With 722 million members, Linkedin is currently the biggest gathering of professionals in the world.
Members are also becoming more active. They saw a growth of 26% in user sessions.
Linkedin is the world’s largest networking platform and a perfect fit for B2B marketers. It is the best tool to build long-term relationships and influence your prospects outside your network.
But to maximize Linkedin, you’ll need to have a plan. By the end of this guide, you will learn how to build a marketing strategy for Linkedin.
Table of Contents
- Why your Linkedin Marketing Strategy is important
- How do you define and find the right B2B target audience?
- Linkedin Algorithm and How it works
- Creating a compelling Linkedin Company Page
- Getting started with a company page
- Best-in-class Linkedin company page practices
- When to post on Linkedin
- How to use your Linkedin Company Page to drive real business growth
- Employee advocacy on Linkedin
- Linkedin Live and Linkedin Events
- Where should you start?
Why your Linkedin Marketing Strategy is important
Linkedin is no longer a platform you can look over and forget about. It has progressed beyond just a job search site. Today, there are over 9 billion content impressions that are not job-related.
Listen, there is no other platform in history that has such a targeted reach for professional audiences. Linkedin has the world’s most powerful B2B targeting capabilities.
If you’ve ever wondered where you can reach professionals at scale, then look no further than Linkedin. Linkedin plays a critical role in the marketing strategies of teams today, especially for B2B companies.
No matter what kind of professionals your audiences are, they’re likely targetable on Linkedin.
The context of Linkedin is just as important.
Members use Linkedin to be more productive at their work. This causes them to be more open to your marketing message and ads on Linkedin
However, too many B2B marketers still struggle to get results for their Linkedin campaigns.
Because many marketing teams miss out on proper audience research.
This leaves B2B marketing teams chasing after the wrong audience.
In fact, 65% of audiences felt that marketing messages were not relevant to them. That shows that many marketers are not getting their audiences right.
Get focused. Dig deep and find out what triggers your audiences to buy.
Let’s start with that.
How do you define and find the right B2B target audience?
This Linkedin research shows that 76% of the buying committee engages directly with the vendor.
What does this mean?
Targeting a single CMO, CEO, CXO is no longer effective today. It is an outdated mindset to target one person in an organization and believes that this single person will magically buy.
Decisions are not made in silos.
Think in terms of the entire buying committee.
As a Marketer, you’ll need to influence 4 key roles in a buying committee (Harvard Business Review)
- Decision Maker (Decider): This is the person who signs the cheque. Likely, they are the VPs or C-suites of companies. Most marketers only target at this basic stage.
- Influencers: Audiences who might or might not be in the same department. But their voice holds weight in the decision. They could be familiar with your industry and his/her colleagues rely on their feedback on vendors. They might not be direct decision-makers but they get to define the priorities of capabilities and vendors they recommend.
- Gatekeepers (Finance): Purchasing departments who will negotiate the bidding and contracts.
- Users: These are the employees who will be using your solution day-to-day. Likely, decision-makers will ask for their feedback.
There isn’t a one-size-fits-all but this is how the majority of your B2B buying committee is structured.
You know you’ve done your audience research well if you can answer these:
- What’s their job function?
- What’s their job title?
- What are the professional skills they have?
- What are the company sizes of their workplaces?
- What kind of topics are they interested in?
- What seniority level are they?
- Are they from certain industries?
The easiest way to start your audience research into the buying committee is by using Linkedin’s member data.
- Search for one Linkedin member profile, for example, VP of Marketing. Ensure he fits into one or more of the buying committee roles.
- Review the skills, interest, company, groups section. Record all data points that you feel are most relevant.
- Rinse and repeat. Look for 10 other similar profiles. Collect data into excel or google sheet. Then, compare each profile and find similar traits among them.
Use the “Forecasting tool” in the campaign manager tool. If you have a list of customer’s emails, you could upload them. Once the uploaded emails match, you may select it as a matched audience and use the forecasting tool. Watch out for the functions, seniority, years of experience, company size that your customers are from.
Probably the most under-rated tool for B2B audience research. This is a good place to start If you have an active LinkedIn company page. There’s a gold mine of information about your audience here.
