Social media marketing has quickly become one of the most essential forms of promoting your small or large business. Platforms such as Instagram and Facebook have made a place for themselves as a top-tier advertising tool for a wide variety of products and services but some other platforms are suddenly taking hold on unique markets when it comes to digital marketing.
Like many other platforms, LinkedIn allows users to share unique and creative content related to both their personal and professional life. So what makes LinkedIn stand out as a social tool for businesses?
LinkedIn has become a great platform for more than just marketing your business as you can utilize this platform to generate prospective leads, allow them to get to know you through a completely customized business profile, and encourage them to become customers in a more cost-efficient way.
What is LinkedIn?
Throughout the last 15 years, LinkedIn has become one of the leading social networking sites in the professional world with an upward of 740 million active users. Instead of adding friends to your profile, similar to other social networking platforms, LinkedIn allows you to add “connections” to your business network. On this platform, your “bio” becomes career-related information and the content you share revolves more around your professional life instead of personal tidbits.
A lot happens on this platform including businesses posting updates, salespeople pitching new products or services, individuals seeking new jobs, and a magnitude of individuals connecting and building relationships with one another. It is now common for employment sites to be compatible with LinkedIn profiles as well, which means applying for jobs is as easy as uploading your resume to your profile and linking it to any job application.
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Benefits of LinkedIn
With so many different social media platforms, many businesses often struggle to determine the unique benefits of each. Although LinkedIn could be considered comparable to other social networking sites such as Facebook, this platform better allows business professionals to deliver personalized content and experiences at scale. Furthermore, LinkedIn helps develop brand awareness in a cost-effective way with many specific targeting tools to place your content in front of eyes within your industry. Not to mention it eliminates some of the time and overhead costs associated with other forms of potential media marketing.
Start with connections & then build relationships with your audience. Here’s how…
- Remain consistent with updates
- Always strive to deliver value to your viewers
- Outwardly engage with your audience
- Utilize LinkedIn paid posts to boost content
- Encourage employee engagement
Striving for consistency in all aspects of your business allows you to establish awareness, build trust, and deliver your product or service efficiently and profitably. The same goes for success on social media as maintaining a consistent stream of valuable content is rewarded by social media algorithms, therefore allowing more users to see your content when searching.
The timing of posts also matters but often, success varies based on your industry. Every audience ranges when it comes to when and how they consume content. Your audience might be more prone to checking their LinkedIn in the morning or they could instead engage after business hours which is why taking it is critical to find out when your target audience is online. This is made possible by utilizing LinkedIn Analytics to review click-through and engagement rates after experimenting with different posting times. By analyzing your results for various times of day, you will easily be able to see which posting time better helps you achieve your engagement goals.
Keep in mind that updates don’t always have to be long. In fact, it can sometimes be more beneficial to keep your updates brief so long as they remain relevant to your brand and your audience. Switching up content is another great way to keep your audience engaged with a variety of content which is why you should consider making your updates more than just text. For example, including a link to video resources that your audience might be interested in or adding a photo to your update is a great way to ensure your content is the kind of content people will consider sharing with their personal networks.
As hard as it is to avoid preaching the benefits of your product or service to your audience, this type of approach typically does not perform well on LinkedIn. What makes for a quality, effective post is a LinkedIn ad that does not immediately feel like an ad. Especially in a world where consumers are exposed to over 6,000 types of advertisements every day, many individuals often stray away from any form of “sales-y” content. So, how can you successfully promote your business without bombarding clients with pushy, sales-y content? The answer is simple. Deliver value.
Take the time to learn about your followers to uncover the reasons why they come to LinkedIn. Are they seeking advice from other professionals? Are they looking to make connections within a certain industry? Do they want to know about any new products or services that could benefit them? In knowing the goals of your target audience, you are better able to utilize the right headlines, images or videos that can grab their attention while also delivering value.
