LinkedIn has over 313 millions users globally, and this number is growing. We find out how businesses use LinkedIn to market, which businesses are most suited to using it and four steps to getting started with marketing on LinkedIn.
Social media has taken the world by storm and offers businesses a new way to interact with customers, as well as an immediate platform for marketing.
Not every social network has the same type of visitors, so for best results, it’s important to understand the demographics of the social network before diving into your next marketing campaign. In part two of our social media series, we take a look at LinkedIn, which has more than 313 million users worldwide.
1. Get started as an individual LinkedIn user
As with most social networks, the first step to using LinkedIn is to establish a presence for both individual staff members and the business. Users can sign up for free as individuals and then create a business page, which other users can follow. Once you’ve created an account, you can connect with people you know, post some links on your profile and content and join groups with similar interests.
Gareth Llewellyn, Owner of Sydney-based Artechulate Social Communications, says LinkedIn is of most value in the business-to-business space where it can help people succeed professionally and commercially.
“LinkedIn should be seen above all as a place to showcase your expertise and to demonstrate thought leadership in your field, and a place to connect, person-to-person,” he says. “LinkedIn packs the greatest punch for professionals and not so much for brands. I have not seen company pages, for instance, providing that much value, except in the area of search.”
Llewellyn believes LinkedIn is a powerful social network for professionals who want to connect with customers and partners.
2. Create a LinkedIn company page
Matthew Tindale, Director of Marketing Solutions for Australia and New Zealand at LinkedIn, says creating a company page is a “mothership” for a number of different marketing options. “Make your company page a great destination for people looking to work there or do business with you,” says Tindale. “From a marketing perspective, use it for sending out content to members. There are lots of different ways to grow organic engagement by building a follower base to your company.”
Tindale believes LinkedIn has moved from “résumé to reputation” for both individuals and businesses. “People will check the profile of the person [and company] they want to do business with and from there you can gauge the type of company,” he says. “We recommend having a professional-looking profile [as] employees are incredibly powerful at influencing a business.”
3. Start publishing and influencing on LinkedIn
LinkedIn allows users to publish articles for immediate distribution to their connections and groups that they have joined.
Llewellyn says it is well worth considering investing time and resources into LinkedIn publishing, as long as you don’t overdo it. “The welcome mat on this is very thin and easily worn out,” he says.
Llewellyn says it’s important to remember the following key aspects:
- cadence – “too often will do more damage than not at all.”
- value – “add value to the debate and try not to blow your own trumpet too much.”
- brevity – “as with blogging, pieces should be to the point.”
- eye-catching – “the headline and image are the most important aspects.”
According to Tindale, LinkedIn has moved to become the definitive content publishing platform for professionals, and users engage with LinkedIn content seven times more than they engage with jobs ads.
4. Investigate paid LinkedIn options – especially if you want to reach a B2B audience
LinkedIn has a “freemium” business model, where subscribers can upgrade their account for a fee, and, like many social media platforms, it also offers paid advertising options in addition to organic marketing.
Tindale says the costs of LinkedIn paid services are in line with other forms of marketing. “It’s similar to marketing through other channels,” he says, “and for as little as $1,000, you get the self-serve platform. Higher-end enterprise clients spend millions [of dollars] on LinkedIn.”
Tindale adds that sponsored updates can be delivered natively to any member you want to target. “For example, a small technology business can reach all the IT decision-makers in Australia,” he says. “This is one of the best-performing products and the fastest growing in LinkedIn history.”
Regular display advertising is also an option and ads can be targeted for an audience.