- About this episode
- Why use LinkedIn for business marketing?
- How do I approach LinkedIn for my B2B marketing?
- Should my LinkedIn business marketing strategy begin with showcase pages, or with company pages?
- Where should I start LinkedIn business marketing, with paid advertising or organic reach?
- How can my company leverage LinkedIn business marketing by building personal brands?
- Why are LinkedIn profile pages so important?
- How do I optimize my LinkedIn profile page for more connections and better leads?
- Should I use a full sentence to describe my role or go with something cute or smart?
- Should I include emojis in headlines?
- How do I formulate a unique value proposition specifically for the LinkedIn headline?
- How do I publish content that engages on LinkedIn?
- How do I use rich media in my LinkedIn content?
- How frequently should I post content?
- How can podcasting boost LinkedIn business marketing?
- Does it matter who I follow and connect with on my LinkedIn profile pages?
- A Quality Network Overpowers Quantity
- How should I approach using groups for LinkedIn business marketing?
- Should I build a community on LinkedIn?
- Networking—the secret to using LinkedIn for powerful marketing results
About this episode
In this episode, Daniel Alfon, LinkedIn and social media marketing expert shares how we can use LinkedIn to achieve powerful business marketing results. Insights he shares include:
- How to approach LinkedIn for B2B marketing
- The role of company pages and showcase pages in LinkedIn business marketing
- Why the platforms organic reach should be incorporated in your LinkedIn business marketing
- The place paid advertising should have in your LinkedIn business marketing strategy
- How businesses can leverage LinkedIn marketing by building the personal brands of their staff
- Why LinkedIn personal profile pages are so important
- The often-overlooked elements of your profile page that can double your lead generation
- The best ways to stand out on LinkedIn by sharing your unique value
- The best ways to publish content that engages your target audience on LinkedIn
- How rich media can enrich your LinkedIn profile
- How to connect and follow the right people on LinkedIn
- The best way to approach content marketing in LinkedIn groups
- Should you build a community on LinkedIn
Subscribe to the Predictable B2B Success Podcast
Why use LinkedIn for business marketing?
Research shows that B2B companies use social media for marketing and lead generation purposes. While most social media platforms aren’t exactly the best places for lead generation especially in the b2B space there is one that stands out. That is LinkedIn.
In fact, research indicates that:
- 82% of B2B marketers realize their greatest success in achieving content marketing objectives on LinkedIn.
- Also, 97% of marketers use LinkedIn as part of their content marketing and lead generation efforts.
In other words, LinkedIn works.
The challenge for most businesses, however, is to make their investment in LinkedIn produce results and an ROI.
How do I approach LinkedIn for my B2B marketing?
It might help to think about your approach from two perspectives.
A website perspective
At a basic level, you might think about your LinkedIn presence the same way you think about your website. Think about the kinds of content you want to share on LinkedIn—in many cases, you could leverage the same content that exists on your website, or repurpose it. In other words, you could simply offer your website content to anyone visiting your LinkedIn profile.
A networking perspective
Essentially, you could look at it from a networking point of view. Not everyone who walks into a networking event acts the same way. Introverts, for example, maybe more comfortable cultivating a certain circle of friends and maintaining relationships with them. Others, however, may want to meet as many people as possible and produce and share content with as many people as they can connect with. Neither option is better or more effective than the other.
Remember when you first started using a smartphone? You used it because it could do certain things that empowered the way you communicate. Today, smartphones are such a part of your life that you don’t think too hard about using one.
Your B2B company should approach LinkedIn the same way, so you’re able to use the platform to serve your business objectives instead of serving the business objectives of LinkedIn.
Should my LinkedIn business marketing strategy begin with showcase pages, or with company pages?
Showcase pages are intended for large companies, like Fortune 500 companies. For example, if Microsoft wants to differentiate MS Office from Edge, they might do so on their showcase page.
However, for most businesses, a company page is the only one they need. On LinkedIn, instead of working with your company page, consider focusing your attention on your own profile. Let me give you an example. For a B2B company that has hundreds or thousands of employees, a LinkedIn company page would not be efficient, because it wouldn’t attract many leads.
