LinkedIn is becoming the de facto starting point when searching for partners and evaluating solutions in the B2B world. The social network for professionals isn’t going to replace conferences, exhibitions or personal introductions when it comes to acquiring new customers. But whenever these traditional measures aren’t sufficient or if one is striving for more, LinkedIn is the place to be. While it’s been around since 2002, in the last two years there are massive investments to make it more sophisticated and interesting and to increase the attractiveness for marketers.
As of mid 2017 there are 467 mio professionals on LinkedIn. Among them are:
61 million senior-level influencers 40 million decision makers 10.7 million opinion leaders 6.8 million C-level execs 3 million MBA graduates*
A lot of first time advertisers think that LinkedIn is some kind of Facebook or Instagram for professionals where you can run the same ads as on other social networks. But this is a misconception. LinkedIn users aren’t coming for the fun and the entertainment but rather to learn about industry news and trends, for insights and recommendations, to network, for self branding and more. The key driver is the user’s professional aspirations.
LinkedIn is a platform that enables sophisticated marketers to forge relationships with these professionals. And using its many advertising options, it allows companies to reach an extremely well-defined quality audience. This is something that still can’t be achieved with Facebook and Co. when it comes to reaching B2B decision makers. The challenge for us marketers is to produce results and actionable insights in order to get our message and our name out to the target audience.
One of the most important things today is to become an authority and to gain the trust of prospects, to sell yourself as somebody (a person or a company) that produces high quality content and shares it. On LinkedIn content can be shared on company pages, on personal profiles (as updates or articles) or via Slideshare presentations. It’s recommended to write a content plan and create and share content periodically, for example once or several times a week, twice a month etc. By the way, if you create content, you can also share it on your website (blog), over other social networks and email it to customers and prospects (email newsletter). Like this you maximize your reach. In some cases it makes sense to repurpose existing content, for example to create a blog post out of a slideshare presentation or a webinar by slicing and dicing the existing content.
The points listed above might sound like a lot of work if you’re just getting started with LinkedIn or if you only used to access the social network once every few months in the past. Here a few quick tips about how to achieve a lot without spending money and much time, simply by brushing up your presence:
Update your personal profile with the latest information about your current job(s). Very important is to also write a short summary about who you are and what you do. Are you a diamond trader or a real estate investment expert? What can you help others with? Let your network now. Last but not least, upload an up to date profile picture, ideally one that shows you in a professional setting, e.g. with suit and tie at a conference (don’t put up the picture from your friend’s wedding where you hold a glass of wine in your hands and behind you people can be seen dancing. Keep that one for Instagram).
Company Page. Look at the company page of your three biggest competitors to get some insights about what others do. Make sure your page looks good and post an update at least once a week. If you don’t have your own content to publish, simply share interesting 3rd party articles that can interest your customers and prospects. All you need to do is to check out news magazines of your industry for interesting articles or to search for relevant keywords on www.news.google.com. This is also a great way to stay up to date about industry news.
Share and comment – if you engage with content that others publish you make yourself heard in the world of LinkedIn and ultimately get noticed by your network and beyond.
In the next article I’ll provide more details about the different advertising solutions, their cons and pros and when to use which one of them. In a nutshell, there currently are the following LinkedIn advertising solutions:
Sponsored Content (includes Lead Generation Ads)
* Source: sophisticated-marketers-guide-to-linkedin.pdf