In the past few years, LinkedIn has rolled out several features for companies looking to market themselves on the professional social media site. With a heavy B2B focus, these tips can help you take advantage of LinkedIn Business profiles for business growth opportunities.
Before you begin, make sure your company page is 100% complete. LinkedIn will show you a percentage of your progress as you add more content. Images are especially important to make your page look full and professional. Once your profile is complete, you’re ready to use LinkedIn for business marketing.
Here are the top 15 tips to get you started.
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Link all of your online presence together: Twitter, Facebook, company website, WordPress blog, e-mail signatures, etc. You want people to be able to find your company on one and then follow you through to others. This usually means adding widgets and other links—whether direct or just to a particular article—on each profile.
It’s best if you keep the content a little separate so there is a value to following you in multiple places. But an occasional forward from your blog to your LinkedIn feed is perfectly appropriate and can help expand your presence online.
On printed materials, like brochures and business cards, you can include a QR code that when scanned with a cell phone or tablet takes the user directly to your LinkedIn business page. Use a QR code generator like GoQR.
You may also want to start listing your LinkedIn business link in various places, but make sure to customize it first for a tidier, more professional look. You can find an easy step-by-step guide to do that here.
2. Showcase Pages
To help target different audiences and directly market your different products or services, start a series of Showcase Pages.
These pages are designed for large corporations who may have multiple subsidiaries, but they work just as well for smaller businesses who have different brands or services. You can also use a Showcase for a specific initiative or nonprofit arm of your company. Really, you can use a Showcase for anything you want to go into more detail on—just ensure you have enough information and graphics to fill out an entirely new page.
The idea is to create a landing page that provides a lot more in-depth information about a specific part of your business that may not have fit in your company description. It’s also useful if your company expands its offerings and needs help with rebranding.
3. Profile View Browser Extensions
There are a variety of LinkedIn related browser add-ons. Profile View, in particular, is a helpful one. This extension will let you see everyone who views your page. You can find if anyone relevant to your marketing campaign has clicked your profile and use that information as a segue into starting a conversation. It can also help you with targeted marketing through InMails.
4. Pay for Premium Sales Plan
If you’re in a position to push sales, using LinkedIn for businesses plans can help you more effectively market. They offer a Sales Navigator plan in particular that features a lead builder function. It can import your sales contact information from third party software like Salesforce.com or Microsoft’s Dynamics program. The one downfall is the limit of 25 InMails per month. LinkedIn is trying to prevent spam, so make sure you utilize the lead producing capability wisely in order to find the best people to approach.
The cost of the Sales Navigator plan is $1200 per year, which is on par with similar software tools and significantly less than the $8500 LinkedIn charges for its other business-oriented plans. There are premium plans for less, but the features are limited for LinkedIn business marketing purposes. Only consider these plans if you have a broader strategy in mind, like heavy recruiting.
5. Download the App
This sounds—and is—simple. The smartphone app version of LinkedIn is a hugely useful tool, making it much easier to browse and respond to messages.
Their secondary app, Elevate, is best for businesses looking to increase their presence by quickly and easily sharing content. As you know, sharing content is one of the easiest ways to increase your presence as a LinkedIn business.
6. Create Your Own Group
Many users make the mistake of joining all of the largest applicable LinkedIn groups in order to reach as many eyes as possible. While you want to join a few of these, creating your own group can be a viable route, too.
Your group should be as niche as possible. Consider tailoring your group to your location and advertising the group as an in-person networking coordinator for industry insiders. When you set yourself as the administrator and take on the lead role in creating discussions, you have prime opportunity to market your company. You can start inviting your employees and industry contacts to join in the group.
7. Create Video Content
Videos have proven time and again to be the most effective content. It takes longer to produce than written content, but its payoff can be huge. A small point-and-shoot camera and minimal editing are all you need. You can even double your content outreach by taking an article you’ve written or discussed and producing a non-scripted 1 to 2 minute video.
If you decide to keep the trend going, always sign off your videos with a call to action: “Follow us on LinkedIn for business updates and industry insights.”
Share video duty if at all possible. Just like with written content, it’s important to get a sense of your company’s team and their wide variety of experience. You may consider, for example, having an “Ask the Expert” segment where you take user-submitted questions and film your experts answers.
