The Complete Guide to LinkedIn Marketing
LinkedIn has become the most important channel for B2B marketing. The platform is more about the people and connections you have than the content you share. While all social channels are about your audience, LinkedIn is also about your personal branding.
To succeed on LinkedIn you need to focus on your company page and your personal page as they are both part of the overall LinkedIn Strategy, you can’t do well on one without the other.
Your Personal LinkedIn profile
Your LinkedIn profile gives you authority to speak about the topics you are writing about and commenting on.
Creating a Great Personal LinkedIn Profile
People will often Google Search your name when deciding if they want to work with you. Your LinkedIn profile should come up in the first or second position (unless you have done some truly amazing things in your life) because LinkedIn has a strong domain presence, use it to your advantage.
To focus on LinkedIn SEO focus on keywords in your bio and in your job outlines. Just like you would a blog post pick your specialties and make sure they are visible in both spots. Make sure your headline sums these points up nicely as that is the first thing they see.
Keywords are also a little different on LinkedIn. When people search they are not searching for things, they are searching for people and skills – understand the intent of the persons search. Instead of focusing on “how-to’s” users focus on “who can help me” on the LinkedIn platform. Keep that in mind when choosing your keywords.
Your Personal Page Should Not be About You
I know that sounds weird but like any company or advertisement you are selling your service. Show what you can do for the customer you are trying to attract. Your personal brand should be about your values and what you have to offer.
Use Your Endorsements
Don’t be afraid to ask for endorsements on your LinkedIn account. Ask your employees and your customers. This is the best form of social proof that you can do what you say you can do, and that people like working with you.
If you are actively using LinkedIn to find new prospects then keep your account active to attract as much attention as possible. Write content from your personal account (that you can then share on your business account) in LinkedIn posts, comment on posts from people in your network, and post about important things or ideas in your career. Although images perform best on LinkedIn a strong idea can perform well on the platform without the use of media.
Your Business Profile
Your profile image is important. It helps viewers visually recognize whose account they are looking at. Leaving this image blank is a lost opportunity. Use your logo in this section for better brand recognition.
Don’t waste your banner space. Tell a story visually and make your account more appealing by using a banner image. Connect the banner image with your personal page to make it pop.
Fill in all fields on your about section and in your accounts. LinkedIn favors completed business accounts and rewards completion with higher views.
Using SEO and Keywords
SEO is just as important on your business page as it is on your personal page. Use keywords and strong copy in your about section to ensure your account shows up when people search both on LinkedIn and on Google.
LinkedIn Careers Page
A career page is important for any business that is growing. It is getting more difficult to attract the best talent. Build company culture on your page and with your audience over time.
Creating a page dedicated to your company culture and getting talent excited about your company will help you get more eyes on your business and create a talent pool ready to apply to new job postings as they come.
Showcase pages are a greatly under-utilized asset for every business on LinkedIn that runs more than one brand or initiative. A good example is the Lululemon brand and their branded half marathon the Seawheeze. The Seawheeze has its own branding and a targeted audience defined as runner.
The Showcase page should not be used for country based targeting. LinkedIn advises against this as using geo-targeting will provide stronger results.
Using LinkedIn Organically
Content is an important part of every social account. Here are a few ways to use free options on LinkedIn to boost visibility.
What Content Should You Post and Share on LinkedIn
Use your employees and thought leaders to build strong content. Set a strategy for your internal thought leaders to create content on their personal pages and share it widely on your business page.
Know your audience and share your knowledge. Here are some content ideas:
- Blogs and articles by your team
- Culture initiatives
- Daily thoughts
- Engaging questions
- Turn work wins into posts
- Curated content lists
- How to’s specific to your audience
- Industry Trend Reports
To drive higher engagement on your posts tag relevant thought leaders in your post. Send a message to the thought leader on their ideas for your post before tagging them so they know it’s not just spam. This will allow them to engage with your post and their response and let their audience do the same.
Best time to post content
The best time to post on social depends on your audience. While there are studies that say posting on LinkedIn during the weekday in the early afternoon gets stronger attention this should only be used if you don’t know yet when your posts perform the best for your audience.
While LinkedIn has no native analytics or tool to check when your posts perform the best a simple spreadsheet system will do the trick. Jot down when you post and test out different times of the day. Companies like Buffer and Hubspot suggest during working hours on a weekday for the best LinkedIn engagement.
What content should you publish directly on LinkedIn
LinkedIn has a “write an article” button right next to the new post button. But should you be using the LinkedIn blog instead of your own blog?
The difference between the two is simple. LinkedIn will share native articles with the people it believes want to read them using their complicated set of algorithmic rules, while your site requires you to do all the sharing. The LinkedIn post is also very easy for readers to share on the platform. LinkedIn however, only allows for limited creativity and has limited analytics on the page.
The best items to post natively on LinkedIn are thought leadership pieces or work lessons you have learned. They may not fit well on your company blog and people enjoy reading for growth on LinkedIn.
Using LinkedIn Groups
Similar to Facebook groups LinkedIn groups are a place where like minded people can connect on a topic or idea. You can join a group or create your own.
It’s easy to understand why you should join a group – a like minded audience, and content you are interested in. But why should your company or brand create a group? Simply to create a community around your brand.
The goal of accomplishing a community can be achieved on Facebook or on your personal site but, if your audience is already on LinkedIn keeping them on the platform may be the right way to build a stronger community around your brand or idea.
