Looking to get started with LinkedIn marketing?
LinkedIn is the leading professional social network on the planet, and is ranked as the #1 platform for B2B lead generation, making it a marketing goldmine.
With over 690 million members worldwide, including executives from every Fortune 500 company, your brand has the perfect opportunity to connect with other influential people in your network and industry.
In this guide, you’ll learn what LinkedIn is, who uses it, and how your brand can harness its power.
What is LinkedIn?
LinkedIn was officially launched in May 2003 and was acquired by Microsoft in December 2016.
It’s the world’s largest professional network with 690 million members in 200 countries and regions worldwide:
Members are spread across every continent:
- North America = 186M+
- Europe = 157M+
- Asia Pacific = 185M+
- Latin America = 101M+
- Middle East and Africa = 59M+
And use the platform in a variety of ways:
- 50K service providers are open for business on LinkedIn.
- 2M small businesses trust LinkedIn to help them hire.
- 75K freelancers find work on ProFinder.
- 55 job applications are submitted every second.
- 7 seconds between every LinkedIn hire.
From a marketing perspective, LinkedIn can help you engage and target professionals, and is ranked as the #1 platform for B2B lead generation. Its professional audience includes:
- 17M opinion leaders
- 10M C-Level executives
- 90M senior-level influencers
- 63M are in decision-making positions
LinkedIn’s Free and Premium Services
LinkedIn offers a free service for individuals and companies, where you can maintain profiles and connect with other people. Plus, you can also access the SlideShare platform.
LinkedIn’s premium subscription service gives you access to more features and products. There are four options to choose from, depending on your objectives:
- Career: Learn more about the LinkedIn Learning subscription.
- Business: Learn more about LinkedIn ads and marketing solutions.
- Sales: Learn more about the various Sales Navigator account types.
- Hiring: Learn more about the corporate recruiting solutions.
LinkedIn’s Content Style
LinkedIn allows you to publish different types of content.
When you create a post:
- You can enter text and emojis in the main body of your message, up to 1,300 characters.
- At the end, there’s a prompt to add a hashtag, to help the right people see your post.
- There are also options to add an image, a video, or a document (PowerPoints, PDFs, and Word Docs).
- Underneath, you’ll see more options to start a post on a theme based on templates.
If you wish to write longer content, then you can publish an article – sometimes referred to as LinkedIn Pulse or LinkedIn Publisher – up to 100,000 characters in length.
LinkedIn Live allows individuals and organizations to broadcast live video content to their network in real-time. Note that you’ll need to apply to become a LinkedIn Live broadcaster.
Like other social networks, you can like, comment, and re-share posts and articles on LinkedIn. Plus, you can also use LinkedIn reactions to participate in conversations:
Finally, there’s also the option to send direct messages to your connections.
Who is LinkedIn for?
Anyone can use LinkedIn as a platform for their professional life or business, including large enterprises, small business owners, freelancers, students, and job seekers.
The main premise is to build professional relationships, starting with friends and colleagues you know, and then reaching out, engaging, and connecting with other people in your industry or similar roles.
Individuals can use LinkedIn to find the right job or internship, connect and strengthen professional relationships, learn the skills to succeed in their career and develop thought leadership.
Organizations can also create company pages as a place to share content and engage with other organizations and individuals.
For those companies hiring, it’s also a great place to position their employer brand and promote job openings:
LinkedIn is also home to business thought leaders, such as Richard Branson and Bill Gates:
If you would like to get some inspiration from successful marketing campaigns, just read on:
Successful LinkedIn Marketing Campaigns
Let’s take a look at three brands making the most of LinkedIn marketing.
Best LinkedIn Company Page
The best LinkedIn page of 2019 award went to Teleperformance, the worldwide leader in outsourced customer experience management.
According to the judges:
Teleperformance makes exemplary use of native video, frequently sharing quick-hit content that is short, snackable, and easily digested even without sound.
They humanize their brand by featuring company leaders in the video content, and establish credible thought leadership through the use of third-party stats:
Best LinkedIn B2B Marketing Campaign
One of the best B2B marketing campaigns for 2019 went to Prophix Software for their visual storytelling.
Prophix teamed up with TopRank Marketing to target current and aspiring CFOs with guidance on career growth through customer stories, leveraging LinkedIn’s organic image carousel format to capture the visual storytelling angle.
The content hit home with LinkedIn members, exceeding Prophix benchmarks: organic image carousel click-throughs were 63x higher, while engagement was more than 8x higher.
Best LinkedIn Advertising Campaign
One of the best examples of advertising on LinkedIn comes from Instapage:
They use a direct and straightforward message addressing the difficulty of creating personalized advertising experiences, playing on the notion of missing links.
How to Harness the Power of LinkedIn Marketing in 2020
LinkedIn members can harness the power of LinkedIn to tap into a network of professionals, companies, and groups in their industry and beyond.
In this section, we’ll look at how your brand can make the most of LinkedIn marketing.
1. Company Page Branding
Let’s start by looking at how to create and promote your LinkedIn company page.
Create an effective company page
The first step is to create your company page where prospective customers can learn more about your brand and the people who work there, as well as engage with your content.
Define your audience and goals
Next, you’ll want to decide who you want to reach and what you want to achieve on the platform.
For example, if you sell a social media management tool, you could follow the hashtag #socialmediamarketing to find related content and individuals.
