According to LinkedIn’s marketing page, 550 million professionals are on LinkedIn, and 80% of these professionals drive decision making within their businesses.
Not bad, huh?
These numbers should make it clear: having a LinkedIn marketing strategy is a smart move!
Just in case you’re still not convinced, here are a few more statistics about LinkedIn, courtesy of Omnicore:
- 40% of LinkedIn Users access the site daily
- LinkedIn gains 2 new users every second
- 28% of all male and 27% of all female internet users are on LinkedIn
- LinkedIn cost Microsoft over $25 billion to purchase
- 41% of millionaires use LinkedIn
At this point, you’re probably thinking “Sign Me Up!” Before you go belly-flopping in, you should develop a better understanding of LinkedIn and how you can create your own LinkedIn marketing strategy. This will allow you to use the platform optimally.
Where to begin? Let’s take a look at the tools at your disposal for your LinkedIn marketing strategy.
Tools for developing your LinkedIn Marketing Strategy
Tool 1: Create a Company Page
Let’s start simple. If you’re going to be using LinkedIn for your marketing needs, it is imperative that you have a page for your company. Organic reach is powerful at the best of times and on a medium like LinkedIn where people are actively looking to make connections within fields rather than their social circles; it becomes even more valuable.
As with most prominent social media platforms, starting up a company page is completely free. You get to add a vast array of company details such as your company name, location, field and an About Us section. This allows people to learn more about your company, which legitimises your company’s image and increases trust.
One of the biggest values to having a company page is that you can create posts. You have many options in this regard – from linking to other relevant content, to writing long, informative blog posts relating to your field. The choice is yours.
Interested parties can also follow your company page to keep up to date with these posts. This feature essentially gives you a database of relevant people and companies to gear your posted content towards.
Company pages also come with the benefit of allowing you to advertise job vacancies in your business. LinkedIn is crammed full of professionals looking to develop within their field, so being able to advertise job opportunities to such an enthusiastic group of professionals is a tremendous benefit that LinkedIn offers much better than anywhere else on the internet.
Ultimately, though, the value of a great LinkedIn company page is that it is a hub that connects all of your other LinkedIn activities and marketing efforts. It’s the online equivalent of a brick-and-mortar office, from which your various other efforts originate.
Tool 2: Choose your advertising
Ad Type 1: Sponsored Content
Sponsored content is a fantastic way to slip into the news feeds of relevant prospects. It’s a form of paid advertising where your advertisement is featured natively within a news feed – the only difference between the look of a sponsored advertisement and a normal post is the little ‘promoted’ subheading under the company name, as well as the follow button in the top-right corner of the post.
What are the benefits?
The benefit of this ad format is that it doesn’t feel like an abrasive advertisement – it slots in like any other post would. It is likely that the sponsored content is relevant to whomever receives it (thanks to targeting), so it is more likely to be consumed and/or interacted with by whomever receives it.
Why use Sponsored Content?
- Awareness of your content.
- Attract more users (followers) to your company page.
- More clicks and reach on desktop, mobile and tablet.
Ad Placement and Screen Type
Sponsored Content is displayed on both the desktop and mobile forms of the site, meaning that it is a flexible tool that you should highly consider adding to your LinkedIn marketing strategy. This flexibility, combined with the business-minded audience you are reaching, means that you have an optimal opportunity to get a ton of leads.
If that wasn’t enough, there is also the option to create Lead Gen Forms that appear in relevant people’s news feeds.
Not only are these Lead Gen Forms optimally placed within your prospects’ news feeds; they also have the capability of auto-filling the fields based upon the information in the prospects’ personal profiles. This means that everything is made as simple as possible for your prospect – they just need to click submit!
Ad Type 2: Sponsored inMail
A growing trend in 2018 is direct message marketing. Facebook Messenger has received a lot of focus for a variety of innovative ways that people are looking to utilise it as part of their marketing campaign. However, LinkedIn has a less-mentioned, but equally fantastic direct message marketing facility that you should consider for your LinkedIn marketing strategy.
What are the benefits?
Sponsored InMail is an incredibly useful tool that favours direct, personal marketing. With Sponsored InMail, you can send targeted marketing messages through an intimate medium, offering them valuable content or opportunities.
Sponsored InMail is a flexible marketing tool. You can do a variety of things, such as
- Ask your targeted audience to sign up to your events
- Sell products and services with embedded links and advertisements
- Share free download opportunities that push prospects further down the funnel
Ad Placement and Screen Type
Sponsored InMail is also designed to work across any screen type – again meaning that you cover both desktop and mobile users. You therefore aren’t losing out on optimal marketing due to device type.
Another fantastic feature of Sponsored InMail is that the algorithm is designed to target prospects who are actually engaged and active on LinkedIn. This means that you’re not wasting your marketing on people who aren’t likely to see or engage with your messages.
