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LinkedIn Marketing for Small Business: Why It’s Effective

Founded in 2002, LinkedIn has revolutionized how working professionals network, transformed the hiring and recruitment process, and yes, even created new marketing opportunities.

Unlike other social networks, LinkedIn is about more than just who you know—it’s about who your connections know. LinkedIn’s digital word-of-mouth networking makes it the #1 rated network for lead generation for B2B companies.

In this article, we’ll show you why LinkedIn marketing is so effective, help you create your new company page, and share 7 LinkedIn marketing best practices.

LinkedIn Marketing for Small Business: Go Beyond the “Likes”

LinkedIn is perhaps one of the most underrated social networks for marketing (along with Pinterest). It’s often seen as “just another” social presence to create and maintain, but that thinking completely ignores LinkedIn’s real marketing power.

This is especially true for any B2B (business-to-business) company, although B2C (business-to-consumer) companies have also found success on the platform.

What makes LinkedIn so valuable is the astonishing variety of business functions the platform supports. In addition to sharing content and driving website traffic, companies are making meaningful connections, fostering business relationships, and expanding their professional networks.

LinkedIn users browse the platform with a very different intention than users on other social media platforms. Most often, they’re actively looking for valuable content consume. LinkedIn users want to discover inspiration and content that (positively) changes the way they conduct business. What more could a small B2B marketer want?

Basically, LinkedIn fosters meaningful business interactions because that’s what it was designed to do. Unlike the more popular social networks that began by connecting friends, LinkedIn is all business.

Let’s dive into more specific data to really understand how effective LinkedIn marketing is.

Is LinkedIn Marketing Effective?

If you’ve found yourself doubting the LinkedIn’s potential, wonder no more. LinkedIn is perhaps the most effective marketing channel for B2B companies. Don’t just take our word for it, though. Check out these statistics collected from HubSpot, Moz, and other marketing experts.

Out of +630 million professionals on LinkedIn, 260 million are monthly active users.

Out of those monthly users, 40% access the network on a monthly basis.These numbers might sound paltry compared to Facebook and Instagram’s billions, but it’s not all that far behind Twitter’s estimated 330 million active monthly users.

LinkedIn represents more than 50% of all social traffic to B2B websites and blogs.

Together, LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter drive 90% of all social traffic to B2B websites but LinkedIn leads the way by driving 64% of those visits. So although Facebook and Twitter have more monthly active users, LinkedIn is the clear favorite for B2B content creators.

More than 80% of leads created through social media for B2B marketers are generated on LinkedIn.

Social media might not generate as many leads as other channels (such as email marketing), but LinkedIn is responsible for the vast majority of those social leads.The other “big” social sites don’t even compete—Twitter brings in about 12.7% of all B2B social conversions, and Facebook can only claim 6.7%.While social media generally isn’t the top contender for lead generation, LinkedIn is a notable exception.

LinkedIn generates almost 3x more conversions than Twitter & Facebook.

HubSpot found that LinkedIn generated the highest visitor-to-lead conversion rate (2.74%), which is nearly 3 times greater than Twitter (0.69%) and Facebook (0.77%).Even better: the leads that LinkedIn sends to your website are generally more qualified and willing to make purchases. Win-win-win.

LinkedIn has a perfect Moz domain authority score of 100.

LinkedIn has incredibly high domain authority. If you’re new to SEO, domain authority refers to Moz’s ranking system. The higher a website’s domain authority, the more likely it is to rank highly on a search engine result page (SERP). LinkedIn has a perfect domain authority score of 100. Thanks to this domain authority, LinkedIn articles and document uploads are more likely to appear in relevant Google searches than content posted to your own website.In short, posting content on LinkedIn increases its searchability and discoverability on the world wide web.

Only 3 million users share content weekly, but there are 9 billion content impressions in the LinkedIn feed weekly.

If this doesn’t excite you about LinkedIn, nothing will. Out of the 250 million monthly active users, only 3 million are sharing content weekly. That means only about 1% of monthly active users are posting regularly.Meanwhile, LinkedIn reports that users’ posts earn a collective 9 billion weekly impressions.That leaves a huge gap between content creators and content consumers—what more could a marketer want?

