I was having lunch with Audrey Doherty from Chemistry PR, a San Diego-based Digital Strategy Firm, and we were talking about the power of LinkedIn marketing. To individuals familiar with Facebook and Twitter, LinkedIn can seem like a bold new frontier. For one, the audience is vastly different than that of your average Facebook user—and that means your approach to leveraging the platform should be different, too. Here were her insights on leveraging LinkedIn.
With that said, there are two basic social media principles that are especially important for posting on LinkedIn:
- consistency in content cadence and engagement
- understanding your audience, both broadly (the platform) and in regard to your connections
Here’s a glimpse at LinkedIn by the numbers:
- The platform has 630 million users overall, and 303 million active monthly users
- 177 million, or about 30% of those users are in the U.S.
- 90 million users are senior-level influencers
- 63 million users are in decision-making positions
- 25% of Millennials use LinkedIn, translating to 87 million Millennial users
Work at a B2B company? Listen up:
- LinkedIn is by far the #1 channel B2B marketers use to distribute content
- 80% of B2B leads come from LinkedIn, and the platform is ranked #1 for lead gen
- LinkedIn drives half of all social traffic to B2B websites
Interestingly, LinkedIn isn’t being leveraged as a content platform—despite the fact that more than 90% of marketing executives name LinkedIn as a top source of quality content. Only 1 million users have published an article on LinkedIn (a valuable thought leadership and SEO vehicle), and just 3 million users share content each week.
This is a significant opportunity to reach and engage influencers, potential employees, new clients, and more. Here’s how to do so effectively.
1. Define the “why”
Lead generation and thought leadership are the two most common reasons that professionals and companies use LinkedIn as part of their content strategy. Why you use the platform will significantly inform your approach. A thought leadership-focused strategy will tap the voices of your senior executives and typically involves more engagement via their personal pages, with amplification via company pages.
Sales-focused strategies tend to leverage company pages most often, highlighting your expertise and services via external links. This is also an opportunity to share LinkedIn articles from mid-level staff—demonstrating their capabilities to potential clients or partners.
2. Choose your channels
LinkedIn is evolving into a hybrid social network and publishing platform. This means your approach might be a bit more complex than Twitter or Instagram, where content most often comes from the same user (or page). There are three core avenues for distributing content on LinkedIn:
- Personal Profile: Every user has one. This is a personal page with the individual’s experience, certifications, skills, and so on. Only personal pages can publish articles.
- Company Page: As the name suggests, these are pages for companies, organizations, etc. These pages can be used to post updates and links, share job postings, and display basic company information.
- Groups: Typically organized around topics, areas of interest, regions, or companies, groups act as a shared forum for users.
Your content approach can tap all three—though for the purposes of this article, we’ll focus on an effective interplay between personal profiles and company pages.
3. Identify contributors
Because articles can only be published via personal profiles, you will need to identify contributors for any content you aim to create directly on LinkedIn. (Keep in mind much of this content is ghost-written, especially for senior-level and C-suite professionals.) This means that your content approach (such as tone and cadence) should be more nuanced that other channels. Articles that come from a senior executive will have a different tone and depth than those written by junior-level employees. But, it’s absolutely appropriate to include content from all levels of your organization.
4. Share away
Once articles are published, share them via your company page (or in your group). Content is more likely to be read when you add meaningful commentary to your company post (versus simply sharing the link alone). Why is this important? While articles can be viewed by any LinkedIn member, they will only appear in the feed of the user’s connections. So, if your CEO has 500 connections and publishes an article, their potential audience is just 500. Once you’ve shared that same article via a company page, your audience broadens significantly.
5. Go external
That leads to an important point – that a LinkedIn strategy can only produce a return if you have an audience to reach and influence. If content is going to be shared primarily via your LinkedIn company page, dedicate resources to building that audience. Share the profile via your executives’ personal profiles and on your other social media platforms. It’s as simple as pushing a link out on Facebook, Twitter, Reddit, etc. with copy demonstrating the value of following on LinkedIn (exclusive executive interviews, job postings, etc.) And don’t forget the low-hanging fruit: link to LinkedIn on your website, blog, newsletter, and other owned channels.
6. Don’t forget the basics
There are a few tricks to get your content seen by more users:
- Tag companies and people in your posts.
- Don’t include link previews. Users are actually more likely to pause and read your post if there’s not a preview; it seems more personal.
- Do post pictures. Again, this feels more personal and engaging.
- Ask questions. LinkedIn users are actually a chatty group—just remember to follow up.
If the above seems daunting, you’re not alone. LinkedIn can be one of the most lucrative channels for marketers, but it requires a thoughtful and strategic approach. Our team is adept at crafting and managing LinkedIn approaches for both individuals and companies—and we’d love to take on yours.