LinkedIn – B2B Marketing Tool
LinkedIn is the most professional of the major social networking websites, used by over 450 million business professionals worldwide. It is responsible for more than 80% of a business’s social media leads! And, since it is largely focused on B2B connections, LinkedIn should be a big part of your social media marketing strategy.
At its most basic level, LinkedIn allows you to set up a personal profile and connect with other professionals you know or want to know. You will receive status updates on a regular basis as your connections update their profiles. In addition, you can set up a LinkedIn profile for your company to allow people to follow your company’s updates.
One of the cool features of LinkedIn is the “six degree of separation” approach that allows you to easily see how you are connected to someone via others. You may be surprised to see how closely you connect to your prospects or customers – and how connected they are to others, including your competition.
The bottom line is that LinkedIn works for B2B lead generation. To take LinkedIn to the next level and use it as a marketing tool, put the following recommendations into action.
1. Beef Up Your LinkedIn Profile
Think of your LinkedIn profile as an interactive resume on steroids. In addition to listing information about your work experience and education, LinkedIn allows you to enhance your profile with interactive capabilities that showcase your experience.
- Status Updates: One of the best ways to keep your connections informed about your happenings is by posting status updates, brief statements you feel your connections will find useful. They can include images and links to related content on your Website or third-party Websites. To appear active in the LinkedIn community, post useful and actionable status updates on a regular basis.
- Articles: LinkedIn allows you to easily publish articles to your profile. This is a great way to establish yourself as a thought leader and get exposure to your LinkedIn community.
- Videos and Presentations: If you post presentations and other content to SlideShare or videos to YouTube, you can display these valuable content items in your LinkedIn profile.
- Recommendations: LinkedIn makes it easy for you to request recommendations from your connections. A collection of glowing recommendations that underscore your expertise and experience will significantly enhance your profile.
- Projects: If you have successful projects you want to highlight, post your projects including a description, link and the team members you worked with.
- Skills and Expertise: List your skills and expertise on your profile to help others understand your strengths and improve your ability to be found. Connections will be also able to endorse your skills by providing their seal of approval.
- Publications: Showcase any publications you have written or publications that have featured your work.
- Volunteering and Causes: List organizations you support and causes you care about outside of work.
- Patents, Courses, Test Scores, Certifications, Languages and Awards: All of your most important accomplishments can be presented for your connections to see.
2. Create a Company Page
Create a company page to tell your company’s story. Display your products and services, share updates with followers. Recruit new employees. Your company page can also feature:
- Banner Image: The banner image is the first thing people will see when they visit your company page. Design one that reflects your company’s brand and the image your want to portray.
- Products and Services: Feature your products and services including rich descriptions, images, feature lists, YouTube videos and links.
- Status Updates: Status updates on your company page can feature content from your website with links back to the detail. For a fee, you can also promote your updates throughout the LinkedIn community through sponsored updates. The key is to post updates regularly.
- Career Opportunities: For a fee, you can post open positions to recruit new employees.
3. Take Advantage Of LinkedIn Community Features
In addition to your profile and company page, LinkedIn also provides a number of community features. This allows you to communicate and collaborate with other LinkedIn users, including:
- Groups: LinkedIn Groups help you stay informed and also keep in touch with people that share your interests. You can also create your own LinkedIn groups or join any number of groups that focus on your area of interest or expertise. Expand your circle of influence by participating in discussions in various LinkedIn groups.
- Influencers: LinkedIn Influencers enables you to connect with well-respected thought leaders in many walks of life. Influencers like Tony Robbins, Guy Kawasaki and Richard Branson, as well as many lesser-known experts, contribute original content in the form of blog posts. You can comment on their posts and share them as status updates on your personal LinkedIn profile.
4. Leverage LinkedIn as a Marketing Tool
LinkedIn is a valuable tool that can help you grow your B2B business and catapult your career. The following tips will help you use this resource to produce results:
- Brand Your LinkedIn Address: When you create a LinkedIn profile, it will create a LinkedIn Web address that will appear like a collection of odd letters. You can customize this address to create a branded LinkedIn address with your name.
- Become an Expert: Post educational status updates and actively participate in LinkedIn group discussions to establish yourself as an expert and thought leader.
- Warm Call Sales Prospects: If you’re in sales, you can use LinkedIn as a warm calling tool. If there is a prospect you want to reach, find them on LinkedIn and see how closely you are connected to them. If you have an active list of LinkedIn connections, you are most likely only two or three connections away from the prospect. Use LinkedIn’s introduction features to ask one of your connections for an introduction.
- Find Rock Star Employees: Successful business people are always looking to find valuable employees that will ensure their future success. LinkedIn’s recruiting tool can be much more effective than traditional recruiting websites. You can indeed target applicants based on experience and expertise.
- Keep Your Connections Current: Whenever you meet someone, connect with them on LinkedIn. It’s a great way to expand your influence and keep connections up to speed on your accomplishments. For best results, be sure to personalize your introduction message.