Forbes advises that the techniques of content marketing are becoming more valuable as customers increasingly create direct relationships with their customers via social networks. General Electric is a well-known B2B brand dedicating an increasing portion of advertising funds to content marketing. The most successful way of reaching a business audience is through LinkedIn, with 91% of B2B marketers using it as their distribution channel, an 83% increase over last year. Most B2B marketers believe that LinkedIn is effective for distributing their messages, making it the most popular B2B social network.
Native Advertising with LinkedIn delivers your content in client context
LinkedIn’s Directly Paid opportunities are fee for service, content based, targeting a specific readership and delivered in-stream. This advertising doesn’t interfere with a user’s normal behaviour. Information that is not only helpful but also similar to other site content is provided. The content must be truly useful to consumers.
Today the majority of publishing and media companies offer native advertising, as do the majority of brands. LinkedIn is aggressively offering native advertising products. According to eConsultancy Native Marketing can be delivered through your own channels or paid channels. In a mobile environment, the stream itself is the entire user experience, as the display is limited.
Native advertising allows you to borrow credibility from a media property, and then transfer that credibility to your own brand. Ultimately, your goal may also include building your own database of subscribers who view your content on a regular basis. Repurposing content with content recommendation tools enables you to lend new life to other peoples’ content to help you fulfil your own marketing objectives. Content must be educational, informational or interesting. You should endeavor to expand your topics beyond your products or services. Bad content can destroy credibility, so quality is of the essence.
HubSpot, a leader in inbound marketing, uses LinkedIn Sponsored Updates to connect with marketing professionals. Their success was fuelled by paid lead generation. LinkedIn feeds deliver highly visible messages to specific audiences across multiple platforms, from desktops to tablets, and can result in 4 times as many leads as those generated by efforts on other platforms.
Content marketing using a LinkedIn Group is an effective way to increase B2B sales. It’s an effective tool for enhancing your company’s credibility and for gleaning valuable information by networking with industry peers and colleagues. Much of your audience can be built through content marketing. Building your own viable LinkedIn group requires following some basic precepts:
1. Use every opportunity to invite others to join your LinkedIn group. This includes recipients of your e-mails, your blog visitors and readers of your postings on industry bulletin boards. You may want to have a prominent link to your group on your home page. Also include the link in periodic mailings to your newsletter subscribers.
2. Keep content promotion low-key and informative. Leave sales talk at home, offer assistance and provide relevant information that will promote long term relationships. The process will be one wherein prospective customers can come to know you without the sense they’re being pressured to make a purchase. Members of your group will appreciate invitations to your private LinkedIn network because your invitation includes your assurance that you’re there to support and assist.
Having a LinkedIn group is the driving factor in maintaining low-key, informal relationships. While it’s highly unlikely that a visitor to your website would ask sales questions or solicit free advice, LinkedIn can serve as a catalyst for forging valuable connections.
3. Distribute your content on LinkedIn, but don’t overwhelm your group members with an overabundance of it. When you create a podcast or YouTube video, make use of LinkedIn’s option to distribute it; once or twice a month is about right.
Your LinkedIn group conversation is a two-way street. So selectively harvest some of your group conversations to share on other channels. Present some questions crafted to generate enthusiastic commentary and inspire interaction. For example, you might ask “What’s been the biggest challenge of the year and how can we best meet it?”
4. Create content to build relationships with prospects and industry peers. This will help your company attract industry attention. Your peers will see you as a leader and will look forward to your insights and ideas. Your content will not only get read by your peers but also by extended audiences, some of whom may eventually become clients and customers.
Optimising LinkedIn Presence
HubSpots’ excellent (although slightly older) post: Optimizing Your LinkedIn Presence includes a number of excellent suggestions including:
LinkedIn vanity URL is clean and attractive
It’s easy to create by clicking on here and navigating to “customize your public profile URL”.
Create a LinkedIn profile badge linking to your website
Click here to configure your own badge.
Make your links look yummy
Increase website clicks with links displayed on your profile. Morph your anchor text into something more attention-grabbing than the default LinkedIn options. Each profile can display up to 3 website links which can be customized by editing your profile, clicking edit on your website links, and selecting drop-down menu option “other,” enabling you to recreate the anchor text.