The reason for this is that the first 200 or 2000 followers will not be target prospects. You can expect that your company employees will become followers of the company’s page on LinkedIn. You may attract 50 or 500 followers, most of whom are employees and not your ideal target audience. You could also attract prospective candidates who want to work for you, or service providers who want to sell you something.
Now, compare that to your LinkedIn profile page: Your profile page is likely to have 5 or 100 times more traffic than your company page will ever have, no matter what you do with your company page.
In terms of marketing, remember
- The action of following a company page is not natural to LinkedIn users. Most LinkedIn users won’t follow a company page. LinkedIn caters to personal interactions and connections.
- The natural action on LinkedIn is to connect or to receive invitations and accept them, and this happens from person to person.
Another thing to remember, in terms of marketing, is that even if people follow your company page, you won’t have access to their email. But, if you accept someone’s invitation to connect, in most cases you’ll be able to check his or her contact info, and you’ll have access to his or her email.
So, move away from company pages and start with your own LinkedIn profile, because that’s where your target audience is going to land. This is the page that most people will visit. And remember, if it
- doesn’t help your ideal prospects convert
- fails to provide the kind of information your prospects wants
- assumes your prospects will go check your website
then your job isn’t finished yet.
The graphic below shows the 5 most widespread mistakes made by SaaS executives on LinkedIn (focusing on company Pages instead of their profile, going for quantity instead of quality, thinking about their profile as a CV instead of an extension of their website, rushing to advertise instead of sharing existing informational content, and paying LinkedIn instead of spending time on the platform):
Where should I start LinkedIn business marketing, with paid advertising or organic reach?
In most cases, you should start with an organic approach for your B2B company. Advertising on LinkedIn tends to be quite expensive—this shouldn’t be considered until you have a clear idea of the audience segments that convert well.
It’s easy to think of LinkedIn as a content platform. In other words, make an inventory of the good, educational content you have that could inspire prospects to learn more about you. LinkedIn offers ways to share that content for free on your profile. You could also find groups that include your target audience and share an educational video there.
If you consider advertising on LinkedIn at all, it’s best to save it for after you’ve exhausted everything else that the LinkedIn platform offers you from an organic point of view.
The LinkedIn platform is powerful but counterintuitive. You may think that doing x, y, and z will lead to a, b, and c. The platform doesn’t work like that. While it’s challenging for most LinkedIn users to really leverage the platform, it’s easy once you spend enough time on it. You just need to look at what’s under the hood, and better understand the LinkedIn platform and its unique characteristics. When we know how to leverage the platform, we may not ever need to advertise on LinkedIn.
How can my company leverage LinkedIn business marketing by building personal brands?
To leverage LinkedIn business marketing, you need to understand their needs and context from which they will be sharing content.
Whether the company has a few or many employees, you can create a few options for your employees instead of dictating to them. For example, one thing you have on your own profile is a banner. The banner is the space above your LinkedIn profile photo on your profile page.
The banner does not necessarily have to be the same for all employees. You could create three to five banners so that each of them is visually attractive. You could then give access to your staff so that they could choose among the banners. This way, they’re likely to feel more engaged than if you just give them one option and expect them to use it.
Along similar lines, you could have different ways of showing the company’s products. If a salesperson or marketer wants to promote or evangelize a certain SaaS product, then his or her profile needs to showcase the best media—the best content available to him or her. A customer service manager might use videos, content, or podcasts to promote different products, and all of them are part of the same company and the same culture. What is important to remember is that you need to use content that’s relevant to your readers.
A very simple way to use LinkedIn for powerful business marketing results is to stop and ask yourself – If I had the choice of the nearly 700 million users on LinkedIn, who would be my ideal reader?
Think about that person—what sort of content would help that person convert? You could use that content, or repurpose and edit it for LinkedIn. LinkedIn allows you to showcase rich media via a thumbnail of a link, a video, a PDF, or anything else within your own profile. In other words, instead of expecting your ideal readers to make the effort to leave LinkedIn to get your content from other platforms or from your site, you could be providing all the relevant information to help them convert on your profile page.
