Is LinkedIn the right platform for your business?
Whilst many businesses have jumped onto the LinkedIn bandwagon, there are still plenty of businesses that are either a) not using LinkedIn at all or b) have a LinkedIn profile but are not maximising the potential of the platform.
Once upon a time, LinkedIn was a platform used by people looking for jobs. It was a chance to create an online CV that could be viewed by prospective employers and a space to showcase your skills and get feedback from colleagues and people you work with.
It has evolved into much, much more. Especially for businesses.
Whilst individuals continue to use LinkedIn to build personal relationships, make introductions to prospective clients and customers and stay up to date with industry trends, there is a real opportunity for businesses to market both their products and services as well as promoting themselves as thought leaders within their relevant sector.
If you are not using LinkedIn to its full potential, keep reading this post to uncover some revealing stats as well as learning more about some of the key features of LinkedIn that makes it such an appealing platform for B2B companies.
The key stats…straight from LinkedIn
Perhaps now more than ever, you need to make every single cent count when it comes to delivering ROI on marketing spend. This means choosing the best performing platforms becomes more important than ever. Whether that’s an actual investment in the form of advertising and paid posting or time costs of you or your staff members managing and publishing content, LinkedIn should be a platform that enters consideration, especially for B2B businesses.
Don’t just take our word for it though. Here are some pretty convincing stats straight from LinkedIn:
- LinkedIn is inhabited by 706+ million members in over 200 countries and territories, more than 55 million companies. (LinkedIn internal data)
- Professionals are signing up to join LinkedIn at a rate of nearly 3 new members per second. (LinkedIn internal data)
- LinkedIn members interact with Pages more than 1 billion times per month. (LinkedIn internal data)
- There are 2.9 million groups on LinkedIn, which include industry and interest communities, company and university alumni groups, and professional associations. (LinkedIn internal data)
- In the last 12 months, 96% of B2B marketers used LinkedIn to distribute content. (Content Marketing Institute, July 2020)
- 80% of B2B marketers put paid behind their content on LinkedIn over all other platforms (Content Marketing Institute, July 2020)
- LinkedIn is among the world’s top 10 fastest-growing brands. (BrandZ 2019)
As the world’s largest online professional network, LinkedIn is inherently B2B-centric. It’s where professional relationships are forged, careers are developed, and business is done. As a result, the platform is nearly ubiquitous as a content marketing channel for B2B marketers, and atop the social media chart.
How to maximise the impact of LinkedIn
Whilst you may be familiar with personal LinkedIn profiles, it’s important to maximise the features and benefits of a business profile. There are a few basic things you need to do before you get stuck into some of the key features of LinkedIn. These include:
- Make sure you have a clear profile picture. This would, in most cases, be your company logo, correctly sized for clarity so it is easily identifiable when you post or comment.
- Include a relevant background image that reflects your business and is easily identifiable with your business. Try and keep this consistent with the images you might find on your website and other social profiles so your brand becomes more recognisable online.
- Provide a compelling summary section that tells people about your business in a way that is engaging and relatable. Including a story about your business, how it was formed and the people that make it great is a great way to start to form a relationship with your audience.
- Make sure you include your key services in your About section and prioritise your main areas of business so these stand out.
- Keep your profile up to date. Make sure you post regular updates so that people can see that you are active on the platform. This can be as simple as sharing a blog post from your website or writing an article direct to LinkedIn (more on that below).
- Respond to all comments and direct messages. This is an absolute must across all social platforms and is an important element of relationship-building through LinkedIn.
Some of these tips may seem very basic, however, it’s amazing to see how many businesses let their profiles lapse even though prospective customers and future employees are still visiting the profile to find out more about the business.
It should be a case of you’re all in or you’re not in at all. If you are going to use LinkedIn as a marketing platform, you need to commit the time to keeping it up-to-date and maximising the impact. If you can’t commit this time, it’s probably better not to set up a profile so you are not sending out mixed messages to your audience.
Tips for maximising your LinkedIn presence in 2021
Once you have taken the plunge and decided to go all-in when it comes to LinkedIn, there are a few things you can be doing to maximise your presence on the platform. Some of the best tactics we have seen include:
Post regularly but not too much
We’ve already touched on the need to keep your profile up to date and post on a regular basis, however, there is the potential to post too much. Research by Onalytica found that posting 10-30 posts per month was the sweet spot in terms of engagement, achieving close to 80 engagements per post at that frequency.
This number starts to fall away the more you post and once you hit over 50 posts in a month, this drops off to below 30 engagements per post.
