Although it is typically used for job seekers and individual networking, LinkedIn is also a useful tool for building businesses. Millions of professionals use the social media site every day to connect with people in their field and help grow their career but plenty of businesses also use LinkedIn for creating brand awareness and generating leads. As part of a marketing strategy online, LinkedIn can prove to be effective for advertising to customers although it is decidedly different than other social media sites like Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. With other social media sites businesses have more direct access to customers and users expect more blatant advertising. LinkedIn requires a more subtle approach but it allows you to reach a different and very specific audience that might begin to follow your brand. You can get positive results from marketing on LinkedIn as you become more familiar with the site and use the right methods for advertising.
LinkedIn is the type of site that appeals to a certain demographic of professionals that are concerned with networking at the point they are in their careers. On other social media sites you might find it acceptable to promote your company through a hard sell approach or even slight spamming but with LinkedIn this may not work as well. With this particular social media site it is more effective to target very specific customers and try to market to them a little more naturally so that they take an interest in your business. Even with this approach you can still manage to gain significant exposure for your brand if you are connecting with people and staying in touch with them. You can begin to branch out and add more followers as you promote yourself to new customers. If you create good content and market to people that have a need for your services then you are likely to build a bigger reputation for your company on the site.
Before you begin your marketing plan, you can start the process by joining LinkedIn as a member if you don’t already have a profile. You can set up either a personal profile or a business profile, both of which can be useful depending on what type of company you are and how you want to reach people. For a personal profile, you can display your experience, education and professional connections making it a kind of online business card. Users tend to click on personal pages first to get more comprehensive information so it can be helpful to focus some of your marketing efforts on this profile. People will look to your personal profile to get a more detailed idea of what type of work you do and the level of your experience in the field. If they are looking for the type of services your company provides then they might be interested in connecting with you on LinkedIn. This type of personal networking helps build up your business over time.
When you create a personal profile you can find a few different ways to optimize it to get the best result. Your main photo should be a professional quality headshot and your headline should be a concise explanation of what you do. The headline should quickly identify the industry you are in while also offering the value of your services. Make sure to add complete contact information including your company address and website so that people know where to find you. On your profile you will need to add a summary which can contain most of the important information about your business that you want people to know right away. It should be straightforward and factual with clear bullet points outlining your areas of expertise. It can be helpful to include relevant keywords in the summary and certain terms you think people might type in to find you or someone in your industry. You can include written recommendations that are a personalized form of endorsement which will give people a better understanding of your unique skills.
As long as you already have a personal profile page on LinkedIn you can start setting up your company page so that you have more information about your company. Even though you have info on your personal profile it can be useful to add a business page as well so that people have more options for finding you and there will be more results that come up in a search. LinkedIn has certain requirements for creating a company page so make sure you look them over before you get started. You need to have a good quality personal page already set up with some contacts as well as a company email address that has been added and confirmed. If you meet the requirements you can go to Companies on the Home Page which is listed under Interests. You can then click “Create” and add in some of the basic information for your business including your work email address. If the email has not been confirmed yet you will have to confirm it before adding a company page. You will need a description of your company and a link to your official website as essential information before you can publish the page.
A company profile page can help showcase important information about your business and give people a sense of who you are and what your brand represents. On your business page you can use a banner image to define your brand by including the same type of color schemes, logo or fonts as your other social media profiles. You can also include a link to a dedicated landing page so that you can capture emails from people looking at your business profile. Your LinkedIn page should be linked to your main company page on the profile because it make it easier for interested customers to follow up with you and learn more about what you do. With the business profile you can use showcase pages to highlight some of your special products or initiatives that you want potential customers to know about. You should also include relevant keywords throughout the profile so people can find you in a search engine.