Give those guidelines to your salespeople, and they’ll know what to do. You only need to make sure it’s in line with your company’s policy. Salespeople and sales managers don’t necessarily like to be told what to do, or to receive a series of “do-this” and “do-that” instructions. Chances are you won’t be regarded well if you do that. However, if you make your case, and provide them with several reasons why it would benefit them, they are likely to get onboard with your idea and become engaged.
It may be that all your employees use the same banner, or the same media or video. That’s fine!
If you’re struggling to provide content to your organization’s members, consider this:
- You could say that any content on your company’s website has been approved.
- Employees may ask for the content they want to take from your website to help convert future customers.
- It may be that half a dozen people will use one piece of content. Other managers may use something else, but it’s all from the same publication of the same company, and from the same culture.
I would advise you to enable managers and staff to use any authorized content that’s out there(on publicly available websites or social media channels) that they think will benefit them, and not to think that you know better than your employees and your subordinates and your staff do.
Why are LinkedIn profile pages so important?
Your LinkedIn profile page will always be more important than the company page for several reasons:
- People connect with people, not logos.
- For SMBs and most SaaS companies, their staff have more connections and traffic today than followers their company Page will ever have.
- Profile pages are active, company pages are passive.
- Personal profiles allow you to be proactive with outreach.
- 92% of B2B marketers include LinkedIn in their digital marketing mix.
- There are 9,000,000,000 content impressions in the LinkedIn feed every week.
- 94% of B2B marketers use LinkedIn as a content distribution channel.
How do I optimize my LinkedIn profile page for more connections and better leads?
Let’s say your ideal client is a chief marketing officer of a financial institution. Ask yourself: If I could show my profile to my ideal clients, who may have never heard of my company, would they decide to invest more of their time on my profile page?
On their part (your potential future customer’s), within four to five seconds, that person can either bounce and go elsewhere or engage a bit more. This is a very simple Yes/No question: If I go away, will I miss something relevant and interesting?.
What would make my prospect spend more time to engage with me?
A future customer would just need to spend five more seconds reading what your company does to decide if it’s worth the effort and time to engage with you.
So, what elements can you provide to help convince and convert them?
You could start with a visual element—the banner on the profile page. It’s low-hanging fruit because everyone will see it as soon as they land on your profile. The banner is only limited by your own creativity. For example, you could use a quote or the name of the service you offer. You can do amazing things with the banner!
Check out the example below from Daniel’s profile.
Probably 90% of LinkedIn users have never bothered to change the bluish solar system that exists by default on a person’s profile page. So, any banner, any decent banner would already look a bit more interesting. And if we think about the single term or the single sentence that would make our ideal reader tick, the banner would be the very first thing, or at least one of the very first things to consider.
It also helps if you enable all the staff in your organization to use the same banner or a couple of alternative banners.
The second thing you could consider is the headline that automatically comes from your latest position. This could be CEO at XYZ company, or Co-founder, or VP Sales.
The problem is that it’s not engaging to your ideal customers. One way to approach it would be to think of it along the lines of I help x perform y, and x is my ideal segment.
Even if 80% of readers do not understand what that means, if your ideal prospect gets it, then it’s worth more than a general term, and more than your position in the company.
Questions that help reveal this information are:
- What do I help our customers achieve?
- What testimonials do our happy customers provide?
- Do I ask them, Why did you choose us? Why are you happy to work with us? And what made you decide to continue to work with us?
When you start hearing the same thing being repeated by customers, you need to understand that this is a significant part of your offering.
A SaaS company might refer to things besides the technology, and that’s okay. Technology is important, but eventually it levels out. It’s difficult to stand out because technology is a race, and most companies will be able to offer something similar quite fast, and maybe even cheaper.
You need to find out why your ideal client prefers you, and this where headlines can play a critical role. A headline that explains what’s in it for your reader is a lot more likely to make your ideal client scroll further down the page.
Craft a headline that speaks in specific terms to your future prospect
According to Daniel, many LinkedIn users have not changed LinkedIn’s default way of showing the headline on their profile page.
