How to Make LinkedIn the Backbone of Your B2B Marketing Strategy
Marketing is never easy, but B2B marketing can be especially tough. Not only is the pool of potential clients and customers a great deal smaller than the general population, but prospects that do exist tend to be more informed and discerning.
Changes to marketing and business in general due to the growth of the Internet over the past 20 years have made things more complicated as well. Traditional B2B tactics like print marketing are increasingly falling by the wayside, with the new and rapidly evolving digital ecosystem filling in the gaps. Nowhere is this trend more apparent than with the rise of social media channels like LinkedIn.
Many marketers think of social media as B2C channels only, but doing so is a huge mistake. In fact, a recent article in Forbes listed social media as one of 2017’s top trends that B2B marketers “need to understand.”
If you’re a B2B marketer looking to overhaul your social media strategy (or kick one off entirely), LinkedIn is the perfect place to start. A social network dedicated to providing a platform for professionals, businesses and recruiters, LinkedIn is more than ideal for networking and business marketing. That’s what it was designed for.
Done right, LinkedIn marketing can be more than just an important facet of your digital marketing efforts—it can be the backbone of your entire B2B marketing strategy. Here are some tips on how to leverage LinkedIn to the fullest.
Use LinkedIn as a Content Marketing Channel
Creating and promoting great content is the linchpin of any effective digital marketing effort, and using LinkedIn is no exception. LinkedIn offers an amazing platform for sharing content with the people who will find it most relevant.
But there’s more to content promotion on LinkedIn than just sharing your company’s latest blog post every week (although that doesn’t hurt). Consider these tips for sharing content on LinkedIn:
- Post status updates regularly, but try not to be overtly promotional. It’s okay to share content from your blog or company site, but be sure to mix things up by posting content from trusted blogs or other publications within your niche. This will demonstrate you’re an active participant in your professional community, and not just interested in gathering quick leads.
- Keep it professional. Pics of your latest fishing trip or night on the town might be appropriate on Facebook or Twitter, but LinkedIn isn’t the place for your private life.
- Take advantage of LinkedIn’s built-in publishing platform. Promoting new content with LinkedIn’s internal publishing feature can be a great way to boost initial views and improve SEO. It can also be the perfect way to give a second wind to old content that’s fallen by the wayside on your own site.
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Work the Room
Maybe more than anything else, LinkedIn offers marketers and other professionals networking opportunities galore.
Networking on LinkedIn is a lot like networking the old-fashioned way—there’s no one right way to do it. Depending on your business, industry and even personality there are lots of ways to maximize who you connect with on LinkedIn. Not to mention who you can turn into a lead (or leverage for even more) down the line.
There are, however, a few best practices every marketer should take into account:
- Customize your public profile. That means making sure every field is complete, including a professional headshot, custom background image, resume and work samples.
- Import your existing contacts. There’s no better place to start networking than with the people you already know. Import connections from your Google contacts, or manually look for people with whom you’ve already connected in real life.
- Take a look at who’s viewed your profile. LinkedIn handily provides this information. If someone is interested enough in you and your qualifications to check you out, the least you can do is return the favor. If you think they might be a good potential lead or mutually beneficial acquaintance, reach out and connect.
- Join LinkedIn groups. LinkedIn members across many industries often form closed groups to talk shop and network. Do a little research to find out which groups exist for your niche. If you’re disappointed by what’s already there, start your own. Moderating a LinkedIn group could be a great networking opportunity in its own right.
- Reach out to influencers. Influencer outreach can be one of the most effective marketing tactics out there. Most influencers and thought leaders maintain an active presence on LinkedIn, making it an ideal place to get in their good graces.
- Don’t spam. Sending the same form message to dozens, hundreds, or even thousands of LinkedIn connections is unlikely to get you much in the way of results. Use LinkedIn as a tool for forming real relationships, and craft your company’s value proposition around the individual needs of each potential lead.
- Make sure your company page is optimized. If they’re qualified leads, your LinkedIn connections will eventually want to check out your business page. Ensuring that it’s well-crafted and informative is the best way to encourage them to follow-through on their curiosity.
Take Advantage of LinkedIn as a Tool for Executive Branding
Executives have always been figureheads for their companies. In the age of social media, that means executives’ online presence needs to reflect the qualities they want their companies to embody. Executive branding is a way to making sure that’s the case.
Make sure your C-suite and other executives are active on LinkedIn and other social platforms. They should be sharing status updates, promoting content and networking as actively as the brands they represent. (Even if your executives aren’t the savviest when it comes to social media, a public profile under their name can be managed by the company’s marketing team.)
To put it another way, try to make your executive staff thought leaders and influencers in their own right.
By maintaining an active presence on LinkedIn (and encouraging your colleagues to do the same), your company can position itself as a true leader in its field—one that’s sought after rather than just purchased from. We’ve just scratched the surface here of what tools, tactics and opportunities LinkedIn can offer marketing professionals in B2B industries. But even with the basics, it should be clear that those opportunities are real and worth pursuing.