Initially, people called it the “Facebook of business” or an “online resume start-up” and didn’t give LinkedIn much notice. But now, looking at LinkedIn’s business plan going forward, and its phenomenal growth (two new members every second; 225 million users in May 2013) it’s become a brilliant solution for fruitful B2B marketing, realistically providing much more than Facebook or Twitter.
So how do you get it to work for you? And what kinds of content marketing have worked on LinkedIn? Here are six points.
1. Recognize the kinds of content LinkedIn users like
Remember, on LinkedIn people are thinking about how they can achieve their dreams and how they can grow their own brands and businesses. It’s all about B2B marketing, so the content you post must add value to users along these lines, must be professional, and must be relational. The key word is conversation and your goal is to inform people, inspire them, listen to then, ask questions and get them to interact.
Anything that informs people of trends, market research, public opinion, and so on are the kinds of content they want. So think of white papers, case studies, interesting news items, thought-leader pieces, videos, slideshows (using Slideshare) and webinars.
Post content that will help professionals stay informed of their own industry and market and, of course, your products. If they see your company as one that provides them the right solutions and one that possesses the knowledge they are, they are going to bring their business to you first when the right time comes.
2. Use the LinkedIn news feed effectively
When you post an update, it’s going to show up in the news feeds of all your followers. The key is targeting your followers with the right kinds of content. Categorize your followers based on location, industry, position and more and provide content to those matching specific criteria. For example, you might want to only target local connections with details of a focus group you are doing. People will interact more with you when it’s obvious that you want to talk to them specifically.
Sponsored updates are useful to deliver content outside of your followers and on LinkedIn they work especially well. Unlike many other social networks, LinkedIn users are more likely to respond to advertising. You can pay to have specific content delivered to very specific audiences. This is a great way of also getting more people to follow you.
Ultimately, you should like, comment, and share as much as is relevant on LinkedIn as this builds your profile, reputation, and creates a constant stream of awareness of your brand. Make sure your content is well rounded and valuable, but quick to consume.
3. Use LinkedIn groups for your advantage
Here is where you want to showcase your thought-leadership and, therefore, distribute your slides, case studies, and so on. You can use these forms of content to get discussion going and, as a result, people are going to be discussing your brand to some degree within the conversation. This also creates a great image for your brand because you are providing advice and interacting, rather than just advertising. Sponsoring a group is a great way to show your involvement in your field and how you add value to your segment of the market. Companies that have done this have seen up to a 50 percent return rate!
4. Interact with LinkedIn Influencers
LinkedIn’s Influencer content is a great initiative, linking people to over 200 key influencers in business today. Find the Influencers in your industry and get on board with the conversation at their posts. You can use this platform to create awareness of your brand.
5. Sponsored LinkedIn InMail
With this option you can send messages to very specific followers that will be interested in what you are offering; it’s another great way of speaking directly to specific people.
6. Create a content hub of your own
Many businesses have created content hubs that can only be accessed by people who sign into LinkedIn. They can then personalize the content to specific people, once again following the rule of providing the “right content to the right people at the right time.”
There you have it, six points to help you master the LinkedIn professional networking site. Follow these carefully, be consistent, and you will get LinkedIn to work for you!
Ryan Peter is a ghostwriter, journalist, copywriter and author of amazing books.