The world’s largest professional network has serious marketing potential if you know how to use it. We take a look at how LinkedIn differs from other social media platforms, and how to harness its power.
What is LinkedIn?
In short, LinkedIn is a social networking platform that centers around employment. It presents itself as the world’s largest professional network, with over 722 million users located in 200+ countries. This makes it smaller than social media titans Facebook and Instagram, who have over 1 billion active users each, but larger than Twitter, Snapchat and Pinterest.
LinkedIn has been seeing ‘record levels of engagement’ during the pandemic. Combine this with its complete visual re-design and the long-awaited ‘LinkedIn Stories’ feature, this is a platform that can no longer be ignored by savvy marketers. While it’s true that LinkedIn was primarily designed for B2B (business-to-business) activity, ‘sales executives’, ‘creative consultants’ and ‘growth hackers’ are still consumers. They have lives outside of work, and as such, are potential customers.
So let’s dive into some LinkedIn marketing best practices.
1. Be Professional
As a ‘professional network’, there’s a certain level of expectation regarding how you should communicate on LinkedIn. It’s important to understand that this isn’t Facebook. You’ll not only be connected to your friends, but to colleagues, industry ties and potential clients. Whilst you should be expressing your opinion on the latest industry news, avoid controversy and confrontation. Respect differing viewpoints and be mindful of others’ experiences. Your personal LinkedIn presence is intimately linked to your businesses’ – don’t deter potential customers.
Instead, post industry-relevant content, contribute to ongoing conversations and celebrate the achievements of your business. Connect with fellow industry professionals and like-minded people.
A trend we’ve noticed growing on LinkedIn recently is the rise of ‘informal’ content, such as memes. Posts like this can perform well if they are extremely relevant and used sparingly.
The reason LinkedIn became popular in the first place is because it’s a haven for professionals that want to escape the jumbled nature of Facebook and engage with work-related content. It’s important to bear this in mind when posting on LinkedIn.
2. Make the Most of LinkedIn’s Connection Feature
A defining aspect of LinkedIn is that you can send a connection invite to almost anyone, even Bill Gates (though he probably won’t accept). This feature is critical to your success on the platform, as it determines who will see your posts. The first connections you should establish are your employees and industry professionals you know in real life. Get into the habit of connecting with new business contacts in LinkedIn shortly after meeting them.
Alternatively, attempt to make a connection with potential clients, or industry thought leaders. Reason being, if you post on LinkedIn, your connections will see it. If they engage with your post, their connections will see it. This is the best way to maximise your reach organically. If you’re trying to connect with strangers, include a personalised note before sending an invitation. According to LinkedIn, they’re far more likely to accept.
LinkedIn’s connection limit is 30,000. This may sound like a lot, but if you’re any kind of thought leader in your industry, you’ll reach this limit fast. We recommend accepting all kinds of connections at first. As your presence on the platform grows, occasionally disconnect with anyone that isn’t adding value to your business or newsfeed.
Remember that you can always ‘follow’ pages and people instead. They won’t see your posts, but you can still engage with theirs. Follow users that share good content, but won’t directly help your business.
3. Use Your Company Page
Your company page should be a hub for all your businesses’ activity on LinkedIn. It functions much like a Facebook business page. Unlike your personal profile, you can link to your website and therefore be a potential source of customer traffic.
It’s likely that after someone visits your profile, they’ll visit your business page, so make sure it’s in tip-top condition. Contact information should be up to date, and produce a compelling bio that will draw users to follow or click-through to your website. If your colleagues are on LinkedIn, they’ll appear here as well.
There are 3 lesser-known features that can increase your business page’s reach on LinkedIn. The 1st is that you can invite up to 100 personal connections to follow your company every month:
The 2nd is that you can alert your employees whenever you post on your business page. You should be encouraging them to engage with the content, as it will be displayed to their connections as well, even if they don’t follow your company:
Last but not least, your company page can follow up to 3 community hashtags. Within these hashtags you can like, comment and share posts AS your business:
This engagement will appear on the feeds of employees and those or who follow your page. Noticing a pattern here? Generating exposure is the key to success on LinkedIn.
Although you can only choose 3 hashtags, these can be changed at any time. If you see a post on your personal account that you’d like to engage with as your business, simply add its hashtag to your ‘community hashtags’ and find it on there. It’s tedious, but is currently the only legitimate way to engage with other posts as your brand.
4. Dig Into the Analytics
Understanding your audience is the key to success on every social media platform, and LinkedIn is no different. The brand-new analytics feature lets you see how many people are visiting your page and what industry they’re in. You can also see who follows your page and how they’re engaging with your content – great for scouting potential customers. This feature is at the top of your company page.
You can also engage in a little competitor analysis. LinkedIn provides a selection of similar pages to your own, along with their metrics. This gives you a good understanding of how your page is performing in comparison to others. What are you doing better? Where is there room for improvement? You can’t rest on your laurels when it comes to social media. You must continually tweak your strategy in this ever-evolving space.
5. Use Paid Social With Purpose
We’ve left this last as we feel LinkedIn is one of the few platforms left where you can succeed with organic social. That said, LinkedIn Ads provides an opportunity to directly target specific job titles and industries. Although you can do this on Facebook, with LinkedIn your potential customers are in a position where they want to read business-related content. This is particularly beneficial for B2B sectors.
If you’ve had experience with Facebook Ads, then LinkedIn Ads shouldn’t be much of a challenge. Social media platforms strive to make their ads services as simple as possible to encourage adoption. An important caveat to consider is that LinkedIn Ads can be expensive compared to rival platforms. The justification for this is that its quality over quantity when it comes to sourcing leads. If you’re considering running ads on LinkedIn, you should have clear goals in mind beforehand. Are you trying to host corporate events at your venue? Do you want your blog posts to be seen by key decision makers?
LinkedIn’s presence has rapidly grown over the last few months, causing an influx of professionals who don’t know how to make the most of it. Whilst the platforms clear strengths lay in B2B networking, don’t discount its potential for reaching customers where they least suspect it. Although it may operate much like Facebook, don’t treat it as such. Build connections, stay professional and use all the features at your disposal to have success on the world’s largest professional network.