When I say social media, what do you think of? Instagram, Twitter, Facebook? Maybe even Vine and YouTube? You probably don’t think about LinkedIn. Traditionally a platform for Silicon Valley professionals, in the past it has been used for recruitment and self-promotion rather than any kind of brand marketing.
But that has all changed in recent years. LinkedIn is now a goldmine for distributing brand content and making strategic partnerships. However, to do so requires a significant shift in thinking away from its traditional usage. And let’s be clear from the start: LinkedIn isn’t suitable for all types of marketing, and is definitely, by its nature, biased towards the B2B market.
If you’re not on LinkedIn yet, or if you just use it to update your personal employment history rather than to market your own brand, read on for our top 5 reasons why LinkedIn is about to become your new secret weapon.
As we’ve already mentioned, LinkedIn has long outgrown its status as a Silicon Valley start-up. Last Friday, it announced it had amassed a colossal 300 million users, having added 6.6 million in the last 15 months. Its sheer size has brought together professionals from a huge number of industries and provided them with a place to network, share content and connect. There’s a good chance your particular area, from cooking to consultancy, will have a large, active community on LinkedIn. That’s a relevant and receptive audience, ready and waiting for your input.
Your competitors will be there, giving you a chance to take a good look at and track their efforts, but you can also build relationships with others in the industry and spot potential work opportunities. When you’re part of a large and well-known LinkedIn community, businesses searching for your particular product or service will be able to find you quickly and easily.
When created properly, your company page can act as a powerful SEO referral tool, online portfolio, and an extra piece of real estate for your business online. The best part? It’s completely free!
Much like other social media platforms, your page needs to be filled out comprehensively; including your brand story, latest vacancies and offers, where applicable. You can build up a network of followers and every time you post something new, it will be featured on their newsfeeds. In this way, your LinkedIn corporate page can become even more valuable than your company website for content marketing. Produce a blogpost on your website and you need to spend a considerable amount of time and effort making sure it’s seen by your desired audience; post it on your LinkedIn page, and it’s pushed out to a highly engaged audience, automatically.
A relatively new addition to LinkedIn as of November 2013, Showcase Pages allow you to build individual hubs for each of your main products or service offerings, meaning your followers can pick and choose what is most relevant or interesting to them.
Treat your LinkedIn Showcase Pages as an extension of your main company page and keep it regularly updated with contextual, balanced content. While Showcase Pages are definitely useful to flesh out all of the areas of your business and give each the space to shine, be wary of creating too many – you’ll need to maintain them for them to be effective, as well as keep them consistent with the rest of your marketing.
If you’re currently investing large amount in Google or Facebook ads, you may question the necessity of adding even more paid strings to your marketing bow. But LinkedIn ads offer a unique proposition over others of their kind, in that they allow you to specifically target the decision makers in your industry. In this way, you sidestep redundant effort involved in targeting the wrong audience, or simply reaching the ones who won’t actually affect whether or not their company works with yours.
Instead, you can select audiences to target based on job titles or job categories: there are over 8 million decision makers in the LinkedIn community, meaning huge opportunities for your business.
Linkedin Pulse is an application which acts as LinkedIn’s news source, and which makes it easy to consume news on mobile and tablet devices. We’ve already touched on the content marketing opportunities LinkedIn provides, and Pulse is perhaps the most powerful of them all.
What you share on the Pulse application will be shared with your followers. This also allows opportunity for content syndication – meaning you can submit shortened versions of your content to Pulse, which will link through to the source of the full article or post and driving traffic to your site. Publishing content on Pulse also does wonders for your recognition and authority on the LinkedIn platform as a whole.
Conclusively, the opportunities for networking and content marketing that LinkedIn provides make it a bona fide secret weapon in your online marketing arsenal. When considering how it fits in with your existing social media marketing efforts however, try to consider LinkedIn as a unique proposition. You might read lots of material online comparing the advantages of Facebook and LinkedIn for businesses, however, to do so disregards the merits of both. Embrace the networking and content marketing opportunities LinkedIn provides, and save your B2C tactics for Facebook.