In my personal opinion, LinkedIn is an extremely underrated platform for content marketing.
LinkedIn is all about building professional connections. It’s a great place to catch people where they’re already planning on doing business. The popular social media platform’s new slogan is: “Do business where business is done.” And it’s honestly the truth.
Many consumers browse Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest with no intent to talk about business or work. They just want to enjoy and be entertained. Business owners that do extremely well on those platforms are often business-to-consumer (B2C) or direct-to-consumer (D2C) marketers.
That’s not to say that these platforms can’t be used for B2B marketing as well, but LinkedIn definitely takes first-place in the realm of B2B.
LinkedIn for B2B Marketing
LinkedIn is a great place to meet professionals where they are. Plus, they already expect to talk about business on the platform. If you specialize in B2B marketing, you will find this post helpful.
Plus, if you’re a freelance business owner providing content marketing, you need to market to businesses. When we market our services, we are performing B2B marketing. Personally, I leverage LinkedIn for my own content marketing services. The truth is: Most of my clients have come from LinkedIn.
I apply to freelance writing and marketing positions, and they call me. But I hope to elevate my LinkedIn personal brand and content marketing to the point that it’s a lead generation strategy for me. Obviously it takes time, effort, and consistency, so it may be some time before I see a return on my time investment. In my opinion, it’s so worth it.
Whether you’re working a 9-5 as a B2B social media marketer, or you’re marketing your own freelance business on LinkedIn, keep reading to learn my top tips, how to gain traction on the platform, and content ideas to start off with.
Why LinkedIn matters for B2B marketing
You might be thinking, is LinkedIn that important for B2B marketing? And if it is important, how influential is it really?
Here are some quick stats:
- 33% of B2B decision makers use LinkedIn to research purchases
- 4 out of 5 people on LinkedIn drive business decisions
- 82% of B2B marketers consider LinkedIn to be the most effective platform to market on
- 52% of B2B consumers surveyed said that LinkedIn had the biggest impact during research
Clearly, LinkedIn is a viable channel to grow your audience on if you’re marketing to people who make business purchasing decisions.
Now that you know just how effective LinkedIn is, let’s dive into my tips on how to leverage the platform to its fullest extent.
To start out: conversions are more important than engagement
I heard this recently, and it really stuck with me. Conversions are more important than engagement.
Of course engagement is important. Of course it is! It boosts your content so more people see it. Plus, there’s an element of social proof when it comes to getting likes, comments, and shares on your post.
But what’s more important is that you’re engaging the right audience, and you’re converting them into sales. Conversions are the most important part of the LinkedIn game.
If you’re speaking to the wrong group, you could get 20,000 likes, but no one will buy. It’s essential to hone in on who exactly you’re talking to.
For example, in my freelance business, I aim to get hired by clients who need B2B content marketing services. That being said, I share relevant content to help them on their journey (as it relates to my services). The goal is: If I keep engaging and helping them, I’m building up trust. And one day, when they need a content marketer, they might think, “Oh, Katie’s been sharing a lot about this topic. Let me see if I can hire her.”
You might see other freelance marketers who are writing content for other freelancers. And that’s completely appropriate in some cases, for example:
- You’re selling products to other freelancers
- You’re trying to build your email list, and targeting freelancers
- You’re aiming to connect with a community of freelancers
These are some cases where it does make sense to create content for other freelancers. But if you want businesses to buy your services, don’t create any content for other freelancers. It dilutes your message and makes it seem like you’re not sure who you’re talking to. These types of content definitely get a lot of traction and engagement, but at the end of the day, you want conversions.
But remember, while conversions ARE important: Posting on LinkedIn is not meant to be a quick sale. It’s about nurturing your audience and building that relationship and trust.
With B2B marketing, that can take a lot longer. These are more expensive decisions that could have business repercussions if they make they make a mistake. That’s why continually posting helpful, relevant content for your ideal audience is key. Over time, it builds trust, and when they need you, they’ll seek you out.
So don’t get discouraged if you aren’t seeing many likes or interactions on your LinkedIn account. Especially if you’re working on your client’s account, you may feel pressure to get likes and comments. But discuss with your client that while engagement is certainly amazing, conversions are the primary goal.
