The Best LinkedIn Marketing PlanEric Merlin
Say the words ‘professional online networking’ and LinkedIn is the first name that pops in your mind.
That’s because LinkedIn is invariably one of the most powerful tools when it comes to B2B marketing.
All you need is a LinkedIn marketing plan.
If done right, it could work wonders for your business.
It almost acts like a networking coach by pushing you to connect with relevant contacts, and even people that you may have missed on LinkedIn.
Some of them include:
Generate leads for your business
(Over 80% of B2B leads are generated from LinkedIn.)
- Recruitment is easier with quality hires.
- Build brand awareness among the professional network.
- Help establish yourself as the industry expert.
COVERING THE BASICS
Be it your profile or a company page on LinkedIn, there are a few basics of LinkedIn marketing plan that I think you need to have covered.
Put a face to your profile
It is a given that every social profile needs to have a display picture. People want to know whom they are interacting with online.
When it comes to LinkedIn, please don’t add a photo of yourself vacationing in Hawaii but a professional looking one. This can get your profile viewed 14x more.
There’s a reason why people in your connections are posting articles. Take a few minutes of your time to scroll through them. If you find something interesting, like or comment.
Social media is no place for passive lurkers. If you have more than one company or showcase page, then it is easier to manage interactions from one platform a social media management software.
Find something interesting? Share it with your connections just like they do. In fact you can take the help of a free social media management software to schedule content to be published at optimal times.
If you have something valuable to share, write a LinkedIn Pulse post. LinkedIn is similar to Facebook, except that it is professional.
Build Thine Network
LinkedIn offers you suggestions based on your profile details and existing connections. See whom you can connect with and send them an invite. And please add a note of introduction.
After all, LinkedIn is a social but professional online space.
I’m not referring to alumni groups that discuss reunions. There are plenty of groups that work as communities that exchange valuable information pertaining to different industries.
Find the ones that are relevant to you and start participating in them.
START WITH A GOAL
Now that the basics are covered, let’s move on to working out actionable strategies for your business. The first step towards (any kind of) marketing is to establish a goal.
What is it that you want to achieve through your LinkedIn marketing campaign? There are three goals (but not restricted to) that you can focus on for the rest of 2017.
- Drive traffic to your website
- Establish yourself (business) as the industry expert
- Generate quality leads
Alright, so you have picked a goal. Your LinkedIn marketing plan should work. Now what?
Your next course of action is to determine how you can achieve one or more of these goals through LinkedIn.
GET TO THE RIGHT AUDIENCE
Targeting forms the core of marketing. Not everyone out there is interested in your business, product, or service. Not everybody is looking to partner with you or purchase your products.
Hence, it is important to showcase your products or service to those who will find it relevant.
Else, you will end up wasting a lot of your time, money, and resources by marketing to a disinterested audience.
LinkedIn does an exceptional job at offering you audience data with the below-listed targeting options.
Rich demographic data which includes filters such as Job Function, Seniority, Company, Name, Geo, Industry
Interest-based targeting which includes filters such as Group Membership, Skills,
Field of Study
Persona targeting which includes filters such as Job Searchers, Opinion Leaders,
Mass Affluent, Business Travelers
Your own audience data which includes Target Account Lists, External Data Integrations
With so many filters, you can narrow down your audience to precisely those who will be interested in your business. This will ensure that the traffic to your website or the leads generated from the campaigns are of high quality.
LINKEDIN MARKETING PLAN ISN’T EASY OR FREE ANYMORE
Crucial Facts For You
Marketing a product or business on social media was simple, easy, and most importantly free! Today, things have changed quite drastically.
If you plan on marketing your business purely through high-quality content, then I’d say it’s a not-so-great idea. When you are only sharing content, there is less scope to make a sales pitch.
However, if you choose to go the paid way, then that can be risky too unless you want to be seen as an ad churning machine.
And there is no way you can expect to do a bit of influencer marketing if your business doesn’t seem credible to the general audience.
So then, what do you do? It’s a mixed balance of all three.
Let’s start by looking at the different ways in which you can market your business organically and through paid and influencer marketing.
Always remember that organic marketing is all about creating high-quality content to drive traffic to your webpage or get people interested in your business or products.
The first place to start would be your company page. It should be the first in your LinkedIn marketing plan list. If we were still in 2004, company pages would have been nice-to-haves.
But in 2017, in a world of stiff competition and the need to stand out, company pages are must-haves.
You can market your business through your company page. You can use it as an online dais to tell your business’ story. It can also be a place that people and prospects visit to learn about you, your brand, and your business.
Your business may have more than one brand and each brand may have a different set of audience. This means that one company page for all your brands would be a disaster.
That’s when Showcase Page come to your rescue. These dedicated pages help expand your LinkedIn presence.
So, create individual Showcase Pages for each of your brand and let your audience interact with pages that are relevant to them.
Blogging on LinkedIn is nothing but writing on LinkedIn Pulse. You can write long posts on topics relevant to your business, products, or industry. This will help you scale your business as the industry expert.
Alternatively, you can share posts from your company’s blog on your company pages on LinkedIn. Even that kind of long-form post sharing also works well on LinkedIn.
SlideShare isn’t just an inventory of slide presentations, it is a social channel by itself. Use your blog content to create slide presentations and upload them to SlideShare. This not only helps with thought leadership but also comes a long way in improving SEO.
While you are working on building and improving your organic reach, it is necessary that you start thinking about investing in paid campaigns or LinkedIn ads. So, what options does LinkedIn have to offer?
This is probably one of LinkedIn’s best paid offering for marketers. This feature lets you deliver your content directly into your target audience’s feed.
This means that the chances of your content getting undivided attention are high. Sponsored content can also help you achieve brand awareness and lead-generation goals all at the same time.
This is something of a game changer! Instead of just delivering content to your target audience’s feed, you could be delivering the content straight to your audience’s inbox. It’s more precise and a surer way to reach your audience.
Text ads function as a performance-based advertising solution for your business. They work brilliantly well if your main marketing goal is brand awareness. But that shouldn’t stop you from exploring ways to use text ads to achieve other marketing goals. Learn about the best practices here.
This type of advertising solution helps greatly when your goal is to drive traffic to your website or company page. This helps you engage with your audience using precise filters, targeting options and relevant, customizable creatives.
LinkedIn is also known for being a great platform to leverage on influencer marketing opportunities. Simply put, when you have an industry expert talk about or vouch for your business or product, it is influencer marketing.
An influencer helps you amplify the reach of your content or the awareness of your brand. They also add credibility to your business or products.
And with over 500+ influencers on LinkedIn and their posts receiving (an average) more than 25k page views, more than 300 likes and 100 comments, the possibilities of influencer marketing are limitless. LinkedIn provides a list of all the influencers from each industry.
Connecting with an Influencer
It doesn’t have to be too difficult!
If you have a mutual connection, then you can introduce yourself as a connection of your mutual friend or you can ask your friend to introduce you to the influencer. If you do not have a mutual connection, you can join a group that the influencer is a part of.
You can then connect with them from there. Always remember to include a personalized note when sending them an invite that highlights your interests in topics that they are industry experts of.
Once you have made the connection, don’t dive into pitching to them about a partnering or marketing plan right away. Converse, add value to any discussions, and when you know that they are ready to vouch for your business or product, you can reach out to them with your marketing plans.
Now that we have it all covered, go ahead and start pushing those numbers up. And if you have any interesting strategies that have worked for your business, share them as comments here. Let’s keep the conversation going!