LinkedIn is the secret weapon that has the power to push your B2B social media strategy into high gear -- and we have created LinkedIn best practices for business to help you use it to its fullest potential.
What started as a simple networking and job search tool has blossomed into much more. Now we use LinkedIn for research, marketing, and thought leadership -- with excellent results.
Why Use LinkedIn for Your B2B Business
LinkedIn is a powerhouse of opportunity that helps your business reach its goals. At last count, LinkedIn had more than 467 million users, many of whom are business owners and other professionals. Using LinkedIn puts your brand on their radar.
But do professionals and executives really use this network? According to one study, 50% of B2B buyers use LinkedIn in their purchase decisions. Another 70% of professionals viewed LinkedIn as a trustworthy source of content.
Users are very engaged on LinkedIn. And because of the business-centric atmosphere of LinkedIn, around 92% of B2B businesses market themselves on network.
But this platform is more than simply a way to make business connections. Many use LinkedIn to...
- Publish thought leadership content
- Engage with like-minded communities and groups
- Nurture their audience
- And much more...
While LinkedIn is a valuable resource for your business, this doesn't mean that everything you do on this network is earmarked for success. You need to approach LinkedIn as strategically as any other marketing channel. This means keeping up with LinkedIn best practices, including LinkedIn posts best practices, LinkedIn marketing best practices, and more.
Before we get into general best practices for LinkedIn, let's consider a few marketing best practices you should follow in terms of LinkedIn.
A Few LinkedIn Marketing Best Practices to Follow:
- Create SMART goals -- Standing for specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound, SMART goals are as important in LinkedIn as they are in your regular marketing strategy. These kinds of goals help to keep you on track throughout all of your LinkedIn endeavors
- Develop LinkedIn-specific audience personas -- Reaching the right audience is key to your LinkedIn marketing strategy. Use all the data you have on your audience's demographics to craft personas that are as specific and accurate as possible.
- Create a compelling message -- Hone in on a message that engages your audience and speaks to their main pain points.
LinkedIn is a powerhouse of opportunity that helps your business reach its goalsCLICK TO TWEET
Let’s now dive into some of the LinkedIn for business best practices that will fuel your progress and help you reach your business goals.
10 B2B LinkedIn Best Practices That Will Give Your Business a Jumpstart
1. Beef Up Your Profile
Your company profile is the welcome mat for your LinkedIn account -- and if that doesn’t set the right tone, it may turn some people away before they look at anything else.
A few useful tips to get you started include:
- Take the time to write a riveting summary that engages your audience.
- Include your company logo so people know they’re in the right place.
- Use keywords that will make your page easy to find.
- Reply as soon as possible to comments and questions from your audience.
- Post career opportunities to your company profile.
- List your most important products and services.
- Ask for reviews and testimonials -- third party reviews can encourage more interaction.
Once you have your company profile set up and ready to receive visitors, you can move comfortably onto creating content and engaging your audience.
One of the traps that people often fall into on LinkedIn is letting their profile go stale. Give your profile and content some regular TLC in order to engage your audience and keep their interest from wandering. While it does require regular time and effort to keep your LinkedIn account fresh and engaging, your efforts will not go unrewarded.
Always consider the image that you are presenting to your audience. Because of the serious nature of B2B companies in general, some mistakenly believe that they have to maintain a cold, professional front on their LinkedIn profile -- but on social media networks like LinkedIn, this could in fact damage your company. Instead, you should humanize your brand at every opportunity. Your interactions should be friendly and genuine -- not stiff or robotic.
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2. Focus on Education
LinkedIn’s platform makes it easy to publish your own articles. But a word of caution on best practices for LinkedIn posts: this is not a place to promote your company or sell your products.The most successful content on LinkedIn is educational in nature.
Answer common questions that arise in your industry. Address problems and concerns that your audience faces on a regular basis.
Bottom line: The main purpose of your content should be to help your audience.
Even within the bracket of educational content, though, there is still a lot of wiggle room. Depending on the needs and desires of your audience, you could use your content to answer common questions, delve into hot industry issues, and even share the highlights of key industry events.
You can take this one step further with clickable content, such as calls to action, that lead your audience back to your website or a landing page for one of your recent checklists, ebooks or white papers.