The challenge in changing the headline is that you need to ensure that you’re using headlines that are specific enough to speak to your prospects in a way that differentiates you from the competition. Here are a few suggestions:
- Add specific elements to the headline that should resonate with your ideal readers. For example, if growing revenues is a key part of your headline you could say you increase revenues by shortening time to market, or you help businesses gain revenues by penetrating new markets
- Listen to your top Salesperson and CEO because chances are when you wake up either of them at 4 a.m., they should be able to tell you what is special about their offer.
- In many cases, SaaS companies have a very specific outcome—they help companies by doing something in a tangible way in a specific field. The name of the field could also be part of the of the headline.
Should I use a full sentence to describe my role or go with something cute or smart?
Take, for example, an HR manager who needs to recruit people for a SaaS company they work for. The HR manager must ask himself or herself, Who’s my ideal reader? Let’s also say that the response to that question is, My ideal reader is the candidate our company needs.
A headline along the lines of Chief Happiness Officer, or VP of HR won’t work. It should be more like Looking for the best talent in XYZ, or something along those lines that will tell ideal candidates that this company is actively looking for potential candidates and can offer them an opportunity to join a growing SaaS company.
Smart or cute titles should be left for family gatherings. Your ideal prospects need to read something that’s short, to-the-point, and interesting.
Hiring the best XYZ candidates in Perth is a lot more interesting to your ideal prospects than VP HR at ABC company, which they haven’t heard of.
Should I include emojis in headlines?
There seems to be an increased use of emojis in headlines. Daniel’s suggestion is that we use them sparingly. He says he would probably be more confident in using emojis in other parts of the profile. Anyone who has visited your profile, seen a banner and a headline, looked at the About section, and then scrolled down is entering a new phase. They’re now starting to read. If the overall impression is a lot of cute emojis and little essence, it could be counterproductive.
How do I formulate a unique value proposition specifically for the LinkedIn headline?
A good way to think about crafting your headline is as a human interaction at a conference you’re attending. Think about a time when someone you didn’t know started chatting with you and inquired about what you did. Your headline and the information it conveys should have the same effect.
Daniel suggests not to start with a headline because it’s the hardest part. Instead, he recommends starting with the Summary or the About section, which might be a paragraph or even five or six bullet points.
If you write a powerful About section, it could crystallize your thinking around the headline, or help you decide what you feel comfortable using in your headline.
Here are three questions you can ask yourself to help you decide your headline after you’ve done your About section.
- Do you like the person you just described? Because if you don’t, then it won’t stick. It’s your thing—you need to connect, and if the choice of words isn’t something you feel comfortable with, you shouldn’t use it.
- Would people who know what you do read it, nod, and say, Yes, that’s exactly what you do. I hadn’t thought about it, but yes, that’s exactly what you do…? To put it another way, you could ask yourself, Would my current customers clients be surprised if they read that headline? If your answer is, No, because it’s consistent with what they tell us and what we tell them, then you’ve moved a very significant step ahead. If, however, you think that the answer is Yes, then maybe you’ve stumbled across a great way of showing your USP, and you can actually leverage that outside of LinkedIn.
- Will that sentence make my ideal reader, who has never heard of me, ask, How do I get in touch with that person?
This is a tough process. But if you manage to have a headline that answers all three questions, and
- you like it
- your existing customers are saying, Yes, that’s the way you help us
- the people you want to have inquire about your services like it
then you’ve got a winner. You’ve got something that’s powerful, strong, and in line with your thinking and your business.
The about section gives you an opportunity to provide a little more detail about how you can help future customers, as opposed to just talking about yourself. Another element you need to think about as you do this section is readability.
The LinkedIn About section now displays approximately two lines as you can see from the example below of Jeroen Corthout
In other words, if you write 10 or 15 lines, then LinkedIn desktop users will only see 2-3 lines, and mobile device users will see something similar.
Thus, after you’ve crafted a powerful About section, you should visit your profile while logged out, or better still, ask someone you’re not connected to look you up and have them share what they see of your profile.
You’ll want to examine the first sentence because it’s the only sentence your ideal reader will see. Will it make him or her want to scroll down to see more?
