LinkedIn isn’t just for your resume. If your business is B2B, LinkedIn can be a primary source of quality traffic and leads. It’s another very effective channel through which to spread your brand and your message through content marketing.
In terms of numbers, LinkedIn currently has 277 million users, and 40% (111 million users) check in daily (source). And these are all predominantly professional, business-oriented users. The potential is obviously significant.
In fact, for B2B business owners, it makes for more sense to concentrate resources on LinkedIn rather than Facebook.
Think about how you use Facebook. Facebook tends to be where people go to socialize, catch up with family and friends, and generally switch off from work-related information. As a result, Facebook users can be far more resistant to business-oriented messages. It’s a bit like talking shop at a dinner party – they’ll go talk to someone else.
In contrast, LinkedIn users log on to work. It’s an active, often daily, part of their professional life. They are there to find nuggets of information of value to their work and their business, to build up a professional network, to look for new opportunities. The contrast is a significant and important one.
It’s no longer just about recruitment …
A lot of business owners still see LinkedIn primarily as a recruitment tool. They use it mostly to show a profile that reads like a resume – even though they’re presumably not in the market for a job - instead of using it to show how they are relevant to the audience they want to attract. In doing so, they’re missing the bigger picture.
LinkedIn are themselves increasingly focused on making the delivery of great content central to everything they do. By incorporating the network as part of your own content marketing strategy, it offers a powerful way to attract new leads for your business, traffic to your website, and new business relationships.
This post shows you five different ways to use this professional and business network as part of your content marketing strategy, build your online visibility, and drive targeted traffic to your site.
1. Polish Your Profile
Your profile of course fronts your whole presence on LinkedIn, so it’s worth spending time to complete it, polish it and think about the message you want to convey to those who may wish to connect with you.
The idea is to create an effective sales message about yourself. The key with sales messages is to talk about the benefits, rather than just what something does. This works the same way with your profile.
How would someone benefit by connecting with you? What’s in it for them? Show how you’re relevant to the kind of person you want to attract.
2. Use LinkedIn Groups
By creating thought provoking blog posts, special reports and discussions … inside her own LinkedIn group and inside the 50 targeted groups she belongs to, Susan increased her website traffic by 300%.
LinkedIn Groups are a powerhouse of content marketing, and should be your next port of call once you’ve optimized your profile.
Start by searching for groups of relevance to your own industry or niche, and join several of them. You’ll find some groups require moderator approval before they approve your membership, while others require no approval at all.
Join in the discussions, and provide content of your own. Get a feel for how it works and how you can start building up relationships with other people in the groups.
Once you get some familiarity, you can create your own group and attract relevant users to it.
Avoid spamming or posting too often to the groups you’re involved with, and avoid posting information that only serves to promote your own products or services, as you’ll find it has the opposite effect to the one intended. The best results come from focusing on what you can contribute to people in the groups, rather than on trying to extract as much value as you can out of them.
In that way, you’ll gain an increasing amount of influence over time, and naturally attract visitors to your site who you’ll have a positive relationship with already and who will be more inclined as a result to do business with you.
As a general rule, look for what people need help with, and provide information and advice that is of assistance to them. Develop your content from there, as you notice what resonates best with your audience.
3. Post Article Links and Updates Pointing to your Blog
Curating content can be very valuable in attracting new contacts. And of course, you can also start driving traffic to your own content, including articles, blog posts and videos, as part of the mix.
It’s a good idea to create unique content for sole use within the LinkedIn Groups, and then leave a call to action at the end. For example, you can invite people to subscribe to your blog, follow you on Twitter, sign up to your email list, and so on.
Try also making your posts on LinkedIn fairly generic and of wider appeal, but with more detailed information available on your blog via a link for those interested in delving deeper.
Your original blog post can form the basis of your LinkedIn posting, just rewriting portions of it as required to suit your objectives.
4. Share Updates
As you develop your LinkedIn network, you can also share updates with your followers, just as you might do on any other social network.
The same update you just posted on Twitter can be posted on LinkedIn. Just remember to first adjust the message to suit the network’s own characteristics and culture.
Your updates might include news related to your business, new content you’ve produced or created, helpful tips, and other information.
People then have an opportunity not only to engage and build a relationship with you, but also to share the content you’ve just shared with their own network, and help build your own online influence.
As you develop your content on LinkedIn, each time you post something new you can spread it through your other social networks and grow your online authority, reach and overall traffic.
Each post you create will have its own URL allowing you to share it on Twitter, Google Plus, Facebook, and elsewhere. You can also tweet directly from within LinkedIn, for example when sharing other people’s updates, and help keep your twitter feed fresh and active.
So that’s five aspects of LinkedIn you may either not be using, or not using to its full effect, within your content marketing strategy, to build your traffic and grow your online visibility and influence. And it’s by no means exhaustive in terms of what LinkedIn offers.
With well over 100 million users checking in daily, and nearly 300 million users overall, there is a huge amount of scope to reach an audience you wouldn’t otherwise reach. And it needn’t be difficult either. Content already used and created elsewhere can be adapted and repurposed for this social network, and allow you to get maximum leverage out of the content you create.
How are currently using LinkedIn? What opportunities can you see to further develop your LinkedIn activities?
Connect with Steve Shaw on LinkedIn
Grab a unique, professionally-written version of this post for your own blog. More info...