LinkedIn is widely considered the premier online community for professionals. It’s the virtual version of a huge, global networking event that never ends and always has open doors. On LinkedIn, purchasers and decision makers are already actively engaging with other professionals and their content. It’s the perfect place to connect with current and potential clients and build a greater presence online as a thought leader in your industry.
One of the foremost Linkedin Marketing experts Bynne Tilman talks about how when she first started out in sales in the 80’s, that she went into the office of the most connected business man she ever met. On his desk was a large rolodex of contacts. She thought, if only I could have access to the rolodex for even an hour. I would have access to the contact information of so many potential sales targets.
In Linkedin, that is essentially what we have to date at our disposal. The problem is that Linkedin is always changing. In fact when we compare what Linkedin was 3 years ago compared to today, it is a very different product. Still extremely powerful, it is just how you use it that has changed.
With all that said, LinkedIn marketing can be tricky if you don’t understand the who, what, why, and how behind optimizing this powerhouse social platform you can spend a lot of time energy and possibly money
Maybe you’re brand new to LinkedIn and just getting started with setting up a profile. Or, perhaps you’re a veteran member who has just never leveraged LinkedIn as a marketing tool. Either way, you’ve come to the right place! In this article, we’ll break down the basics so you can boost your social reach.
4 Categories of LinkedIn Marketing Knowledge
Before we introduce LinkedIn Marketing insights, here’s a tip to keep in mind:
Your social strategy should be just one component of a well-rounded inbound marketing system.
Identifying the “WHO”
According to LinkedIn expert, Brynne Tillman and her team at Social Sales Link, there are three main groups of people you should be working to connect with.
- Current Clients
Engaging with your current clients allows you to keep new information about your products and services in front of them and also build a relationship around and even outside of your role as their vendor. This kind of on-going engagement lends itself to long-term business relationships as well as powerful referrals.
- Networking Partners and Industry Colleagues
Connecting with networking partners and industry colleagues can build a broader influence and exposure in your field. These kinds of connections are likely to engage with your content by commenting or sharing. These interactions are what make you become immediately accessible to an entire network outside of your own.
- Potential Clients
This is an important and more direct kind of connection. Your purpose here is clear: To gain new customers by increasing brand awareness and communicating your value to those who might be interested in what you have to offer.
However, this is where many LinkedIn marketers get it wrong. They come across as too salesy, blasting ads and promoting themselves all over LinkedIn. That’s a guaranteed way to put a bad taste in the mouths of potential clients. Instead, position yourself as a thought leader and focus on providing truly helpful content for your connections.
The movement from connection to client will happen naturally if you’re posting the right kinds of content (see the next section for more on what to post).
Hint: There are multiple ways to generate search results for new connections on LinkedIn. Many online marketers never go beyond the simple “people” search, which can be helpful, but is very broad. We’ve found that searching for “skills and expertise” can yield more specific results. In addition, your target audiences may already be organized and waiting for you inside of LinkedIn Groups (hubs that offer a place for those in the same industry to share ideas, content, find answers, etc.) and LinkedIn Answers (a question and answer area, where LinkedIn users can find information on a variety of topics).
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Deciding WHAT to Post
We always recommend posting regularly and using a variety of different forms of content. At the same time, it’s important to be intentional about your posts. If you are haphazard about your posting frequency or if you only ever post links to other people’s articles, then you’ll struggle to gain traction.
There are several kinds of content you should consider posting:
- Text only
- Links to other content
- Links to your own content
According to Hootsuite, a leading software for social media syndication, posts with images are twice as likely to get comments. This includes infographics, which are a visually appealing way to communicate helpful information. Keep in mind too, that video usually yields five times as many engagements as regular text posts.
Hint: Repurpose your own content! If you publish new blog posts regularly on your site, share links to those articles on LinkedIn. You can do this up to five times per week as long as you’re sprinkling other kinds of posts throughout the week as well. Give your readers equal access to content from neutral sources, so you’re not only promoting your own stuff.
WHY Should You Care About LinkedIn?
In years past, LinkedIn was little more than an online business card for professionals. But things have changed. If you’re not already convinced that this social network is well-worth your time, consider the following statistics from Hootsuite on the prime position of this professional network.
- 50% of Americans with a college degree use LinkedIn
- Two professionals join LinkedIn every second
- 154 million American workers have LinkedIn profiles
As we stated earlier, those who have the power to buy, sell, and make decisions are already on LinkedIn, looking for you. Are you ready to meet them there?
Here’s HOW to Optimize LinkedIn
The last piece of the puzzle is understanding the specific ways that you can leverage LinkedIn for lead generation.
Optimize Your Profile
- Make sure your display name includes both your first and last name to ensure that people can easily find your profile. Keep the display settings switched to “full name.”
- Decide on a catchy professional headline that describes what you do, using strategic keywords.
- Always add a professional, high resolution picture.
- Customize your URL with your name.
- Include a call to action within your profile content to convert “profile views” into viable leads.
Best SEO, Hashtag, and Posting Practices
Keep a running list of relevant keywords and use them as often as you can in a natural way throughout your content. You can use keywords in your headline, job title, and your skills section of your profile. Of course, all of your posts and hashtags should include critical keywords as well.
One strategic way to get your post noticed by more LinkedIn connections is to tag a thought leader or even a current client in the context of a post by using the @mention function.
More direct ways to share content include sending your posts to individual people via direct message and including a LinkedIn url into email blasts going out to your general client list.
Hint: Don’t forget to also measure and track your success on LinkedIn so you know what you’re doing well and where there’s room to improve. Josh Turner, LinkedIn expert, recommends tracking three important metrics: traffic generated, leads generated, and sales generated.
Social Media Marketing as Part of a Comprehensive System
We specialize in helping businesses establish a successful social media presence. Our approach always comes back to boosting your bottom line, which means we focus on conversion.
LinkedIn is one of our areas of expertise, but we work with a comprehensive, proven system that maximizes a variety of channels (starting with your own website) to drive traffic, generate leads, and achieve higher conversion rates. Contact us today to learn more, beginning with a free consultation. We’d love to talk with you about anything from how to set up a LinkedIn profile, to creating sustainable drip marketing campaigns, and everything in between!