Looking to learn the basics of LinkedIn marketing? Good!
Because the platform is absolutely booming for B2B (business-to-business) brands right now.
Boasting over 740 million members including CEOs, job hunters, and business owners alike, LinkedIn remains the go-to network for professionals.
But growing a LinkedIn presence is a totally different beast than doing so on Instagram or Facebook.
As the only “suit and tie” social network, you need to pay particular attention to your brand’s voice and content strategy. Learning the platform’s best practices is key to being viewed as a legitimate influencer in your industry.
This guide serves as a primer to LinkedIn marketing and everything you need to know to get started.
What is LinkedIn, Anyway?
LinkedIn is a professional social network that primarily serves B2B companies and marketers. The platform represents a place for people to network, discover new work opportunities and partnerships, and promote themselves professionally.
Users on LinkedIn can be split into two types of accounts:
- Personal accounts for individuals users, allowing you to promote your job title, work history, and professional accomplishments.
- Business or brand accounts for companies, similar to business pages on any other social network. These accounts serve as a company’s hub for promoting content, hiring, and more.
Unlike Twitter or Facebook which primarily involve going back-and-forth with customers, LinkedIn is focused on B2B communication. It’s a place for CEOs, managers, and entry-level employees alike to share insights and content.
Right now, LinkedIn is totally dominated by young professionals and millennials: over 60% of LinkedIn’s users between the ages of 25 and 34. That means you won’t see (as many) memes and TikTok challenges here.
In short, LinkedIn is a place for professionals to flex their influence. While some critics might see the platform as little more than a bunch of digital resumes, the network has become an invaluable tool for B2B brands.
How (and Why) Professionals Use LinkedIn
The popularity of LinkedIn speaks for itself.
And while many B2B brands have struggled on platforms like Instagram or even Twitter or Facebook in the past, there are tons of practical, actionable ways for companies to leverage LinkedIn.
Opportunities to Network with B2B Professionals and Industry Players
LinkedIn makes it a cinch to find decision-makers and like-minded professionals in any given industry.
With a simple search, you can uncover C-Level executives, marketing managers, or just about any role you can think of. You can also see professionals you share mutual connections with, serving as a starting point for seamless networking and outreach.
Additionally, you can easily spot employees and specific roles for any given company by visiting their business profile. The ability to organize searches by role makes for more relevant and meaningful outreach.
Looking for a potential partnership? Marketing collaboration or blogging request? Chances are the contact you’re looking for it only a few clicks away.
However, LinkedIn actively works to make sure users aren’t spamming each other. You can’t just blindly reach out to people and expect a response: you have to work on building relationships first.
Job Hunting and Hiring New Employees
LinkedIn has become a massive hiring hub for both full-time employment and freelance opportunities.
For example, job-seekers can look at open roles at their dream company and likewise see if they have any mutual connections there already.
With your profile serving as a sort of resume and your role headline as an attention-grabber, don’t be surprised if recruiters or companies reach out to you once you build up your presence. On that note, many hiring managers and professionals will reach out to their networks directly to fill roles.
Positioning, Branding, and Keeping People in the Loop
The B2B space is absolutely brimming with competition. It’s hard to get the attention of anyone, including your competitors and potential clients.
LinkedIn provides a space for companies to highlight their victories, accomplishments, and culture. The platform almost serves as a social company newsletter that keeps your audience in the loop on what’s happening with your business.
The same rings true for personal profiles. Although we often think that influencer marketing is reserved for Instagram, there are plenty of business influencers on LinkedIn. You don’t have to look hard to find entrepreneurs and professionals with massive, highly engaged followings. Movers and shakers on LinkedIn will often promote their personal brands or share tips and advice for fellow business owners on behalf of their companies.
Consistently publishing content to LinkedIn helps cement yourself as a player in your field. This applies to both personal and business profiles.
Attracting New Clients and Customers
Fact: 89% of B2B marketers use LinkedIn as a lead generation channel.
Because the platform is almost exclusively made up of professionals that have already highlighted their interests in their profiles, it’s much easier to market to potential customers on Linked versus, say, Facebook.
Many businesses and influencers will promote ebooks or webinars on LinkedIn as a way to generate leads.
Oh, and there’s also LinkedIn’s ad targeting which allows you to get specific in terms of who you serve your ads to. For example, you can refine your targeting based on specific roles or companies to ensure that only relevant users see your promotions.
So much of LinkedIn marketing involves content distribution on behalf of businesses and professionals.
From blog posts and testimonials to marketing materials and commercials, there are endless opportunities to share content regardless of your industry.