Why use Sponsored InMail?
Send personalised invites to webinars and other events.
Target promotions to the right audience.
Promote content, such as downloadable ebooks and white papers.
Ad Type 3: Text Ads
Alongside the fancier advertisement types we have mentioned above, there is also the simple text ad option.
Text ads are what they say on the tin. You write simple copy that advertises your product, service or brand, and it appears to an audience.
Text ads can be targeted towards people who are interested in what you have to offer, meaning that you’re getting leads who are more likely to convert. Targeting also potentially saves you money, as you’re not spending money on advertising to people who are not interested in your product or field.
On this note, text ads can be controlled in two ways – Pay Per Click (PPC) or Cost Per Impression (CPM). PPC advertisements cost you money every time someone clicks on your advertisement. This is the better choice if you’re looking to make a sale with your advertisement. CPM advertisements charge you each time someone sees the advertisement. If you are using this form of text ad, you should be looking to create awareness rather than directly driving a sale.
Tool 3: Analytics
The LinkedIn Campaign Manager is a fantastic tool to track how your marketing efforts are working. It tracks a wide variety of metrics, such as clicks, ad spend, conversions and impressions. This should be where you spend your time once your advertisements are published.
You can also set up a special code in your website’s header that connects to your campaign manager, allowing you to track how your prospects interact with your marketing efforts across both LinkedIn and your website.
The Campaign Manager tool is a crucial aspect of your LinkedIn marketing strategy – don’t underestimate it!
Now that we’ve gone through the core tools you can use in your LinkedIn marketing strategy, let’s go through some tips and tricks that you can implement to optimise your LinkedIn marketing.
Tip #1 for building your LinkedIn Marketing Strategy: Prioritise Your Personal Profile
This may sound like a weird tip, considering we’re looking at a marketing strategy for your company. The truth is, though, that people that use LinkedIn aren’t just looking at your company page. They’ll look at the people who work there – particularly higher-ups like the CEO and the various managers. They’ll want to know that you’re qualified, passionate, and all-in-all a nice person to work with (or for).
Make sure that your profile is complete and full of wonderful information about your abilities, achievements and interests. Don’t be shy to brag – people know that LinkedIn is about showcasing yourself to others. A jam-packed personal profile will be surprisingly powerful in the building of your LinkedIn marketing strategy.
Tip #2: Get Email Addresses
Email addresses are digital marketing gold. The more you have, the more people you can reach on a continuous and intimate basis.
When people connect with you on LinkedIn, get in contact with them and thank them, while simultaneously asking them if they’d be willing to sign up to an email list. Include a subscription link in the message.
If someone has made a conscious effort to connect with you, they’re probably interested in you and what you have to say. They’re therefore more likely to sign up to your mailing list – meaning that LinkedIn is a fantastic opportunity to build your newsletter audience.
Tip #3: Quality over Quantity
While other social media platforms like Twitter and Instagram are focused upon lots of brief posts, LinkedIn is an ideal platform for posting longer-form content.
Since people are on the platform for more than entertainment and quick updates, you can target content that educates your audience about relevant topics. Your audience is actively looking to learn and improve themselves and will appreciate high-quality content.
For example, as a digital marketing agency we could post marketing tips and tricks (like those in this article!) or show off a few examples of successful campaigns. This is the sort of content that people who follow us are interested in, and this content will increase their trust in our abilities.
Tip #4: Create A Group
LinkedIn Groups are fantastic because they’re interactive collections of people who are directly interested in a particular topic.
Don’t overlook the valuable opportunity to create your own group that allows for interaction between you, customers and prospects.
Essentially, groups act as more intimate communities than the pseudo-communities formed by those who follow your company page. What’s more – you get to control who is allowed in, meaning that you can keep your competitors out of your groups. In turn, this allows you to share more valuable insights in these communities, knowing that your competitors can’t get hold of the information and utilise it to their advantage.
Tip #5: Don’t Just Target Customers
While LinkedIn is a fantastic resource to market to customers, this is by no means its limit – heck, it’s not even its main function!
LinkedIn is primarily a networking site – meaning that it is perhaps the best means of finding fantastic new employees. It has a powerful job search section and is generally fantastic at finding talented people.
Don’t see LinkedIn as exclusively a platform to service your marketing needs. Keep an eye out for fantastic people who would add tremendous value to your business as an employee. As much as marketing will grow your business, so too will a capable staff.
Connect with talented people and show them how great your business is. Keep in contact with them, and when job vacancies arise, make sure they know about it! Essentially, you’re marketing yourself to both customers and potential employees on LinkedIn.
Tip #6: Branding, Branding, Branding!
We really can’t stress this enough. Branding is HUGE in the digital world, and if you can develop a popular brand, it boosts your business astronomically.