You’ll be able to see the demographics of your visitors and followers. See what job functions, locations, seniority, industries, and company sizes your audiences came from.
Google Analytics and Google search console
As you can tell, I’m a big fan of leveraging owned data. Google analytics and search console is a great way to validate your marketing message to your target audience.
In google analytics, you’ll be able to track which pages your audiences frequently engage in. Study those pages, it will make a great marketing offer.
If there isn’t anything from that, you could use google search console. It shows you the search terms people use to discover your brand. Remove the branded search terms and you’ll know what keywords will connect with your audience.
The keywords that you find can also be leveraged as questions or future.
Google Analytics also reveals the age, location, gender, and affinity interest of your visitors. Although it’s not as handy for B2B, it gives a more dynamic view of your audience. It adds to the profile and humanizes your persona.
You may also consider setting up site search with via google analytics. This will allow you to understand what terms audiences are searching on your site.
Customer interviews and surveys
Find out why clients love you. Because if you know what works, you’ll know what to double down on. Knowing who these clients are and what triggers them is key.
It’s hard to ask for someone’s time, but this is absolutely worth it.
Ask for some time to have a conversation. These are some customer discovery questions to use
- What is your role?
- What are your responsibilities?
- Which department are you affiliated to?
- Who reports to you?
- Walk me through your usual day at work. What happens?
- What’s your business objectives this year? And what’s the obstacles?
- Who else in the company shares the same struggles?
- Who is involved in decision making?
- How are you currently handling the problem?
- How did you find out about us? What made you choose us?
- What are some websites, influencers or peers you follow?
Pro Tip: Many marketers are starting podcasts. They use this opportunity to “feature” their prospects on their show as special guests.
What’s in it for the prospects? It strokes their ego and it’s an opportunity to create brand awareness for their business (Or so it seems).
What’s in it for the marketer? They get to use this podcast as a discovery session where audiences share insider information about how they make decisions.
I call this the wolf in sheep’s clothing tactic. If done in a genuine way, this is highly effective.
There are a number of publications that could help you identify your audience. Researchers and publishers like Gartner, Forrester, eMarketer give you a glimpse into what’s priorities of your target audience.
Read their insights to find out who the customers of your products are. Find out if they really care about the problem you’re trying to solve.
There’s a saying: Keep your friends close and your enemies closer
Uncovering what your competitors are doing lets you market differently.
You may find out what marketing messages resonate with your audience. This saves you a lot of resources in testing and user research.
Here are the common competitive analysis tools:
- Facebook Ad Library
- LinkedIn Ad Tab on Company Pages
- Twitter Ad Transparency Center
- Follow the top voices and influencers in your industry on Linkedin & Twitter
- Youtube comments
Public Review Sites
There’s a goldmine of information about your target audience in review sites.
Review sites are where prospects (your audience) give public feedback about their experience about products similar to yours.
Whether it’s a bad, neutral, or a good review, there are many insightful points you can take from each review.
If you ever wanted to truly understand how to influence your audience, this is it. Their written review lets you peek into their minds.
Don’t believe it’s effective? Then read this study by Hubspot.
It shows one-third of prospects said that review sites play an important role in their decision-making process.
Study all the reviews and find common trends among reviews of your competitors or peers.
- What does your audience truly value?
- What annoys your audience?
- What will make them buy?
Reviews will reveal these answers in-depth.
Each industry or product category would have their own review sites. Find one that is most suitable for your niche.
Here are some of the common review sites:
- G2Crowd: A tech-based review site.
- Google my business: Business listing where users could leave reviews too
- Capterra: A comparison site for software and services
- Glassdoor: Where current and former employees leave reviews about companies
- TrustRadius: Software reviews
- GoodFirms: A B2B research firm. They review, rate and Q&A of software companies
- Influenster: Product review site
- Amazon review: Mostly product reviews. Looking at reviews of books are also useful.
Linkedin Algorithm and How it works
When marketers ask about the “Linkedin Algorithm”, my reply is always to focus on content and connections.
There is no point in trying to game the algorithm. It is changing constantly.