Once you have your personal profile and your business page set up, it is time to start thinking about how you can use LinkedIn to your advantage. To begin marketing with the website you can hone in on what kind of audience or customers you are looking for. LinkedIn is great for targeting specific industries, company sizes and job roles that you know would be interested in your products or services. If you are marketing to small businesses you can narrow down your target to companies on LinkedIn with under 100 employees or if you offer a service that certain employees would be in charge of purchasing you can market specifically to those job roles. As you reach out to people on LinkedIn you can write them a message and invite them to be part of your email marketing list so that you can send them information regularly and offer them something of value such as discounts or promotional sales.
When you start to have a more established personal profile and business page with some contacts and high quality content you can use LinkedIn’s advertising service to start seeing faster results. LinkedIn offers self-service advertising so that you can create sponsored content, sponsored emails and text ads to build up your audience. With their ad service you can target a specific audience while setting your own budget and paying per click or impression. Sponsored content is a way to get more people to view your updates by pushing a post onto a certain audience’s feed. You can customize your sponsored content to appeal to whichever demographic you are targeting with your ad. By promoting content rather than using an explicit ad, you are going to appeal to people that want to see something useful instead of being blatantly advertised to. Sponsored content can help increase web visitors and if it is interesting enough it will also generate sales leads.
In addition to sponsored content you can also advertise with LinkedIn’s “Sponsored InMail” service which allows you to send personalized messages to a targeted audience’s inbox. Your message will only be delivered when members are active on LinkedIn so that you can ensure that it will be seen. Every message can include a call-to-action button so that readers will be able to follow up with you immediately. Sponsored messages allow you to boost registrations, increase conversions with promotions for specific products or services or promote downloads of some of the content your company has created. Text ads are another way to generate leads on LinkedIn by targeting a specific audience and showing them information about your company. These are basic pay per click ads that are shown on the side of the screen to active users and will include a brief description and a link to your company website. Text ads can be highly targeted so that you are marketing only to professionals that would have some use for your services.
There are a few things to keep in mind to make sure that you are generating leads on LinkedIn and using the website to its full potential. Most importantly, you need to be creating and advertising high quality content. Having useful content that other professionals will want to read or that offers them something of value is critical to getting more followers on LinkedIn. You can frequently post status updates with links to related content or publish articles on LinkedIn to your profile that will keep your audience interested. Your content can also include videos and presentations through YouTube and SlideShare to give your audience some how-to explanations which will also be valuable to them. If you have any publications such as traditional books or ebooks you can highlight these on LinkedIn. With your quality content you should always include a relevant call-to-action so that readers can naturally take the next step to engage more with your company. You should offer them a chance to follow your page, subscribe to your blog or sign up for your email list. The combination of good content and a call-to-action can be effective at helping generate more leads.
To get the most out of your LinkedIn page and your efforts on the social media site, you should make sure to always stay involved and keep LinkedIn in your editorial calendar. Try your best to stay consistent and continue posting content and advertising instead of treating LinkedIn like an afterthought. You can get more involved with LinkedIn by joining groups and taking advantage of the site’s community features. With groups you can communicate and collaborate with other LinkedIn users while staying in touch and active. You can join groups that are relevant to your target demographic and listen in on what they are discussing so that you can jump in and offer advice. Contributing to a group discussion is a great way to expand your circle of influence and let people know about your company and what you do. This is a more natural and less explicit way to advertise yourself on LinkedIn. You can message members of the groups you are in even you haven’t been connected to them on the website. You can also look into groups for people in your industry to get an idea of what they are doing to advertise on the site. The important thing to keep in mind about LinkedIn is that you will have more success if you focus some time to increase your connections as organically as possible. Communicating with other professionals and getting involved will help you see the type of results that you want from LinkedIn.
When developing a marketing campaign, often the most effective strategy is finding a way to target very specific demographics and individuals that are more likely to be interested in what you do. LinkedIn is a platform that especially lends itself to targeting groups of individuals based on their age, location and professional industry. All types of businesses can use LinkedIn and see some positive results by finding their ideal customers and finding creative ways to interact with them and catch their attention. LinkedIn may be a less traditional platform for marketing but it can prove beneficial for businesses that are seeking out new ways to reach the right people for their industry.
