There is no lack of use of social media to connect with target audiences and generate leads. In the B2C community, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube have long since proved their value. These channels provide the means by which companies can target specific audiences, engaging and entertaining them to build brand awareness. B2B marketers make use of these channels as well, but the one channel that is really suited for them is LinkedIn. As a B2B marketer, you need to incorporate LinkedIn into your online marketing strategy, if only because of the following:
- There are more than 60 million members and they are all considered a part of the “professional crowd” – people who are connected with companies and corporations or who are business entrepreneurs themselves.
- Someone new joins LinkedIn every second
- Executive and managers from all Fortune 500 companies and below are members.
In looking at how to use LinkedIn as a marketing tool, here are ___ strategies to consider:
1. Dump the Traditional Company Page
Most company pages give the same type of information that the company has on its website – basic information. No one finds that interesting or engaging. You have to think of your company page as an important piece of B2B marketing content. What you really want to do is develop a page that leads to a conversion – that conversion is to click the ink to your website. Here are some ideas to grab attention:
- Use an image that is interesting/appealing
- Add an “elevator pitch” – a catchy short description of the value you bring to clients/customers. Remember, LinkedIn will only show the first part of your pitch, so make sure that you make it catchy enough that the reader will click the “see more” button. This pitch should focus on value and benefit to the user, not on the company.
- Your “Recent Updates” section you include things of interest to a potential client. Have you added new products or services? Do you have a compelling blog post that was recently published? There should be links to these items, again to get targets to your website.
2. Create a Showcase Page (or Several)
LinkedIn set up this option so that businesses can promote their specific products and/or services individually. If for example, you are a lighting company that focuses on both offices and retail establishments, you might have two showcase pages – one featuring lighting in a client’s office environment and one in a store.
- Images should be large
- Each showcase page should target one segment of your target audience
- Link to a specific landing page on your site
3. Used Advanced People Search
Drawing people in by a great company and showcase pages are only one part of making connections on LinkedIn. You should also be using the site to go out and find members of your target audience. You do this through the “Advanced Search” feature. This is accomplished by clicking the icon for people search and then clicking the advanced option. You can then narrow a search by industry type, geographic location, position within a company, and other elements. You will then be given a list of people who meet those criteria.
Save these searches for future use. You will want to develop a “pitch” that is specific to them when you make initial contact. if you choose that route.
4. Use Searches to “Back Door” You Way into Connections
You may not want to contact a target directly. But you can, in looking at that individual’s profile, discover what groups s/he is in. Join those same groups and become an active participant. This is a good plan if you have targeted a particular company which you really want to nurture.
5. Search Groups
There are over 2 million groups on LinkedIn. You will easily find several related to your industry niche. Join these groups and maintain a presence as much as possible. This is always a matter of how much time you have, so be selective and choose only a couple of groups that seem to be the best fit. Here, you will have whole blocks of people you can nurture as leads.
6. Start a Group of Your Own
Once you have joined groups and have established a presence, you may be able to identify a group that will be a good “offshoot” of one you are in. Form a group. Invite all of your current LinkedIn network contacts to join. By doing this, you can begin to position yourself as a leader in your niche – always a good thing. Start a compelling discussion and publish industry news. Ask your members to invite others to participate too. One word of caution: this is not a platform for you to engage in sales – it is a platform for you to continue developing a leadership reputation, connections, and relationships.
7. Publish Content
If you are not familiar with LinkedIn channels, you should do a little investigation. Basically, channels are categories. Users can access articles, and the followings in some of these are quite large. But, you can also publish content. And the “crown” of publishing is to be featured on a channel – for the article to appear on the slider and in the stream of followers. It’s a big deal to be featured on a channel.
Lots of publishers on channels try to get on as many as possible, by creating content for several and publishing on different days of the week. The key to getting featured is to find topics of deep interest, to research them well, and to come up with great catchy headline and visuals. Use a site like BuzzSumo and locate the most popular article titles on any channel – you can get some good ideas there.
Always end your article with a strong CTA, rather than the typical bio that most use.
Using LinkedIn as a marketing tool is a broad strategy that has many specific facets and sub-strategies and tactics. But it is important. Of all social media channels that B2B companies use, 80% of the leads come from LinkedIn. As you use this platform, you will come across new ideas. You would do well to get on the site and spend some time navigating and searching to determine which specific features are best for you.