LinkedIn is a powerful platform for B2B marketers given its nature as a social network built around business communications and insights. Despite its popularity as a recruitment tool, LinkedIn holds much more value for companies and marketers looking to take advantage of the already segmented user base and simple-to-use features such as company pages, groups, and promotional channels.
A vibrant and diverse network, the majority of its users are located outside of North America, and represent over 200 different countries and territories. With over 277 million members, it is easy to see why marketers are turning to LinkedIn
for lead generation and to access potential new markets.
What is also interesting and useful for B2B marketers is the breakdown of top industries and professionals that utilize LinkedIn. The top industries represented on the site include Information & Technology, Financial Services, Higher Education, Computer Software, and Telecommunications. In fact, all of the 2013 Fortune 500 Companies were present on LinkedIn—further cementing the network as a powerhouse in the business community.
Those so-called early adopters are already reaping the benefits, with 65% of B2B companies on LinkedIn having already gained a customer via the social network. That figure is remarkably high and speaks volumes to the effectiveness of LinkedIn as a lead generation and sales platform.
This isn’t that surprising though, given the much higher conversion ratio of visitors-to-leads when a source comes to a company’s website via LinkedIn, versus another social media platform such as Twitter or Facebook. In fact, LinkedIn generates conversions at 4 times the rate of Twitter, and 7 times that of Facebook.
So how are all of these B2B companies and MNCs capitalizing on LinkedIn? Here are three things to get started.
1. Create Your LinkedIn Blueprint
While this might sound obvious, it is literally the first step a company needs to do in order to benefit from LinkedIn. At this point, it’s important to consider the overall marketing strategy, as well as the organizational structure of the company itself.
For example, a multinational company most likely has subsidiaries and marketing teams in different locations—probably based regionally. The decision needs to be made if each individual subsidiary should have its own LinkedIn page that caters to the local market—or if there should be one large umbrella corporate page—or a combination. It can also be useful to group company pages and channels according the language of the content posted.
Products and Services can each have their own section/page with descriptions, videos, and customer testimonials, and are linked to only one company channel at a time. Another option for large companies with well-known brands or subsidiaries is to create a Showcase Page—a relatively new addition which can highlight a special division, business unit, or product/brand more prominently than a traditional product page, also offering increased engagement.
2. Engage, Engage, Engage
Once you set up your company page or streamline existing ones, it’s important to continually keep it updated. This means, first and foremost, encouraging employees to link their personal LinkedIn pages to the company. This lends more credibility and professionalism to your company, as well as show potential customers who they can contact about different products or service areas.
Next, fill your main and Showcase pages with updates, company news, employee blogs, events, job openings, etc. This is so that your followers not only keep you top-of-mind when browsing LinkedIn, but also so that prospective customers can be directed to your products and services via searches, groups, and sharing. You can also apply to be a LinkedIn Influencer and have your content and blog posts prominently placed on LinkedIn’s Pulse reader and discussion platform.
3. Promote Yourself!
LinkedIn has several different promotional campaigns that can be run—from more traditional pay-per-click ads to sponsored content. These tools are incredibly valuable for B2B marketers because of the “targeting” methods of LinkedIn. Audiences for ads or promotions can be narrowed by industry, company, location, seniority, or a wealth of other categories. This ensures that your company’s ads are being seen by qualified and relevant users. By casting a smaller, more defined net, marketing budgets are spent more strategically and generate more leads than traditional PPC platforms.
This can be a great way to promote your booth at an upcoming trade show or highlight a recent whitepaper or case study. By offering something of value to your target audience, LinkedIn ads are an excellent way of generating leads and new business opportunities.
In short, if your company isn’t using LinkedIn already—or at least not to its fullest potential—you are missing out on real, tangible leads and marketing opportunities. To learn more about content marketing or advertising on LinkedIn, don’t hesitate to contact us today.