We’re a few weeks into 2015, and hopefully your resolutions are still intact. If you’re like many marketers, you have started the New Year with lofty goals. Whether you want to increase brand awareness, improve lead generation, establish thought leadership, or all the above this year, observing best practices from those who have ‘been there and done that’ is a great place to start. To help you achieve your goals this year, and to help you get the most from your LinkedIn marketing in 2015, here are five pro tips from marketing “Big Kahunas” that will help you make waves in your industry and ride them to success.
5 LinkedIn Tips To Help You Achieve Your Marketing Goals
Pro Tip #1: Create customized messaging as part of a seamless OmniChannel experience
Marketers in all industries recognize the importance of creating a cohesive user experience across channels, including LinkedIn. Ideally, your LinkedIn marketing strategy should be part of an integrated, holistic strategy to engage consumers across channels while preserving a consistent brand narrative.
LinkedIn messaging should not simply be copied and pasted from another platform, though. Content should be specifically tailored to the channel. In 10 Things You Need to Know Now about OmniChannel Marketing, consultant and author Mark Schaefer points out, “If the experiences in each channel are not uniquely helpful, you risk annoying customers.” For best results on LinkedIn, feature distinctive, signature elements that match the professional & aspirational context of the platform.
Pro Tip #2: Embrace an audience-first perspective with customer experience maps
To understand what content will engage your audience on LinkedIn, you should have a big-picture view of the buyer journey. When you understand buyer concerns throughout the funnel, you can create relevant messaging for your Company Page, Showcase Pages, Sponsored Updates, and other forms of branded content that are personalized for the specific audience you are looking to engage.
In an interview featured on The Lede podcast titled, How Customer Experience Maps Help You Develop a Smarter Content Strategy, Brian Clark of Copyblogger suggests taking this a step further by creating an empathy map to “walk in their shoes, from their perspective, and understand the hurdles they face.” Imagine your buyer at each stage of the customer journey: What are they thinking and feeling? Taking this customer-centric approach can help mold strategic content you can use throughout the buying cycle on LinkedIn.
Pro Tip #3: Implement a balanced social sharing plan to promote your content
Creating blog posts, whitepapers, and other content requires significant resources, and it’s important to get a return on your investment. Generally, you’re not going to achieve maximum reach or visibility with a single mention on LinkedIn. On the other hand, promoting the same content too often can annoy rather than engage.
In her article titled Are You Missing These 5 Social Sharing Powerhouses?, Heidi Cohen suggests you “provide your target audience multiple impressions of the same content over a period of time.” You can get maximum reach, she suggests, with a balanced plan to distribute content. On LinkedIn, you might use Company Page updates, Sponsored Updates, Sponsored InMails, and leverage your employee profiles to ensure your strategic content finds the right people.
Pro Tip #4: Inject storytelling into your content marketing
B2B marketers understand that engaging audiences isn’t about broadcasting product specs or features. Instead, it’s important to convey a compelling brand narrative that highlights the value your brand provides to the marketplace. And while B2B marketers have traditionally struggled to effectively use storytelling on social media platforms, high competition for attention is causing more B2B brands to infuse creativity into their campaigns.
In How to Make a Boring Business Interesting, Jeff Bullas notes, “Business to business brands often have great content, it’s just that many aren’t accustomed to publishing it to social networks.” Jeff provides examples of how GE is serving as a model for making a “boring” business interesting. Telling compelling stories about the real-world impact of products and services can add life to any business offering, no matter how “boring.”
Pro Tip #5: Establish thought leadership in your industry
As a marketer, you understand how important credibility is to your brand. Establishing yourself as a thought leader can inspire confidence in your company and the solutions you offer. LinkedIn consistently ranks as the most-trusted social media platform for B2B professionals researching products and services, making it an ideal venue to establish your industry influence.
In What Is Thought Leadership? Why You Need It. And Steps to Get It Right, Michael Brennersuggests being a thought leader “is simply about becoming an authority on relevant topics by delivering the answers to the biggest questions on the minds of your target audience.”
Some ways to demonstrate your expertise include:
- Answering questions and starting industry discussions in LinkedIn Groups
- Crafting a compelling Company Page that addresses the matters important to your audience
- Posting articles about industry issues on the LinkedIn publishing platform
- Sharing and commenting on the content your audience finds insightful and interesting
It’s important to provide value to your network without the expectation you’ll necessarily get something in return. By unselfishly offering insights and answers, you can establish yourself as a credible authority, which is usually much more effective than being just another marketer with a sales motive.
Adopting these five pro tips can help you ride the wave to LinkedIn marketing success in 2015. When you create cohesive, compelling, consumer-first experiences through your marketing, you can build brand affinity while casting your company as a trustworthy industry leader.
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