Take Hubspot as an example -- a company that has gained massive popularity in the field of inbound marketing largely due to its strong base of educational content. And Hubspot follows that same pattern on social media, which is why they rock their LinkedIn presence.
This kind of educational content works to build your brand’s credibility. As your audience witnesses for themselves your industry expertise and helpfulness, they will be more inclined to work with your brand in the future.
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3. Include Visuals
It has been proven time and again: humans are visual creatures! Studies have shown that the human brain processes visuals 60,000 times faster than text. Add to this the fact that content with visuals gets 94% more views than content without and that 65% of people are visual learners -- the importance of visual content becomes crystal clear.
LinkedIn is no different. Anyone who is an expert on best practices on LinkedIn will tell you that visuals fuel engagement with your audience.
Articles with images, charts, and other visuals are more appealing than those without. It makes it easier to digest the information and remember it. Use as much visual content as you can. This could include charts, infographics, slideshares, and more. At the same time, be sure your visuals are effective. There's nothing worse than a grossly mis-shapen, out of proportion or misapplied visual. Hat tip: Kristal Kukendall
Visuals shouldn’t be limited to LinkedIn’s publishing platform. Use visuals to liven up your profile. Instead of a long list of text to describe you, incorporate a video, infographic, or images that will engage the reader.
In fact, video is growing so fast in popularity that we’ve decided to talk about it as a separate point entirely…
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4. Create Videos
Video is no longer just for Facebook! It is gaining speed as a must-have component of LinkedIn marketing best practices.
There are so many ways to use video on LinkedIn that your audience will never get bored. For starters, you could create a video to
- tell your brand’s story -- give your brand a voice that humanizes it.
- address some of your frequently asked questions.
- interview a leading figure within your industry.
- show customer testimonials of how your brand has helped other clients.
- Enhance your profile with real-life examples of your expertise
And video creation has become so easy that virtually anyone with a smartphone can make one in a matter of seconds. Choose from any number of video creation and editing tools. A few of the tools that we enjoy include:Dennis Koutoudis, a renowned LinkedIn expert and public speaker. He strategically uses video to underscore his skills. For example, he speaks of his ability as a keynote speaker. Rather than taking him at his word or scouring the internet for an example, he provides a video example of one of his speeches right at the end of his summary.
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5. Publish Consistently
Nothing will turn off an audience quicker than stale content. Keep your content fresh. Aim to publish content 1-2 times per week on LinkedIn to keep your audience engaged. If not, they’ll get bored and look elsewhere for content -- and most likely they won’t come back.
As soon as new developments hit the industry, be the first to offer your perspective on it. Audiences will start to turn to you for fresh insights and advice.
Remember, too, that apart from publishing you can also share content from other individuals in your industry. This serves two main purposes. First, it shows your audience that you're on top of industry issues and know what's going on in your field. Second, it nurtures potentially powerful connections with other thought leaders when you share their content. Keep your eyes open for opportunities to share relevant content from other industry experts.
Nothing will turn off an audience quicker than stale content. Keep your content freshCLICK TO TWEET
6. Tag Strategically
Tagging, when done strategically, can draw attention to your posts in a positive way. If done too much, however, it can quickly become annoying.
How does it work? Simply place the “@” symbol in front of someone’s name. This will notify them and place your content in their news feed. And you don't have to be connected to the person to tag them.
If you quote or mention an influential person in your content, tag the person. He or she may repost your content. Not only does this give your content -- and brand -- more exposure, but it also helps to reinforce the influencer's reputation. It’s a win-win.
Note: The tagging feature works only if you're sharing or posting a comment. It doesn't work on the LinkedIn Publishing Platform.
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7. Use Your Employees
Your employees are one of your top resources -- so use them at every opportunity! When it comes down to it, posting on LinkedIn should not be a one-person job. Encourage others on your team to create content to post. This serves several purposes. It gives you more content to post and also humanizes your brand, showing tthe faces behind your brand.
It's great to have everyone contribute their own point of view and areas of expertise to the content pool. But not everyone is a born writer. That's why it's helpful to have an editor on hand to make sure every piece is ready for the public eye.
