The basics of LinkedIn marketing

LinkedIn – love it or hate it, there’s no denying it. Despite being the butt of jokes and its reputation as thoroughly uncool, this social network is one of the most important tools in modern business. With over 630 million users – all of them professionals in one industry or other, it is the place to be for business networking, talent scouting and promotion, especially if your company or brand deals primarily with other businesses.

In this article, we’ll introduce you to the basic concepts of marketing using LinkedIn and how to avoid common beginner mistakes.

Your LinkedIn account

As with any other social network, your LinkedIn journey should start with setting up an account. Not just a personal one, mind – company accounts are a vital element of promoting your brand on LinkedIn. 

Unlike profiles you might have set up for your brand on other social networks (such as Facebook or Twitter), LinkedIn’s Company Pages serve a wide variety of purposes. After all, this social network is built on, well, professional networking – aside from sharing content and building brand awareness, your company page is how potential talent and business partners get in touch with you. 

Networking on LinkedIn

More than perhaps any other social platform, LinkedIn is heavily based around building meaningful connections with other users. Your professional network is the primary vector by which you interact with the entire platform

Because of this, you should waste no time forging connections. Start with your business contacts, colleagues, and old co-workers and spread out by adding people in your field who may find your brand or content relevant to your interests.

LinkedIn provides several methods for finding people to connect with. Aside from groups devoted to specific interests and versatile search options, endorsements are perhaps the most unique feature of LinkedIn. Anyone can “endorse” their colleagues and co-workers for particular skills. This can be used to identify promising talent or build up a network of professionals with shared interests.

LinkedIn Content

LinkedIn definitely requires its own unique marketing strategy. You’re not targeting just your customers, after all. Because you’re trying to fight a battle on so many fronts, so to speak, you have the advantage of having a wide variety of strategies to employ.

One such strategy is employee promotion. Showcasing new product features is all well and good for other channels and gets plenty of engagement. However, why not let the people behind your success speak out? It is considered good practice to have employees talk about their progress and successes on their own private profiles and then sharing that content on the brand page itself.

After all, this is what LinkedIn is all about – instead of presenting your company as this faceless monolith, you expose the people who make up your company; this, in turn positions your company as a transparent employer, capable of recognising greatness – who wouldn’t like to work for a brand like that?

Speaking of publishing, let’s talk about what types of content track on LinkedIn. First of all, rich media. Basic text posts don’t do much – you want to grab your audience’s attention straight away. Rich visuals, be they images or videos, are the key to grabbing and maintaining interest.

Secondly, you want to publish regularly – once a week is ideal. While maintaining a consistent schedule is important, don’t just force out low-quality content to satisfy an arbitrary quota. Why? The algorithm, of course.

Using the LinkedIn algorithm

Just like any social network, LinkedIn utilises its own proprietary algorithm to select content which appears on its users’ timelines. Obviously, the inner workings of this algorithm are kept secret – after all, LinkedIn doesn’t want people to be able to manipulate their platform to spam users. We do have a rough idea of how the algorithm works, however:

One of the first steps that the algorithm performs is spam filtering. Before your posts reach other feeds, they are analysed – low effort spam need not apply.

Secondly, the algorithm promotes relevant content from accounts you know. This means you’re more likely to see posts from people you have a mutual connection with rather than just the accounts you follow. This serves to counteract the common “rich-get-richer” problem plaguing social networks.

The conclusion is simple: if you want quality engagement, build meaningful connections and then post relevant content.

Advertising on LinkedIn

Of course, creating and sharing good content within your network sometimes isn’t enough – which is where LinkedIn’s sponsored post options come in. Aside from the usual sponsored post feature, LinkedIn also offers text ads and sponsored mail messages. 

Text ads don’t need much explanation – these are simple ads that appear while navigating the service. InMail, however, is rather clever in the way it’s implemented. It allows you to send sponsored private messages to users – and they are only delivered when your targets actually browse LinkedIn.

This simple trick leads to much higher open rates – demonstrated, among others, by the University of Utah and their targeted campaign.

Closing thoughts

As you can see, LinkedIn is a complicated beast. However, there’s a trick to conquering it: figure out the goal you’d like to achieve, and laser-focus yourself on it. The platform certainly provides more than adequate tooling for many use cases.

However, there is something to be said for using external tools to bolster up LinkedIn’s impressive feature set. In fact, we recently added LinkedIn support to our flagship social listening package, SentiOne. If you’re not yet using any software solutions to keep your hand on the pulse of the modern social media landscape, feel free to reach out to us to set up a free trial.