Linkedin Magic: Unlocking the Power of B2B Networking for Business Growth
LinkedIn is the Goliath of professional networking social media platforms, with over 900 million members in more than 200 countries. With an audience that includes 61 million senior-level influencers and 65 million decision-makers, LinkedIn represents a huge opportunity for brand marketers to advance their B2B marketing goals. It’s also the best forum to boost your professional profile in ways that can advance your career while also supporting your company’s goals. In this LinkedIn marketing guide, we’ll walk through some LinkedIn B2B marketing strategies that can make both you and your company excel at using LinkedIn for business marketing.
What makes LinkedIn a B2B networking goldmine?
The social glue that binds over 900 million LinkedIn members is, essentially, the work that people do and the companies they work for. No other social network has a database so centred around profession, employers, skills, and work history. Whether a LinkedIn user is sharing achievements, looking for a new opportunity, or connecting with industry peers, it’s almost always in the context of a professional setting. HR teams love LinkedIn for finding talent, but for professionals in Marketing, LinkedIn offers so much more. You can expand your brand’s reach, connect with new prospects, drive sales, or virtually any other goal you might have listed in your marketing plan.
How to build a compelling LinkedIn business profile
If your job includes marketing responsibilities, you need to consider two aspects of LinkedIn: how your company is represented on the platform, and your own unique personal brand as a professional. Let’s first look at your company’s LinkedIn profile.
In the standard LinkedIn user view, your company’s LinkedIn business profile should reflect the following characteristics:
- Clarity: You want to succinctly share your company’s purpose on it’s LinkedIn profile. Establishing the brand identity clearly is essential, but you can also blend in a secondary objective such as sales growth or employee recruiting. For example, Nike’s LinkedIn profile describes the company but also has a call-to-action to support recruiting goals.
- Recency: Your company’s LinkedIn business account should appear active and up-to-date. Recent posts will reflect that, but so can job openings and upcoming events. Keep it fresh.
- Connected: Strive to grow your company’s LinkedIn followers. It expands reach and also indirectly reflects the influence and popularity of the company. Encouraging employees to follow the company is a great way to quick-start LinkedIn growth.
Behind the scenes, LinkedIn users with admin privileges have access to so much more than content publishing tools. LinkedIn offers rich analytics reporting that includes statistics on visitors, followers, leads, content, competitors, and employee advocacy. This valuable data should be your guide to what’s working well and what’s falling flat, allowing you to intelligently experiment and optimize your company’s LinkedIn presence.
Don’t forget to promote your company’s LinkedIn profile. Include links to the LinkedIn profile on your company website and social media channels. Adding links to the footer of emails is another effective way to increase exposure.
Creating a personal LinkedIn profile that stands out
To unlock the power of B2B marketing on LinkedIn, you need more than a great company profile. Another critical piece of the puzzle is the profiles of the company’s employees. Yes, that includes you!
On LinkedIn, your company’s employees can be powerful ambassadors and influencers. Yet many of them may need help and support. A senior executive with huge clout in the industry, and just a handful of followers on LinkedIn, is an untapped B2B networking opportunity for your company. Make yourself the model – start by creating a personal LinkedIn profile that sizzles, and then encourage others to follow your example.
Search engine optimization (SEO) disciplines are relevant on LinkedIn. As you craft your profile, target the keywords your target audience might search for. As you list your work experience, focus on specific, measurable outcomes you achieved. Also, for maximum exposure on LinkedIn, don’t forget to switch your profile to public. This allows more people to see you and reach you on LinkedIn.
As you continue to develop your presence on LinkedIn, one important metric to keep an eye on is the LinkedIn social selling index (SSI). If you’re signed in to LinkedIn, you can check your SSI score here. It’s a LinkedIn score that can inform your social selling strategy. It measures your ability to establish your personal brand, find the right people, engage with insights, and build relationships.
Get connected: finding and growing the right audience
Building your network is an essential topic for any LinkedIn for business guide. Start with the obvious option: the “people you may know” recommendations that you’ll see in the “my network” section. As a general rule, you don’t want to send invitations to people you don’t know, so start with your warm connections first. Once you’ve mined all of LinkedIn’s recommendations, try searching on your current and previous employers to see if you can find other colleagues to connect with.