What you should focus on is creating content that your audience love.
Since Linkedin is a networking platform, you’ll also need to continue building relevant connections.
It’s that simple: Good content and growing your network with more relevant connections is all you need.
That said, here’s what we know about the algorithm from Linkedin’s engineering blog
There are thousands of signals that Linkedin uses to decide which post members see on their feed. These signals fall within these categories:
- Identity – Who you are, where you work, who you are connected with, what’s the relationship between the author and viewer, Has the viewer interacted with the author before.
- Content signals – How fresh is the content, what’s the content about, Who’s tagged in the content, What is the content about, Is this content high-quality
- Propensity for engagement – Who do you usually interact with, Where do you spend your time on the feed, what are the kinds of post you liked or shared before.
As Pete Davis, Senior Director at Linkedin, says: The feed is optimised to people you know, talking about things you care about.
Our mission is to help people be more productive and successful, and it is what drives us daily. We strongly believe that people need their professional communities to help them along the way, whether that’s current or former colleagues, peers in the same industry, or those that share similar interests or career ambitions…..
Pete Davis – Senior Director of Product Management at Linkedin
It’s clear, the goal of Linkedin is to help their members be more productive and successful in their careers.
Is your content contributing to professionally-relevant conversations? If it is, it will be rewarded with more reach.
Linkedin has also shared that they’re helping smaller creators get more organic reach – As long as it adds value to the network and viewer.
So if you’ve just started out, there’s still a chance to get your message out there.
Not everyone has millions of followers like Bill gates.
Now, It’s not just about the “likes, comments and shares”.
Linkedin also scores content based on the relationship between the author and viewer as well.
If the algorithm calculates that a certain viewer’s engagement/like will be helpful to the creator, then it would prioritise showing the post to the viewer first. Which is why you won’t keep seeing top influencers’ post only on your feed nowadays.
This is another model of how Linkedin gives a “quality score” to content. The higher the score, the more reach it’ll get.
That’s why, all you need to focus on is high-quality content and networking with like-minded audiences. Stressing over and chasing the algorithm isn’t effective.
Creating a compelling Linkedin Company Page
Linkedin pages is a digital representation of your business, schools, non-profit, and brands on Linkedin.
It’s a free online tool that helps members connect with and grow their audience on Linkedin.
Every business has a story, mission, value. Pages provide this foundation where businesses can tell members who they are, what they offer, and why they should work with you.
Since Linkedin is the largest gathering of professionals, this is something you need to get right.
Think of it as a portfolio. If someone is deciding whether they want to do business with your company, they’ll probably check out your company background.
Other than your website, your Linkedin company page will likely be part of their buying journey (Especially if you’re in B2B). This study shows that 46% of all website traffic from social media comes from Linkedin.
In the video, Linkedin states these3 propositions about Linkedin pages:
- You can know & grow your audience
- Joining the conversations of audiences
- Engage with your audience
The million-dollar question is: How?
How exactly can you use Linkedin pages to grow your audience?
Getting started with a company page
Start by completing your company details on Linkedin Pages.
To get started, you’ll need to prepare and know the following:
- Your industry
- Prepare a description of your company
- Organization type
- Website URL (Optional)
Best-in-class Linkedin company page practices
Linkedin has launched the #bestofpages competition. They award the top 10 companies who made great use of your Linkedin company page.
Here are the winners.
What can we learn from them?
- Pin your top content to the top of your Linkedin page. This will increase the views on the content. Rotate the pinned content every month to avoid content fatigue
- Build a theme around your content on Pages. Then stick to it. Don’t just post what you feel like posting. Don’t just post random company shout-outs. Be purposeful. Create a series of post that has consistent creative and themes.
- Use a CTA in your creatives. Be clear what action you want your viewers to take. Tell them what benefits or outcomes they will achieve.
- Leverage on Linkedin Live and Linkedin Events. Both are free. Now, you could even launch Linkedin live within Linkedin events. Linkedin live is great for awareness because anyone could join. Linkedin events are more “private” where the live show is only seen by the attendees.
