A stall at the farmers’ market is a great way for a boutique food brand to market to consumers, but LinkedIn is king for B2B marketing. Photo: Gene Ramirez
There’s a lot of advice out there for marketers about how to best use social media to reach their target audiences. For instance, “gather a robust following on Twitter” or “use Facebook geo-targeting to reach specific consumers.” But, for business-to-business (B2B) marketers in Asia Pacific, that advice may not always have the same value. In fact, there is another social channel that often holds much more weight for B2B marketers: Linkedin.
As the world’s largest professional network, Linkedin more holds value for B2B marketing and sales professionals that nearly any other online community. For that reason, mastering its ins and outs and discovering its hidden tricks can set great B2B marketers apart from the rest. Here are a few key tips to follow:
1) Post Company Status Updates (and target them!)
Make the most of your LinkedIn Company Page by publishing company status updates for all your page followers to see. This will give LinkedIn users even more reason to follow your Company Page, growing your LinkedIn reach.
You can also step it up a notch and leverage the power of segmentation withLinkedIn’s targeting options, which enable you to target your status updates to the Network Update feeds of specific users. Page admins can target their updates by criteria like company size, industry, job function, seniority, geography, or by including/excluding company employees. In fact, according to an internal LinkedIn study, companies have shown a 66 per cent plus increase in audience engagement as the result of targeted updates.
2) Use LinkedIn’s Trending Content tool
Get a sense of which types of content are most popular on LinkedIn in your industry with LinkedIn’s Trending Content tool, unveiled in March 2014. The interactive tool highlights the most popular content being shared on LinkedIn for various audiences and topic segments. Monitor this to understand what content your company should be creating and sharing on LinkedIn to generate the most engagement.
3) Use Group Statistics for better targeting and marketing
Another little LinkedIn gem that not a lot of users or marketers are aware of is the fact that you can access statistics for any LinkedIn Group – even groups you’re not a direct member of! To access the Group Statistics for a specific LinkedIn Group, click on the group, then click their icon in the group’s top navigation. Then click Group Statistics in the About section.
Not only do LinkedIn Group Statistics tell you how many members are in a group or how active those members are; they also provide other key insights about the group’s members such as locations, seniority, function, and industry. Use this data to analyse the composition of a group before you decide to join, identify which LinkedIn Groups you should target in your LinkedIn Ads, help guide you in the best ways to segment your Showcase Pages, or gather insights about your buyer personas to help you do better marketing outside of LinkedIn.
4) Create your own industry LinkedIn Group (or subgroups)
You can also create a LinkedIn Group (or subgroups if you’re so inclined) of your very own, like HubSpot did with our popular Inbound Marketers Group. Create a group based on an industry-related topic, and become a LinkedIn Group administrator. You can then use this group to establish yourself as a thought leader in your industry, grow a community of advocates, generate new marketing content ideas, and even acquire new leads!
5) Email your LinkedIn Group
One of the perks of managing a LinkedIn Group is the fact that you can literally email the members of your group – up to once per week.This is a prime opportunity for generating leads from LinkedIn, particularly if you’ve built up a robust group of users. Just make sure you write compelling email copy, and keep things simple: no more than one call-to-action.
6) Poll your (or another) LinkedIn Group
You can also poll your group members. Polls are a great way to generate blog and content fodder, collect feedback, conduct research, attract new group members, or get ideas for new marketing offers.
7) Experiment with LinkedIn’s publishing platform
You don’t have to be an influencer to publish a new article to LinkedIn Pulse. You can experiment with how this feature can support your marketing goals by creating content for the platform and promoting it via your Company Page.
So … how are your LinkedIn marketing efforts faring? At the end of the day, we can’t learn if we don’t analyse our past activity. Use LinkedIn’s Page Insights to evaluate the effectiveness of your page’s status updates, engagement, and reach, as well as information about your page’s followers – demographics, where they came from, how your following has grown over time, how your data compares to other companies, etc. Good luck in your social selling – and feel free to reach out to me in the comments section below or via LinkedIn if you have any follow up questions.
Ryan Bonnici is the marketing director at HubSpot Asia Pacific. He’s an experienced digital marketing leader having held roles previously at Salesforce, ExactTarget, Microsoft and Qantas Airways. For more frequent updates, follow him on Twitter: @ryanbonnici.