LinkedIn is by far most the important social network to reach out to business buyers and connect with professionals in general and thus one of the major platforms in B2B social media (and increasingly in content marketing). The network allows you to build relationships, establish thought leadership, generate leads, gain insights, conduct market research, improve reputation and build online communities.
1. Create awareness and improve reputation.
LinkedIn is an ideal platform to increase your online presence. With more than two professionals signing up on LinkedIn every second, businesses have the opportunity to network with an increasing number of interesting contacts. Using the different personal and group features in LinkedIn, companies and the people representing them can all improve their visibility and credibility, both as individuals and (thus) as a brand.
Don’t forget the use status update functionality, an underutilized feature, although with the new design, the updates are more prominent visible on the homepage.
2. Thought leadership and influencer marketing.
Several LinkedIn features allow you to position yourself as leaders in a particular domain. From providing high-quality content, improving your personal profile and participating in LinkedIn communities to answering questions: the network is fertile ground for thought and practice leaders, aiming to become trusted advisors. Leadership and reputation go hand in hand with influence. As the main purpose of LinkedIn is networking, it also enables you to identify and engage other influencers.
3. Selling and generating leads.
LinkedIn is probably the best network to generate leads. On top of traditional techniques such as mentioning interesting content potential customers can download or driving traffic to relevant sources, LinkedIn offers very personal ways of identifying potential leads, engaging them and turning them into customers. This is done by a good combination of listening, analyzing, participating, sharing, networking and responding. Networking with potential clients and marketing to them indirectly through LinkedIn will increase the opportunity to make sales.
By giving answers to questions on LinkedIn, you can demonstrate know-how. If your solution/answer, in the form of a response to a question, is what potential customers are looking for, they will initiate a contact.
4. Social CRM.
LinkedIn is ideal in a social CRM context: it allows us to gain a better view on – prospective – customers and other contacts. This can be done using simple Social CRM applications but also by using ‘connecters’, for instance, for Outlook. Although most Social CRM solutions offer integration with LinkedIn, you can also set up a basic integration of your contacts as LinkedIn supports Google Contacts. A benefit of a social CRM tool is that it allows you to see what your contacts are doing on LinkedIn in real-time, offering valuable additional information on their behavior and preferences. When targeting a contact, LinkedIn itself allows you to see this information in its own environment.
5. Traffic building.
One of the strengths of LinkedIn that is not often mentioned is its power in link building and traffic driving. Just as other social networks do, LinkedIn has a social sharing button that enables you to share content in your status updates (which are visible on the homepage) and in LinkedIn Groups (communities) you are a member of. This works especially well for business-related content and can lead to viral effects. Business content often gets shared more often via LinkedIn than via Facebook.
6. Listening and gaining insights.
Last but certainly not least: LinkedIn is perfect to listen, ask questions and gain insights. Which is the case for all social media marketing!