The mindset when creating content should always remain on what you can do for your followers. To help find the right balance, a good rule of thumb is sticking to the “4-1-1 rule” when it comes to posting content. This rule helps to keep your feed centered around audience needs with 1 post promoting your product or service while 4 of the following posts are relevant content that your viewers would feel is valuable to them personally.
LinkedIn is one of the last social platforms that rewards organic engagement for brands. For example, when you comment on another individual’s post, your network and that person’s network see the interaction. In the same way, responding to comments on your own posts also allows your brand name and potentially your profile to appear on another individual’s timeline and therefore increasing potential traffic of your post, profile, or website.
So what does this mean for your organization? Your employees and your connections have a significant impact on the success and growth of your individual profile and your company’s page. Ask questions to your audience and respond to the comments to engage in a two-way conversation that makes your brand appear personable and attentive.
Hashtags are another way to increase the potential of your profile appearing in LinkedIn search results. The use of clever but relevant hashtags is a great tactic that helps users find topics and content of interest but more importantly, allows your business to be discovered by interested consumers a bit easier.
In order to understand the behind-the-scenes process of LinkedIn advertising, you must first learn the basics of this platform’s objective-based advertising. LinkedIn helps their advertisers build ad campaigns around specific business goals based on their targeted stage of the marketing funnel, from awareness to conversion.
Luckily, one of LinkedIn’s handiest features is their ‘Campaign Manager’ tool which allows individuals and businesses to set a budget, select specific goals, and control their campaign timeline. This tool offers campaign metrics such as clicks, likes, shares, and comments on any individual post as well as a breakdown of your audience demographics based on who clicks on your advertisements.
When beginning your campaign, you must first determine your objective whether it be increasing brand awareness, consideration, or conversions. Based on that objective, you then need to determine what your targeting criteria will be to narrow your advertisement focus and reach the right audience for your industry.
Another benefit of LinkedIn is the choice between 4 different advertisement formats for your campaign:
- Sponsored content: uses first-party data to reach a highly engaged audience with native ads and allows for results in lead generation and increased brand awareness
- Message ads: utilizes the messaging tool to send direct messages to potential customers in an attempt to drive engagement
- Dynamic ads: draws from profile data such as company names and job titles to create personalized advertisements for each member of your target audience
- Text ads: a quick form of pay-per-click advertising where your own curated content is tailored to your targeted professional audience
Following the launch of your chosen LinkedIn advertising campaign, it is crucial to then measure your results and consistently optimize your content to reach peak ad performance.
There are often many moving pieces within the process of developing and managing your own LinkedIn content and/or advertising campaign and it can often be difficult to navigate the process of optimizing to improve your results. Because of the expansive targeting methods and options provided by LinkedIn advertising, we advise businesses serious about gaining qualified leads to partner with a digital marketing agency (like us).
Encourage employee engagement
At the end of the day, you can always utilize your team to further amplify the potential reach of your business’s profile. Typically, your employees have 10 times the amount of connections as your company’s profile which allows for a higher rate of visibility. Employees who share, like and comment on company updates provide a huge opportunity for business posts to reach new sets of eyes and increase engagement from target customers.
Taking it one step further, leveraging your team by optimizing their profiles as well is a great way to tie real individuals back to your brand and make your company more visible in search results on LinkedIn, and even on organic Google search results. Simple tactics to carry out here include using professional and uniform headshots and headers for each member of your team. First impressions online are the defining factors that determine whether or not potential customers are interested in what you have to offer. Not only does this demonstrate professionalism but also it sets a good first impression for individuals associated with your brand, and your company as a whole.
Tying it all together
As with many other social media platforms, there is no one way to master the use of LinkedIn for your business. There are countless styles and strategies that professionals can utilize and find great success in reaching their target audiences, generating leads and increasing traffic. Arguably, the most important aspect of any of these strategies is remaining true to your business and the brand you hope to portray to potential customers.