In last week’s article, we looked at Twitter and Facebook as a channel for B2B brands to connect with their customers and to generate new leads. In this article however, we will focus specifically on LinkedIn.
Not only is LinkedIn a great place to promote your individual work experience and maintain and develop your professional network, it’s also a great place to promote your company.
Quintessentially, B2B marketing is all about creating relationships and LinkedIn is an ideal platform for developing and maintaining business relationships specifically.
Although Facebook is also about creating and maintaining relationships, the members of LinkedIn have business firmly in their minds, so it opens up the possibility of developing new relationships and also generating new leads.
Here are a couple of tips on how to pursue a B2B marketing strategy on LinkedIn:
1. If you don’t already have one, create a LinkedIn Company Page
Your Company Profile functions in a similar manner to individual professional profiles; however your Company Profile encourages word-of-mouth recommendations and testimonials that benefit your brand and bring your products to life.
There are 4 tabs which make up your company page. They are;
This is the reception area of your Company Page. It provides a friendly introduction to your brand. When a member visits his tab, they see everyone in their network who works at your company, your company blog posts and company status updates.
Company status updates are a powerful way to keep your company at the top of your followers minds.
Please note only Company Page Administrators can post Company Status Updates.
To set up this feature, navigate to the “Overview” tab of your company’s LinkedIn Page. Click on the “Admin tools” drop down button, and select “Edit”. You will then see a “Manage Admins” section – this is where you can designate administrators for your Company Page however please note you must be connected to a member to include them as an admin. Once you click “Publish”, all admins can then create updates by entering content in the “Share an update” box.
These status updates will appear on your followers’ homepage updates so try and encourage followers to like, share, and comment on your posts, helping to spread the word about your company.
This section provides you with a unique opportunity to interact with millions of job seekers (however you will need to invest in a silver or gold careers page to take full advantage of this feature).
c) Products and Services
This is your chance to highlight products and services that are relevant to your target audience. A great way to do this is to embed YouTube videos (note this can be done on the Overview page as well as each of the individual Products and Services pages you create).
When a member visits this page, they will see how many of their network connections recommend your product or service as well as their own recommendations.
It is important to get as many recommendations as possible, so reach out to your best customers via LinkedIn’s “Request Recommendations” module. When a member recommends your products, their network connections are notified. LinkedIn display impressions and engagement rates for each recommendation so you can measure its impact and you can also control which recommendations are visible and respond to members comments.
A more advanced feature worth noting is that you can customise content on the Products and Services tab to display personalised content for a particular audience. So that way, you do not show the same products to Finance professionals as you are to a Technology expert.
You can define up to 30 distinct audience segments for different versions of this tab, based on attributes such as industry, job function, seniority, geography and company size.
Visible only to the admins, this page allows you to get a better understanding of your followers – who they are, what they do and what products and services or jobs interest them.
2. Create your own LinkedIn Group and participate
Probably one of the most crucial aspects of LinkedIn is the Groups feature.
Groups are professional networks where like-minded professionals actively take part in discussions, ask questions, answer questions, and share advice on best practices.
If this is your first time dealing with the Groups feature on LinkedIn, it would be best to join a few industry relevant Groups first, rather than creating your own.
If you are interested in social media marketing particularly, here are a few we find useful;
- Social media marketing – with 362k members, you will find no shortage of interesting posts and the most up-to-date news in the field.
- B2B Social Media – this group is specifically for B2B marketers who want to know more about applying social media tactics – it’s carefully moderated so spam and off-topic discussion are removed.
- Strategic Social Media – whilst this group is managed by our very own team, we believe it offers quite a unique take on social media – focussing on social media strategy.
By joining a Group, you can learn how interactions and conversations play out within it.
You will also notice that people do not utilise direct selling methods in actively engaging Groups, so try not to talk about you company’s products UNLESS you are adding something relevant to the conversation (ie. sharing best practice, advice or in-house statistics/reports).
Another benefit of taking part in discussions within Groups is that it also has the potential to help you make new connections and expand your network.
Once you’re comfortable with LinkedIn’s Group feature, you can now make your very own Group and create a thriving community!
When creating your own Group, remember that you will need to cover industry topics from a different angle from any other Group, making your Group as unique as possible. This can be done by exploring existing LinkedIn Groups in your sector.
Secondly, it is important to set your Group as an “Open Group” rather than “Members Only”. This will make your Group discussions viewable and searchable online so that other LinkedIn members can discover, share and participate. Discussions in Open Groups have the added benefit of also showing up on search engine results.
Another important tip when creating a new Open Group is to make sure that you use predefined keyword phrases that apply to your target audience when writing your Group’s summary and description.
This is incredibly important as LinkedIn has a module on every LinkedIn member’s homepage called “Groups You May Like”. This section provides suggestions for Groups based on the keywords in the LinkedIn member’s profiles compared to the keywords that define your Group and keywords that are in the content of discussions occurring in the Group as well.
Finally, your Group now needs some members. To do this you’ll need to promote your LinkedIn Group discussions through other online channels.
Here are just a few ways you can expand your Group and have greater engagement on your Group discussions:
a) People who are connected to your business on other online channels may find it interesting to participate in the discussions of your Group. So you may want to invite your Twitter followers to participate on a particular discussion you feel they might be able to add value to.
b) You may want to feature one of the most interesting discussions of your Group in your company email newsletter.
These discussions can also give you a great idea for the next topic for your company blog, giving you more content to share on your business Facebook Page and Twitter profile – hopefully helping you to connect with relevant contacts and even potential customers.
3. Upload valuable content onto your LinkedIn Profile
Not only can content be created via your Group discussions, but it can also be made available with the integration of LinkedIn’s various applications on your individual profile. For example, integrating applications such as Slideshare, allows you to share your best PowerPoint presentations.
Once you have uploaded your content you can then invite your connections to view the content, however make sure it’s relevant to them.
Presently LinkedIn has not yet allowed Company Pages to utilise this application.
4. Keep your connections up-to-date with Twitter and Blog Feeds
Increase your exposure by featuring your blog posts and Twitter feeds on your LinkedIn profile. Applications such as BlogLink and Tweets will allow you to integrate your blogs and tweets to your LinkedIn profile, thus keeping your connections up-to-date with your most recent communications and posts.
However, a word of warning here; think twice before linking your personal Twitter profile and Blog to your LinkedIn profile – you don’t want potential customers and connections being inundated with your personal Tweets and blog posts. You might want to consider creating a more professional and business orientated Twitter and Blog.
Not only can you connect your Blog to your personal LinkedIn profile but you can also create a blog feed on your Company Page, this will help people in your company’s network keep up with your company’s latest news and events.
Do you have any B2B social media marketing tips you would like to share?
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