When it comes to LinkedIn, it’s the small things that matter. Choose your company page’s address – it should be your business’ name. Have attractive banners. Use your slogan. Ultimately, ensure that everything is consistent – both internally, and with your other social media presences.
One thing to be careful about is tone of voice. LinkedIn is a fairly formal social media platform thanks to its corporate focus. So, if you’re a playful brand, make sure not to overdo it on LinkedIn. It’ll be a fine balance between keeping your brand personality and fitting in on LinkedIn – but you need to strive towards achieving it.
Tip #7: Keep it Personal
Just because LinkedIn is corporate, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t personalise your communications.
In fact, LinkedIn is one of the more important social media platforms to be personal on because the entire premise behind its existence is networking.
Since networking is in its very essence personal, this is what people expect when they enter communication with other users or companies. So, make a conscious effort to engage in personalised messaging when sending mails or doing any other forms of one-on-one communication.
Even your public posts should be geared towards each individual reader. Conscious and repetitive use of words like “You” and “Your” will help you to create a more intimate feel without sounding blasé.
Tip #8: Be Different
Good Day. My name is John Smith, and I am the Head of Sales at ABC Insurance. I studied at XYZ College and…
LinkedIn is an ocean, chock-a-block full of people sifting through the mundane to find people who stand out. You want to be the latter, so don’t justbe ordinary.
Everything you do on LinkedIn should be vibrant and engaging, otherwise people are going to scroll straight past you. Your description, for example, should feel like you are chatting to the reader, not reading off a teleprompter.
Likewise, any visuals you use should stand out. The text in your posts should also be engaging so that people keep reading and understand why you are so great at what you do, and so knowledgeable about your field.
Tip #9: Get Out of Sales Mode
LinkedIn isn’t a glorified sales page.
It’s arguably even less of a sales-oriented social media platform than Twitter, Facebook and Instagram! Instead, you should be looking to educate your audience, giving them valuable insights rather than sales pitches.
LinkedIn is primarily a top-of-funnel platform. This means that your primary objective is not sales, but rather creating awareness and interest. If you do this effectively, you will have a large stream of prospects who you can pull down the funnel towards conversion.
Be very, very careful about EVER posting a sales advertisement as an organic post. Sure, you can link your products and services, but they should look to be an afterthought, not the focus of your post. If your audience doesn’t feel like they’re getting something out of a mutual relationship, they’ll be less inclined to interact with your business in the future.
Tip #10: Use Influencers
Whether you have a big or small brand, influencer marketing is almost always beneficial.
Simply put, influencer marketing involves having somebody influential in your field endorsing or publicly interacting with your brand. This allows you to access their audience, and also enhances your brand image.
LinkedIn influencer marketing focuses primarily on influencers within a thought-leadership, corporate setting (as opposed to a platform like Instagram which focuses on lifestyle influencers). This is because LinkedIn is largely about reputation and corporate image, rather than commercial image.
Bonus Tip for building your LinkedIn Marketing Strategy: SlideShare
SlideShare is a fantastic way to present information and content through LinkedIn. LinkedIn is the creator of SlideShare, meaning that it functions seamlessly with the LinkedIn interface.
SlideShare is a tool that allows LinkedIn users to upload presentations. It is the perfect way to present content in a graphic way without actively speaking through a presentation. It allows companies to publicise research, content and statistics in a visual way that is highly interactive.
Those who read SlideShare presentations can choose to ‘clip’ slides so that they can come back to them later. This makes SlideShare presentations particularly useful for the audience, as they can earmark the slides that have information they may need to use at a later stage.
SlideShare integrates with software like Microsoft PowerPoint, meaning that you won’t have to learn how to use new software in order to utilise SlideShare in your LinkedIn marketing strategy.
Let’s summarise how you can benefit from creating a LinkedIn marketing strategy.
LinkedIn offers a wide variety of advertisement forms. This means that you get to choose the advertisement types that suit your business. Likewise, you can manage your text ads so that you use either Pay Per Click or Cost Per Impression- allowing you flexibility in your marketing style.
Once you’ve implemented your marketing campaigns, you can track how they’re doing using LinkedIn’s Campaign Manager. It provides you with a vast array of information about how your LinkedIn marketing strategy is working out.
As far as tactics go, you should look to develop a consistent voice that strikes the perfect balance between corporate and engaging. You should personalise your entire presence – from your URL and About Us page, down to each private message you send.
Your goal should be to stand out as a knowledgeable leader in your field and should create valuable content and interact publicly with respected influencers in order to achieve this.
Finally, you should consider using SlideShare to create beautiful and interactive presentations that will give your audience valuable information.
LinkedIn is one of the most powerful social media platforms for marketing your business. If you’re not yet using it, you’re missing out on a fantastic opportunity to market your business.
Don’t fall behind – get started with your LinkedIn marketing strategy today!