(Updated: February 9, 2019)
Quick fact: there are over 500 million registered users on LinkedIn, with 40% of those users on the network every day. It's an ideal opportunity for B2B thought leadership and all the benefits that come with it.
What is B2B Thought Leadership?
In the simplest of terms, the combination of thought and leadership makes up the foundation of a thought leader. By definition, a thought leader is “one whose views on a subject are taken to be authoritative and influential.” You don't need to be the smartest person in the room to be a thought leader. The bottom line is that anyone can become a thought leader by providing interesting, helpful and relevant information. And LinkedIn can be a key platform for that.
Many people use LinkedIn as a professional networking tool which is perfectly fine. However, there is more to it than meets the eye.
While B2B executives may be using their LinkedIn profile as an online resume, they neglect to focus on their personal brand and how they want to be perceived in the industry. This is where thought leadership comes into play.
Why B2B Companies Need LinkedIn for Marketing
In the B2B world, connections are particularly important. In order to stay afloat, B2B businesses need to include social media in their marketing strategy. But where does LinkedIn fall among the other social media networks? At the top of the list.
Why is LinkedIn so important for B2B marketing? To answer, let me share a few statistics that put this into perspective:
- 80% of B2B marketing leads from social media come from LinkedIn.
- 92% of B2B marketers use LinkedIn over other social networks.
- 46% of traffic to B2B companies websites comes from LinkedIn.
- 61 million LinkedIn users are senior level influencers within businesses.
- 40 million LinkedIn users are decision makers within their company.
The facts speak for themselves: LinkedIn is a no-brainer when it comes to reaching your B2B audience.
But how can you craft an effective LinkedIn B2B marketing strategy that gets you more leads and establishes you as a thought leader?
Let's answer this question by delving into the two main areas of LinkedIn: your profile and your engagement. We'll outline the tactics that will energize your profile and help you engage more effectively with your audience.
8 LinkedIn Tactics That Will Rev Up Your B2B Thought Leadership
Part 1: Your Profile
Be Authentic and Credible
First things first: Your approach. LinkedIn may be focused on business, but let’s not forget who is behind those businesses: People. Remember this both in your profile and your engagement. Share content that shows you are relatable and credible. Showcase your amazing employees, or highlight some of the good things your company is doing to help customers.
Don't be afraid to share some personal details about yourself that make you more authentic and distinctive. Do you have a favorite hobby? A volunteer project? What are you passionate about? People will want to engage with you because they can personally relate to you and your brand.
SEO isn't just for blogs anymore. It can be used in many places to boost your visibility -- especially on LinkedIn. Determine what keywords will give you the best results and fit in with your thought leadership goals. Then, sprinkle those throughout your profile and headline to reinforce your presence.
This will make your profile more discoverable on LinkedIn (and Google) search results, and will highlight who you are and your special skills.
Here are few crucial things to remember when using keywords on LinkedIn:
- Choose 2-3 keywords that best fit your business and thought leadership goals.
- Use these in your headline and throughout the body of your summary.
- Personalize your URL to include a descriptive keyword -- it boosts SEO and makes you easier to find than janedoe3050.
Craft an Appropriate Headline
These are 120 characters of prime real estate that you don't want to ignore!
Your headline is what will help you to stand out among all of the other brands on LinkedIn. It's the first thing people will scan as they sift through the myriads of LinkedIn profiles. It can make the difference between a more thorough read, or a simple "pass." Make it relevant to your background and expertise -- but also make it stand out from the crowd, and as individual as you are.
How can you take your headline up a few notches? Here are a few points that will boost your headline to grab any reader's attention:
- Use three or four keywords that represent who you are and what you do.
- Identify what decision-makers care about when looking for someone like you.
- Be specific.
- Be human.
Check out this example from Scott Maloff. His headline doesn't go on endlessly, but it makes the point. With one glance, you know exactly what he does, but he makes it stand out with his choice of words. And personally, when I see "CX Empath and Story Wizard," I'm intrigued -- as I'm sure other visitors are too.