In other words, within the summary, the best sentence needs to come first, because that’s what most people will see.
We need to remember that many people will not click on “see more.” Some of them will just go away, some of them will scroll. If you have 10 or 15 lines, instead of condensing them in into one paragraph, space it out. Make it easy on the eyes and try to make the first two or three sentences quite short. If they feel that it’s part of a long sentence with something that’s not easy to understand, then they won’t necessarily understand what you bring to the market.
How do I publish content that engages on LinkedIn?
On LinkedIn, content is pure gold. Content is more effective than advertising. Of course, producing high-quality content is not an easy task, but if you do have high-quality content that will make your prospects want to learn more about your services, it’s a game-changer. There’s often a gap between excellent content that’s buried in a company’s website or YouTube channel or podcast and their presence on LinkedIn.
One important tip: You should find the best content you have, and then use it. You don’t necessarily need new content for LinkedIn. Make an inventory of the content you have, and then use that content in an intelligent way across your LinkedIn presence, your staff profile pages, and your company page.
Daniel sees LinkedIn as an extension of a company’s content marketing efforts. He says,
If we don’t use the content we took so much pain to create on our website, then we’ll not be using LinkedIn very well. It’s our responsibility to find the best content out there, and to make sure that people will see it when they visit our LinkedIn presence. And if we have new content going out next quarter, then it should not appear on LinkedIn any later. It should be out there on day one.
Producing content is time-consuming, and takes a lot of energy, resources, and money. But sharing it in an intelligent way across LinkedIn is quite easy to do. You can do it within two hours, company-wide. You might need to provide simple training that would show everyone how to use the great content you’ve created, and how it will reach people who have never visited your website before.
How do I draw people to my website from the LinkedIn platform?
To draw people to your website, Daniel says you should look at using what LinkedIn calls articles.
The LinkedIn platform itself prefers that people stay on LinkedIn, as opposed to moving away from it.
On the homepage, at the top, you will see “Start a post”, but beneath it, you should see “Write an article.”
You click to write an article. It’s a simple, what-you-see-is-what-you-get system.
One of the many advantages of articles is that whenever you share something as an individual, the only people who have access to it are your connections. There’s a limit to your connections—the limit is 30,000. Most people have less than that, and many people you’re not necessarily connected to will visit your profile at one time or another. If you create and publish good articles, they will see them because LinkedIn highlights the articles on your profile page.
These people could discover your services and thought leadership. Also, keep in mind that these articles will not disappear like content shared on other social media platforms that disappear within a few minutes or less. They could be there forever.
So, you don’t need to produce 30 articles. One good article may be better than 30 shares of whatever content is there.
Inserting calls to action
A call to action should be part of the article itself. If there’s a point to the article and you’re just showing your audience A, B, and C, then you may want to show them X. If they’re interested in A, B, and C, there may be another resource that shows you more in-depth ways of performing D or E. You can then include a link or a call to action that would take them away from LinkedIn.
If you use a long-form article, then people from your target audience will likely spend some time on the LinkedIn platform. Yes, it might work to ask them to go somewhere else, but there are other ways to do it.
You could ask them if they’re interested in having more information when they contact you or subscribe. Another thing to consider is that your own profile could also benefit from those articles. You might share it in a certain group. Then, group members will check you out and discover your profile because of the content you published.
So, as you can see, content is the lynchpin. Content is what gets most SaaS companies their leads and their revenues from LinkedIn. Advertising won’t do that for most companies. If you can produce high-quality content, you should be asking a very simple question, Have I actually shown LinkedIn users the best thought leadership I have?
How do I use rich media in my LinkedIn content?
Recently, there seems to be more of a focus on using video on LinkedIn than other rich media formats like SlideShare.
However, these could complement each other through repurposing.
LinkedIn has not been very successful with SlideShare. It was a great service. A lot of it was a good way to discover content. And initially it was a good way to highlight presentations on your profile. But I know a lot of LinkedIn users were not even aware of the of the word SlideShare. They’re not going there or using it.
When deciding on the use of rich media formats, you could reconsider the question, What is the best content out there that I want to show customers?