Optimize your page for search
It’s essential to optimize your company page so people can find you:
- Insert keywords and phrases that people use to search for your product or service. Include them in the About tab overview, clearly representing who you are and what you do.
- Link to your page to boost your search ranking. For example, you could link to your page from your website.
- Share relevant content frequently, so your followers engage with your brand, and it appears higher in search results.
Grow your page followers
Here are a few ways to keep growing your followers:
- Use a “Follow” button on your site or blog.
- Ask your employees to invite their connections to follow your page.
- Ask your employees to share your content to boost the organic reach.
- Promote your page on emails, newsletters, and blog posts.
According to LinkedIn:
Content shared by employees has 2x higher engagement versus when shared by a company.
2. Employee Advocacy
As a company, your most significant assets are your employees, including your C-level executives.
Employee advocacy is most effective when it is spontaneous and organic, but it can also be curated as part of a person’s job role where necessary.
Here are three ways to use the power of employees to promote your brand.
Embrace thought leadership
Thought leadership can help frame your company and its leaders as trustworthy, authoritative sources. Take a look at these stats:
- 75% of would-be buyers say thought leadership helps them determine which vendor to put on their shortlist.
- 79% of would-be buyers point to thought leadership as critical for determining which providers they want to learn more about.
- Nine out of 10 B2B decision-makers find thought leadership important, and nearly half of all C-suite executives spend at least an hour engaging with this content weekly.
Successful brands use their leaders to complement their company page message.
For example, these leaders have a loyal audience of thousands of followers, which helps draw attention to their respective brands:
- Shopify’s COO Harley Finkelstein:
- Orbit Media’s CMO & Co-Founder Andy Crestodina:
- Siege Media’s Founder & CEO Ross Hudgens:
Engage your people
We already highlighted asking your employees to share your company page content, but you can also reverse the process.
- Re-share your employees’ best mentions and content on your page.
- Recognize employees with a personalized shout-out from your page.
Try LinkedIn Elevate
LinkedIn Elevate is a formal employee advocacy platform that makes it easy for employees to share their brand’s content.
Currently, it’s separate to LinkedIn, but there are plans to bring Elevate and LinkedIn Pages together, on a single platform.
The results are favorable. For example, when Thermo Fisher Scientific embraced LinkedIn Elevate to solve their Talent Acquisition problem they experienced:
- 62% increase in reach.
- 12% average engagement rate – nearly double the industry benchmark.
- 18% of those hired had engaged with the content.
Employee advocacy is all about combining the power of individual profiles to complement and promote your Page.
3. Organic Content
LinkedIn lets you publish content on your page using posts and articles. Here’s how to maximize its potential.
Publish relevant and informative content
LinkedIn members prefer fresh, engaging content. While it’s tempting to publish “salesy” content about your products and services, you’ll get better results with helpful and informative content.
You can repurpose snippets of content from your blog, publish thought leadership articles, and curate content from other industry sources.
Use rich media to increase engagement
The best company pages and marketing campaigns, highlighted above, use images and videos to capture the attention of users.
- Try custom image collages of 3-4 images in one post.
- Keep videos short, about 1-2 minutes, and add subtitles for those watching with the sound off.
- Add branded documents, like this cheatsheet from SEMrush:
4. LinkedIn Ads
LinkedIn has a broad range of advertising options to help you promote your brand further.
Experiment with LinkedIn ads
You can run any of the self-service ad campaigns below using LinkedIn’s Campaign Manager, which lets you set a budget, select your goals, and control your campaign’s timeline.
- Sponsored Content appears directly in the LinkedIn feed across desktop and mobile, and comes in three different formats: single image ads, video ads, and carousel ads.
- Dynamic Ads use LinkedIn profile data – like photo, company name, and job title – to personalize ads.
- Text Ads are simple pay-per-click (PPC) or cost-per-impression (CPM) ads.
LinkedIn Marketing: Sales Outreach
LinkedIn empowers organization to execute sales outreach strategies, which are beyond the scope of this article:
Outreach with InMails:
LinkedIn allows users to send InMails either as individuals with a Premium account or via paid Message Ads.
There are several third-party tools you can use to automate your outreach on LinkedIn, including DuxSoup, Zotpo, Zapier, IFTTT, Phantom Buster, and Tray.io.
5. LinkedIn Analytics
Your final step is to evaluate how your LinkedIn marketing tactics are working.
Evaluate your LinkedIn marketing performance
LinkedIn’s page analytics allows you to see which content on your company page performs best with the number of visitors and the level of engagement:
- Updates analytics evaluate the effectiveness of your content.
- Followers and Visitors analytics track the growth in your followers and let you gain a deeper understanding of the demographics and sources of your visitors.
LinkedIn Marketing in a Nutshell
Marketing on LinkedIn can help you engage and target professionals in your industry. With over 690 million members, it’s ranked as the #1 platform for B2B lead generation.
Here’s a quick recap of how you can harness the power of LinkedIn marketing for your brand:
- Create an effective LinkedIn company page
- Define your audience and goals
- Optimize your company page for search
- Grow your page followers
- Embrace thought leadership
- Engage your employees
- Try LinkedIn Elevate
- Publish relevant and informative content
- Use rich media to increase engagement
- Experiment with LinkedIn ads
- Evaluate your LinkedIn marketing performance
Make your mark on the leading professional social network and begin your LinkedIn marketing journey.