About this episode
In this episode LinkedIn trainer, Kylie Chown shares insights into developing a powerful LinkedIn strategy for business. Insights she shares include:
- The problems most businesses face when engaged in LinkedIn marketing
- How best to leverage publishing content on LinkedIn
- How to develop a proactive LinkedIn strategy for business
- The best way to scale your LinkedIn strategy for business
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Why you need to develop a LinkedIn marketing strategy
LinkedIn is a powerful professional networking platform and can be a powerful business-to-business (B2B) tool to get your business and personal brand in front of future customers. However—as with most platforms—having a strategy specifically geared for LinkedIn is critical to leverage it for business growth.
Here are a few reasons why you need a LinkedIn strategy for your business:
- LinkedIn visitors convert to business leads 277% more than visitors on other social media platforms
- Hiring statistics indicate that LinkedIn can be a great source for future hires
- One-third of B2B professionals say that social selling tools increased the number of leads by pulling relevant data from platforms like LinkedIn
- 97% of B2B marketers use LinkedIn for content marketing purposes
Steps to develop your LinkedIn strategy for business
Developing your LinkedIn strategy for business requires you to take several steps:
1. Determine your goals for LinkedIn
The type of content you create and publish to distribute on LinkedIn should depend on your business objectives. So, determining your goals at the beginning of your LinkedIn strategy for business is crucial. For example, you may want to pursue one or more of the following:
- Generating qualified leads
- Driving traffic to your website
- Building brand awareness and reputation
- Engaging with your target audience
- Establishing your business as an expert in the field
2. Set up tracking
To track the point at which a recipient of a marketing message performs a desired action (known as a “conversion”) on LinkedIn, you will need to set up analytics aimed at this activity. You can do this with Google Analytics. You will, however, need to have goals set up within Google Analytics.
Assuming you are using something like LinkedIn lead generation forms, you can set up appropriate goals in Google Analytics to track conversions. Once logged into Google Analytics, you can:
- Go into Acquisitions > Social > Conversions and lookup LinkedIn statistics; to find the amount of referral traffic that LinkedIn sends your way,
- you can go into Acquisitions > All Traffic > Referrals.
3. Find your audience
Once you set your goals, you will need to define your target audience in order to develop your LinkedIn strategy for business.
You can use your website analytics to gain insights into your ideal clients, their behaviors, and their buying journeys. This, in turn, can be used to determine the kind of content they prefer and thereby tailor your LinkedIn strategy to suit your target audience segments.
On LinkedIn, you can find your target audience based on a number of different criteria that the platform offers (see the graphic below for a taste of what is possible).
4. Optimize your profile for maximum exposure
One of the most essential steps in building your LinkedIn business strategy is to optimize your profile for maximum exposure to your desired target audience.
Steps you need to take to optimize your profile include, but are not limited to the following:
- Set your profile picture
- Set up your banner image
- Ensure your bio is filled out
- Establish your brand’s tone and voice
5. Expand your network
Expanding your network on LinkedIn allows you to increase your net worth by allowing you to find—and be found—by a larger audience.
Some ways to expand your network include the following:
- Send personalized connection requests to prospects and influencers with large networks
- Connect with people you’ve met offline
- Join LinkedIn Groups that contain your target market
6. Engage connections
Growing your network is important. But this alone won’t suffice to grow your business. You must engage with your connections and prospects to build rapport and increase your “know,” as well as their affinity and trust with you.
A few simple ways to engage your network include the following:
- Send private messages after connecting by asking a question that prompt further conversation
- Comment on their posts, articles, and/or status updates
- Share their content on your timeline when appropriate
8. Establish relationships
People buy from people they know, like, and trust—the only way to get there is to build relationships by expressing genuine interest in people. A few things you could do include the following:
- Learn what is important to connections
- Pay attention to the content your connections share and engage when appropriate
- Always engage with those who like, comment, and share your content
- Make mutually beneficial connections between other people
9. Position yourself as an expert
To be viewed as an expert in your industry, you need to establish that reputation. This is something that doesn’t happen overnight—it requires consistency and execution.
