The Educated Marketer

 

2017 LinkedIn Essentials

by Vicky Lynch | Sep 13, 2017

 |  college recruitment, inbound marketing

 | 0 comments

LinkedIn is the business professionals’ networking social media platform. It’s a great place to build your personal network, reconnect with colleagues and classmates, find and build relationships with influencers in your industry and discover companies and search for new career opportunities. The interface is similar to Facebook, and easy to use.

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Lifewire says LinkedIn is like a traditional networking situation where you meet people and pass out business cards, except you are making “connections” with others and you all have your professional accomplishments laid out on your personal page. So less small talk, more business.

Overview:

LinkedIn was launched in 2003 and had 4500 hundred members by the end of the first year. The company now boasts more than 500 million members in over 200 countries. There are more than 40 million students and recent graduates on the social network, making their group the fastest growing demographic.

Establishing a company page on LinkedIn is very valuable tool for companies to promote their business as a whole, rather than just focusing on individual employees. The site allows companies to promote news and events and showcase products and services. Companies also received an alert when their name is mentioned and LinkedIn offers a range of analytics as well to measure the effectiveness of posts.

Blogging and posting articles is very popular on the site with 130,000 posts published weekly. A recent study by Millward Brown Digital and LinkedIn found that 71% of professionals feel that the site is a credible source for professional content. Any member can post an article or blog to the site. And Hubspot recently found that content consumption has grown 21% on LinkedIn just in the past two years.

LinkedIn is also the top site (yes, above social media giants Facebook and Twitter) for referrals to your company home page. Buffer reported that LinkedIn sends 4x the traffic than the others to your website.

In an article for LinkedIn, Steve Phillip highlights the Dell company page. The page has nearly 1.5 million followers, all in a targeted demographic. How much would that type of exposure do for your company?

Finally, for the cherry on top, 2017 may well be a record growth year for LinkedIn after they rolled out a redesign in January after being acquired by Microsoft. Techcrunch reports the biggest changes are a streamlined app-like look, a new pop-up messaging experience and new search features.

What to Post:

Share company-wide announcements, updates, videos or industry news. Industry perspectives are ranked highest by users on LinkedIn (Buffer says 6 out of 10 users log on for this content), followed closely by company news (53%) and new products and services (43%).

LinkedIn recently made changes to its interface, making it a bit more like Facebook. One change--you can now easily share images with your comments on posts to help illustrate a point.

When to Post:

It should come as no surprise that during business hours, Monday through Friday, is the best time to post to LinkedIn. Buffer reports morning and midday are best, but check your analytics to see what time is optimum for your company. Just avoid late afternoons, evenings and of course weekends if you want your post to be seen.

Length of Posts:

A study from SumAll and Buffer found that B2B posts should be 16-25 words long and consumer posts should be 21-25 words long. However, since content is king on this site, you should also be contributing through posting articles and blogs on the site, which will be much longer.

Frequency of Posts:

Warren Knight, a global influencer and digital strategist reported in a LinkedIn blog that studies have shown that posting once a weekday, or 20 times a month can help companies reach 60% of their audience.

Common Fails:

  • Don’t shy away from text ads

This goes against everything we have learned about how effective images are in making a post or ad popular on social media. However, Hubspot reports that text ads—which are also budget friendly—can often lead to more conversions than sponsored post with images.

The most successful text ads are no longer than 75 words long, with headlines under 25 words. The ad offers a value, such as a discount on your services and a clear CTA. The ad should also be targeted to a very specific demographic. The more targeted your ad is, the greater return on investment.

  • Don’t be in a hurry to create a post

Many social networks allow you to go back and edit a post if you make a typo or want to change something. LinkedIn doesn’t allow this, so take your time posting. You will still be able to delete and repost if you do make a mistake, but no quick fixes here.

  • Don’t post “hit and run” updates to sell products

As with any social media platform, you are slowly building relationships with followers and building your brand one post at a time. If you only show up on LinkedIn every once in a while and only post what LinkedIn blogger Bob Lovely calls “hit and run” promotions, you will only alienate your followers with spam that will hurt rather than help your company’s reputation.

Best Practices:

  • Do encourage every employee to create a profile

Forbes reports that 10% of companies ban their employees from using LinkedIn during business hours. Yet, employees are more than 70% more likely to interact with company posts, which extends their reach to your employees’ connections.

By having your employees create profiles, you are also able to showcase your talent and attract other potential employees. 9 out of 10 of the top companies on LinkedIn have 60% or more of their employees also on the site. Numbers don’t lie, you might want to life that firewall.

  • Do spring for the premium membership

Why pay for the site when you can use it for free? Fast Company reports that with LinkedIn, you get what you pay for. And with a Business Membership, that means enhanced searches, more profile information and the ability to InMail contacts beyond your connections. These features are extremely valuable for human resource departments, sales and for building your company’s brand.

Sales Navigator is also a premium LinkedIn sales tool that will connect you with local recommendations and easily manage buyers that matter to your company. The feature promises to turn cold calls into warm conversations.

Showcase Pages are extensions of your company page, where you can highlight a division, brand or unique company initiative. By creating these pages, you can target the exact audience that is interested in that specific area of your company, allowing you to further target the right audience with your content.

SocialMediaExaminer does point out these pages are meant to build relationships with your followers, not as promotions. Those should go through the general company page.

Other Tools for Posting and Measuring:

Nimble is a social CRM tool where you can organize and manage your LinkedIn lead generation efforts. There is also a Nimble Contacts Widget that allows you to save contact information to your Nimble account while on LinkedIn with one click. Plans start at $25 a month.

Dux-Soup is a Chrome plug-in that allows you to tag and make notes on the member profiles you visit. There is a free version that allows you to automate the process of viewing up to 100 profiles a day. The paid version ($15 a month) allows you to export information.

With LinkedIn, there is definitely more to the site than meets the eye. We hope you will use the tips above to propel your business and brand to new levels and stay ahead of your competition.

This blog post is part of our Social Media Essentials Series 2017, an 8-part blog series aimed at demystifying social media promotion, one platform at a time. Each post will focus on a separate social media application offering the skinny on updated ways to best use each site for promotion. We’ll let you know about who you will reach, what to post, when to post, examples of best practices and more. We will feature a new post every two weeks. Follow the Educated Marketer to stay up to date on our series.

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This blog post is part of our Social Media Essentials Series 2017, an 8-part blog series aimed at demystifying social media promotion, one platform at a time. Each post will focus on a separate social media application offering the skinny on updated ways to best use each site for promotion. We’ll let you know about who you will reach, what to post, when to post, examples of best practices and more. We will feature a new post every two weeks. Follow the Educated Marketer to stay up to date on our series.

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