LinkedIn is by no means a new social media platform. In many ways, it’s not even really a social media platform in the sense that Twitter, Instagram, etc. are. That means marketing here is just a bit...different.
Don’t be fooled. LinkedIn is still a social media outlet, you can still post content, engage with readers, and promote your company/client in much the same way as on Facebook. The difference comes when you build your target persona. LinkedIn is where the C-suite networks. It’s where the decision makers at some of the biggest international companies have a presence. All this means that you need to fine tune your presence to match who you’re likely to find here.
Some facts about LinkedIn to start us off:
It has a user base of approximately ½ billion
⅔ of new accounts are coming from outside of N. America
The posts that generate the most likes and comments are being shared by peers and colleagues (57% and 54% respectively)
It’s the top B2B social media platform
Now that you’ve got the basics of what this platform has to offer, let’s get into the meat of this article—best practices for marketing on LinkedIn.
Know your process
This is general best practice stuff, but it definitely applies here on LinkedIn. Lay out your campaign ahead of time. Plan your posts, get your editorial calendar together, and be consistent. Start with your SMART goals. What are you marketing? Who are you marketing to (your target persona)? Are you here as part of a larger campaign, or is LinkedIn a separate channel where you’re using all new content? How long is this first campaign? What are the metrics you’ll be measuring? What are your targets for conversion? Do you have enough unique content for this audience? What’s your timeframe for these metrics?
Once you have your goals laid out, move on to understanding how LinkedIn fits in to this scheme. One of those questions was, “are you here as part of a larger campaign…?” It’s key to knowing how to handle your time spend on this channel. If you’re going to cross-post content, it’s worth your time to tweak that content to the audience on this platform, since they may only be seeing it here on LinkedIn and not on any other social platform.
The final step to knowing your process is ensuring that you keep it consistent. Like SEO, LInkedIn rewards businesses and individuals who post regularly and often. Plan your posting schedule accordingly. There will be more on this in the content section below.
Know your audience
Like we mentioned above, LinkedIn is a self-selecting channel. You’re more likely to find decision makers here than on just about any other social media site. These people are here to network, not procrastinate. The content they share the most is on topics that strike a chord with them. The top subjects are:
Tips and tricks/best practices
Use the power of LinkedIn groups to further your reach within your target audience. The influencers you want to reach may not be following you directly, yet. So find them where they are, in industry groups. Do your research, see which groups some of your followers are in, then post relevant pieces directly to these groups to get it in front of other, similar people.
Know your platform
One of the ways LinkedIn differs from other social media channels is the power it gives influencers. These are often the titans of their industries. Cultivate relationships with these people by sharing and posting thoughtful comments on their posts. Soon, they’ll return the favor with yours. And if not, reach out and see if they might be interested in doing so. Having these people share your content not only raises its stock with LinkedIn, it also exposes it to the potentially massive base of followers the influencer has.
LinkedIn allows for multiple types of post. Not only can you post short status updates, links, photos, and videos, you also have the ability to access their Post Editor tool. This enables you to pen long-form blog posts natively. Different post types attract different segments of the users.
Some people will like and share your status updates more often, some will comment on and share your longer pieces. Use status updates to share relevant content on your own site, as well as from elsewhere around the web. People will appreciate your openness and willingness to share things they find interesting and useful. Then use long-form pieces to lay out tips and tricks, or share the skills you’re looking for in a widget designer.
Remember that consistency matters here, just like on other channels. Keep your editorial calendar updated with when you’re going to post the big pieces. Then work in several status updates in between each of these. This will keep people checking your feed for the little updates and links while they await your next piece on industry trends.
Content is king
There have already been tips related to content above, so here we’re going to focus on the form and content of your longer pieces for LinkedIn. There are several things to keep in mind, and they start with writing a great headline. Headlines are the first—and, if they aren’t attention grabbing, the only—part of your article people will see.
Carrying that forward, Buzzsumo analyzed (source) the top shared 10,000 posts on LinkedIn and says these are the top 5 headline starters:
The future of…
You need to…
Why you should…
Can learn from…
LinkedIn’s own research has shown that their users share articles that are practically useful more than any other type of article. So use one of the above starters, then follow through with a headline that reels your audience in and makes them NEED to read on.
And since you can’t disappoint your readers at this point, your content has to be on point. Tell them what you promised you would tell them with that catchy headline. In other words, make sure your content marketing strategy is consistent. LinkedIn readers want stories about success, they want tips and tricks to get ahead in their careers, and they want information that’s relevant to their working lives.
To wrap up your piece, use a tasteful cliffhanger to draw readers over to your website in order to find out how it all ends. If you have a white paper on industry trends for 2019, write an article that starts filling your readers in on the broader outlook, then end with a link to your white paper and tell them they can get all the details there. Now you’ve positioned yourself as the source for great, relevant articles AND can provide the details to back up that reputation.