50% of LinkedIn members say they are more likely to buy from a company they engage with on LinkedIn.

Which means that just maintaining and engaging on your LinkedIn Company Page could boost sales. Somehow, almost half of business missed the memo—a surprisingly high 43% of businesses don’t have a LinkedIn presence. Being proactive here could put you ahead of the competition in a meaningful way.In summary, LinkedIn is a uniquely powerful social media marketing tool, and a must-have for B2B businesses.

Start at the Beginning: Create a LinkedIn Company Page

In order to access all of the amazing LinkedIn marketing opportunities, you’ll need to set up a Company Page. This will be connected to your personal profile, so go ahead and set one up if you haven’t already.

Fortunately, creating a company page is free and simple.

Start by entering your company name, website, and your business logo. Remember: your logo should be consistent across social media channels and be an accurate reflection of your brand.

Next, you’ll be prompted to input some business details.

You’re limited to pre-defined categories for these, so take the time to choose the labels that feel right for your brand.

Now it’s time to take out your copywriting hat and create your tagline and about us sections.

Taglines are displayed at the top of company pages and they’re the first copy LinkedIn users will read after your business name. Treat it like an elevator pitch: explain who you are, what you do, and why you do it—briefly.

Additional details go into your “about us” section. In 2,000 characters or less, tell visitors about your company. This is actually a great opportunity to optimize your LinkedIn page, so include relevant keywords and simple language.

Just like on any social profile, your business overview should answer the basic Who/What/Where/When/Why questions:

  • Who are you?
  • What products/service/value do you offer?
  • Why do you do what you do? (What are your values?)
  • Where/when do you offer your products/services?
  • How can people contact you for next steps?

 

 

 

 

 

In the example above, insurance company Lemonade clearly explains what they do, why they’re unique, and highlights their value of social responsibility. Their overview section is short, impactful, and memorable—not many insurance companies describe their own industry as a “necessary evil”!

Once you’ve finished your tagline and about section, it’s time to finish the visual elements. You might have noticed there’s a big, blue rectangle at the top of your page. That’s where your cover photo lives. Cover photos occupy major visual real estate on your page, so give them the proper consideration. Just like cover photos on sites like Twitter and YouTube, your LinkedIn cover photo should reflect your brand, its values, and/or your unique selling proposition.

Here, Teleperformance has used their cover photo to expand on their logo. The tight visual relationship between the two images is a great example of branding. We especially love that they’ve included their “Best Pages of 2019” top 10 ranking, because it instantly boosts their credibility.

Congratulations! You’ve now set up your LinkedIn Company Page. Now the exciting work can begin. As always, we begin by developing our strategy.

Creating a LinkedIn Marketing Strategy

Don’t let the ease of setting up a company page deceive you—creating and conducting a LinkedIn marketing strategy will require much more effort. If you want to make the most of your LinkedIn presence, you’ll need to think big picture.

When developing your LinkedIn marketing strategy, start with SMART goals. What exactly do you want to achieve—and what can only be achieved on LinkedIn? Are you trying to establish your brand as a thought leader? Build a network for social selling? Drive web traffic to increase conversions?

Regardless of what you want to achieve, SMART goals are essential to marketing with purpose and understanding how well your tactics are succeeding. SMART goals are: specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-bound. As you select your goals, identify the metrics you’ll use to measure your success. (More on metric tracking later.)

If you’re brand-new to LinkedIn for business, build your strategy from the information you already know. Who is connecting with you right away? What are your competitors up to? What have you learned from your other social channels that you might try applying to LinkedIn for business?

This is also a great time to create a customer persona if you haven’t already. Customer personas are crucial documents that help you target your messaging and content to exactly the right people.

LinkedIn offers so many exciting advantages for marketers, so the options are endless here. With so many options, it’s even more important to focus on your SMART goals.

