LinkedIn’s recent acquisition by Microsoft has led to widespread speculation about the business network’s future. Despite this it remains a powerful social marketing tool for businesses and individuals.
LinkedIn is naturally a domain for recruiters to source great talent and for professionals to market themselves to potential employers but what about businesses on LinkedIn?
Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and even Instagram have come to dominate the scene for social media marketing for businesses but these platforms work much better for B2C industries such as retail, tourism, restaurants, estate agents as well as highly visual products or education based industries like property development, art, DIY etc.
For B2B businesses in industries such as telecoms, finance, consultancy, professional development training, professional bodies/institutions and many other fields, Facebook and Twitter can be difficult battle grounds to gain a following and engagement.
Of course, done correctly with a powerful and highly targeted marketing strategy the big social media platforms can yield fantastic results even for these less visual, B2B focused industries.
However, LinkedIn can feel like a much more comfortable fit for these industries and it is not a platform to be ignored. Facebook and Twitter are at heart places for entertainment and socialising. Even if your target audience is on the platform they may not be in the right frame of mind for business networking or buying B2B services. Due to the professional nature of LinkedIn people are more open to looking at relevant business content. This makes it easier for businesses to get their content seen and read.
So, your business is on LinkedIn but what great LinkedIn marketing tips will help you thrive on the platform?
SEO for LinkedIn: Just as you would optimise your website for search engines you can optimise your LinkedIn profile and company page. Ensure that all the vital keyword research you have done is carried across to LinkedIn. As it is a social platform people often forget that LinkedIn profiles and pages can rank well in search and therefore gain you greater visibility. Without keyword stuffing try to use relevant keywords in your LinkedIn profile and company page description, you can even build backlinks to your LinkedIn page as well.
Articles: In addition to publishing status updates and linking to your website why not publish a LinkedIn article? LinkedIn articles can only be published by profiles not company pages and are hosted on LinkedIn (instead of sharing a short post linking back to a longer article on your site). They give you the opportunity to voice industry insights and opinions on the subjects you know most about.
By cleverly optimising these articles you can have them rank in search and feature links which will drive traffic back to your site.
While some dislike the feature only being open to profiles not pages it is a great way to put a personal face on your business. If your articles are relevant to your company you can mark yourself out as an expert in your sector. You can gain a reputation with others in your industry on LinkedIn, share your articles to groups, on your profile and share them on the company page. By making yourself a recognised industry expert, clearly associated with your company you open up huge potential business networking opportunities on LinkedIn which should help bring in leads and boost brand awareness.
Have you heard of LinkedIn’s Pulse? The pulse app provides daily professional news powered by LinkedIn. On desktop the Pulse app is no longer separate but a natural part of your home feed. Your articles can be featured on Pulse if you are considered a ‘publisher’ by LinkedIn. This would open up your audience beyond your current followers. This requires adding the InShare widget to your website so that other members can easily share your content on LinkedIn. The functionality of Pulse seems to have also merged with LinkedIn’s Slideshare where you can choose featured topics to write on and upload content. This is a great way to write on featured topics.
With the frequent changes to functionality and the recent acquisition of LinkedIn by Microsoft you’d be forgiven for having your doubts about what LinkedIn functionality might be merged, downsized or replaced soon. If in doubt you can always find out more about quality requirements for features by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Paid campaigns: Of course, the easiest way to get articles, posts and content featured on LinkedIn to reach a wider audience is with paid campaigns. Currently LinkedIn does not allow you to grow your LinkedIn company followers as you can with Facebook and Twitter. We are hopeful this will change soon. However, you can drive traffic to your website and acquire leads.
There are two paths to advertising on LinkedIn. The first is self-service where your company, or an agency on your behalf, can set up campaigns.
There are three varieties of campaign available. Sponsored content allows you to push your company’s content out to a wider audience. Sponsored InMail lets you send personalised messages to your prospects which could be used to promote your product, services, encourage people to download your e-book and more. Text ads let you design your own ads with links direct to your website to drive traffic.
LinkedIn conversion tracking then let’s you measure conversions on your website which have been generated by LinkedIn ads.
The second path is managed campaigns. This means partnering with a dedicated LinkedIn team to create high visibility ads. In addition to Sponsored Content, Sponsored InMail and Text Ads you have access to Dynamic Ads, Display Ads and LinkedIn Account Targeting.
Dynamic Ads let you specifically target company influencers and decision makers with personally crafted ad copy, calls to action and dynamically generated images from member’s profiles.
Display Ads let you choose between intent and persona based targeting. You use LinkedIn Display Ads through your preferred programmatic buying platform. You can target previous visitors to your site or CRM contacts using your own data or leverage LinkedIn’s professional identity targeting data.
Account Targeting allows you to target specific LinkedIn user accounts and create tailored content for them.
With all these options available LinkedIn can be a great tool in your marketing arsenal.