7 Ways Marketers Can Get the Most out of LinkedIn

LinkedIn may tag you an “All-Star” on Your Profile page—but you’re a minor leaguer if you don’t fully exploit the marketing and sales powers of the social medium used by more than half the world’s professionals. “If your profile has the wrong information, it might as well be your tombstone,” says Mark Amtower, a consultant who specializes in LinkedIn strategy.

At stake are the current 313 million members, as well as the two joining per second, as LinkedIn reports. And let’s not forget 3.5 million companies present there.

Facebook may have the B2C sex appeal, but when it comes to B2B marketing—and personal branding—LinkedIn is where it’s at. Marketers can boost their own and their firm’s reputations, market their wares, establish themselves and their organizations as industry thought-leaders, and harvest sales leads—with most of those benefits costing nothing.

“In my 30 years as a marketing consultant, I’ve never seen a platform that does so much,” Amtower says. “Traditional B2B direct marketers that do not fully embrace LinkedIn miss the opportunity to develop deeper relationships with key customers or be found by prospects looking for what they sell.”

Here are seven ways marketers can maximize LinkedIn themselves and their companies:

Juice up your profile

LinkedIn Profiles average 53 million views daily. A marketer’s profile should reflect that she’s the face of her brand, not a job hunter. To entice prospects, marketers should share their expertise areas, the market they serve and what their company does, Amtower says. “Top the profile with a summary that’s informative and fun, so it’ll be read.”

Also upload six to 12 slides, PowerPoint presentations, or videos of your work to intrigue prospects without giving away too much to competitors, he says. And remember the basics: phone and email, so you can be easily reached.

Maximize your company page

Sporadic updates aren’t enough. See a company page as a mini website with appealingly packaged and SEO-jammed information, links, and contacts.

Look to marketing software firm HubSpot, which feeds its page almost daily with visually-adorned entries on products, achievements, new hires, and industry-related trends. It also cross-promotes the page across blogs, emails, and other channels. “We ask customers who give appreciative feedback on surveys to consider sharing their opinions on LinkedIn,” says Kipp Bodnar, VP of marketing.

The result: HubSpot touts 40,000 followers, 272 product recommendations, and a Culture Code slide share that’s been viewed nearly 2 million times.

Each follower and comment packs heat, amplifying the firm’s visibility on his or her own LinkedIn feed, Bodnar says:  “For us, LinkedIn traffic converts into leads more than traffic on other social platforms.”

Leverage your employees’ LinkedIn profiles and activities

“Employee profiles become mini-marketing reaches that put your best face forward,” says Mike Derezin, LinkedIn’s VP of sales solutions. “The more you provide, the more likely the message will be uniform.”

All of HubSpot’s 900 employees have personal profiles and active feeds, Bodnar says. Executives set the tone by posting blog entries on their LinkedIn pages, and the firm provides profile tips, professional headshots, and a clear mission statement to new hires.

Join or form a likeminded group

Sharing insights about an industry pays off: 86% of buyers say they’d engage with salespeople if they offered such knowledge, LinkedIn reports. Become a known thought leader and that rises to 92%.

HubSpot launched its Inbound Marketers group seven years ago, where 111,000 members currently discuss strategies and trends. Those who participate get 4 times the profile views of those who don’t, Bodnar finds.

“Each member is a potential prospect,” Amtower says. “Useful entries also reinforce your name and brand.”

Use “In Messages” to follow those who check you out

Look regularly to see who’s examined your profile, as Amtower does thrice daily. Then pounce.

“Check out their profile, and if you see potential, reach out via message or In Mail,” he says. “You can say, ‘Hey, I saw you looked at my profile. Are you interested in chatting or connecting?’ Start a conversation while it’s hot—not two days later when they might not remember who you are.”

Use Sales Navigator to convert cold calls

You can arm yourself with the personal information that thaws cold calls into warm introductions via LinkedIn’s Sales Navigator app. Stats and analytics on targeted accounts reveal who you know in common, where workers went to school and other information, whether you’re LinkedIn or not.

“It’s hugely valuable, especially if you’re B2B,” says Bodnar. “It’s a lot easier to get prospects.”

Reach those who really matter via LinkedIn Ads

Why advertise to the irrelevant? LinkedIn’s display ads can target a desired audience by job title, company size, or other attributes—and HubSpot occasionally uses this feature along with its other LinkedIn efforts. “We’ve used some display ads in sponsored updates,” Bodnar says, “but we’re advertising less on all channels, thanks to the success of nonpaid efforts, like those on LinkedIn.”

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