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Say the word LinkedIn and most people will think of connecting with previous colleagues or seeing what old classmates are up to ‘these days’, but little do many know of the power it holds for lead generation, business networking, and market research. Whilst LinkedIn enjoys a reputation as being one of the most useful networking tools for professionals, it is often overlooked by businesses when it comes to devising their marketing strategies.  LinkedIn is a very different creature to social media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram, and therefore must be treated as such!

The Advantages of LinkedIn

The social networking site has over 300 million active users, and holds the top spot worldwide for B2B marketing, meaning as a business or brand you simply can’t afford to be missing this kind of exposure. Sure, it can seem like just another thing to add to the to-do list on top of your current social media marketing and delivering to customers. However, we promise you, it might just be the most important ‘another thing’ you can do for your brand’s visibility. With all this in mind, if you haven’t integrated LinkedIn into your marketing and content strategy yet, it’s high time you jumped on board. Learning the platform’s lesser-known and more advanced features will help you further unlock its full potential.

1. Avoid Automation at all costs

The urge to dip your toe into the world of LinkedIn automation can be tempting, but we urge you to resist. LinkedIn automation involves using software to send out messages, connection invites, and view profiles automatically. Whilst this may seem like a steadfast way to securing sales leads, LinkedIn is determined to keep spammers away and avoid the network becoming a marketer’s dumping ground.
This means they are constantly looking for hints that accounts are sending out bulk messages or engaging in multiple connection requests in one day. Instead, we recommend the approved LinkedIn tools to get your marketing moving such as LinkedIn Lead Gen Forms, InMail (more on that later) and LinkedIn Sales Navigator.

2. Make strategic connections

Unlike Facebook and Instagram, where a high number of followers makes you look more authoritative in your industry and shows a large sphere of influence, LinkedIn is all about quality over quantity. To really reinforce this, once you hit over 500 connections, LinkedIn stops showing the number of connections your profile has.
This has created a dynamic on the platform that encourages users to be pickier about who they connect with, with people often refusing invites from people they don’t know. In line with our point above, if you start sending out connection invites willy-nilly, you might get labelled a spammer and suspended from the platform. This is an absolute no-go for brand reputation.  Instead, begin by connecting with existing brand affiliates such as employees and clients, replacing the default invitation with a personal note to remind them how you know each other, or why you want to connect.  As with most strategic business interactions, remember to focus on how you can help them, rather than the other way around.

3. Email texts just don’t work

Whilst LinkedIn doesn’t perform in exactly the same way as most social media networks, it still should be perceived as such when communicating with clients and customers. The average message on social media is 200 characters long, so if you’re prone to waffling and sending lengthy email-style messages, with an introduction and a signature, your recipients will run a mile.
Whether you’re reaching out in InMail or sponsored mail, your messages should be no longer than three sentences, heavily personalised, and most importantly they should be straight to the point in initiating dialogue. Don’t push how great your brand is with heaps of stats and impressive case studies, instead focus on building a relationship and being an interesting person to speak to.

  4.​ Work the algorithm

There is little point creating brilliant LinkedIn content if no one is going to read it. New Google developments mean social media posts can now index on search pages, meaning web pages are no longer the only place where keywords are important! Inserting keywords into your LinkedIn status updates will help prospective customers find your content when they are in need of the product or service you offer. Make a list of keywords related to your business or use those from your existing SEO strategy and use them throughout your business’ LinkedIn profile.  This includes headings, descriptions, and of course your status updates.

Additionally, the network’s algorithm favours posts that have a high number of comments.  Therefore, you should always be posting content that encourages engagement from your viewers.  Ask questions, create polls, and stimulate topical conversation. The authentic charm in this process is, the more inspiring your content is, the more engagement it will naturally receive.

However, not all of us are so patient. A quick win at achieving increased comments is to send your posts to relevant LinkedIn connections and employees to ask for a comment. We know this seems like a shameless task, but we also promise it will be well worth it when your posts get far more views and drive more sales leads.

 5. Use InMail and Sponsored Ads effectively

Like other social media platforms, LinkedIn offers a variety of advertising options that support raising brand awareness, gaining website visits and lead generation. Sponsored content ads run as boosted posts, meaning you can put a set budget behind the content on your company’s own feed, whether that be videos, article links, or carousels.  To make sure your content is effective at achieving your campaign goal (and to gauge whether people actually like it!) we recommend using A/B testing, where duplicate an ad but change either the creative or the targeting criteria.
Know the feeling of logging into LinkedIn to find you suddenly have 10 new messages? It’s more than likely that most of those will be marketeers popping into your inbox through InMail Ads. Using LinkedIn’s own ad manager, you can curate a list of contacts you wish to send personalised private messages too. Whilst this will cost you a pretty penny, it’s considered one of the most effective lead generation tools around! This is because it feels highly personalised, and by delivering your content directly to a user’s inbox you’ve got their attention from the off, especially if they have notifications turned on!

The key to creating InMail messages that convert is in personal branding. Send the messages from the profile of someone senior in your company, rather than the business profile itself. A professional but friendly image of the ‘sender’ smiling goes a long way, as does a quick introduction at the beginning of the message.

Our bonus tip when sending ads, on any platform really, is to ensure your sales team has the capacity for the best-case scenario. There’s no point in creating amazing campaigns that convert loads of sales leads if you can’t follow them up!

If you would like any help or some more information on creating a winning LinkedIn strategy, we can work with you to create Covid-considerate content and campaigns that bring results.

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