Utilizing Your Employees to Build Reach
Your employees are the most important part of your business. They are also the most important part of your LinkedIn sharing strategy. Employees allow you to widen your audience exponentially with no added cost. LinkedIn users strive for 500 or more followers to get the 500+ on their account. If even one of your employees shares your post you have added an additional 500 eyes to your content.
Personal pages statistically have a higher click through and read rate because followers know and trust that person. According to LinkedIn only 3% of employees share content but garner 30% of all engagement.
Set up a strategy to engage your employees more and help them understand why they should be sharing your company’s content.
Engage With Your Audience
One of the most important parts of your social strategy is to care about your audience. If they comment on your post reply to as many as you can. Make them feel heard and make them feel like you are accessible. The best social accounts, including Jeff Weiner the CEO at LinkedIn, spend the time to engage with followers and content on the channel. Creating a human connection is the best way to grow your audience on any platform.
Use a Scheduling Tool
Using a scheduling tool for LinkedIn can be difficult as LinkedIn has limited who can connect with the channel.
Scheduling tool options include:
- Hootsuite – Free option
- Postcron – Cost as low as $8 / month
- Buffer – Cost as low as $15 / month
- Sprout Social – as low as $99 / month
- Hubspot – Cost as low as $50 / month
- Sendible – Cost as low as $20 / month
The pricing changes as the features on the platform change. Platforms like sprout social allow you to view analytics and connect CRM systems to help grow your use of the platform.
Hubspot’s free account option allows you to post up to 30 posts a month while still allowing you to boost a post to a limited audience. Hootsuite will not allow you to post videos longer than 60 seconds or boost posts to an audience you have built on the platform. You will need a paid account to accomplish these tasks.
Using LinkedIn Paid
LinkedIn uses Campaign Manager for all paid spend. There are 4 types of paid advertising options on LinkedIn including sponsored posts, sponsored Inmail, text ads (PPC), and dynamic ads.
LinkedIn sponsored posts are similar to Facebook boosted posts. They can be seen in your news feed labeled as sponsored posts.
A sponsored post can be run for as small a budget as $10 a day with a one day minimum.
To sponsor a Linkedin Post on LinkedIn
- Create a campaign group – You can use one campaign for all boosted content
- Create a campaign
- Set your boost objections – if you are looking for more people to share or like your post click engagement
- Create your audience using location and attributes
- Click the single image ad option
- Keep the image placement check box the same if you also want your ads to show on affiliate sites (sites LinkedIn owns but are not actually part of LinkedIn)
- Set the budget you feel comfortable with and click next
- Create your first ad – on the right hand side click browse existing content
- Pick the post you want to sponsor and run your ad
If your sponsored post looks like it isn’t running test to make sure that your campaign and campaign groups are turned on.
Sponsored Inmail is like sending a direct message to your potential customer.
The message states that it is sponsored but otherwise does not look different from any other personal message someone might receive.
To set up a LinkedIn Inmail
- Follow the steps above to set up your campaign
*The campaign must be different from your sponsored post campaign
- Instead of clicking single image ad click message ad
- In ads click create new ad
- Write your ad the same way you would write an email to a potential client
- Start your Inmail
LinkedIn will only send a person a sponsored Inmail every 45 days. If someone in your audience has been sent an Inmail in the last 45 days your campaign will wait until the time is up before sending the next sponsored Inmail. LinkedIn will then send the Inmail to that person with the highest bid. These campaigns often need a longer time span than a few days and run best over a few months to make sure you reach your audience.
Text Ads (PPC)
LinkedIn text ads can be placed in many different areas on linkedIn including in the news feed as sponsored posts, on the side bar and as banners. Ad options include:
- Carousel ads
- Single image ads
- Video ads
LinkedIn offers a great guide on how to set up your first LinkedIn ad. If you are looking for step by step instructions on how to set up your first ad Adespresso by Hootsuite also has really easy to follow instructions.
Dynamic ads are a unique ad type to LinkedIn. A dynamic ad is an ad sent to your audience using targeting but LinkedIn creates a specialized ad for each audience member using their information and photo.
To set up a dynamic ad you have to have specific objectives selected including brand awareness, website visits, engagement, website conversions or job applicants. You can use a spotlight ad type, follower ad type, and job ads.
To set up a LinkedIn dynamic ad follow these steps by LinkedIn.
For more information on best practices on LinkedIn marketing check out LinkedIn’s training page.
How to Measure Your Ads are Working
There are many important things to monitor on your LinkedIn ads to ensure they are working for you. The three most important are:
- Relevance score
- Cost per click (CPC)
Your relevance score includes your click through rate, the amount of comments on your post, the shares, likes, and feedback from people who see your ad. While you can’t view the feedback it usually relates to how good the audience is that you choose. If your relevance score is low, working on improving your audience will often help boost how many people engage with and click your ads.
Cost per click (CPC)
This is the amount it costs you per person that clicks on your ad. The formula is (total ad cost / Total amount of clicks per ad).If you are using the awareness objective you may have a higher cost per click but if you are looking to generate leads this cost should be lower on that ad.
While the impressions don’t matter on all campaigns they are an important measure to ensure you have chosen an audience large enough to see your ad. Because of the focused targeting you can do in LinkedIn you can sometimes focus your audience too much causing your ad to have too small an audience to perform well. Don’t dwell on this metric but use it in conjunction with other metrics to check the health of your ad audience.
Understanding how to optimize your spend on a channel like LinkedIn can be difficult. If you are having trouble understanding where to get started, get in touch, our LinkedIn marketing specialists can help get your LinkedIn marketing going.