- Ask engaging and provoking questions in your post & videos. Respond actively to the comments. Whether or not it’s a good comment, reply your page commenters
- Share industry trends and best practices. Be upfront about the struggles. Showcase how some of your clients have overcome those struggles. A customer story will always sell well.
- Launch different content types. Use short + long videos, use webinars, PDF posts, single images, and more. Rotate and repurpose your content.
- Pages do well when they show how they’re helping the community. Show support and care for charitable causes.
- Feature your employees as well. Let your employees tell your brand story. An individual’s story is a lot more powerful than a story from a “faceless” brand.
- Celebrate milestones of the company. Post about your awards, company anniversary, events, company parties, and employee anniversary.
- If customers are sharing about you or tagging you, reshare their posts. Well, reshare it only if it makes sense.
- Content should always be helpful and informational. It needs to address your customer’s pain points. Use thought leadership to get consistent followers.
- Make use of the “What we do” tab. Showcase company culture. When someone is thinking of doing business with you, they will want to know who you are first.
- Offer exclusive, first to see, ungated content for your page followers. Give them an incentive to follow your page.
- Feature your senior leaders in posts. Members are on Linkedin to hear from their peers and what other leaders are up to.
When to post on Linkedin
After spending hours like a workhorse on your content, you’d want it to reach the most audiences and not waste it. What’s the use in creating marketing content when no one sees it right?
So it makes sense to ask: “When is the best time to post on Linkedin”. Knowing this would maximize the exposure of your content to professionals on Linkedin.
Here’s a nice infographic from Orbelo
Linkedin also recommends the following:
Pro Tip: Tuesday to Thursday are the best days to post. Posting early morning (8 am), afternoon during lunch hours (10 am – 12 pm), or evenings (5:30 pm).
While every source has a different story and answer, one thing is common. Most suggests posting during working hours and evenings.
Here’s another source by a Millward brown study with Linkedin that shows that posting in the evening gets better engagement.
Reason: Executives, especially the c-suite, catch-up with their social feeds 8 pm onwards only.
The hypothesis is that they’re busy executives and tend to catch-up with industry news when they’re back at home only.
Whoever recommends a posting time that guarantees you more reach is a liar.
The best time to post really depends on your audience, it depends also on the region you’re in.
Start with the recommendations above. Post in the morning, afternoon, and one in the late evening. Then observe over 10 posts – 1 post a day – which performs best.
Audiences do not appear at a specific time just to see your content. It’s not that simple or we would all be millionaire marketers already.
So keeping testing, measuring, and optimizing.
But here’s a new problem. How are you going to produce enough content to post every day? How are you going to create high-quality content that audiences like every single day?
Linkedin has built a free tool to solve that called “Content suggestions” to solve this.
Here’s how to use it, read on.
How to use your Linkedin Company Page to drive real business growth
Use Content suggestions
“Content suggestions” is a free in-built tool found in your Linkedin Page. It can be found in the “content suggestions” tab.
It helps you discover and share content your audiences are actively engaging in now on Linkedin. This helps Marketers meet the high-demand for daily content.
Add your own comments over the trending topics and viola, you’ve got a piece of shareable content that your audience love – All done within minutes.
Under the Content Suggestions Tab, you can filter the audiences based on:
- Job function
- Selected named topics or companies.
Once you’ve selected the filters, the content will reflect the content your audience cares about.
Simply click the “Share” button.
Remember to add your comments, point of view, and add hashtags. Consider tagging relevant audiences on the post too.
Hashtags for company pages
In 2019, Linkedin launched a couple of new features like community hashtags for Pages.
Here’s the most under-utilized way to grow your brand on Linkedin today.
Adding communities hashtags to your pages helps your brand to be associated with hashtags you want to be known for. Think of a couple of hashtags that your target prospects might likely use in their posts.
For visitors to your Linkedin Pages, they’ll be able to see the associated hashtags.
This will give them a glimpse of what your company stands for. It’ll be clearer what’s the offer and content you have in store for them.
Communities hashtag also makes it easy for your company to join in the conversations happening within these hashtags. With one click on your community hashtag, you’ll enter into the hashtag’s content feed.
