top of your LinkedIn home page. Users can select what topics they want to see in their individual Pulse feed, and LinkedIn will also make suggestions of what they think a user might like to read.
Pulse is a fantastic way to establish yourself as a valuable member of the LinkedIn community, but it can be a lot of work to create unique content exclusively for this channel. That will give you the best influence, but you can try recycling some blog content too.
Get Engaged in Group Discussions
The are groups for just about any topic you can imagine on LinkedIn, and each one has discussions happening all the time. I suggest joining 10-12 in your niche, creating a spreadsheet or calendar and keeping track of which ones you’ve engaged with and how you’ve contributed.
You want to make sure you’re both commenting on other people’s questions/articles/ideas and contributing your own information. Don’t just push your content over and over without any other interaction; it makes you seem self-serving, and nobody is a big fan of that.
Involving Your Employees
Finally, consider involving your employees in getting your presence out there on LinkedIn. At the very least they need to have you listed as their current employer, and ideally they will be putting your content on their individual page.
This content might just be reposted content from your blog, or it might be original work that they post to Pulse themselves. They can also be encouraged to join group discussions as well, which will help with the overall goal of showing that your company is home to a bunch of smart folks who can help potential customers.
If you’re going to get employees involved make sure everyone understands your social media guidelines and the penalties for deviating from them.
Be clear that you’re going for the long sell, so no one should be overly promotional.
2. Optimize Your LinkedIn Company Page
After you’ve engaged with potential customers via your insightful content, they need a way to vet you for further interaction. Your company page must convey your brand message and encourage them to subscribe and/or take additional action to move down the funnel.
Three key areas you need to optimize are your logo and header image, your employees’ profiles and, where appropriate, showcase pages.
First, as with any place that you’re talking about your brand, make sure you have visually attractive, high resolution images that are the right size for your header and logo images. These are going to be the first impression people get on your company page, so make them count.
Second, you should have all of your existing employees linked to your company page. LinkedIn is a social network after all, so be sure that you’re leveraging your built in network as much as possible.
And finally, your showcase pages. There is still some debate about whether these are a good idea or not, but if you have distinct segments to your product or market (e.g. website design and content marketing) you can put different kinds of content on those showcase pages.2 The problem, of course, is that means you’re going to have to create content for two (or more) pages instead of just one.
3. Maintain a Consistent Tone in all LinkedIn Interactions
Page admins absolutely must understand what kind of content belongs on your company page, and it’s helpful if current employees are also looped in to the message you’re striving toward. They have the ability to change any and everything on your company page, and they can also post content to the main portion. If you have a paid account they can also post and edit jobs.
If you’re building an ultra professional tone in all your content on Pulse and group discussions, but you have an admin who consistently posts “The 10 Most Hilarious Cat Videos from This Week” on your company page, potential customers and subscribers are going to get a very mixed message about your brand. Keep everyone’s content consistent in tone and style.
If you have admins or employees who will be participating in discussions and making any mention of the company or its products/services, or linking to your company’s website or LinkedIn page, they need to understand your social media policy.
Don’t have a social media policy? Check out these 5 examples of good ones, and write one before you ramp up your LinkedIn marketing efforts.
Reports from early 2014 from the Content Marketing Institute showed that 90% of B2B marketers were already distributing content on LinkedIn, but only 62% believed it was effective.3
Make sure you’re part of that 62% by:
Providing content that is smart, classy and helpful.
Optimizing your company profile so people won’t hesitate to engage with you.
Implementing a social media strategy that empowers employees but protects your brand’s message.
Remember, you’re always marketing on LinkedIn, but for the most part it’s very top of the funnel work. Keep your eye on the long term benefits of what you’re doing and continually add value with your presence, and you’ll reap the rewards.