It’s likely that video needs to be part of the solution. At least one of the very first pieces of rich media content you show to customers on your profile should be video.
Bob Burg’s profile page is an example of that. You can see from the screenshot of his profile page that there is a lot of recent activity in response to a video he posted.
For the videos that you add to your profile page, you need to look at the heading that LinkedIn users see. Usually, the name of the file or the headline from the link on YouTube will show by default. You’ll want to tweak it or change it, because people visiting your profile are likely to see something between three and five words, and you want to make sure they understand what’s in it for them and what happens if they click on that content.
How frequently should I post content?
Daniel doesn’t believe that frequent posting is the best way to engage your audience. In some cases, it makes sense when
- you have a real-life event
- you’re making a demo
- you’re highlighting something in a trade show or exhibition, or
- you want to present something that’s just been released.
If something is time-sensitive because it’s happening now, that can be quite powerful.
Daniel doesn’t advise anyone to simply shoot and upload a video every day, because at some point, your connections will no longer want to see that.
So, his advice is to be humble and ask yourself some tough questions, such as:
- Will my audience really like this?
- Are my connections my audience? (They’re not necessarily the same.)
- Aren’t there better, less invasive ways to share this, not with my connections – but with groups?
Daniel provides more insights in this article
How can podcasting boost LinkedIn business marketing?
Producing high-quality content can be quite time-consuming. If your objective is to network with people on LinkedIn, then producing high-quality content that is valuable to your ideal customer base is relevant.
While many companies get bogged down in the money pit of content marketing, one solution might be to think of content production as a lead generation and customer retention investment.
For example, you could reach out to potential future customers and interview them or produce engaging forms of content like this podcast. In other words, you can interview future customers and existing customers, have them speak to similar ideal clients by addressing issues that are relevant to them, and build out your thought leadership content at the same time.
It could also strengthen your relationship with the people you interview, because they usually get harassed by people who want to sell them things. An interview or a podcast is something they probably hear less about and may ask for. More importantly, by asking good questions, you uncover excellent ways to help the company of the person being interviewed and similar companies. It’s a win-win situation.
The content you create is likely to be shared not only by you, but also by the people you interview. And other companies in that same market listening to the podcast may be curious enough to discover your service.
It’s an excellent way to both strengthen your thought leadership and gain very important information that you might not gain otherwise. In an open conversation, you read between the lines and gain a lot more than what you invested in the process of doing the interview.
Otherwise, it takes a lot of time and considerable effort. However, by asking smart questions on a one-to-one basis in this scenario, you can uncover excellent opportunities and come up with ideas for new services. Understand what makes your customers tick.
Does it matter who I follow and connect with on my LinkedIn profile pages?
Following is an excellent way to view the content of people you’re not connected with.
A question that Daniel advises you ask yourself is, Who do I want to connect with?
Daniel says he receives a ton of invitations. His business is based on referrals so he only accepts invitations after coffee or a meaningful interaction. He does check out the people sending invitations and then decides whether it’s worth replying without connecting.
What that means is that if you’re accepting invitations, you’re letting other people decide whether they want to connect with you. If you are an open networker, that means you need to send invitations to people.
If you want to have a high-quality network of people who know you well then you need to take the initiative. There may be 50 people out there who you know well professionally, but who haven’t sent you an invitation. It would be in your best interest to look them up and send them an invitation.
Because they know you well, and they could bring you referrals. Referrals are one of the best ways to create new business, to shorten the sales cycle, and to get new customers by referral from someone who trusts, knows, and likes both the future customer and yourself. So, deciding who you want to connect with is very important.
A Quality Network Overpowers Quantity
Unless you’ve had 30k connections for years and haven’t annoyed them with meaningless spam, your leads will come from valuable introductions. In that sense, the number of your connections in meaningless.
Marketers often fail to have a Connection Strategy (what do I mean by a Connection Strategy? Simple: decide how to optimize your network, by selecting one: either quality or quantity). Often, they are only being reactive.
Worse, marketers who naturally prefer to connect with people they know well think that they are supposed to dumb connect with complete strangers all day to show the world…what? That they have 500+ Connections?
