LinkedIn has established itself as one of the key social media and online communities in the world these days, with an estimated 467 million users (as of the end of 2016) across more than 200 countries, in 20 different languages. As opposed to Facebook which could be perceived as a more personal and consumer orientated social network, LinkedIn is focused on connecting communities of individuals and organisations within the professional sphere.
Regardless of whether you are a B2C or a B2B organisation LinkedIn can play a highly important part of your marketing and communications strategy. This feature will assume that you’ve already setup a personal and/ or company page to represent yourself within this community and will focus more on providing you with some tips and tricks you can use to help maximise the LinkedIn universe.
1. Regularly post relevant and valuable content. You’ve likely read this a number of times in other Marketing Advice Bureau articles or from other sources, but a core concept to effective social media delivery is via regular and relevant posting. Hopefully you’ll know your audience by now but ensure that you are consistently posting out content and messaging that is relevant to your audience across your LinkedIn account(s). It could be exactly the same content you’re posting on other networks such as Facebook or Twitter but be sure to optimise it’s structure to suit the nature of LinkedIn posts.
2. Amplify your content circulation. If you’ve got multiple employees within your organisation the quickest and simplest way to boost the impact of your content posting is by using your team. One way to do this is by regularly sharing suggested posts and pre-written content with them on a set basis that they can use to quickly post their own updates – note you can do this for Facebook and Twitter at the same time too. The easier it is to post content the higher the chances that people will do it. You can also use the expertise or specific skills of your team to have them create and share relevant content within their networks. Perhaps engaging and posting into specific LinkedIn groups or just across their own network, this is a great way to deliver value to your audience.
3. Use Groups to Engage. Think of groups within LinkedIn as a targeted way to discuss a specific subject or matter with likeminded individuals. Many individuals and organisations fail to harness the true value of LinkedIn groups by doing one of the following things A) Ignore groups all together B) Join groups but never post content or engage with them C) Post sales heavy content into them with limited value. To really get the most out of groups within LinkedIn use them as a platform to enhance your personal or organisational brand not just as a way to sell. Join relevant and active groups that relate to your personal or organisational profile, connect with relevant contacts and engage with relevant and thoughtful content. Perhaps leave comments or questions onto posts you saw interest in – ONLY once you’ve read them. Don’t be afraid to give an opinion on a subject you’re engaging with – but do mindful of how it reflects on your organisation before doing so.
4. Connect with the Community. You might have forgotten but LinkedIn is a platform designed to prompt and encourage connection between members and communities. The main word here being connection but yet it’s actually often a blurred line when it comes to the perceptions of many people who use LinkedIn. There are a lot of people who would say “I’ll only accept a connection from people I know” or “I won’t connect as I’ve not met them face to face” and whilst those perspectives are perfectly valid it can be detrimental to a lot of the value gained by building a network of connections. Whilst we wouldn’t encourage you to just randomly add thousands of people you don’t know, adding strategically chosen connections and accepting them from relevant individuals can build enormous value to you and your organisation.
5. Use recommendations. In almost every stage of the buying cycle for any product or service, an individual or employee has numerous types of interaction or engagement that can influence their decision…. But few are more powerful that recommendations and endorsements from other “customers”. Engaging with satisfied customers and utilising their experiences and testimonials to impartially endorse your organisation and its offering(s) is a massively powerful tool. Use the LinkedIn recommendations options on your page to promote these and you’ll find them invaluable in striving to boost your reputation and engagement. There are tools you can use – that will come at a financial cost – you can use to promote these more visibly but we will cover those in a future article.
There are a number of other ways in which you can really deliver significant returns from LinkedIn, including paid for marketing campaigns and so on, but we will cover these in our next post. These basics are designed to help you to optimise the core identity and engagement you get from your LinkedIn presence and help to deliver a valuable and positive platform for your organisation.