The Definitive Guide To Marketing Your Business On LinkedIn
No other social network comes close to LinkedIn LNKD +2.97% for professional networking and lead generation. However, while many professionals use the platform to make new connections, LinkedIn is much more than just an online rolodex.
If you’re considering marketing your business on LinkedIn, this post will guide you through the ins and outs of using the platform, including:
- What types of businesses should be using LinkedIn (and why)
- Whether you need a personal profile or business page (or both)
- How to use LinkedIn groups to expand your influence
- How to get more followers for your business page
- How to use LinkedIn ads and sponsored updates
Who should be using LinkedIn (and why)?
Businesses in virtually any niche or industry can benefit from using LinkedIn. Some of the key benefits include:
- Making connections with like-minded professionals
- Recruiting candidates for job openings
- Reducing or eliminating the need for cold calling
- Optimizing your presence in search engines
- Connecting with media outlets and generating publicity for your business
- Gaining exposure for your brand
- Establishing yourself as a leader in your niche by sharing blog posts and participating in industry groups
Not surprisingly, B2B businesses report seeing the biggest impact from their efforts on LinkedIn. According to the 2015 Social Media Marketing Industry report, LinkedIn is the most commonly used social media platform for B2B marketers; even more popular than Facebook, in fact. As you can see from the graphs below, this is a clear deviation from B2C marketers, only 9% of whom report LinkedIn as being their most important social platform.
Do you need a personal profile or a business page?
Just like Facebook, LinkedIn offers two options for using the platform: personal profiles and business pages. This section will discuss the features and benefits of each, and suggest where you should be investing most of your efforts.
LinkedIn personal profile
When most people think of LinkedIn, they think of personal profiles. These are essentially mini-websites that display your experience, education and professional connections. Profiles tend to rank well in the search engines, so it’s useful to think of your profile as your online business card.
When I google my own name, my LinkedIn profile is the 3rd result. However, I’d be willing to wager that anyone wanting to learn more about me would click on this result first; as LinkedIn profiles provide more comprehensive information for people-related searches, most users will tend to click on these profiles first. For this reason, your LinkedIn profile is where you should focus your efforts.
- Use a professional quality, close up headshot. 200×200 pixels is the recommended size to ensure it displays properly.
- Your headline – the blurb beneath your name – should clearly identify your industry or occupation. Consider using a complete sentence, and offering a clear value proposition (e.g., “I help business owners get the search visibility they need”).
- Choose the most relevant industry to display under your name. If you’re not sure which industry to choose, look at other profiles in your industry to see what they’ve selected.
- Contact info should be complete and should include full physical address, phone number and website URL.
- Your summary is where you’ll spend the bulk of your time. Keep it factual, rather than using flowery or subjective language. List areas you specialize in, awards you’ve earned, guest posting gigs, and areas of competency. Userelevant keywords that people may use to find you (or someone like you).
- You may add up to 25 skills and endorsements to your profile. The key benefit of this feature is the more people who endorse you, the higher your on-site rankings will be for those particular skills.
- Recommendations are, in my opinion, more important than endorsements for establishing your reputation on LinkedIn. When I read someone’s profile, I usually skip right to the written recommendations. They are more personalized and can offer additional insights into a person’s skills, talents and reputation.
LinkedIn business page
Your business page will be the public listing of your company in on-site search, and is often found in the top Google search results as well. In fact, a Google search for “audiencebloom” surfaces 2 LinkedIn results in the top 5 – my personal profile, and my AudienceBloom company profile page. Following are some tips to optimize your page for search as well as for lead generation.
- Ensure your name, address and phone number (NAP) are consistent with your other local listings.
- Use your banner image (646 x 220 pixels) to define and differentiate your business. Use the same branding (colors, fonts, etc.) as your other social media profiles, but offer a value proposition specific to your LinkedIn audience (e.g., “Follow us to learn how to drive more sales”).
- Link to a dedicated landing page rather than your home page. Use this page to capture emails or to provide a customized message for your LinkedIn visitors.
- Ensure your profile is linked to your company page. On your personal profile under ‘Experience’, click on your company name to edit. Start typing, and then select your company page from the list.
- Encourage your employees to like your page and share your content. Happy employees are often the best brand ambassadors!
- Use Showcase Pages to highlight special products or initiatives. These work the same as pages, allowing you to share updates and sponsored posts with a more targeted audience.
- Use relevant keywords throughout your page, particularly in your ‘About’ section.
Use groups to expand your influence
For B2B business owners, LinkedIn groups offer the unique benefit of fast-tracking your reputation as an industry expert. Through joining industry groups (or creating your own), you get to know like-minded individuals and can make valuable connections in your field.
