It’s a question that keeps popping up from time to time, is it a social media site for professionals?
Is it a platform for job seekers and recruiters to meet?
A place for us to be updated on what our peer group is working on?
Is it a place to find the latest news, reflections, and opinions on our areas of interests?
Is this a place where I can generate quality leads?
The answer to all of the above is a resounding yes.
Fascinating right? In fact, we can point to the exact moment when the website stopped just being a professional platform and started becoming much more.
Rewind to 2013, when LinkedIn rounded up an elite set—professionals, leaders, C-suite executives, and thought leaders, and invited them to publish on their platform. The initial set of writers included Bill Gates and Richard Branson. In a few years, it would become a habit for professionals-either to search for inspiration, news, recruits or even new business opportunities. In fact it already is.
LinkedIn now boasts over 500 million users and has become the best place on the internet to share content and connect with businesses.
Wait, this is not the history of how LinkedIn evolved as a platform and how it ultimately got acquired by Microsoft.
It’s a great story, but it is probably for another day.
What we want to speak about is how LinkedIn can be leveraged as a platform that can propel B2B business- build a brand and generate quality leads.
This article will cover how to:
Create a complete LinkedIn profile and business pages that attracts relevant traffic
Engage effectively with communities
Become a thought leader and a voice to be heard in your space
Generate quality leads by effective targeting
If you are still unconvinced about the fastest growing professional platform on the planet, we advise you to stay because what’s coming ahead will surely be useful.
Social Media Marketing
To understand LinkedIn as a platform, let’s start with where social media marketing stands within the stream of digital marketing.
Not long ago, in a previous post we stressed the point on how partner organizations can develop their own digital marketing framework. Social media marketing is one of the most visible and crucial aspects of digital marketing. This visibility is backed by good numbers: a recent study estimates that at least 75% of Business-to-Business (or B2B) buyers use social media to support purchase decisions, the percentage was even found to be more in C-level executives.
Social media is also a great interface between the business and the consumer. It helps support teams to get to know what the consumer likes and dislikes, acts as a channel for immediate customer service and—more importantly—feedback. It’s these interactions that make marketing in the digital world fascinating.
These social media platforms have built-in tools to measure various parameters like traffic, engagement, and ad spend. There are also multiple third-party social media monitoring tools that offer even more power-packed features to step up your marketing.
What marketing can I do on LinkedIn?
Most readers are familiar with the main features LinkedIn offers, but for those just getting started on the marketing aspects of the social media, we have a checklist and most of what we can do on this platform is for free. Great? Let’s dive in.
Start with a complete business profile
Seems a no-brainer right?
Someone said that the good website in the digital world is akin to an inviting shop window, which nudges the visitor to take a closer look; this saying could very well apply to your firm’s LinkedIn pages as well.
A completed LinkedIn company page has the potential to attract 30% more views
Your organization’s page doesn’t need to be formal and dull. There is a lot of space to explore creatively, starting with the header image, “hero image” as it is also known, and the description. The description is not just a concise way of communicating your company’s value but also a way to insert relevant search terms that your potential customers can search for.
Now a word about about Showcase Pages
Showcase pages are a special subset available on LinkedIn, the secret is that not many businesses utilize them. They can be thought of as extensions to your main business page. Brands usually use these to showcase a specific sub-brand or service.
At any given point in time, we can create up to 10 showcase pages(imagine the possibilities!), and LinkedIn has an internal system to validate the authenticity of the created pages.
The benefits of showcase pages are multi-fold
Tell your customer about your specific expertise
Share unique content related to your service
For example, you could create one of these as a page where you can display your Zoho service offerings.Note that you have to create a business page first to create a showcase page.
Click on Work Icon > Create a company page > Create a showcase page
A word about LinkedIn Profiles
But wait, LinkedIn isn’t only about making an impact with your business page alone, especially in this age of personal branding.
More often than not, potential customers drift into your or your employees’ personal pages. So it’s helpful to have a completed personal LinkedIn profile that offers the most relevant information.