The luxury German car company Mercedes Benz found a way to use LinkedIn’s unique targeting capabilities to engage more potential customers. One of their goals in marketing is to connect their new models with the right potential buyer to maximize the results of their advertising campaigns. LinkedIn gave the company the opportunity to personalize their marketing efforts to reach people who are the most likely to buy a new car. Their target customers were mainly those who had just moved up in their careers and were enjoying a new better paying position. This type of marketing is in-the-moment targeting that advertises to people as they are going through a specific experience that would lead them to be in the market for a product. Mercedes Benz used carefully timed display ads and Sponsored InMail messages to congratulate those moving into higher positions and suggest their automobiles as an upgrade.
Their strategy of targeting these specific customers proved successful with engagement reaching a rate three times that of industry benchmarks. The company even won an award for “Best Digital Media Idea of 2015” at the prestigious German media awards. Through their campaign they were able to reach almost two million new auto buyers in Germany, Sweden, Turkey and Portugal. LinkedIn offered the tools to make it easier to target customers making upward career moves so that their unique marketing idea could be put into practice.
Woodland, a brand offering innovative clothing for outdoor enthusiasts, has been steadily growing among its community of followers. As a company that is passionate about social causes and the environment they were able to use LinkedIn to communicate with people about issues that the outdoor community cares about. They wanted to encourage meaningful discussions while also driving positive word of mouth about their brand on a social platform. LinkedIn proved to be useful in offering a way to target and engage with a very specific audience. Woodland wanted to connect with young professionals who were concerned about the environment and had strong opinions about making a difference. Through the advertising campaign they asked users to submit ideas on how businesses could contribute to a greener economy. Their ideas could also be shared on other social media sites which helped to further increase visibility for the company. Those with the best ideas were provided with premium LinkedIn subscriptions and other rewards.
As a result of this interactive campaign, Woodland was able to get 103,255 visits to the contest page with a total of 1,022 unique environmental ideas shared on the site. The contest resulted in more than 14 million brand exposures and more 21,000 brand interactions. Because their goal was to engage with a very specific audience, LinkedIn provided the perfect platform to find the customers that they felt would be most interested in the campaign and would have some valuable ideas to share.
A real estate platform from India called housing.com was interested in using LinkedIn for a three month campaign to increase brand visibility. The company began as a website offering information for rent and resale real estate and eventually expanded to include hostels, serviced apartments, land, plot projects and new projects. Housing.com wanted to launch a marketing campaign to help connect their brand with a broader customer base and establish itself as an innovative and easy to use real estate platform. In 2015 the company began using LinkedIn’s Sponsored Content and Display Audience Roadblocks to begin reaching out to specific audience profiles. They also were involved in using the platform’s data insights to gauge their audience’s preferences and understand their needs.
By using LinkedIn marketing tools for a three month campaign, housing.com was able to increasing their brand visibility to a 350,000 premium audience. They were also able to gain more than 100,000 followers on their page which is the most out of any online real estate platform in India. They were soon able to rank number six on the list for India’s top 10 most influential brands on LinkedIn. The campaign allowed them to reach over 3 million people through their combination of Sponsored Content and Dynamic Ads.
The popular hotel chain Holiday Inn Express has always incorporated humor in their advertising especially with their recent “Stay Smart” campaign featuring the catchy tagline “but I did stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night.” Their goal with marketing is to reach the smart traveler and today that often means millennials who spend a lot of time online and may not ever catch the brand’s quick television spots. They decided to shift their Stay Smart campaign to social media sites like LinkedIn in order to reach their target audience of millennials. Holiday Inn decided to focus on humor with comedian Rob Riggle acting in playful online videos that continued the tone of their television commercials.
By using a comedian as the focus of their online campaign, Holiday Inn Express was able to boost their brand awareness on the internet by 8 percentage points its consideration intent by 5 percentage points. The company’s brand presence in the top three preferences also rose by 4 percentage points and their comedic videos surpassed Sponsored Update engagement benchmarks by 45 percent. Holiday Inn plans to continue using and working with LinkedIn to reach a broader audience online.