Avoid Tooting Your Own Horn
If you're truly an expert and thought leader, people will come to that conclusion on their own. When you try to inflate your importance -- no matter how true it may be -- it often backfires.
Avoid titles like guru, visionary, or best in class -- it's better to let others describe you that way. Don't call yourself a professional -- it's one of those words that is so overused it has lost all meaning. And drop the "seeking new opportunities" -- it wreaks of desperation, and it won't catch anyone's attention, or mark you as a thought leader.
So what kind of things can you write instead? Here's an example to get your creative juices flowing:
20+ years of experience providing financial security to thousands, and advising on their next big move.I back up your company's data and deepest secrets before trojans (and their virus side-kicks) can invade your IT defenses.I'm a copywriting wordsmith with the power to transform boring industry jargon into must-read works of art.
Part 2: Your Engagement
Publish Original Content on LinkedIn
LinkedIn allows all users to publish content directly on its site. It also provides opportunity for your content to reach more than your core audience. If enough people engage with your content -- read, share, like or comment on it -- it might be featured on LinkedIn Pulse. This is an excellent way for B2B executives to share compelling content with their network and gain credibility.
Here are a few points to keep in mind when you get ready to publish content on LinkedIn:
- Publish content that is unique to LinkedIn -- try to avoid just copying and pasting from your blog. If you do take that route, note on your post that it previously appeared on you blog and hyperlink to it. That will help you avoid being penalized by Google for duplicate content. It also shows Google that your blog is the primary source.
- Publish on a weekly basis -- enough to satisfy LinkedIn's algorithm, but not too much as to be considered spam.
- Use visuals at the top of every post that will resonate with your audience.
- Share your post inside and outside of LinkedIn's platform for maximum results.
Videos are a growing part of every social media marketing strategy -- and LinkedIn is no exception. Over the past few years, LinkedIn has worked to build a premium video marketing tool, with features that make it easy and effective.
If you're new to using video on social media, then start with small, manageable videos. The goal of video is to tell your brand story and engage your audience. These videos could be in the form of interviews, behind the scenes tours, Qs and As, and more.
Use LinkedIn's call to action feature to embed a CTA right into your video and draw in your audience and direct them to get better acquainted with your brand.
While videos are great to post as part of your LinkedIn activity, you can also use them within your profile. Consider adding a personal video to your profile that gives your audience a chance to learn about your company and yourself in a more relaxed setting.
Take this example from renowned marketing connoisseur and speaker, Michael Brenner. While he could merely list his speaking engagements and experience, he goes above and beyond with videos that showcase the speeches he has given. And trust me, it is a lot more powerful to watch his charismatic stage presence than simply read about it.
Post and Engage Regularly
Keep your brand top of mind among your audience by liking, commenting, and sharing content within LinkedIn.
This can be content that you've created or curated content that you believe would benefit your audience. Having a good mix of original and curated content can show your audience that you not only create stand-out content, but that you have your finger on the pulse of industry news.
Hashtags and mentions have also become an important part of the LinkedIn community. Next time you share a post -- whether original or curated -- use hashtags to boost visibility and give a shout out to anybody involved with it by using mentions.
Understand and Use LinkedIn Analytics
If you've read our blog before, you know how important analytics and measurement are to any solid B2B PR or marketing strategy. And LinkedIn is no exception.
LinkedIn analytics can help you understand which of your tactics work and which fall short of expectations. You can then take what you learn and readjust your strategy to more accurately hit the mark.
Here are a few key LinkedIn metrics that you should monitor regularly:
- New followers
Depending on your needs, you can get even more precise with analytics. For example, the analytics platform allows you to see specific details about who comprises your audience, such as industry, company size, and seniority. With a more accurate picture of your audience, you can better engage and create content for them.
LinkedIn for B2B marketing is a need-to-have tool for any B2B business. Use these tactics to get the most out of your LinkedIn marketing strategy and make your way up to become a stand-out B2B thought leader.
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