Get Connected with LinkedIn

In a recent article we talked about the potential to utilise LinkedIn as part of an integrated social media strategy. But in a B2B scenario LinkedIn is also a powerful marketing tool in its own right. Make no mistake; LinkedIn is a platform where you really need to get your strategy spot on to be noticed in the right way. So here are some of our favourite nuggets of wisdom to help you get under the skin of the world’s largest business networking platform.

The power of LinkedIn

The stats

Not sure whether LinkedIn is the right tool for you? These facts and figures will help you to make informed decisions:

  • LinkedIn celebrates its 10th birthday this year with the announcement that the network has grown to hold 200 million members worldwide
  • The site receives 160 million unique visits per month and is the 23rd most visited web property worldwide
  • The average LinkedIn user is male (57.9%) and aged between 25 and 54. However during 2012 the demographic group that grew most rapidly was aged between 18 and 24
  • The highest concentration of LinkedIn users is in the US (58.5 million), followed by India (13.3 million) and the UK (8.4 million)
  • Demographically speaking, entrepreneurship and sales top the leader board as the most prominent job roles. Plus 39% of LinkedIn users are in senior management, executive or ownership roles.

It follows that if you’re looking for B2B market penetration focused on senior people then LinkedIn is a route worth investigating – especially given that many of its services are free.

Your LinkedIn Profile

what you should include (and what you definitely shouldn’t)

LinkedIn users are serious about business and expect you to take yourself seriously as well. They’ll glean a lot about your brand and offer from your profile, so it’s essential to make sure you tick all the boxes here.

Treat your profile on LinkedIn with as much gravitas as you would your CV. Make sure you’re bold, clear, punchy and relevant and that you complete every section of your profile with disciplined detail.

Don’t just ask for hundreds of recommendations for the sake of it. Busy executives are looking for relevant information they can access quickly. Focus on bringing in a few well-chosen recommendations that come from credible sources and offer high quality, informative content.

LinkedIn has recently introduced endorsements to complement the recommendations function. These are a great way of reinforcing the message about just how wonderful you are, but the snag is that they don’t give any detail of your connection’s actual experience of working with you. So recommendations are still well worth generating to give those viewing your profile the detail they need.

Oh, and use a professional photo. This is a serious business network. Nobody wants to see that snapshot of you in a sombrero and swimming trunks in 1998…

Now for your company page

Your company page isn’t just about generating followers. Think of it first and foremost as a showcase for your company and what makes it special. LinkedIn have provided some great functionality on this page – not least the ability to add specific products and services and then invite recommendations for them. It’s crucial to take the time to get your products and services right, especially since the keywords you use here are searchable elements that could generate more traffic to your company page.

OK, you’ve got the basics down, what next?

Naturally once your profile and company page is up and running you’ll spend some serious time searching and connecting – initially with people you know. If you’re showing an interesting profile that’s well put together you may well find that starts to snowball. Then you’re going to want to explore what else LinkedIn has to offer – so take a look at:

Groups: Groups are easily searchable and it’s tempting to join hundreds of them. Some argue that it can be worth doing this simply to expand your presence – after all it’s free and doesn’t take all that long.

But if you’re looking to initiate genuine dialogue and generate new relationships try examining your choice of groups carefully. Particular indicators are the number and profile of members – but more importantly seek out a high concentration of discussion activity. That shows that the group is active and paying attention to what others are saying – hence they’re likely to pay attention to you. After all, sharing your flashes of genius with a group that is actually dormant is nothing more than a waste of your time.

Discussions versus promotions: Most groups will accept discussion and promotion posts. A word of warning – they’re not the same thing! A lot of promotions are subject to approval (depending on the group) so it can be tempting to bypass this and use discussions to promote your new product or service. But you won’t be popular for doing it. Discussion is discussion. Promotion is promotion. People don’t like being spammed. Enough said.

Advertising: Some LinkedIn enthusiasts are of the view that the advertising ROI you’ll get here is superior to other social media channels. We say (as we always do) that it depends on your offer and your target market, plus how compelling your messaging strategy is. Even LinkedIn won’t commit to specifying a likely ROI or CPC rate – because these are impossible to define without detailed intelligence on your particular campaign. However you can access some official LinkedIn advice on strategies to optimise your advertising return and this is well worth a look.

Like any online network the more you put into LinkedIn the more return you’re likely to enjoy. Those who do it well and with dedication can reap huge rewards.

If you’re looking to ramp up your B2B strategy online this is just one of the areas where we can help.

Just talk to the Digital Potion team or view our services to understand how we could add value to your venture.


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