LinkedIn is a platform that every B2B software marketer has (or should have) covered in their online presence. With over 650 million users, LinkedIn has grown far beyond the job-hunting platform it once was. Today, there are numerous ways you can leverage the platform to expose relevant decision-makers to your content.
Social selling on LinkedIn
Use your LinkedIn profile to reach out to your target audience. As LinkedIn is a social media platform, human interaction is the key to success and highly encouraged by LinkedIn themselves. They provide you with all the tools you need to find the right people among the 650 million users and engage in a conversation. Sales Navigator, their premium sales tool, is highly recommended if you want to make serious progress with your outreach. With this tool you will be able to find LinkedIn members that fit your target criteria without the restrictions you will run into when you use a free account.
When you reach out to decision-makers, you have to make sure that your profile is up-to-date and set-up for social selling. When you are looking for a new job, your profile should be about you and your professional experience; however, when you are social selling, it should be about you and the solution you provide to your target audience. It’s important to highlight the value you can add in the top part of your profile, because people tend to check this out before accepting your connection request.
When prospects do accept your connection request, there are a few best practices to stick to that trigger engagement:
- Personalize your messages based on the profile of the person you are writing to. People respond better to messages that resonate with them, rather than a generic sales message.
- Don’t jump to your end-goal (a meeting, for example) right off the bat. Send short and snappy messages that help you understand your prospects’ needs and then propose a meeting.
- Establish yourself as a thought leader by posting content. Your network will see your posts coming by on their timelines and prospects will get to know you before you even talk to them. Posting regularly also helps you to nurture prospects that need time to see the value of the solution you are offering them.
Create a community
LinkedIn groups can be leveraged to create an exclusive community around your specialism or niche. As with your personal profile, posting relevant content is key in keeping your community alive and active. You won’t get any value out of a group that does not engage. Think of posts that trigger group members to respond, and set up clear group guidelines. Many groups are taken over by members simply promoting their business, which in most cases leads to very little and engagement and prospects running away.
Managing and moderating a group takes time if you want do it well. When you don’t have the resources to host a group yourself, you can use existing groups to identify new prospects. Once you are accepted in a group, you can see its members and engage with posts in the group. A great way to create exposure for your profile and provide value to community members with your expertise. Again, be aware of the guidelines that the hosts have set to avoid spam in their group, so that you don’t get kicked out!
Promote your business with a company page
LinkedIn company pages are a great way to expose prospects and existing clients to what your company has to offer. For a company page to have impact, make sure to have a clear call to action on your page. LinkedIn members can like and share the content on your page, but they can’t contact you directly. Therefore, include your email address, phone number or a link to your website so that interested prospects have a way of contacting you.
Keep in mind that once you create a company page, it is important to regularly share fresh content. There are plenty of company pages that seem completely abandoned with the last post sometimes dating years back. If you won’t be able to sustain regular posting, don’t create a company page. While regularly updated company pages position your company as an industry leader, abandoned pages make your business seem unsuccessful and not worth the time to check out.
Immediate impact through advertising
Creating exposure to your target audience organically takes time. Building a network and establishing thought leadership can take months or even years. To reach prospects immediately, LinkedIn offers businesses the opportunity to advertise. A huge benefit of their advertisement platform is that you can use it to pin-point your audience using granular segmentation options. This means that you can optimize your messaging to highly specific groups of people based on job title, seniority, vertical or geographic location to name a few.
The prices you pay per click or per 1000 impressions heavily depend on competing advertisers on the platform. There is only so much advertisement space available in members’ timelines, so multiple advertisers targeting a certain audience generally drives up the price. Of course, you can control your advertisement spend by setting maximum budgets you are willing to pay. Another important factor that determines the price is the quality of your advertisement. The LinkedIn algorithm favors advertisements that are well optimized for the target audience and receive a lot of engagement.
With all the options that LinkedIn offers, it might be hard to choose. A mix of all four is very powerful, but only if you have to resources to do them well. In most cases, social selling is a great first step to promote your business on LinkedIn. From there on, you can add tactics to your outreach strategy and apply the best practices that lead to engagement with your target audience.
This blog post was originally published on 17 December 2019 and updated for new information.