A good LinkedIn profile should provide
An engaging headline- It should be short but catch readers’ interest and inform them about your specializations.
A career summary that sustains the interest about your organization. Don’t forget to include relevant keywords that customers would use to find your business.
Rich media and links that tell your career story.
Engage better with communities
Network effects have been identified to scale a product or service. LinkedIn which also incorporates the fundamentals of network effects has built-in communities and groups.
There are groups for every foreseeable need, especially in the B2B space. Even if you are looking for something as specific as Retail Associations in your locality, there is bound to be a LinkedIn group for it. The perfect ground for you and your firm employees to meet prospects and to look at what their current needs and aspirations are.
How to find and join the best groups on LinkedIn:
Narrow down your prospect. (Do a little bit of analysis on where, and more importantly, which industry they’re in)
Search for such keywords on the LinkedIn Groups directory
Each group will have their own rules, and as a member you would have to adhere to them.
It is always best not to advertise, and focus on building trust instead
How to be great at conversations on LinkedIn groups:
Listen in: There is a good probability that there are already conversations running in the groups of your choice. Look for opportunities where your expertise would add value.
Observe the trends (local and global) and the variety of issues that are shared in the group.
Ask the right questions
Reach Out : if you have the solution to an expressed need
While this might seem like a long-winded process, the efforts are bound to provide compounding results. As per network effects, in an engaged network the good word and goodwill gets passed around sooner than you think. Before you realize there is a growing list of people reaching out to you for help- in other words: leads.
Become a thought leader
So here comes a big truth bomb. LinkedIn is underrated as a blogging and knowledge sharing platform. The way businesses are growing on the internet, it has become almost a necessity for most executives to do a bit of writing or some form of content creation.
Thought leadership that readers pick up are the ones that provides rare personal insight that is not otherwise available to them—essentially the very opposite of internet click bait.
You can start by sharing your experiences and lessons from your consulting career, the highs and lows of running a SaaS business, reflections on local and global business trends, experience on exhibiting in trade shows—the possibilities are endless.
Thought leadership is not attained singularly but acknowledged by an informed readership especially in an increasingly noisy world.
Sustained writing and sharing is the way to build a readership. If you do have an impediment of not being able allocate time and resources for your LinkedIn posts, you could look at re-purposing content from your existing company blog and testimonials.
A distinguishing feature of LinkedIn is the ability share documents and slides through the platform. Conveniently, these can be shared by means of a status or on your company page.
You can share case studies, infographics, presentation decks, and other informative content that your organization has classified as publicly shareable. Start sharing and keep an eye on those who actively engage with your posts.
Generate leads through easy-to-create ads
LinkedIn also has its own marketing platform which growing firms can utilize. Being a professional network, this can be used to target decision makers. For starters, the LinkedIn search is a powerful tool which offers multiple filters that help you narrow down your leads.
Here listed below are few of the possibilities that you can explore on LinkedIn:
Promote your content through Sponsored Content
Send personalized messages to LinkedIn users through a feature called Sponsored InMail
Generate leads through text ads
Convert leads through highly customizable lead gen forms
The advertising solutions can be optioned once you have your business profile on LinkedIn set up, and you can also choose between CPC (cost per click) and CPM (in which LinkedIn charges you when 1000 people have seen your ad). You can zero in on your targeting based on the type of ads you choose.
In fact, users can target their ads based on multiple filters as specific as
and lots more. For B2B marketers on your team, it is the ultimate playground to experiment with different ad sets.
A starting point would be to look at creating simple ads around training, webinars, events that you might have in your calendar, or even your latest blog post.
There’s still a lot of potential that could be explored on LinkedIn. We didn’t touch upon some of them, including hiring the right talent and showcasing internal company culture, which do not directly fall under the purview of this article.
We hope Partners will pursue LinkedIn as a marketing and lead generation engine, and those who have already started to would make efforts to realize its full potential. This is a platform to which people come for the learning and hence creating useful content around your space will make you stand out.
If you are already using LinkedIn as a platform, then let us know by commenting about your experiences with it.