Give it a few months of consistent posting, and if you’re still not seeing increasing engagement, be honest with how you can create more helpful, specialized content for your audience.
The main goals of LinkedIn B2B marketing are:
- Build trust
- Nurture relationships with your audience
- Provide value
Thinking about LinkedIn marketing with this framework, let’s move forward.
Quick case study
I just said not to get discouraged if you don’t see engagement at first, and that’s still true. Yet at the end of the day, of course engagement is amazing. Mainly because the more engagement you have, the more you will grow your audience. When people interact with your post (whether that be liking it, commenting, or clicking “read more”), LinkedIn shows more people your content. When you get your content in front of more relevant prospective clients, it increases the amount of chances you have to make a conversion.
I recently took over posting on LinkedIn for one of my clients, and we’ve seen amazing success in the first month. The increase in engagement we’ve seen so quickly has been insane. Check out an inside peek:
Plus, we’re seeing very high-quality new followers. Our most recent followers have job titles that showcase authority, and they’re very specific to my client’s niche.
Now, let’s look at how I grew our engagement.
Tips to create effective B2B LinkedIn posts
1. Create high-quality images
LinkedIn posts with images get 2x higher engagement than other posts.
Of course, what is marketing without A/B testing? It’s definitely worth it to test your own audience. See if posts without pictures do better than posts with pictures. But for the most part, I recommend creating quality images that are engaging, interesting, unique, and branded. You can do this on Canva. They have LinkedIn templates that will create the perfect size photo for the platform. The templates are great places to generate ideas, and you can change the colors to match your brand’s colors.
2. Be consistent
Companies that post weekly on LinkedIn see a 2 times higher engagement rate. Plus, companies with pages that are complete and active benefit from 5 times more page views. The more consistent you are with your marketing on LinkedIn, the better. Plus, take time to fill out the profile sections.
By filling out all these sections and being consistent in posting, you can increase your engagement and follower rates. People don’t want to follow silent pages, so continuously show up (even if you’re not seeing increasing engagement yet).
3. Provide value
One of my clients recently shared a post that made me question myself. She asked, “Are you adding to the noise, or are you adding value?” The truth is: There’s so much noise in marketing. Everyone wants to jump in on content marketing (and clearly, it works, so that’s understandable). But to differentiate your brand, truly provide value that is relevant to YOUR audience. If it’s not relevant to your audience, don’t post it.
All the content you post needs to be driven by the purpose of providing value to your prospective clients.
4. Be as specific as possible
I was writing social media posts for one of my clients, and she pointed out that I wrote “environmental constraints.” She told me to be more specific. What constraints? I worded it way too vaguely. As a person with an environmental studies degree, I didn’t realize how general I was being.
Another recent example: I was writing posts for a client about an event they had coming up. I was tasked to write 3 posts about the event. At first, I was trying to squeeze way too much information into each post: Their booth number, the fact that my client was speaking at the event, a chance to win a gift card… it was just too much.
I sat back for a few days and thought about it. I realized it would be so much more effective if I used each post to dive into one specific aspect of the event. Here’s how I structured it:
- Post #1: Introduction to the event
- Post #2: Highlighting client and the fact that he is speaking at the event
- Post #3: Describing that attendees can win a gift card if they do an online demo (and providing that link)
Poetry isn’t the same as social media (obviously). However, it can provide some excellent lessons when applied to social media marketing. Poems are similar to posts: You get way less time to pack a punch. Here are some quotes about poetry you can apply to social media posts (from Stephen Guppy’s Writing and Workshopping Poetry: A Constructive Introduction):
- “Scrape away any verbiage that isn’t absolutely necessary and sculpt what you have left.”
- “Poets try to go ‘down’ the abstraction ladder by choosing the most concrete and specific words. Never say ‘tree’ when you mean ‘elm.'”
Always be specific. Challenge yourself to really hone in on one particular aspect of your brand.
5. Don’t share links often
LinkedIn doesn’t highlight posts that have links in them, because they don’t want you taking their consumers off their platform. Essentially, when you’re sharing links, you’re driving consumers off their platform and to your site. LinkedIn doesn’t want that, plain and simple.