But again, the key advantage of sharing content to LinkedIn is that you’re more likely to reach your target audience. Unlike networks like Facebook or Twitter where you’re largely restricted by algorithms and users are overwhelmed with content, there’s a lot less “noise” on LinkedIn. If someone takes the time to follow you or your company on LinkedIn, chances are they want to hear what you say.
Another key advantage of LinkedIn marketing is the ability to have employees boost your company’s content. While your company’s reach is restricted to its own profile, employees have the potential to serve your content to their hundreds and hundreds of followers themselves. This makes LinkedIn a powerful tool for digital word-of-mouth for companies that coordinate their content promotion.
What Should Brands and Professionals Publish to LinkedIn?
Now that we’ve broken down why LinkedIn is such a big deal, let’s talk about the types of content that businesses and individuals should publish to the platform.
The good news is that you have tons of options and creative freedom. No matter what industry you’re in, the following types of content are all fair game.
Thought Leadership Posts
Hot takes. Firsthand experience. Actionable tips.
Thought leadership posts that signal your expertise are all the rage on LinkedIn, particularly among entrepreneurial influencers.
The concept here is simple: share straightforward, off-the-cuff advice with your audience. The key is to package and present that advice as a quick tip or story. Since most thought leadership posts come from personal accounts, they come off as relatable and don’t feel like a sales pitch.
Many thought leadership posts are inspirational…
….while others focus on specific, actionable advice in your industry
Thought leadership posts and questions are awesome for building an audience and cementing your brand identity. These text-based posts require some thought and creativity, but not much in terms of resources. They can be used to nurture potential leads down the line or simply to get your name out there.
If you’re eager to drive more traffic to your blog posts on-site, LinkedIn can help. Coupled with enticing captions, you can build buzz for your new content and ensure it gets the reach it deserves.
Research and Infographics
Either in the form of original research or new data, breaking your own news via studies and infographics is a surefire way to boost engagement on LinkedIn. If nothing else, it’s yet another way to signal yourself as someone that’s paying attention to industry trends.
Company culture is becoming more and more important as brands look to differentiate themselves based on their values and how they treat employees. Major milestones, employee shout-outs, and culture-based initiatives are all prime LinkedIn content to highlight what your business is all about.
Commercials and Product Videos
Anything you can do to keep your LinkedIn audience glued to the platform as a plus. Rather than drop a YouTube link to a commercial or product video, consider taking advantage of LinkedIn’s native video platform. For example, many software companies will share sneak peeks of new features or updates from the product team.
The average LinkedIn user is hungry for business advice. Interviews, podcasts, and webinars are all prime ways to deliver insight in a way that’s easy to digest and package into video snippets. Consider condensing clips into minute-long segments and then linking out the full broadcast in the comments section.
Again, lead generation is a huge aspect of LinkedIn marketing. Give followers a taste of your product or service with an ebook or webinar sign-up that leads them to an appropriate opt-in page. Then, measure how your leads via LinkedIn act versus leads elsewhere.
3 Quick Tips to Optimize Your LinkedIn Marketing Strategy
To wrap things up, here are some quick points to remember as you make your way around LinkedIn and begin building your marketing strategy.
1. Find a Balance Between Being Personal and Professional
Despite being a business-centric network, LinkedIn is not just about selling.
Don’t be afraid to talk about your personal life, engage with others, and share stories. The idea here isn’t to treat the platform like Facebook or Twitter, but don’t lose your personality for the sake of being “professional.” Instead, focus on building relationships. A bit of empathy and vulnerability goes a long way on the platform, too.
2. Maximize Your Reach with Captions and Industry Keywords
As with any social network, there’s potential to optimize your profile and presence. Without getting too into the weeds, here are some basic pointers:
- Couple your posts with relevant LinkedIn hashtags (2-5 per post is fine)
- Get creative with your headline, job description, and profile details (talk like a human!)
- Sprinkle relevant keywords and industry terms throughout your profile and posts to both highlight your expertise and get picked up in searches on the platform
3. Publish Content That Provides Legitimate Value (Even if it Means Posting Less Often)
Again, LinkedIn is a unique social network. Although some brands and professionals do post on a daily basis, you don’t necessarily have to live up to that expectation yourself. Think quality over quantity.
You should obviously interact and comment when appropriate, but don’t feel pressured to dump a bunch of content onto LinkedIn. Instead, put thought into your posts, captions, and promotions for the sake of sending the right message. Be consistent, but never be spammy.
Do You Have a LinkedIn Marketing Strategy?
LinkedIn is a one-of-a-kind network and definitely a platform to master if you’re a B2B brand.
Getting off the ground on LinkedIn is easier than you might think, too. Start with your own professional network and brand out to influencers and entrepreneurs you admire. From there, you can begin sharing your insights and building your influence on the platform.