Although we can’t craft your LinkedIn marketing strategy for you, we can help you succeed with our 7 LinkedIn marketing best practices. Read on to learn how to conduct small business LinkedIn marketing like a pro.

LinkedIn Marketing: 7 Best Practices for Small Businesses

  1. Always Keep it 100 (Percent Up to Date)For many people, your LinkedIn Page will be their first impression of your brand. Take advantage of this chance to impress and educate visitors about your business.LinkedIn’s helpful user interface automatically displays what percentage of your page is complete.Complete pages earn 30% more weekly views, according to LinkedIn. In this case, consider a 100% complete profile as the bare minimum—if you want to stand out, you have to go above and beyond.You can also customize your call-to-action button. This button has high visibility, thanks to its blue hue and priority placement below the logo. LinkedIn will also track who has clicked-through on your CTA button, giving you further insights into your success.Once you enable a custom button, you have several options to choose from: “contact us”, “learn more”, “register”, “sign up”, “visit website.” This button and its landing page should support the goals you’ve set for your LinkedIn marketing strategy, and lead visitors to the desirable next step.After you’ve completed the profile basics, regularly update and refine your page. LinkedIn is the perfect place to show off your latest completed project, share exciting business developments, and build relationships in your niche.
  2. Maximize Reach with an Optimized PageLinkedIn also has a search function, so a well-optimized page will improve your visibility when users search for companies, products, and services like yours. Thoroughly completing your page and posting regularly are important, but there are a few more steps to a fully optimized LinkedIn company page.

    Use keywords. Use relevant keywords and keyword phrases that potential customers are using to search for your offerings. The best place for these is the “about us” section. Be sure to use them naturally, and don’t make the mistake of keyword stuffing.

    Add hashtags to posts. Include 3-5 relevant hashtags in your posts for maximum discoverability and reach.

    Post regularly. In addition to increasing your reach, maintaining a posting consistency also improves your Google ranking. The fresh content will help search engines recognize your Page as active and helpful, so put it on your content calendar!

    Highlight your specialties. In your company overview, you’ll find space for up to 20 specialties. These are an opportunity to quickly share your strengths in a searchable, scannable format. Only include specialties that area accurate to your brand. Bonus points if they’re also keywords that will help you attract the right traffic.

  3. Generate Engagement with Rich Content

    Just like any social network, posting consistently is key. Businesses that post weekly see a 2x lift in content engagement. Fortunately, the ideal LinkedIn posting frequency is maximum once per day, but most ideally about every other day. Content can be curated or original, meaning that the demand for fresh, original content on LinkedIn is arguably lower most other social networks.

    One of our favorite LinkedIn features is the ability to post nearly any content format—images, articles, documents, video, re-posts—the world is your oyster. Here’s a quick overview of the content formats available on LinkedIn:

    • Images: Typically drive double the amount of comment rates, and image collages of 3+ images also perform quite well for businesses.
    • Video: As always, video earns the most engagement of any content format. Native video earns a 5x more engagement, and LinkedIn live video earns a staggering 24x higher engagement rate. Try to capture attention in the first few seconds, and add subtitles for anyone watching without sound.
    • Articles: LinkedIn recently opened up publishing to all users. The built-in publishing platform is a great opportunity to repurpose blog articles or drive web traffic to your blog. If you’d like to drive traffic to your full blog post, it’s best to publish just a snippet to “tease” readers. Then you can lead them to your blog with a link to the full article.
    • Documents: Upload a PDF, Word document, or PowerPoint presentation to share with your network. Sharing long-form content on a social network is pretty unique to LinkedIn, so take advantage of it. This is a great opportunity to really serve your audience by offering free resources, with no strings attached. Consider uploading infographics, blog posts, worksheets, templates, presentations, or anything else you think will benefit your audience.
    • Kudos: LinkedIn created a completely unique way to show appreciation to colleagues, employees, and business associates. Choose from pre-made templates, like “Going Above and Beyond” or “Making an Impact” and shout-out individuals or teams. This is always a win-win because it humanizes your company while celebrating others.