You’ll be able to interact with your audience directly as your brand. Every like, comment, and share will be done on behalf of the brand.
This is the perfect opportunity to expose your brand, show your brand’s perspective, and thought leadership.
Keep in mind that these are relevant hashtags that your brand wants.
Members who use or follow these hashtags are likely your audiences. So why not expose your brand as much as possible here. Did i mention, it’s free too?
Employee advocacy on Linkedin
The easiest way to amplify your reach is to encourage your own employees to share your company’s post. Getting the people who work for you to promote your company is the simplest way to get more coverage.
Linkedin has built an employee notification function where your employees get notified whenever you share a post.
This is how it looks like.
Employees get a push notification whenever you post.
It gets better. In the post analytics, you’ll be able to see the effects of your employees’ sharing. You get to see the number of impressions, likes, comments, shares, and follows from the posting of your employees.
Not bad for free press huh.
The biggest obstacle with getting employees to post is the lack of motivation in the first place.
Here’s some tips on getting employees to take action.
- Set some marketing goals and get management buy-in
- Identify employee champions in different departments. Start with employees who are already active on Social media
- Educate employees about what’s in it for them. Building a strong professional reputation helps them beyond their current jobs. Help to enhance their profiles for them. Some examples that work are lunch and learn sessions, giving free professional headshots, webinars and 1 on 1 coaching.
- Promote your brand internally. Build an employer branding committee and start internal marketing. Create culture decks, share your brand’s value proposition and encourage leaders to inject these messages during meetings.
- Outline your social media guidelines clearly.
- Share back with employees the successes of the advocacy program.
Linkedin Live and Linkedin Events
What is Linkedin Live and Linkedin Events
No prizes for guessing why virtual events are a big thing in 2021 (and possibly beyond).
The sudden shift to remote events sent shockwaves through Marketing departments. If you’re like many around the world, you’ll need to find new ways to build relationships without interacting in-person.
Linkedin Live and Linkedin Events are one of the most scalable and viable options for event marketers.
You can host your event in Linkedin’s trust professional environment. The brilliant thing about Linkedin is the mindset of their audience. People are there with a purpose.
They’re there to connect with brands, learns from peers, and find new ways to achieve career aspirations. This sets-up naturally to host virtual events within this environment from Linkedin.
Marketers can communicate with event attendees before, during, and after the event. This
To add on, event attendees can also interact and connect with each other in the Linkedin Events feed or on the actual Linkedin Live.
I see this as the best replacement for in-person networking and events.
What’s the difference between Linkedin Live and Linkedin Event?
Don’t get confused, these are two different products from Linkedin.
Linkedin Live works better if you’re trying to get maximum reach. It is public and discoverable by all members.
Followers of your page will get push-notified as well. When followers engage with your Live, your show might get pushed to a subset of their network. This extends your reach.
The key point of Linkedin Live is the organic distribution to all your Company page followers and it’s public availability.
Here’s how it looks on desktop as well
Linkedin event is different. It focuses on Community building.
You may think of it as either a private event. You get to curate your target audience and engage more directly with attendees within the private Linkedin event space.
The brilliant thing about online is that there isn’t a limit to your private event size, not unless you want it to be limited. So you can really scale this to a massive event, or keep it small.
The key thing here is that this event is private to event attendees, no matter how large your event is. It can literally be a convention size event hosted on Linkedin events, it still remains as exclusive to event attendees only.
This means that if you’re hosting your Linkedin Live within Linkedin Events, this means that only events attendees will get notified when you go live. It is not discoverable by the public.
Some examples that would be great for Linkedin events are industry-specific events, educational events, product demos, career conversations with the talent team. You can also conduct multiple event sessions in one day.
Here’s a table with the key differences if you go live through your Linkedin Company Page or you Linkedin events
Where should you start?
We’ve covered many strategies to know and grow your B2B audience.
Which should you start with first?
I’d recommend focusing on defining your target audience first. Then create a Linkedin company page. Linkedin is your digital place in the world’s professional community.
Explore the other tactics like Hashtags, Content suggestions and follow the company page best practices mentioned above.