Do you just know that your company could be making better use of LinkedIn? Are you getting a little tired of seeing the same people and companies at the top of your news feed, and wish that it was your company's content that was dominating? Here's your guide to LinkedIn marketing!
We're going to walk you through how to win on this platform in 2020 and beyond.
Here's what we're diving into:
- Why use LinkedIn?
- Understanding the LinkedIn algorithm
- What makes LinkedIn unique
- How to win on LinkedIn
To help you expand your content reach, we've got tons of tips on everything from content formats to utilizing personal profiles.
Why use LinkedIn marketing?
If your company is B2B, then LinkedIn is likely to be a key channel for you. While it can be challenging to target your ideal buyers (especially if they are employees and not business owners) on platforms like Instagram and Facebook, LinkedIn allows you to be visible with the right B2B buyers.
Here are some reasons why you should be on LinkedIn:
- Ability to grow a very targeted B2B audience
- The increasing popularity and success of employee advocacy
- Low competition and high organic reach compared with other social platforms
Understanding the LinkedIn algorithm
The LinkedIn algorithm is fairly simple when compared to other social media algorithms (YouTube is crazy complicated).
With LinkedIn, likes and reactions give the algorithm a little juice, but what really makes an impact are comments.
And not just any comments. Lengthy comments — especially those that spark conversation and are replied to by other users — can propel a post to the top of thousands of peoples' LinkedIn feeds.
One of the best ways to improve your LinkedIn marketing reach is to write content that inspires more and lengthier comments:
- Current topics and newsjacking
- Controversial opinions
- Giveaways (ask people to comment to receive your link or freebie)
- Ask for people's thoughts and reactions
- Ask a question in your post
More tips to come, but first, let's dive into what makes LinkedIn truly unique...
What makes LinkedIn marketing unique
Before we can dive into all of the best practices and marketing hacks, we need to take a step back for a minute.
Understanding the history of LinkedIn can help us make sense of where this platform is today.
Since the beginning, users wanted a place to showcase their work experience and expertise. While that used to be about skills and endorsements, it's now about content and following.
But the desire remains the same: employees want to increase their visibility as a professional using LinkedIn. In the future when they're on the hunt for a great job, they're already ahead of the game by having a fantastic profile.
Companies can win when they utilize employees' profiles in a way that serves the employee's needs too.
When your team is aligned with the company mission, they'll be happy to occasionally share company content. It grows their audience and visibility too.
That's why an effective LinkedIn strategy prioritizes personal profiles equally (or more) than the company page.
How to win with LinkedIn marketing
Now that we understand the LinkedIn algorithm and what makes LinkedIn unique, let's dive deeper into best practices.
Use different content formats
LinkedIn offers lots of different content formats. When it comes to LinkedIn marketing you should make use of this. You can create:
- Text posts
- Text posts with a photo
- Uploaded videos
- Live videos
- Slide posts
- Short podcast snippets (essentially a video but it's podcast audio with an image background)
You shouldn't automatically assume what is the best type of content for your audience. Experiment by testing out 3 or 4 content types. Then compare them in terms of reach and response relative to the difficulty of creating that content.
You could even take the same concept and put it in different formats so that you can test the formats more accurately.
Even once you narrow down what works, you'll create more engaging content by using 2 or 3 formats at a minimum.
While everyone wants to go viral, the fact is that you can get great visibility without it. The LinkedIn platform needs to show users something new at the top of their feed every time they log in, otherwise, users will get bored and won't come back.
Quick little posts like this help you serve the hungry LinkedIn machine and your own needs.
People who post continuously and consistently are always at the top of the LinkedIn feed because they're always giving LinkedIn what it wants: new content. That is what LinkedIn marketing is all about.
Just remember, virality isn't the only way to get seen. Simple daily posts can make you omnipresent to your ideal audience.
Prioritize employee advocacy
Earlier, we mentioned that a big part of what makes LinkedIn special is the ability to utilize employees' profiles.
Let's explore this further.
Take a look at the same video's number of reactions and comments when posted by the company Privy versus their new CMO Dave Gerhardt. At the time of writing, we're looking at 11 reactions and 2 comments versus 290 reactions and 71 comments!
Now, Dave has built up a quality following over time by posting entertaining and educational content consistently.
If you post the same content to your company page and your profile, the difference might not be as drastic. But there will be a difference.
People want to hear from people, and LinkedIn knows that. That's why the algorithm prioritizes posts from personal profiles. You should too.
Here are some ways to make sure you're utilizing personal profiles:
- Find ways to get all departments involved (not just marketing) by discovering what each department cares about that overlaps with your audiences' interests and develop content campaigns accordingly.
- Provide templates for employees to share when posting.
- Have employees comment on each others' posts to boost them in the algorithm. (Use a dedicated Slack channel for this.)
- Invite employees to participate and clarify why its helpful for the company and their own personal brand, but don't force them. Some people may prefer to comment on others' posts but not to post things themselves.
Manage or facilitate executives' participation
While some founders, co-founders, executives, and managers will jump on the LinkedIn marketing game with both feet, others will struggle to find the time.
It might be worthwhile to ghostwrite for executives who already have a following or would like to build one. You can add connections for them, post for them, and comment for them too. But you might want to let them know when they need to respond to personal messages in their LinkedIn inbox.
Grow your audience every week
As a company, you need to wait for people to organically follow you. But as a personal profile, you can grow your LinkedIn audience through connection requests.
Unless you plan to send a very personal message, don't write a message with your connection request. It just clutters peoples' inboxes.
Connect with people who fit your ideal target audience. For example, if you work at a company that sells content marketing management software, then you can search for "content marketers" and connect with them. LinkedIn marketing works great with this.
Add 2nd-degree connections as an additional filter for the best chance of having your request accepted.
Do this for your own profile and any executives' profiles that your content team is managing. You could also create a short brief or training to give to all team members who are participating in your employee advocacy program.
Engage with your top connections and followers
Building an engaged audience is not a one-way street. When people comment on your content, you should comment on theirs too (at least on occasion).
If you're using Sales Navigator, just click on someone's name whenever they comment on your content. Then click to view them in Sales Navigator and add them to a list called top commenters or top followers.
This lets you build up a list of engaged followers in Sales Navigator. Once a day for just a few minutes, login and view that list and see what content they've posted. Comment on whatever catches your eye.
This is a great way to make sure that you're not just commenting on what shows up in your news feed, but also on what your top followers are posting.
Optimize personal profiles
When you're utilizing personal profiles, you need to optimize them so that your target audience can learn more about your business and how to interact with your company further. This is also LinkedIn marketing!
In addition to their role at your company, employees can also use their headline to showcase how they can help, or their personal passions that relate to what the target audience is interested in.
In the About section, you can have team members include more about their role at the company. Bonus points for adding a short link to a freebie or a CTA to take the next step, such as contact sales or request a demo.
Your LinkedIn ecosystem (not just your company's page but your employees' profiles) should be used to distribute the content your team creates.
Share blog posts, video campaigns, case studies, and more.
Now, you've got an organic away to get in front of your ideal audience every single day.
StoryChief is a content ops and distribution platform that integrates with LinkedIn so you can share content to your company page and any profile. Learn more about our social media features.