The following is a guest post by Devin Morrissey. Devin writes in his garage and examines car parts in his office. He aspires to be an eternal student, writing wherever the web takes him.
The marketing world is a competitive one. You’re always trying your best to one-up your competitors, build a platform that attracts and retains customers, and create a campaign that sticks out above all the rest.
Of all the various ways to market (and there are plenty), one of the most unlikely might be the networking social media site LinkedIn. Facebook, Twitter, and even Instagram seem to be more popular solutions for marketing, but what can LinkedIn offer marketers that these other sites don’t?
LinkedIn serves as the perfect site for promoting your connection to your brand and company. Through your professional and personal profiles, you get to create the sort of first impressions that will either make or break a relationship. First impressions are vital in business, and a completed LinkedIn profile can help put a face to the company.
What ways can you market on LinkedIn that are unique compared to other social media platforms? Here are the top three ways to market your business, your brand, and yourself on LinkedIn.
#1 Optimize Your Personal Page First
One of the most important (and sometimes forgotten) aspects of marketing is relatability. You want your audience to see your content, be interested, empathize with you, and relate to it. The psychology behind the success of targeted and relatable ads reveals why “salesy” ads don’t compete as well in our modern market: you need to have a personal side — a face to your campaign.
Whether you’re representing a larger business entity, a small business, or simply yourself, LinkedIn can work for you. Building a larger brand on LinkedIn starts with yourself. Do you have a personal profile that is completed, regularly updated, and filled with accurate and important information about your work history and ethics? Do you have a small group of connections that you’ve collected over the years to build a network: anywhere from college associates to work colleagues or entrepreneurs in your industry?
When you’re marketing on LinkedIn, your personal brand will be an essential part to building your professional business, and your personal profile could potentially be a face to your overall marketing strategy. As noted by the University of Alabama at Birmingham, Collat School of Business: “Qualifications, achievements, relevance, and personality must come together to create a likable, trustworthy brand worth investing in.”
When creating your profile, start by entering in all the basic information: your education, work history, certificates or publications, and volunteer history. Next, work on personalizing your profile. Remember that when people visit your page, the first thing they will see is your banner, your profile photo, and your summary. Make sure all have a personal and a professional touch to them. Don’t just post your favorite selfie as your profile photo, but have professional headshots done. Similarly, create a summary that is engaging, highlights your strengths, and creates a memorable impression.
Overall, you want to avoid using industry jargon, slang, or even buzzwords in your personal profile. You want to appear likeable, hardworking, and memorable — not like you copied a summary from a template online. Use humor sparingly, and possibly put in a call to action by inviting people to share stories with you or reach out in a unique way. Once you’ve built up your personal page, you can start to create your free business LinkedIn account.
Having a face to your business will help you stick out from the crowd, and using your personal account to draw in your personal connections to your business will help create the foundation for your future marketing audience.
#2 Quality Content for Your LinkedIn Audience
As great as it can be to have a supportive group of people cheering on your business from the beginning, the whole goal of your marketing campaign should be to retain old customers and attract new ones.
Once you have your personal platform built up, you can start to focus on your next move: building a business account that “wows.” One of the best ways to do this is to create engaging and unique content directly to your business’ LinkedIn account. Through the social media site’s publication abilities, you can share brilliant new ideas or even personal stories about growth. Your content can focus on various forms of thought leadership, but it should always avoid overtly selling your product.
Marketing and Sales Strategist, David Meerman Scott, shared some of his best LinkedIn advice with the Huffington post. When it comes to creating shareable content for your business’ page, he suggests:
“Educate and inform instead of interrupt and sell. […] What people do care about are themselves and how you can solve their problems. People also like to be entertained and to share in something remarkable. In order to have people talk about you and your ideas, you must resist the urge to hype your products and services on LinkedIn. Instead, create something interesting that will be talked about online. When you get people talking, they will line up to learn more and to buy what you have to offer.”
However, your content should also work to better the industry and environment that you occupy. Talk about trending topics within your industry and humanize your company with your content. Don’t be afraid to write about past mistakes or failures, and showcase how your business has learned to grow despite it. Everyone loves an underdog story, and your marketing plan can be the perfect outlet for drawing in eager followers.
Additionally, pictures and video media perform better on social media platforms than traditional text content. Mix engaging media into your articles to draw attention, and don’t shy away from breaking up your posts with the occasional photo or video presentation. Your LinkedIn blog could also work for syndicating older content directly from your company’s website or blog — bringing valuable content back into the limelight.
Once you have written and shared your content on LinkedIn, you can start to monitor (via their analytics tab) how well your content is performing online with likes, shares, and more. Eventually, you’ll be able to create a blog that not only showcases the best ideas of your business but creates a community of loyal followers that are invested in your brand and business.
LinkedIn also offers targeted native advertising for businesses. Just like any other social media site, these ads can bring in a plethora of new customers or clients, but LinkedIn also has a unique advantage: attracting potential new employees.
Although not all content you create will be worth a paid advertisement, the ads that are designed for recruitment purposes are ideal for LinkedIn. Since hiring recruiters for your business can be an expensive endeavor, relying on the LinkedIn algorithm to reach your ideal candidates can actually save you a considerable amount of money. Plus, your hiring manager will be able to evaluate their information (including their work history, connections, and education) prior to even setting up an interview.
Additionally, if you’re offering educational material or classes, subscription services, or high-value B2B (business-to-business) services, you’ll be more successful finding clients on LinkedIn than almost any other social media platform. This is because the majority of people using this social media site are looking to showcase their talents and improve themselves, making it ideal for those specific aspects of a business’ platform. Plus, LinkedIn targeted ads are extremely powerful, and you can easily tailor them to your specific needs.
Once you have your campaign planned out, you can use analytics to monitor, manage, and evaluate your campaign’s reach. Over time you’ll be able to make adjustments and learn how to create the perfect content to reach your ideal audience.
LinkedIn is the perfect social media site for professionals and companies, but it is often the forgotten member of the social media advertising circle. Instead of overlooking this unique platform, use it to your advantage and give yourself a boost above your competition. If you create a strong personal account, create an inspiring company blog, and tailor your ads to niche audiences, you’ll find that LinkedIn can be a powerful tool to include in your marketing toolkit.