A Modern Guide to Social Media Content Marketing, Part 3: LinkedIn

LinkedIn conversations tend to keep within strictly business parameters, which creates a strong niche audience that will be receptive to the right messaging

This is the third installment in a five-part series of articles focusing on best practices to up your content marketing game on the “big four” platforms: Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram. Catch up on the first and second installments here, and stay tuned for future installments. Share your own favorite tips in the comments—we’d love to hear from you.

With more than 450 million users worldwide, LinkedIn is the most popular social network for professionals. It’s like Facebook, but without the cat memes. It’s also the No. 1 platform for business-to-business marketers thanks to its effectiveness in generating leads, building brand and product awareness and recruiting.

LinkedIn conversations tend to keep within strictly business parameters, which creates a strong niche audience that will be receptive to the right messaging. For these reasons, LinkedIn presents an opportunity for social selling and to reach prospects at the optimal point in the customer journey.

LinkedIn is as close to a social network “tool” as a brand can get—you pick it up when you need it and put it down when you don’t. It’s not a virtual hangout where users are plugged in 24/7, like Twitter and Facebook.

Users are generally looking for jobs, business prospects or to improve their personal brand. If you can show your usefulness in furthering any of these goals, you will succeed on LinkedIn.

Doing content right

One good way to demonstrate usefulness is to share well-curated articles with information relevant to your current or potential customers. If possible, write your own and host it on your website where visitors can find more information about your product or service. You can even re-post your content to the LinkedIn Publisher tool to directly reach your connections.

According to a Content Marketing Institute/MarketingProfs survey, 85 percent of respondents stated that content creation contributed to increased B2B success, so treat this as an opportunity to borrow from the expertise of other departments at your company. Sales, marketing and customer service/engagement can work together to produce functional content that creates value and shows your expertise. Identify your content sweet spot, which can be found at the intersection of what makes you passionate, what drives revenue and what your company does best.

To attract even more eyeballs to your posts, use images in your content. According to LinkedIn, posts with images result in a 98 percent higher comment rate.

Check out Think With Google’s LinkedIn page for a good example of colorful posts with compelling data points that are simple, effective and sharable.

Statistics and data can be very relevant to your followers, but avoid being too self-promotional. Savvy internet users, particularly millennials, have been groomed to spot masquerading sales pitches.

A word from our sponsor

The professional environment of LinkedIn encourages more in-depth engagement with sponsored content. With users seeking professional resources, this is an ideal platform to engage buyers earlier in the sales process by sharing blog posts, handbooks and webinars to slowly build brand relationships and attract new followers.

Stick with these four tips to become a LinkedIn sponsored content pro:

  • Strong copy: Be succinct and follow your company voice.
  • Personalized images: Leverage demographic and behavioral information to create images that resonate with specific audiences.
  • Strong call to action: You can’t get what you don’t ask for.
  • Mobile optimized: According to LinkedIn, one-half of its users access the network via mobile (https://linkedinforbusiness.net/50-percent-of-linkedin-users-now-accessing-via-mobile/), so keep your ad copy short and optimized for easy click through. With shorter copy, your call to action and destination URL will remain at the top. With longer copy, users will have to click “read more” to see the full description.

Targeting your sponsored content can be tricky, but there are three main approaches to make sure you reach the right audience.

  • Sophisticated targeting: There are 15 targeting options  available, based on the information users must supply to set up a profile. To take advantage of this information, you need to know who your audience is. With social listening, brands can get a snapshot of their audience to create hyper-targeted campaigns based on job titles, school, industry sector, skills and LinkedIn Groups.
  • Interest-based targeting: LinkedIn’s interest-based targeting identifies audiences based on either LinkedIn group memberships, skills or field of study. If, for example, you’re trying to reach social media managers in the financial sector, target relevant professional groups and add skills or field of study.
  • Job function targeting: A strong advantage with LinkedIn advertising is the up-to-date nature and authenticity of its data. Users tend to give their accurate title and keep their profiles current. This makes job title or function targeting effective.

The most direct way to engage with prospects on LinkedIn is by sending an InMail, which garners a response rate three times higher than a regular email.

As with any email marketing, pitches can come off as blunt and impersonal without a carefully crafted message.

LinkedIn’s account-based marketing also provides the opportunity to reinforce your message by creating a campaign targeting a list of your own audience data. But this is currently only available to LinkedIn-assisted clients and not self-service.

When it comes to professional social networks, LinkedIn is the boss. Rather than big-picture, sweeping insights, zero in on information that will be useful to your targets. The better you know your customers and target audience, the better you can create relevant, straightforward and businesslike content.

Next up: Facebook

Ulrik Bo Larsen is founder and CEO of social media management software-as-a-service platform Falcon.io.

Image courtesy of funky-data/iStock.