For B2B brands, this is an opportune time to be focusing on LinkedIn for marketing. But doing so in the right way is paramount, because it is very easy to get it wrong. (And so many marketers do.)
The social media platform’s strengths as a B2B marketing channel are undeniable:
- More than 700 million professionals from around the globe, all with rich profile data including locations, job titles, seniority and more. Not only do members share these details openly, but they are motivated to keep them updated and accurate, for purposes of career development and professional identity.
- Ability to easily surface mutual connections and opportunities for personal introductions, via 1st-degree, 2nd-degree, and 3rd-degree connections.
- A variety of messaging, publishing, and advertising tools to reach highly targeted professional audiences in an inviting context and trusted environment.
We’ve talked a lot on this blog recently about the vital importance of driving deeper engagement with your audience at this moment in time, through things like B2B content marketing, influential thought leadership, and empathetic messaging. Engagement should always be a priority, of course, but right now — especially for those companies that might be seeing a reduction in revenue due to the pandemic’s impact — building relationships with long-term upside is an essential marketing prerogative.
LinkedIn can be an ideal place to identify, connect with, and establish rapport with individuals who are or will be valuable to your business. At TopRank Marketing, we’ve had the privilege of calling LinkedIn Marketing Solutions a client for many years now, so naturally we keep a close eye on their new product offerings and their evolving best practices.
LinkedIn can be an ideal place to identify, connect with and establish rapport with individuals who are valuable to your business in the short-term or long-term. @NickNelsonMN #B2Bmarketing Click To Tweet
As such, we thought we’d highlight some new tools you might find useful, along with some tactics and techniques you might not have considered to increase engagement and bolster your brand’s presence on the platform.
What’s New on LinkedIn for B2B Marketers?
These aren’t all brand new, but they are relatively new and offer a lot of promise in the current marketing landscape.
LinkedIn Live and LinkedIn Events
At a time where in-person meetings are being cancelled and postponed, live-streaming and virtual events are quickly emerging as key opportunities to stay connected with audiences in a personal and interactive way. LinkedIn Live offers a way to stream live video through the platform, and you can use it in combination with LinkedIn Events to bring your community together.
Our friend and client from LinkedIn (and past Break Free B2B guest!) Judy Tian recently shined a light on five examples of brands and individuals driving strong engagement with LinkedIn Live.
It’s long been possible to reach prospects through InMail and Message Ads on LinkedIn, but Conversation Ads help turn these engagements into automated two-way interactions with more value for the user and more actionable insight for the advertiser. In short, you can create multiple pathways for each experience based on which response a member chooses, to better understand their needs and intent, and to guide them toward the right offer or content.
This feature has been available to advertisers for a while, first launching in 2018, but it’s a good option to consider if you haven’t yet. Carousel Ads enable brands to create a swipeable series of cards (images, text, CTA), providing an opportunity for visual storytelling that brings users through a cohesive journey. The team at TopRank Marketing saw this format’s potential first-hand when we helped our clients at Prophix develop and execute a Finance Career Accelerator campaign, which exceeded organic carousel click-through benchmarks by 63x and was recognized by LinkedIn as one of their favorite B2B campaigns of 2019.
New LinkedIn Pages Features
The LinkedIn Page is one of the most underrated marketing assets in a brand’s arsenal. It is your company’s hub on the platform, ranks highly in search results, and can be built out to give visitors a deep and compelling view of what your organization is about. It’s also mostly a free tool. I highly recommend checking out the LinkedIn Pages Best Practices to ensure yours is complete and optimized. Then, take advantage of new capabilities such as “Invite to Follow” and “Post as a Page” to increase your following and visibility.
Tips for Increasing B2B Engagement on LinkedIn
Now that we’ve covered some of the newer features and capabilities available to marketers on LinkedIn, let’s dig into some methods for maximizing your engagement, growing your audience, and driving business results on the platform.
Lower your gaze from the C-suite.
One of the most appealing aspects of LinkedIn as a marketing platform is that you can easily identify executives and top decision makers, which is of course highly valuable for B2B marketers. Follow these individuals to get a bead on what’s important to them, and engage them when it makes sense.
With that said, C-level execs and high-ranking figures in an organization are inherently very busy, and likely already facing an over saturation of marketing/sales outreach. So I recommend zeroing in with awareness campaigns on those younger up-and-comers in the business. Not only do these individual contributors often have influence on purchase decisions as members of buying committees, but they tend to move up into more pivotal roles over time, meaning the relationships and familiarity you establish now will grow all the more valuable later on.
Emphasize empathy in your messaging.
As a professionally-oriented social network, LinkedIn has more than its share of stuffy business content. Differentiate yourself by striking a human tone and talking to people, not companies. Search for the intersection of your target audience’s personal and professional interests and pursuits. Encourage your company leaders to be active on LinkedIn, sharing authentic stories and advice.
Lean into organic features and tools.
There’s no way around it: LinkedIn is a relatively expensive place to advertise. Many brands find the higher price point to be worthwhile, given the demonstrable quality of the audiences they’re reaching, but organizations facing budget constraints may find themselves limited nonetheless.
That’s okay, because there are a lot of productive ways to promote your brand organically on LinkedIn. The simplest and most effective step you can take is following the aforementioned best practices to optimize your LinkedIn Page. From there…
- Regularly share content from it that is relevant to the people you wish to engage.
- Use hashtags to join conversations pertaining to your business and its purpose.
- Invite feedback and respond to comments on your posts.
- Include videos and images to stand out on the feed.
- Join and start topically focused LinkedIn Groups to foster community.
None of these activities cost money, but they can deliver a significant payoff.
Use LinkedIn data strategically.
Marketers can gain a lot of insight from LinkedIn that they can’t find elsewhere. When you consult your LinkedIn Page Analytics you can obtain an aggregated view of who’s visiting and interacting with your content — industries, locations, job titles, etc. You can also use the Website Demographics tool to gain these same insights around your website visitors. Leverage these learnings to direct and refine your broader content strategy.
For data-driven marketers, LinkedIn holds a world of possibilities to better understand and connect with your audience.
Rethink Your LinkedIn Strategy and Reap the Rewards
If your company’s approach to LinkedIn has been an autopilot — or worse yet, still taxiing on the runway — the time is right to buckle down and take advantage of the many opportunities afforded to B2B marketers by the world’s largest professional social network.
Looking to further explore the platform’s capabilities? Last year we dug into five under-the-radar LinkedIn features that can give you a leg up.