You can also include your employees by encouraging them to connect with your LinkedIn company profile. This gives you access to their networks as well -- meaning that your reach continues to grow with every employee that connects with you. In addition to connecting with you, encourage your employees to list their position within your company -- a link to your company page will then appear in their profiles.
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8. Leverage LinkedIn Ads
LinkedIn offers a few options for paid ads, depending on your needs. These include:
- Sponsored content -- This takes particularly engaging content that you've already created and amplifies it for a fee to get it in front of your target audience.
- Text ads -- These are ads that appear in a number of places, including the LinkedIn homepage, profile pages, search results pages, and Groups pages. You only pay for the people who click on these ads.
- Sponsored Inmail -- Following the same vein as email marketing, except in the Inmail platform, this allows you to send personalized ads within your target audience's inbox. A plus to this method is that LinkedIn will only send your message to inboxes of members who are active on the network, meaning a greater likelihood that it will be noticed.
These options allow you to choose a method that best fits the needs of your company.
When it comes to amplifying content, how do you know which piece of content to choose? You can rely on your current audience for clues as to what will succeed. If you notice that your audience engages (likes, comments, shares) one piece of content more than others, it’s a pretty sure bet that it will succeed when amplified. Pay to reach a wider audience with that content and ultimately draw attention back to your brand.
9. Create a Group
Get your audience right where you want them by creating a LinkedIn group that draws them into your audience.
We should mention, though, that starting a LinkedIngroup is not for everyone. Before you start your own group, ask yourself if you have the following:
- A strong group of followers that will create a solid foundation -- People look for social proof. They often reason that if a group already has many followers, it must be worth their time.
- A special topic -- There are so many groups vying for people's attention on LinkedIn. Just check out the number of groups under "marketing," and you'll see what we mean. Don't create a new group if you can't bring a new idea to the table.
If you decide that you have what it takes to create a successful group on LinkedIn,here are a few best practices to follow:
- First things first: create a catchy name. By now, LinkedIn has many groups, and sometimes they can get redundant. Stand out with an engaging and different name.
- Keep the group up-to-date. Share the latest information with your group’s audience -- this doesn’t have to be solely content that you’ve created. Share anything that will benefit your audience.
- Encourage your employees to support the group. This can help it feel more alive and inclusive, which will encourage others to participate.
A quick warning: Don't post purely self-promotional content. Share content that helps your group members get the latest information.
If your industry is already saturated with LinkedIn groups, then become an active part of an existing group. Add meaningfully to the interactions within the group and become a distinct voice that always has a significant point to share.
10. Use Analytics
From your company page, you will see a tab that says Analytics. This powerful tool helps you see how your content is doing and where you can improve.
Here are few important metrics that will maximize how you use LinkedIn:
- Visitors -- Keep track of how many people visit your LinkedIn page and exactly what they do there. This data would include page views, impressions, clicks, and new followers.
- Engagement -- This is how much your audiences engages with your content, from clicks to likes and shares. When you see that your audiences engages with certain topics or types of content more than others, you can create more of it.
- Follower demographics -- This is the makeup of your audience. Analyze the data to determine who you’re reaching and help you hone your content to appeal to a certain demographic.
- Competitor comparison -- See how your metrics compare with those of your competitors. It’s always good to keep an eye on the competition.
You can use this information in a few different ways. For starters, see what pieces of content are most popular and create more of the same. Second, you determine who comprises your audience, and modify your approach based on those results.
If you find that you need more precision in your analytics, you can pay for a premium tool, such as Hootsuite to provide a more comprehensive report on your LinkedIn progress.
Whatever you do, one thing is clear: Monitoring your metrics will help you to improve on your LinkedIn strategy.
Key Points to Remember About LinkedIn Posts Best Practices:
- Publish content that is first and foremost educational and helpful.
- Include visuals in your articles as well as your profile.
- Post video content as much as possible.
- Publish consistently
- Tag strategically when you quote or talk about an influential person in your content.
- Use employees to create content that will humanize your brand.
- Monitor your progress with LinkedIn analytics
LinkedIn is a powerful tool that has the power to boost your brand. I hope these LinkedIn best practices help you to use it to its fullest potential.
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