Why you’d better make a choice
As CMOs, strong introductions can lead to significant business. Referrals are often one of the best lead generation engines. But to make a strong intro, the person making it needs to know well both sides. Many marketers end up with 1k-2k connections they know nothing about before realizing their mistake. All it takes is looking up a prospect who’s a 2nd-degree contact, scrolling down to see the name(s) of the shared connection(s), and realizing they know nothing about you. What good did it do you to cold connect with 1500 people, if as a marketer they bring you zero value?
Ok, you might say, so they’re not exactly beneficial, but they surely cannot cause me any harm, right?
Wrong – they might hurt your business’ growth. The same ideal prospect with whom you share shared connections looks you up and sees the names of the shared connections. Guess what happens when Mr. Prospect reaches out to one asking about you? Easy: he’ll hear “I don’t know that person”. You will not be able to magically whisper in your prospect’s ears: “Ask Joe, not Tom Dick or Harry!”. A meeting/demo is less likely and a deal may have just been lost (please have an argument that’s more valid than “But I didn’t invite that person – he sent me an invitation and I just accepted” – your prospect doesn’t care and there’s no icon showing who invited whom).
Imagine a stadium where open networkers (aka LIONs) make up a team on the far left, those who connect with people they know well (snipers) constitute the second team on the far right, and everyone else (ducks) wanders aimlessly somewhere between them.
Here’s the big secret no one tells you: it doesn’t matter where you are, as long as you avoid the center – and standstill.
What do I mean? Your connections can help you in one of 2 ways:
- Consistently connecting only with people you know well ⇒ you benefit from meaningful introductions based on trust ⏩ Sales meeting
- Getting fast to 30000 connections ⇒ huge exposure ⏩ Inquiries
You just have to choose. Most connected or best connected?
Not sure which suits you best? Ask yourself this question: In 5 years, do I want to be a Sniper, a Lion or a Duck?
Both Snipers and LIONs are fine – and any of them knocks out Ducks.
Unless you make a choice, your network will be under-optimized: It won’t be large enough (meaning your 2500 connections’ exposure won’t be large enough to be translated into inquiries) nor will it be 100% trustworthy (because you polluted it with people who don’t know you at all).
Everybody wants both maximum exposure combined with 100% trust, but you can’t have it both ways. On LinkedIn, exposure and trust are mutually exclusive – picking a lane is much better than jaywalking.
For me, the choice is clear: meaningful introductions have brought me clients, and vanity metrics haven’t. Put another way, I prefer a deal without a connection than a connection without a deal.
What is your choice?
Pick a side in the stadium, don’t wander aimlessly hurting your business. Unless you have a connection strategy, you’re letting other people decide for you. Focus on quality
How should I approach using groups for LinkedIn business marketing?
Most people tend to ignore groups altogether because they’ve encountered instances where people dump links, and so they go elsewhere.
There are some LinkedIn groups with 100,000 members, 500,000 members, or 1,000,000 or more members. I wouldn’t advise SaaS companies to start there, because competition tends to be fierce in a group with 500,000 members. People in those groups share something every couple of minutes. Your content in such groups is likely to be ignored or not even seen by most people.
How to identify the sweet spot
The sweet spot to start with would be, in Daniel’s opinion, a group between 1000 members and 10,000 members. These groups would not be attractive enough for spammers, but they should cater to a very specific niche. They could be local groups, industry groups, or groups with a very niche, very specific expertise.
500 people who have joined a very specific group you’re interested in could bring you more deals than a group with 700,000 members where almost none have access to or have seen your content.
How to zero in on low-hanging fruit
The low-hanging fruit may well be in smaller, more dedicated, and more specialized groups. This may be one way to avoid the phenomenon of sharing something that no one ever sees.
If you share something in a group that has 3000 members, it could be that over the course of a week, only four people share something. Because most group members in that group read the content of the group by visiting their email digest rather than by checking the group, you are likely to get more traction.