One way to do this is to show how your business can solve industry-specific problems better or differently than your competitors. How do you do that? Ask yourself if your content answers one or more of the following questions:
- Does your content empathize with your audience’s problem?
- Does your content evoke an emotional response from your audience (according to where they are in their customer journey)?
- Does your content connect your audience’s problem to the solution you offer in a direct easy to understand way?
If the answer to any of the questions above is “no,” you may need to adjust your content strategy. Take a LinkedIn post by General Electric (GE), for example. GE has hundreds of product lines and part of its audience includes airline companies. The post discusses how what a more fuel-efficient engine sounds like and what sort of savings their customers can expect – thus, lending credibility and trust in their products.
To establish your expertise, you should also be prepared to freely share your knowledge. That does not mean you need to share proprietary information but share enough to
- Educate people to help them make an informed decision or become aware of certain issues
- Address an issue that your audience faces regularly and can fix quite easily and cheaply without involving you
Things you wouldn’t want to share include
- Company processes or secrets
- Topics that can get quite complex and instructions that are difficult to follow
To position yourself as an expert you need to:
1. Share the most valuable content possible
What does sharing the most valuable content mean?
“Share valuable content” has become something of a throwaway line. It’s commonly used but hard to picture.
- Is the content focused on a topic that my audience cares about?
You have limited time with your audience, so if your topic isn’t something that they’re interested in, they won’t waste time on your content.
- How do I find topics that my audience cares about?
Look to the influencers in your industry.
- How do I find influencers in my industry?
A Google search will usually pull up major influencers in your industry. However, you can also check out popular LinkedIn groups to see who is having some major pull with your audience.
- What do I do once I find influencers?
Take a look at what are they’re talking about that causes other people to respond or share their content.
Alternatively, you could survey your audience straight from your LinkedIn page. Ask what they want to hear and see you post about. LinkedIn doesn’t have a built-in polling feature like Twitter does but you can still create a poll through a tool like SurveyMonkey or Google Forms.
Most of these tools have “form analytics” that will allow you to gather data on your audience’s responses. Some common questions you could add to the survey are:
- What topics are we talking about that you enjoy us covering?
- What would you like to see us cover more?
- What would you like to know about our products and or our company?
What does sharing the most valuable content on LinkedIn look like?
It should be:
- Well-researched. In other words, your content should be backed by a number of different yet credible sources. These sources could include the following:
- Quotes or recommendations from an expert
- Someone you know that has some expertise in the topic
- An author or publisher of similar content
- Endorsements from companies, organizations, or influencers
- Comments from relatable people
- A sign of popularity such as comments or number of shares
- Highly informative. Your content needs to be unique and useful to your target audience, as opposed to sharing what may be already known or easily available to them. Your content needs to be unique and useful to your target audience. In other words, it should inform them of at least one thing or answer at least one question, depending on where the content is published and what the purpose of the content is.
- Authoritative. Authoritative content isn’t just content related to a single post but rather the authority and trust infusing all your content published on LinkedIn. Authority is built through publishing reliable, well-researched content.
2. Utilize your most valuable content to successfully target your audience
There are three types of content that need to be used to build trust with your target audience on LinkedIn:
- User-generated content: Content that comes directly from your target audience
- Expert content: Content that comes from influencers and industry experts
- Branded content: Content that comes from your company
Scaling your LinkedIn strategy for business
Once you’ve worked out what works and can see results that get you to your LinkedIn marketing objectives, you should look at scaling your strategy. This usually entails scaling your reach to specific content that you know helps convert your ideal clients.
When you reach this stage, it might make sense to look at LinkedIn advertising. Advertising on the platform is more expensive compared to other social media networks, but if you’ve nailed down your target audience and know what content works, it makes sense to invest in LinkedIn advertising to get in front of your target audience at scale—which will ensure a good return on investment.
Over to you
If you are in the B2B space, using LinkedIn will give your business the visibility that a networking event can—24 hours a day, 7 days a week. It’s just good sense to create a strategy for your team and business that takes the guesswork out of your business message. Developing a LinkedIn marketing strategy allows you to post authoritative, highly-relevant, informational content that positions you as a leader in the industry while giving your customers exactly what they want.
What success are you having in leveraging LinkedIn to attract more customers?