    • Curated Content: Curated content is re-shared content from an individual or brand. Curating content helps build relationships with others in your niche, increases your reach, and provides a variety of helpful content to your audience.

LinkedIn encourages content curation with their content suggestions feature, showing the content and topics your audience is already interacting with.

When creating or curating your LinkedIn content, follow the golden rule of social media: lead with value. “Salesy” content performs poorly across all social networks, and LinkedIn is no different.

LinkedIn members hunt for fresh ideas. Focus on sharing innovative ideas, whether they’re original or re-shared from community members.

4. Target Organic Posts (for Free!)

Although you should always know your audience inside and out, whether you’re posting organically or paying for ads, it’s especially important on LinkedIn. Why?

Because LinkedIn offers free, organic post targeting. That’s right, what most social networks only offer to advertisers, LinkedIn offers free of charge.

Unlike ad targeting, organic targeting imposes no financial risk to your business. This is the ideal place to experiment with content targeting and learn what excites your LinkedIn audience.

Now, you probably shouldn’t copy and paste these insights into other social media strategies, especially since LinkedIn is so unique. However, it’s a great way to make the most of your LinkedIn marketing and can inform your strategy on other social networks.

  1. Build Your NetworkAccording to LinkedIn, after company pages reach 150 followers, the opportunity for growth is exponential. Follow these tips to boost your network.
    • Add a “follow” button to all touchpoints. Wherever consumers are interacting with your business, add a LinkedIn “follow plugin” to make it easy for website visitors, customers, email subscribers, and anyone else to join your LinkedIn audience.
    • Choose hashtags wisely & engage on hashtag feeds. If you follow LinkedIn’s page setup walk-through, you’ll probably be asked to pick three hashtags topics. You will only be able to see and interact with the three hashtag feeds associated with your page, so think about where you best reach and provide value to your audience. (They can be edited at any time.)The only way to know what works is to invest time into engaging in these hashtag feeds. Answer questions, provide resources, and join the conversation to expose your brand to a wider audience.
    • Leverage your personal network to grow your business community. If you already have a personal network on your LinkedIn profile, invite some of them to follow your page. This is a particularly great way to build your initial following and create some social proof before trying to persuade strangers to follow your page.It’s not just about collecting followers as a vanity metric, although a substantial following can provide social proof to new visitors. However, it’s best to focus on recruiting engaged, relevant followers because they’re the most likely to become a customer.
  1. Featured groups

    At the end of 2019, LinkedIn hosted over 30 million company pages. With so much competition, it can be difficult to create a sense of community around your business.

    This is where LinkedIn groups come in. These provide ways to connect with other professionals in your niche, delivering a pre-curated group of professionals you can build relationships with. Think of groups as a hub to quickly share information, grow your audience, and establish credibility.

    If you’re ready to take it a step further, you can create your own group. Managing your own LinkedIn group is a powerful technique to establish your brand as a thought leader, increase brand awareness, and generate leads. It also unlocks the ability to send direct messages to group members, even if you’re not connected—something you otherwise have to pay for.

  1. Constantly Improve with LinkedIn Analytics
    In case you needed another reason to love LinkedIn marketing, they provide detailed (FREE) analytics so you can discover which content your audience finds most compelling.In your analytics page, you’ll find follower visitor information, traffic data, on-page activity records, and more. The metrics you should focus on will depend on the goals you’ve set in your strategy planning.

    Regardless of your goals, tracking your page visitors and learning how they interact with your content will reveal growth opportunities. Make a plan to consistently check in on your LinkedIn analytics so you can refine your strategy over time to maximize your LinkedIn marketing effectiveness.

Final Thoughts

LinkedIn has big plans for the future—more than 30 million companies are represented and they hope to have 3 billion users one day. The professional social networking platform isn’t going anywhere, and presents a phenomenal opportunity for small business B2B marketing.

Start developing a LinkedIn marketing strategy today to build credibility, grow your network, and exchange expertise and ideas within your industry.

After you’ve mastered the LinkedIn for small business best practices, consider adding LinkedIn ads to your marketing strategy.