Of course, share links once in a while. But the key here is that it should be once in a while. Definitely avoid sharing a link in every single post. If you absolutely need to share an abundance of blog content, consider creating the content on LinkedIn’s blogging platform. Keep in mind: this feature is only available to PEOPLE, not brands. From a brand perspective, you could have the CEO share the blog on their profile, and share it to the business profile.
Sharing blog posts won’t bring your website traction, but LinkedIn will be more likely to show it to your audience.
Just based on my own personal research, when we shared a LinkedIn post that had a blog linked to it, we saw a 66% reduction in impressions. Email is truly the best platform to share blogs, not LinkedIn (or any social media, for that matter).
Again, of course share your blogs, and include links that drive your audience to do what you want them to do (for example, a demo). But this should be rare. For example, have 3 pieces of content that are meant purely for brand building (with no links). Then, have 1 piece of content that leads your audience to a blog post or links to a demo.
When you do share links, expect engagement and impressions to decrease dramatically in comparison to other posts.
6. Don’t forget to include relevant hashtags
I always forget hashtags when I’m writing LinkedIn posts, but they’re definitely helpful! Try a mix of niche and non-specific hashtags to see what performs best. Hashtags are amazing to help new people find your account. They attract people who are interested in the topics you’re sharing about.
7. Not every post needs a call-to-action (CTA)
If your client or boss tells you every post needs a CTA, then include it. But in my personal opinion, and if you have the freedom to do so, don’t include a CTA every time. And when you do, don’t be afraid to mix it up. For example, you can say, “Did we miss anything? Comment below.” Or you could write, “Any thoughts? Please comment!”
Just driving engagement is a great CTA. But another way to have a useful CTA (without a link) is to offer something valuable (perhaps an eBook or discount code), and ask your audience to email you to receive it.
Again, you don’t always need a CTA. In my opinion, not having one is great. A mix of posts that have one and posts that don’t is my favorite way to approach it.
8. Schedule your posts
Scheduling your posts is just easier, plain and simple. It allows you to plan weeks worth of content in a day. A great paid option for this is Hootsuite. But if you’re a freelancer looking for a free option, turn to Buffer.
Now that you know my tops B2B marketing tips for LinkedIn, here are some hacks to make the process easier. ⬇️
LinkedIn B2B marketing hacks
1. To save time, recycle blog content (without linking to the blog)
Content marketing takes so much time, right? We all would like to cut back on how much time we’re spending on marketing. But chances are, you or your client has an excellent archive of blogs. Even if you have already shared all your blogs on your LinkedIn, not many people have seen the post or clicked on it.
Pick one great statistic or one great section that you can highlight. The key here: Do not link the blog.
This is such an easy way to recycle great content that not enough people have seen anyways. Plus, it’s easy and saves time.
2. Plan content by picking weekly themes
One of the best ways to have a cohesive identity on LinkedIn is by picking weekly themes. For example, this week I’ve been posting all about social media marketing (that’s what inspired this blog post, actually). In the past, I’ve focused on Search Engine Optimization (SEO) tips and blogging.
Just pick a theme, and focus on it for the week. This makes the process so much easier, from coming up with topic ideas, to executing them.
Quick LinkedIn content ideas
Here are some quick LinkedIn content ideas to help you to hit the ground running, whether that be for your freelance business or your company. Try sharing:
- An interesting statistic
- Industry news or trends
- An answer to a common question
- Provide a helpful tip
- Share about an employee or CEO
- Reveal behind-the-scenes: for example, your desk set up, what you’re working on, how you’re working on it
- Post about top tools that would help your audience
- Share a client testimonial
The most important aspect: Focus on your audience
Too many brands focus on themselves. The truth is: Consumers don’t care about your brand. They care about their problems, and finding solutions to their problems. Focus on your audience and providing value to them, and they are more likely to buy.
Of course, a personable CEO highlight or client testimonial is great to throw in once in a while. But the main purpose of marketing on LinkedIn is to build trust and provide value. Contribute something!
While looking at competitors is important, they might not be following the best practices. Focus on your own strategy, and if you follow the tips in this blog post, it will pay off in the end. You may need to be patient to see growth, but you will if you’re consistent.
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