Keep in mind that, as with all social media, LinkedIn groups are not the place to be directly marketing your business. Find discussions where you can contribute meaningfully to establish yourself as an expert in your field. Like and comment on other people’s posts, and leverage the ‘promotions’ tab to share relevant articles or blog posts you’ve written.
If there aren’t already established groups in your niche, consider starting your own. Be aware that running a group can be time-consuming, especially as the group grows and expands. Some types of groups you could start include:
- A networking group for those in your occupation or profession: e.g. social media marketing professionals
- A location-based industry group: e.g., social media marketers Orlando
- A specific industry-related topic: e.g., Twitter tips for business owners
How to get more LinkedIn page followers
Getting new connections via your personal profile isn’t rocket science. However, getting people to like your business page can be more of a challenge. Growing your LinkedIn page comes down to two main strategies: promoting your page and providing engaging content. Following are 10 simple strategies for getting people to find and like your page.
- Use the LinkedIn Company Plugin Generator to create a badge for your site or blog.
- Optimize your posts for optimal amplification. According to LinkedIn, some of the best ways to do this are to share “best of” lists and videos.
- Promote your page content via your personal profile, as well as on your other social media properties.
- Informative updates dominate on LinkedIn. Share the most popular types of content: industry insights, company news and info about new products or services.
- Post regularly. According to LinkedIn, companies that post 20x per month reach about 60% of their followers with at least one update.
- Regularly post top-notch content to LinkedIn Pulse and encourage your connections and followers to like and share your posts.
- Use LinkedIn share buttons next to each blog post you write to encourage social sharing.
- Include a link to your LinkedIn page in the bio of all your guest posts.
- Share job postings on your page. Popular job postings tend to attract a good number of visits and follows.
- Post during LinkedIn’s busiest times for maximum potential visibility: weekday mornings and midday.
How to use LinkedIn ads and sponsored updates
Like other major platforms, LinkedIn offers users the ability to pay to extend the reach of their posts. There are two main options: display ads and sponsored updates.
LinkedIn’s display ads are very similar to Facebook ads or Google AdWords display ads. Banner ads are available in a variety of sizes, and can appear in a user’s sidebar, homepage, search results page or even in their inbox. You can customize your:
- From (your company name)
- Website URL
As with Google and Facebook, you can choose whether you’d like to pay per click (PPC) or per thousand impressions (CPM). Most small to medium sized businesses prefer PPC, as results can be measured more easily. CPM is more appropriate for larger businesses who are focused on increasing brand recognition. Keep in mind that the minimum PPC amount is $2, making LinkedIn advertising more costly than most other social ads.
Sponsored updates are similar to Facebook’s promoted posts. After posting an update on your page, you can choose to pay to extend the reach of your post to other users’ feeds. As with display ads, sponsored updates can be targeted based on a number of criteria, including job title, location, age or even members of a particular LinkedIn group. You can target your ads to people who are following your page or those who aren’t.
The advantage of sponsored updates (as opposed to display ads) is that you get your content published straight into users’ feeds, right alongside organic content. Promoting your content in this way can increase engagement for your posts, drive traffic to your site, and help you grow your page followers. Note: You must have a company page in order to purchase sponsored updates. You cannot post sponsored updates from your personal profile.
If you’re considering LinkedIn ads or sponsored updates, keep the followingbest practices in mind:
- Always use a colorful, relevant image in your display ads and sponsored updates. If you’re using text within the image, ensure it’s big enough to be read without zooming in.
- Change up your ads regularly to avoid banner blindness. LinkedIn recommends refreshing your ads at least once per month.
- Always use a strong call to action in your ads (download now, get access, etc.)
- Use a benefit in your headline to tell viewers how you can help them (e.g., get more clients)
- Create multiple ads to test different ad variations.
- Good ads should have a click-through rate of around 0.025%. If your CTRs are lower than this, modify your ad until you’re happy with your results.
- Make sure your sponsored updates hold a clear value proposition. LinkedIn recommends posting professional advice, educational opportunities or interesting facts.
- If you want to purchase a sponsored post but don’t want to share it with your page followers, consider LinkedIn’s Direct Sponsored Content. This option allows for additional segmentation of your ads and the ability to test content in real-time.
- Don’t forget to respond to comments and questions on your sponsored updates. Treat them just like you would organic posts on your page.
LinkedIn can be an extremely powerful tool for making new connections, generating leads and increasing brand exposure. For B2B companies, being active on the platform is a must; because whether you’re using it or not, you better believe your competitors are.