LinkedIn is the preeminent social network for professionals. Millions of professionals log in every day to keep up with colleagues, connect with experts and prospects, and share news and announcements.
No B2B marketing professional misunderstands the value of LinkedIn for businesses. But despite the site’s obvious power to connect with millions, it’s not always clear how to take advantage and optimize your performance.
If you’re a B2B company looking for some LinkedIn inspiration, we’ve got nine tips to improve your social media marketing.
1. Diversify How You Share Content
Don’t get yourself into a sharing rut. We all know LinkedIn is great for sharing and distributing content and announcements. But if the way you share that content never changes, you may be missing out.
One easy way to increase the visibility and reach of your posts is by diversifying how you share your content.
Over the past few weeks, I tested out two ways to share links to blog posts from my account. I compared LinkedIn’s built-in link preview format against a text-only status update.
As you know, the link preview post scrapes an image from the URL’s destination content along with the title and description. LinkedIn then formats this content into a clickable preview box. You are then allowed to add some custom text of your own.
My text posts, on the other hand, were the custom text portion, minus the clickable preview. To get the URL in the post and avoid the automated link preview box, I posted the link in the comments.
As you can see from the screenshots below, my text posts received three times as many views as the link preview. This may be LinkedIn's attempt to reward post diversity: If every post is a link preview article, then the feed can get monotonous.
This trend may change as people notice and shift their post types, but the point is this: Share your content in multiple formats.
2. Increase Your Reach With Hashtags
LinkedIn took its sweet time—dragging its feet, you could say—but at long last, the professional network finally adopted fully what its social network contemporaries have employed for years now: the hashtag.
LinkedIn’s use of hashtags is no different from any other network, but they’re vastly under utilized on the site. Perhaps hashtags don’t feel very professional, but their power to surface content to interested users is as necessary on LinkedIn as it is on Twitter.
So, in short, use your hashtags.
3. Treat Your In-house Experts’ Accounts as Additional Marketing Channels
Company pages are necessary channels to promote your business and act as a destination for prospects and job seekers, but in terms of building an audience, they pale in comparison to individual accounts.
People want to connect with people after all.
Therefore, leveraging your in-house experts is crucial to extending your company’s reach. Unfortunately, many in-house experts don’t have time to promote content, comment on other people’s updates, and participate in LinkedIn Groups. They’re too busy being, well, you know, experts!
That shouldn’t stop the shrewd marketer. To leverage your experts without cannibalizing their billable hours, your social strategy should be to take control of these accounts yourself. Use your experts’ accounts as additional marketing channels. From there, you can be the one to post content, like updates, and connect with new people.
4. Publish Articles on LinkedIn
LinkedIn’s publishing platform is a wonderful resource to distribute your communication and message to a wide audience. This is especially true for businesses just starting out with a content marketing blog.
LinkedIn has a built-in audience ripe for relevant content. Moreover, LinkedIn may distribute your content automatically in its newsletter, expanding your audience.
With your in-house experts’ accounts acting as additional marketing channels, you can also use their audience to attract visitors by publishing content directly on their accounts.
Not sure how to manage content creation for both your own website’s blog and LinkedIn? Don’t worry about writing brand new content for both channels. Create “teaser” posts for LinkedIn, in which you share only a portion of the full article and provide a link to your site for the complete post.
5. Post Your Presentations on SlideShare
If you or someone from your company has recently come back from a conference during which they presented a slide deck, you have an excellent opportunity to reuse that content by uploading it to SlideShare. You may need to add some copy to the deck in the event the slides lose their meaning without someone actually presenting alongside them.
Even without a recent presentation, consider repurposing your long-form articles and blogs into slideshows. You can also post infographics and PDFs to SlideShare.
With LinkedIn’s acquisition of SlideShare back in 2012, the two channels, as you can imagine, play extremely well together. As soon as you post your new slideshow, you can allow SlideShare to post the link to your profile (our your in-house expert’s profile), thus providing another opportunity to share.
6. Join Relevant Groups
Don’t give up on LinkedIn Groups. While some people may declare the futility of LinkedIn Groups, I believe that’s an exaggeration based on too many bad apples.
Yes, there are a lot of groups that are ghost towns, but that’s because too many people started a group and then gave up on it before giving it time to grow.
Fortunately, there are groups that exist today that are thriving and provide great opportunities to grow your audience and connect with new people. You can of course promote your own content—but be wary of this. Groups aren’t there just for you to toot your own horn. Consider groups as networking events—not presentation halls.
On that note, groups also allow you to listen. You can keep tabs on what your potential consumers are worrying about, what the industry as a whole is buzzing about, and perhaps even what your competition is up to.
7. Start a Group
I offer this advice with extreme caution. While there are many benefits to starting a group—sharing your thoughts and content, building brand loyalty, and mining discussions and data for new ideas—you should think long and hard about starting a group.
Consider what I said in the previous tip: Thousands of groups have popped up only to collapse in on themselves.
Starting your own group should be given the same scrutiny as starting your own company. You wouldn’t just start a business because you think it’s a “cool idea.”
Just like opening a business, to start a group you must meet one or more of the following criteria:
- Your group’s content/interest is under-represented and under-served
- Your group has a unique advantage yet unmatched by any existing group
- You have the time and resources to dedicate yourself and/or your team to maintaining and growing the group
If you can’t answer yes to any of those, step back from the computer and walk away from the LinkedIn Group idea.
8. Advertise on LinkedIn
LinkedIn’s advertising is still in its nascent stages, but it’s on its way to becoming a powerhouse advertising platform comparable to Facebook. We’ve run Sponsored Content with our clients with great results.
Furthermore, LinkedIn is creating new ways to advertise all the time. Most recently, they’ve rolled out Lead Gen ads, which allow users to submit a conversion form directly in the LinkedIn app.
If you’re interested in promoting a new ebook, an upcoming event, a demo, a webinar, or something else to professionals, LinkedIn offers a powerful targeting platform to ensure your ads end up in front of the right people.
In the next few weeks, I’ll cover LinkedIn advertising in more detail. So check back soon.
9. Upgrade Your Company Page to a Career Page
I’ll end this list by switching tacks. Thus far, we’ve been talking exclusively about promoting and growing your business by reaching potential customers. For this final tip, I want to suggest how you can also improve your reach with potential employees.
Recently, LinkedIn unveiled its Career Pages. The Career Pages offers additional tools to enhance your Company Page.
You can now add an enhanced company story, which allows you to post videos, photos, and longer-form content to tell your story properly.
You can also post your open positions right on the page and provide a more personalized experience for job seekers. Career Pages also comes with better analytics to track your performance.
LinkedIn is a powerful channel for professional companies. I hope you’ve found some inspiration from this list and maybe discovered a few ideas you never thought of. Like any marketing channel, the best approach to LinkedIn is to push the site to its limits and see what you can get out of it. Keep testing and let us know how you get on.