5 Secrets to LinkedIn Success: The B2B Edition
In the social media realm, platforms like Facebook, Snapchat and Instagram may rank supreme in the eyes of the consumer and B2C marketer; but in the B2B space, LinkedIn has emerged as a key player, and a strategic necessity for businesses seeking to boost engagement and generate qualified leads. In its 2015 Benchmark, Budgets and Trends report, The Content Marketing Institute shared that almost all B2B marketers utilize LinkedIn, and 63% of those marketers believe it to be the most effective social media platform. Earlier this year, LinkedIn revamped its audience targeting solutions for marketers, and later debuted programmatic display ads – not to mention, it’s always been a critical place for thought leadership efforts.
Given these opportunities, LinkedIn represents a crucial marketing channel for B2B businesses. Whether you’re just starting out, or have been on the platform for some time, consider these 5 essential steps to building a successful LinkedIn strategy:
- Optimize your company page – Get your house in order
The first step in any successful social presence is to ensure that all of the necessary information is available on your main profile – in this case, your Company Page. Imagery and descriptions should be accurate, compelling and genuinely helpful to the audiences that you’re trying to reach.
If your goal is to reach more than one type of audience, consider the unique value proposition being presented to each. Does your content reflect their needs and interests? Are you being overly-promotional, or does the information presented touch on the pain points, challenges and opportunities of your audiences?
Getting your house in order also means optimizing your page for increased visibility. Use relevant keywords in your page descriptions, and include links to owned properties for even more search visibility. Also consider adding credibility to your page by including noteworthy awards and/or recognitions.
- Build a consistent content strategy – Speak to your B2B audience
The next step is to create a content engine, first by defining your different content buckets. LinkedIn is a critical platform to distribute thought leadership content, and engage with audiences across different product/service-specific forums. It’s also a great environment to share thoughts on industry news and post more general company updates. If your business encompasses different lines or product/service categories, consider leveraging LinkedIn Showcase Pages, where content can be dedicated more closely to a precise audience segment.
Establish a solid brand voice, but remember that content should address what’s most important to your audience – consider emphasizing their pain points, or what’s most important to them in terms of specific products and services. Define content with lead generation in mind, but also consider “goodwill” content that your audiences will find educational and useful. For instance, you may want to provide a free whitepaper or e-book, or direct your audience towards an insightful article.
- Leverage employee advocates for greater audience reach
On any social platform, employee voices matter; but on LinkedIn in particular, employees can become both advocates of the brand and thought leaders across various subject areas relevant to your customers and/or audiences. Employees can also help get the word out by sharing company updates, live event-focused statuses, and long-form content from their personal profiles. When employees proactively post about their companies, it adds an important human element to the brand that it wouldn’t necessarily have if all posts were coming from the corporate profile.
In addition to posting, encourage employees to join relevant industry groups to participate in broader conversations. This increases visibility for the brand, and also allows your in-house experts to keep their fingers on the pulse of what’s going on – i.e. industry pain points, competitive outlook, etc.
- Don’t forget about SlideShare
With more than 60 million visitors per month, SlideShare is much more than a simple PowerPoint-hosting service. It’s become a key platform for content marketers, and is an excellent supplement to the thought leadership and content generation that your company may be doing on LinkedIn and other content platforms. If you don’t already have a SlideShare presence, create an account, stat! It’s a perfect environment to house content like videos, slideshows, recorded webinars and infographics. And not only does the site have important distribution capabilities, but it also provides killer value in terms of SEO.
But remember, just as in any other content you post across the digital sphere, any content shared on SlideShare should be both engaging and relevant to your audience. Here are some other quicks facts about the value of SlideShare:
- Enhanced Discovery: SlideShares are indexed by Google, and score well in organic search results (>20% of SlideShare traffic comes from Google).
- Greater Visibility: Now owned by LinkedIn, SlideShare has over 50 million visitors a month, and greater than 215 million page views.
- Educational Value: SlideShare is increasingly a place where people go to research information, an opportunity for enhanced thought leadership.
- Lead Gen: SlideShare enables uploaders to collect leads through form sign-ups.
5. Measure results against a defined set of KPIs
For inbound traffic to your B2B website, LinkedIn will likely prove the most valuable when ranked against other social platforms. According to a study done by Hubspot, LinkedIn has a visit-to-lead conversion rate of approximately 2.74%, versus .69% and .77% for Twitter and Facebook respectively. Given this statistic, it’s important to both define and actively measure your results against a set of key performance indicators (KPIs). In addition to inbound traffic and leads, consider measuring engagement percentages against industry benchmarks; if you’ve provided content like a whitepaper or e-book, make sure to keep track of downloads. Defining your goals is important, but ensuring that they’re being met (or on the flip side, where they’re not) is key to optimizing your content for increased success.