LinkedIn is the largest and fastest-growing professional social media platform in the world, with 225 million current members. LinkedIn is the ideal social-media marketing tool for companies because it was designed with B2B (business to business) and B2C (business to consumer) networking in mind.
A social networking site for adult professionals
Unlike other social media sites where personal photos and comments from family members intermingle with interactive games and blog posts, LinkedIn provides a business- and career-focused platform aimed at serving the social networking needs of professionals. Developed for and by professionals, the purpose of LinkedIn is to help companies and individuals develop and utilize professional relationships for the purpose of building careers and improving marketing tactics through the use of direct to consumer connections. LinkedIn provides tools that help build a strong referral base while also functioning as a hub of relevant industry and product news. A well maintained LinkedIn profile is part of the strong social media presence that is a requirement for companies who want to remain visible and relevant in a new media world.
LinkedIn’s marketing potential has not gone unnoticed. According to the Content Marketing Institute and the MarketingProfs fourth annual B2B Content Marketing: 2014 Benchmarks, Budgets and Trends – North America report, LinkedIn is the most popular website used by B2B marketers who employ social media. LinkedIn is also perceived to be the most effective advertising platform, with 62% of advertisers believing it to be an effective tool. While advertising could be the right option for some LinkedIn users, we have found better results from using more grassroots networking techniques than using ads.
Consumers are looking to LinkedIn for guidance. According to the Marketing Solutions Institute, half of LinkedIn members say they are more likely to purchase products from a company if it engages with them through the website. The same philosophy can be applied to consultants and professionals who want to be seen as influencers in their industry: a client who has seen a relevant, informational post on LinkedIn, is more likely to reach out to you when they need help on a problem that fits in your expertise. This year alone, according to a study conducted by digital asset management firm WebDAM, 43% of marketers found a client via LinkedIn in 2013. This statistic is expected to increase rapidly as social media marketing budgets increase over the next five years.
What Markets can LinkedIn Access?
While the demographic is expected to change as the site continues to grow in popularity, LinkedIn is used primarily by affluent, middle-aged professionals who possess post-graduate degrees, which you can see in this graphic from QuantCast. Other interesting statistical insights include: 64 percent of LinkedIn users are male; Asians and Caucasians use the site at higher rates than other ethnicities.
Demographics are important to consider because LinkedIn may not be the ideal platform for reaching all consumers depending on what clientele your business seeks to serve. Stay-at-home moms and newly minted college students, for example, may be underrepresented on LinkedIn. However LinkedIn provides tools to generate demographic statistics about the online followers of the company. Such information can be used to adjust and tailor your message to a custom audience.
Strategies for LinkedIn
Optimize your business’ homepage
LinkedIn offers template tools for businesses to personalize their Products and Services page. Use this page to highlight the key products and services your company offers. Remember that, although space on this page is limited, you can insert links to other pages with unlimited space, including white papers, case studies and how-tos. SEO (Search Engine Optimization) should be kept in mind when composing copy for the Products and Services page. The best chance for your page to be seen is if it consistently shows up among Google search results top hits
LinkedIn makes it easy to create subsets of groups within your large group of followers, and to share certain announcements with these limited subsets. Specifically targeted content written in a personalized but professional way is a marketing strategy well suited for LinkedIn.
The 4-1-1 Rule
First developed by the Tippingpoint Labs and Joe Pulizzi in the context of Twitter, the 4–1–1 rule states that for every communication promoting solely your company’s interests, you should share another user’s comment at least once, and contribute at least four relevant pieces of new content. These proportions are not iron-clad, but a social-media profile that discusses only its own business practice is not going to be as successful as one that engages with the online community in a broader way.
Picobarn can help
A successful LinkedIn page should be designed in concordance with the overall marketing plan, and needs to be updated daily.This can be a daunting task, especially to those new to social media. Picobarn staff can work with you to create a LinkedIn company page, develop your Products and Services section, and join relevant groups and discussions. We can also help you identify target markets with our survey and research services and apply this information to develop custom targeting. These services and others are available as part of our Standard and Premium packages.
Are you ready to jumpstart your LinkedIn marketing campaign? Give Picobarn a call, 706-363-0713! View more of our social media marketing services.