Six steps to better engagement on LinkedIn
“Should I be on LinkedIn?” and “Do we need a company LinkedIn page?” are two questions I often get asked.
For businesses that want to influence other businesses, LinkedIn is perhaps the most valuable social media channel, but it’s also one of the least understood. I still hear so many outdated misconceptions, such as it’s merely a tool for job hunters and recruitment consultants.
While it is undoubtedly used for those things, some of the most engaging marketing campaigns I’ve seen have been delivered through LinkedIn. So here’s some of my tips for how your business can get the most out of it.
Consider how LinkedIn can solve a specific problem
There’s no point doing LinkedIn for the sake of it. It has to be part of a wider strategy, helping to achieve a specific objective. This might not necessarily be targeting customers. For example, Coca-Cola’s LinkedIn page has over a million followers, but it’s not using the channel to tell people how great the product is. It’s using it to attract employees and show its credentials as an activist for positive causes.
It’s a great example of using the best channel to target a specific audience. Of course, Coca-Cola spends millions annually on marketing, but think about how this could work on a smaller scale, for example by helping an accountancy firm target graduates, or a construction firm to showcase its community engagement work to potential clients.
Have a company LinkedIn page
Creating a company LinkedIn page will allow better engagement on LinkedIn. This is because it showcases your company, not just a single employee. It also allows your employees with professional LinkedIn profiles to act as ambassadors for the company, sharing the content you post to a wider audience.
Because a company LinkedIn page is publicly visible it also means that content you share from this page is ranked on the web and can improve your company’s search visibility. The analytics feature will also help you better measure the effectiveness of your updates, rather than if they were being shared from individual profiles.
Create content that people WANT to engage with
Your page shouldn’t be a sales pitch for your products, but a platform for giving your audience insight and information they can’t get elsewhere. For example, take a company that supplies protective workwear. How does it engage on a dry subject like workplace health and safety? It could film a series of ‘spot the hazard’ videos that encourage the audience to list the safety breaches in the comments section to be entered into a prize draw. It could produce a lively infographic showing the potentially ruinous cost of health and safety prosecutions. Further down the line it could provide a series of free informative guides with practical tips for creating a safe working environment. This enables the company to steadily build an online following without ever mentioning their own products.
Be prepared to pay to reach the right people
LinkedIn sponsored updates allow you to target your updates by location, company, job title, skills, groups, gender and age, among other demographics. If you want to get a message to a very specific audience, then you may wish to consider sponsored updates. Using the protective workwear specialist as an example again, they may want this content to be seen by HR managers in Manchester, facilities managers in Birmingham, or health and safety offices in Brighton. A sponsored update will help them reach the most relevant contacts.
Think long term
With LinkedIn there’s no need to post content every single day, but you do need to have a regular flow of content to ensure you don’t run out of steam. Define your key messages, segment your audience, and consider the best content format for that audience. This will allow you to plan your content months in advance. For example, a law firm might want to tell construction bosses about a fundamental change to contract law coming in next year. How could they use LinkedIn to target those people and what content will grab their attention?
Mind your etiquette – LinkedIn is NOT Facebook
Finally, one of the biggest bugbears of many LinkedIn users, myself included, is the ‘dumbing down’ of LinkedIn by people who treat it like their Facebook profile. LinkedIn is a social network for the business community and therefore it should be kept professional at all times. In short, do not talk about anything on LinkedIn that isn’t business related. Nothing is likely to turn off a LinkedIn audience more than a constant stream of irrelevant memes, holiday snaps and lunch pics. This is especially the case for company LinkedIn pages.