We have found that posting 2-3 times a week for our clients drives the best engagement, however, this is also totally dependant on the quality of the content we are posting. Focus on quality over quantity and you will see a bigger impact on engagement than focussing on frequency.
The times at which you post can also dramatically impact engagement. With social media platforms like Facebook or Instagram, we often recommend posting between 7 pm and 9 pm, however, this is not the case for LinkedIn. People don’t tend to head to LinkedIn in their evening downtime and are much more likely to look at their LinkedIn page before work or early in the morning once they arrive at work so posting sometime between 7 am and 10 am tends to drive the best engagement. This also gives you time during the day to respond to comments.
Share visual content and videos
Whilst LinkedIn is a platform aimed at professionals, we still like to consume visual media including videos and strong imagery. They draw our attention and help to drive relevant clicks to the content we are sharing.
If you are sharing a link to an article on your own blog, make sure you optimise the image so it displays as a full image in the feed and not a thumbnail next to the article link – a full-sized image is much more likely to capture attention as people scroll their feeds than a small thumbnail.
Consider creating customised graphics that can be branded and applied to showcase articles or even published as a carousel to tell a particular story.
Post direct to LinkedIn
One thing that we have learned over time is that LinkedIn prefers you to post content to their own platform instead of linking off to third party websites. That makes sense, however, it is something that a lot of businesses are still not doing.
If you want to post a video to LinkedIn for example, don’t just share a video you have posted on YouTube. Post your video direct to LinkedIn, even if that video already sits on YouTube. You will get much more engagement that way.
LinkedIn also recently released a new feature that allows businesses to write long-form articles directly to LinkedIn. This has been a feature for individuals for some time, but if you have a company blog with no specific author, this has previously not been possible through a business profile, but that option now exists and it’s one you should take advantage of.
Content that lives natively always performs better than ‘link posts’. You will find posts direct to LinkedIn perform much better in terms of engagement and reach than link posts.
You can (and should) continue to post the content to your business blog as well, however, unless your goal is to drive clicks from LinkedIn to your website and you have a strong case that suggests these visitors then turn to customers, then posting directly to LinkedIn will improve the performance of your content.
Don’t just share your own content
This is a tactic that is stolen from other social media platforms but one that is still highly relevant to LinkedIn. Don’t just share your own content.
LinkedIn is all about building networks and relationships, so make sure you are sharing other people’s relevant content. This can be industry thought-leader content, news, trends or posts from partners or customers.
Whilst the original rule of thumb (coined by Joe Pulizzi of the Content Marketing Institute) was 4-1-1, we’re not sure that ratio works exactly for LinkedIn, especially if you are only posting 2-3 times a week. The 4-1-1 rule basically says, “For every one self-serving post, you should repost one relevant post and most importantly share four pieces of relevant content written by others.”
If you followed this rule when you only post 2-3 times a week, you would find your feed would hardly include any of your own content. Instead, we find a 1-1-1 rule to work better on LinkedIn. We look to post one third party post, one post written by ourselves and one ‘sales’ post which could be about a product or service we offer. We try not to be too rigid when it comes to posting on LinkedIn. We might also mix in some shared content to that schedule as well if we see something that catches our eye – posting content in a timely manner is also important so keep your LinkedIn schedule flexible.
Also, don’t be afraid to add your opinion to the content you are sharing and always make sure you tag in relevant businesses and individuals if they have some relevance to the article you are sharing.
Don’t be salesy
Whilst your goal is to make connections and ultimately make sales, LinkedIn is not the platform to be salesy. Your goal on LinkedIn is to let people find out more about your business, what you do, who you are etc. Part of this will involve talking about your products and services, but your messaging should focus more on how your product can benefit others rather than telling people what your product is.
Sometimes you can do this by creating thought leadership content that has a direct link to your products or services. Let’s say you are a market leader in biometric technology such as facial recognition. Creating thought leadership content about the future of facial recognition that then links back to your own products and how they are shaping that future is an indirect way of selling your product and driving real interest and engagement.
LinkedIn is a great platform for businesses large and small and a place where you can really expand the reach of your brand, especially if you are a B2B business. It’s important to ensure you commit the time to maintaining your profile, posting regularly and responding to comments and questions on there so people can see you are an active user. It also pays to keep up to date with other relevant businesses within your sector, industry and thought leaders and join in with conversations where you have something to contribute.
We help to manage social media profiles for a number of clients and have seen some amazing growth in both engagement and following deploying the tactics outlined above. If you want to improve your reach, engagement and ultimately your bottom line, get in touch today.