Over the last five years, we’ve seen an evolution in the way B2B marketers are talking about and using social media. We’ve evolved from asking “Should we be doing it?” to “Is what we are doing worth it?” to now “How do I make this really effective channel even more effective?”.

According to a recent study from Oktopost, 79% of B2B marketers believe social media is an effective marketing channel (Oktopost). And for many B2B marketers, LinkedIn is THE social media channel. In fact 43% of marketers say they’ve sourced a customer from LinkedIn (Hubspot).

But could we be doing better? Can we use LinkedIn more effectively?

To help answer that question, Alex Rynne, Content Marketing Manager at LinkedIn Marketing Solutions and Chris Wilson, Inbound Consultant from Hubspot, provided B2B marketers with an actionable, detailed plan to drive bigger, better performance from LinkedIn tools at last week’s B2B Marketing Forum in Boston.

Linkedin Company & Showcase Pages

LinkedIn Company and Showcase pages are great opportunities to establish and build your company’s identity. It’s a completely free tool that allows your brand to connect professionals with your employees and your brand to share knowledge with your community.

LinkedIn Showcase pages allow you to create dedicated pages for individual brands and are another opportunity to build individual brand identity.

Objectives:

  • Brand awareness
  • Lead generation
  • Thought leader
  • Event Registrations

KPIs:

  • Page followers
  • Post clicks
  • Engagement
  • Comments
  • Inquiries
  • Event Registrations

What to Share:

  • Showcase your expertise with large assets like webinars and eBooks.
  • Engage with short digestible stats and quotes.
  • Illustrate industry savvy with 3rd party content. Alex shares that no one wants to talk to the person at the party that only talks about themselves. 3rd party content shows you’re on top of trends within the industry, creates opportunities for engagement with your audience and helps build influencer relationships.

LinkedIn Company and Showcase Page Action Items:

  • Post 3-4xs per day.
  • Engage with and respond to followers comments:  Don’t ignore your followers. If they take the time to engage with you, show them your appreciation and build strong engagement by responding.
  • Change your header image every 6 months: Chris compares the header image to the front door of your LinkedIn page. Make it attractive and people will want to come in.  Take advantage of the header real estate and switch it up periodically to promote to campaigns or messaging.

Publishing on LinkedIn

According to Alex, over 1 million  unique  publishers  publish  more than 130,000 posts a week on LinkedIn and 45% of LinkedIn readers are in the upper ranks of their industries (i.e. managers, VPs, CEOs, etc.). So publishing content is a great way to connect with key people in your industry and further establish your professional identity.

Objective:

  • Thought Leadership

Key Metrics:

  • Post reviews & Profile views
  • Demographics of your readers
  • Likes, comments and shares

What to Share:

Although there is no silver bullet for exactly what and how often you should publish. Alex and Chris shares examples of what tends to work best.

  1. Publish when you feel passionate. If you post when you are creatively inspired, about something you care about, this is when your work will be most likely to resonate with your audience and inspire engagement. Content about lessons learned and your professional expertise will be most relevant to your audience.  
  2. Crowdsource content. Look at the questions your audience is asking and identify their pain points. This content will undoubtedly resonate.
  3. Share relevant, timely content about events or industry news. Tap into the conversations that are already happening by posting an opinion or tips related to something current in the news.

Action Items:

  • Publish when you feel passionate (this is listed twice because it is that important).
  • Recommended bi-weekly or once a month.

LinkedIn Sponsored Content

LinkedIn Sponsored content allow you to reach a target audience of people who are not already following you.

Objectives:

  • Brand awareness
  • Lead Generation
  • Thought Leadership

Key Metrics:

  • Engagement Rate
  • Inquires
  • Impressions

Best practices:

  1. Visual is the new headline. There is so much content in the feed, make sure your content is really eye catching. If you can, move beyond stock photos and do your own photoshoot.
  2. Keep it short & sweet. Be mindful of your mobile users and make content easy to consumer.
  3. Snackable stats work wonders. Provide your audience with 3rd party validation to backup your message.
  4. Variety is the spice of life. Variety allows you to avoid creative fatigue but also see what resonates the best with your audience.

What to Share:

  • Webinars
  • Content that asks readers to participate i.e. survey, nominations
  • Statistics
  • Repurposed, straightforward content

Always be Testing:

With the amount of content clutter, testing is a great way to find out what is most likely to work with your audience and make the most out of what you are publishing. Alex and Chris recommend testing anything from word choice (i.e. eBook versus guide), content (inclusion of a stat or benefit), and images (photo or graphic).

Action Items:

  • Select a compelling visual.
  • Run 2-4 posts per week.
  • Run the test for 3 weeks, to ensure you have an actionable result.
  • Add URL tracking codes to measure post click actions (site visits and conversions)
  • Setup campaigns by audience and make sure you tailor the content to the audience (i.e. managers versus c-suite).
  • Shift budget to the audience with the highest engagement rate. Spend your money where you are going to get the most impact.

LinkedIn Sponsored InMail

LinkedIn InMail allows you to send personalized messages to the people who matter most to your business. InMail can work even better than email at reaching certain audiences.

Objectives:

  • Brand awareness
  • Lead Generation
  • Program Certification
  • Enrollment

Key Metrics

  • Open rate
  • Inquiries and leads
  • Event registration
  • Program application and brochure downloads

What to Share:

  • Webinar an industry event invitations
  • eBook launches
  • Product one sheets
  • Program demos
  • Infographics
  • Blog subscription campaigns

Action Items

  • Keep copy under 1000 characters (but AB test).
  • Use a clear CTA in the top right banner.
  • Choose a sender that is credible to your audience. If audiences have never heard of your brand before, your open rates will be lower, than if it’s from a person they know.
  • Leverage personalization. InMail allows you to add the recipient’s name or other customized information.
  • Have a hyperlink early in the body of the message.
  • Select a concise subject link.
  • Set up A/B test to learn what resonates.

Bonus Opportunity: Linkedin Conversion Tracking:

Obviously, tracking is so critical to reporting the results of your campaigns, but also to optimize and iterate for the go forward.

Chris outlines the steps for setting up LinkedIn conversion tracking:

  1. Use a Google Analytics tracking code for easy set up.
  2. Assign a Conversion value: If you don’t know this, create an estimate based on product value and close rate .
  3. Tie it all together: This way you can show clear value, nice argument for executives that you need more value.

Don’t do Social Campaigns, Make Every Campaign Social

Using a tactical plan like the one Alex and Chris shared will allow you to really harness the power of LinkedIn. Once this happen, you can truly integrate social into all of your campaigns in order to engagement with your audience and accelerate the impact of your content.

Interested in other LinkedIn related tactics? Find out everything you need to know about LinkedIn’s new native video feature.

Disclosure: LinkedIn is a TopRank Marketing client.

Source: Online Marketing Blog – TopRank

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