8. Use the Search Function
Why wait for them to find you? Start using LinkedIn’s robust search function to reach out to potential clients, partners, vendors and more.
LinkedIn allows you to apply multiple search filters to narrow down the most useful connections. From there, you want to start communication without a hard sales pitch. Invite them to share their thoughts in your new group or to ask questions about their expertise.
Don’t forget to save your search so you can come back to the same filtered results.
You can also use the search to find and connect with everyone you meet in-person first. If you have a sales meeting or contact a new client, reach out through LinkedIn, too. Let them know you want to keep updated with each other. This allows a constant contact that will keep your company’s name in their mind.
9. Sponsored Content
Choose a few high quality written posts and pay for increased visibility. Sponsored content will show up at the top of others’ feeds, even if they’re not following your company page.
10. Sponsored InMail
You can use LinkedIn for highly effective direct marketing using sponsored InMails. These are messages for which you pay to reach anyone on LinkedIn you feel might be interested in your company.
Sponsored InMails show up at the top of the recipient’s inbox. They also allow you to message anyone, not just users within two degrees of your existing connections. You can choose to send your message from the company profile or from an individual within the company, like a VP.
Last year, LinkedIn rolled out an active delivery feature. Your message is actually not delivered until the intended recipient is signed in and active on LinkedIn.
You also have the option to select and personalize messages for a specific individual or to send out thousands of the same message. Some businesses have used this mass messaging feature to let other professionals know of event invitations, but beware of coming off too spammy.
The one drawback to Sponsored InMails is the cost. You must commit a budget to start a campaign, and there are no free trials or entry level packages.
11. Display & Text Ads
The final and most straight-forward type of marketing offered by LinkedIn for businesses is display and textadvertisement. These ads are for text, picture and even video.
You can pay per impression or per click and can set a daily budget.
When you choose your audience for this kind of ad, you want to go as niche and narrow as possible. You can target people in certain locations, by seniority, or those in one or more specific industries. Your value in LinkedIn comes from knowing who to target, so do some market research first if necessary and stay tuned to your Analytics tab for results.
12. Introduce Your Contacts
Use your company profile to arrange “Introductions.” Let’s say you have a client that is looking for or uses a service you do not provide. You can formally introduce the client to another known provider, which puts you at a personal, helpful level with both parties. You’ll often find they both will repay the favor by sending their contacts to you in the future. This is a type of free personal marketing that often pays off far better than paid ads.
13. Tag Others
Include other companies or people with @ mentions to tag them in your post. This helps you seem more connected as an “insider,” even if the tagged names are people you don’t know personally. If your content is interesting enough, the person mentioned may share your post; if they have a broader audience, that’s a real win for free exposure.
14. Use LinkedIn Analytics
LinkedIn has graciously built in an analytics software to help you test and refine your marketing strategies.
The LinkedIn Analytics page will show you data on your content updates as well as the number and breakdown of your page visitors and followers. You’ll see how many people view versus engage (like, comment, or share) your content. The demographic breakdown will show you where your content viewers live, the seniority of their position and and their industry.
You’ll also find out how your followers and visitors are finding you, whether it’s organically or through Company follow ads or Sponsored Content.
If you paid for ads, you’ll have a separate tab displaying the effectiveness of those.
15. Consider an External Marketing Software
LinkedIn’s algorithm notifies users when someone else looks at their profile. For non-paying users, this only shows the last 5 accounts who took a peek.
So how can you keep your company’s name on this exclusive list? There are a few external services that automatically few thousands of profiles a day.
There are other companies that will auto-message user accounts, but these non-individualized messages are immediately recognized as spam and treated as such. If you want to go the messaging route, you need to use the search function to target professionals who best fit your audience and write a unique message explaining why you want to connect. If you want to send mass messages, you’re better off using LinkedIn’s InMail system, which is known to be more legitimate.
Once you’ve tried a few of these tips, the best way to use LinkedIn for business to business marketing is staying active. Create and share content, connect with other industry leaders, post in groups, and engage with others’ updates. You don’t necessarily have to spend money, but it can certainly help increase your exposure. Luckily, LinkedIn business networking is fast-growing so new features to market your company are always on the horizon.