So, you can imagine that 2000 members of a specific group will get your specific content by email. If you know that 25% of them decide to open that email and follow the link, that’s a lot more effective than sharing something to a group of 1 million people, of which only 20 will actually visit your link. And those 20 are even less likely to buy from you. Why? Because they may not be interested in SaaS, or they’re not from your segment, but the article title intrigued them and so they clicked through to your article.
How to develop your content sandbox on LinkedIn
Smaller, mid-sized groups could be a nice way to get accustomed to groups, which also enables your company or your staff to play in a sandbox while not in a public arena. You can find out quickly what works, and what titles work and if you include a call to action. If you try with three or four smaller groups, you can learn a lot of things and then go back to the larger groups. Once you’re finished, you’ve gained more information about what works and can scale more effectively.
Should I exercise caution when sharing content on LinkedIn?
When you have content to share, the easy option is, of course, to hit publish and rely on LinkedIn to allow people in your network and others to view it. LinkedIn allows you to choose between allowing anyone or allowing certain groups to view your article.
So how do you decide on the best audience for your content? Should you look at creating content specifically for groups or individuals? Or should you just make it public to anyone and everyone?
Daniel says that most people don’t want to see too many updates from you on LinkedIn. If you’re sharing something on LinkedIn more than once a week, then some people will become blind to whatever you share. You might actually annoy them. And if you annoy them too much, they will decide to unfollow you or hide your content.
That means that even if you share your best resources, they won’t be able to see it. So instead of sharing a lot, he advises thinking in terms of quality. Sharing one piece of content, such as the best piece of content you’ve read all week is enough for your connections. But if there are other ways to share the content after you create the article or the video or the podcast, then looking at groups, as mentioned, is one way to gain access and traffic to that content from people you’re not connected with.
Should I build a community on LinkedIn?
It’s tempting to consider building your own group on LinkedIn. But before you do that, you should find out if your community exists elsewhere. If it does, then there could be ways for you to build community a lot faster.
Getting to your first 500 group members might take a long time. If there’s a good group out there, and if the group owner or manager is not in direct competition with you, then once you share interesting high-quality content, they’re going to notice you, as will members of the group.
Daniel says he would only start a group if some major event happened that he knew for sure no one could cover, because it would be a black swan. That could be a good way to create a group that, even though it might overlap with existing groups, would not specifically cater to the same event or theme. This could be a good way to create a group and even get to a sizable number of members.
Otherwise, start by examining, scanning, and analyzing the landscape. In probably 80% of cases, there are good groups and communities out there. Remember that to be a part of a community requires you to ask, Does the content really educate my community? Or is it just my way of showing how great I am?
Networking—the secret to using LinkedIn for powerful marketing results
We have covered that using LinkedIn is a lot like networking. Networking should not be done only when you have no clients, or you want to find another job. Networking is like raising funds—it’s not something you do only when you need it. You should do it all the time.
It’s not enough that you have the perfect profile you have today. It could change at any time because LinkedIn tweaked something. They rarely announce changes.
So, after investing some time and training your staff on LinkedIn, it would be advisable to think about reviewing your business portfolio on LinkedIn, looking at your profiles, looking at your company page, and checking if there’s a gap. For example, spending an hour once a quarter will help you discover things, and will make it a lot easier for you to stay up to date. You want to ensure there is as little a gap as possible between what you would say to your ideal client and what they understand on their own by reading your profile.
It’s not about working harder. It’s about working smarter on LinkedIn.
- Connect with Daniel on LinkedIn
- Check out Daniel’s site – danielalfon.com
- Check Daniels response to the question – What makes a LinkedIn profile great?
- Learn from Joe Rizzo – How to Use LinkedIn for Powerful Business Marketing Results
- Learn from Joe Apfelbaum – How to Use LinkedIn For Business Development
- Learn from Marti Sanchez – How to Become a Thought Leader That Quickly Boosts Your Company Growth
- Listen to my interview with Marko Pavicic – How to Boost Lead Generation on LinkedIn With Neuroscience
- Listen to my interview with Kylie Chown – How to Develop a Powerful LinkedIn Strategy for Business
- Get even more inspiration with Tyron Giuliani – LinkedIn Messages to Connect: How to Use Them to Increase Your Close Rate