Now it’s time to get topical. You likely have a few search phrases in mind that are highly relevant to your business or your profession. Enter those phrases in LinkedIn’s search engine, and observe the results. Toggle the filter between “posts” and “people”. What you’re looking for are influential LinkedIn members that are relevant to your professional areas of interest. As you find them, you’ll notice that others in your network are connected to them. You might ask your shared connection to facilitate an introduction, or use the shared connection as a reference point when you send an invitation to connect. As you grow your network, your searches will reach farther and farther due to the network effect of all your LinkedIn connections.
Some of the most influential profiles on LinkedIn will include an option to follow. This is a great way to stay informed, and engage with content posted by that user. It’s not as strong as a connection however. Use discretion when choosing to follow or connect.
For your company’s LinkedIn profile, you can skip the manual searching and automate your efforts through social listening software. Platforms like SentiOne Listen allow you to monitor activity on posts and comments from your profile, as well as scanning public articles for your topics of interest.
Engaging prospects: thought leadership for your industry
You have a clear idea of the types of professionals you want to engage on LinkedIn, so now, let’s explore how to make a strong impression with them. It’s important to grow your network, engage and reshare, but how do you stand out as a unique thinker within your professional domain? Think of LinkedIn as an important channel to integrate into your broader content strategy. You’ll likely spot some content assets right away, such as leadership articles posted on your website. Once you’ve mapped your cross-channel content opportunities, now consider what new content should be exclusive to your LinkedIn content strategy.
Some of the most popular content on LinkedIn is related to the daily wins and struggles associated with professional endeavors. But as you consider your content strategy for LinkedIn, remember that it’s a platform that thrives on professional development. Not everyone wants to hear about you; they want to know what’s relevant for THEM. For example, a post titled “I closed a million dollar deal today and got a huge bonus!!$$$” might irritate everyone who had a bad day. But if you take that success story and make it relatable, with examples, you might find a lot of people clicking on “Seven sales practices I used to close my biggest deal of the year.”
Be interesting, be supportive and helpful, be professional, and above all, be active. Strive to have a unique voice with a respected take on the trends in your industry. For optimal results, experiment with the media mix:
- Long-form articles work well for showing up in search results
- Plain text posts drive the most engagement
- Image-based posts are effective for charts and statistics
- Videos are great for storytelling with visual elements
- Presentations and scrolling PDFs can be appropriate for more complex subject matter
Hashtags are useful for associating your post with a broader topic. When people are exploring those hashtags, it increases the chance of your content being found.
Once you’ve got your content marketing plan rolling on LinkedIn, consider serializing it. A LinkedIn newsletter is a great way to keep interested prospects coming back. It works for Bill Gates – his Gates Notes newsletter has over 1.5 million subscribers.
Through it all, monitor your analytics to see what content or comments are resonating with others. Experiment with days and times to find your LinkedIn best time to post. Refine your strategy based on the data, and keep pushing that LinkedIn SSI index score higher!
The next level: advanced LinkedIn features
Now that you’ve mastered the day-to-day basics, let’s look at some audience-boosting advanced LinkedIn features at your disposal:
- LinkedIn groups: Groups are a great way to connect with others that share your professional interests. Like any networking forum, focusing on connecting with others and building shared respect will pay off much better than pushy sales tactics. You can join up to 100 groups.
- LinkedIn Events: You can benefit from LinkedIn B2B networking by promoting online and offline events through LinkedIn Events. With LinkedIn Live, you can broadcast live video to a group. If your company is currently conducting live webinars, consider how these LinkedIn capabilities might expand your reach.
- Sponsored content and advertising campaigns: LinkedIn offers incredibly precise advertising targeting options. LinkedIn is unmatched for the ability to target by role or by employer.
- Premium LinkedIn accounts: LinkedIn sales solutions include a variety of premium accounts, such as LinkedIn Sales Navigator. These premium features expand your networking capabilities, allowing you to find more prospects. Each type of premium account offers a monthly allotment of Inmails you can send. Inmails are a powerful way to reach people you aren’t connected with, as the open rates average 166% higher than traditional emails.
Use AI to accelerate your B2B networking
Using LinkedIn to promote your business may sound easy, but it can also involve a lot of manual effort. The companies that are most successfully using social media for marketing take their LinkedIn B2B marketing to the next level by using a social listening platform to assess, analyze, and report on top performers, competitor actions, and new opportunities. SentiOne offers a social listening suite with a powerful artificial intelligence layer that enables you to spot trends quickly, grow LinkedIn followers, and excel at social media selling. For more information or to book a demo, visit SentiOne.