Optimize your profile for searching
People are searching LinkedIn via key terms. Ensure they find you by associating your keywords to reflect your related content and distribute those keywords throughout your profile. Don’t forget to add them to your headline and summary, too.
Install helpful applications
LinkedIn provides numerous applications for improving your LinkedIn profile. Take a look in the Application Directory to find many available add-ons. Slide Share will help you share your relevant Power Point presentation with your group or private associates. You can link your blog and associate your other information with your profile. The Events application gives you a view into happenings behind the scenes, as you uncover events your connections are attending and find other popular industry gatherings.
Reorganize your profile
LinkedIn enables users to reorder the sections of their profile in any way they prefer. When in edit mode on your profile, simply mouse navigate over the title of each section. Your mouse will turn into a four-arrowed icon, at which point you can click, drag and drop to elsewhere on your profile.
Use saved searches to quickly find potential new group members
You can create up to 3 saved searches using the “Save This Search”. These can be rerun instantly at any time. Optional weekly or monthly email reminders will alert you to matches.
Using LinkedIn for Professional Networking
“Network Updates” let’s you know what your connections are up to. It’s on your LinkedIn homepage.
Find out who’s watching you with “Who’s Viewed My Profile” on your profile page.
Manage you connections with “Export Connections”
You can export LinkedIn connections to another contact management system.
Navigate to “Contacts,” “My Connections,” and “Export Connections.” CSV or .VCF file formats are available.
“Advanced Search” can help you find new contacts at a specific company
You may want to find out if you’re connected to anyone working at a specific company. Use “Advanced Search,” then sort the results by “Relationship” to see if you have any first or second degree connections to any employees. You can email first degree contacts directly.
Share your LinkedIn updates on Twitter
Whenever you want to share a LinkedIn update on Twitter, just check the Twitter checkbox before clicking “Share” in the LinkedIn update editor.
Optimize your LinkedIn Company Page design
Remember to add a cover image. Upload your Product and Services Spotlights and make sure they’re what you want when displayed.
Blog RSS Feed
It’s easy to populate your LinkedIn company page with your business’ content. Communicate your blog’ feed to your LinkedIn page followers via the updates feed on their homepage. Keep your followers’ interest by frequently providing them with fresh posts.
Add RSS feeds to your LinkedIn page. Navigate to the dropdown menu next to Admin Tools and select the Overview tab. Enter your blog’s RSS feed at the bottom of the page.
Add a video to your Company Page
A video will enhance and draw attention to your Company Page. As Page Admin, on the Products tab “Edit” drop-down menu, select “Add a product or service.” Here you can create a new entry for viewers to experience your video. You can also add a video to your existing product pages. You must upload your video to YouTube for compatibility purposes.
Use LinkedIn to generate leads
Optimize your LinkedIn lead generation by promoting and sharing links to the landing pages for your marketing offers.
Create targeted Products & Services tab variations for your Company Page
On the Products & Services section of your Company page, you can create variations that cater to different audience segments. It’s possible to target the content of this section via your various marketing personas, providing a more personalized experience for your Company Page visitors. Targeting options are similar to those available in Company Status Update. You can use them to create market specific versions of your content.
Experiment with LinkedIn ads
Augment your personal marketing efforts with paid advertising through LinkedIn ads, a proven technique available when using B2B targeting options: You can target specific industries and company sizes or use your specialized knowledge of products and players. Break out of your low ranking Google doldrums with LinkedIn ads.
Improve targeting and marketing with group statistics
Statistics are accessible for any LinkedIn group. Navigate to a group’s ‘Information’ (select the ‘i’ at the top right of the group), and click ‘Group Statistics’ from the drop-down-menu.
LinkedIn Group Statistics show you how many members are in a group, while providing information about member activities as well as location and industry. You can use this data to analyze the makeup of a group before you decide to join. The knowledge you gain will help you identify which LinkedIn Groups to target in your LinkedIn ads. You’ll also gain insight into how to best segment the products and services tab on your company page.
LinkedIn can collect recommendations for your Company Page’s products and services. Users can leave recommendations for anything featured on the Products & Services tab of your Company Page. By clicking an item on this page, you’re able to read user-generated reviews, and also be able to display reviews of your marketing offers, if you choose to list them here.