LinkedIn is a big deal.
Yes, it is.
And, if your business is not on it, you're missing out.
Think about it;
- A staggering 660 million people use LinkedIn in well over 200 countries across the planet.
- More than 30 million businesses have an account on the platform.
- Four out of every five B2B marketers use LinkedIn as part of their growth strategy.
- A LinkedIn ad can reach up to 12 percent of the world's population.
- Sponsored InMail has an impressive 52 percent open rate, on average.
With such stats, there's every reason to use LinkedIn for business.
The thing is,
LinkedIn is no longer a social media platform where people go to look for work. It has a lot more to offer and is an excellent way for startups to build awareness and generate leads.
Other benefits of using LinkedIn for a business include;
Higher Level of Credibility
LinkedIn is an excellent place to showcase your products and services. The "recommendations" feature allows customers to vouch for you, and by extension, boost your trustworthiness.
Quality Business Connections
LinkedIn is a platform of like-minded people who want to grow their businesses. You're likely to meet a strategic partner or future employee on the platform than you would on Instagram, for instance.
Why is LinkedIn a Winner?
Fact, LinkedIn doesn't have as many users as Facebook or Twitter.
There's one thing, though, that makes it different – the ability to generate leads.
The traditional sales model is changing – fast. You need to do a little bit more than email pitches, cold calls, or sales demo.
Social selling is taking over.
Statistics show that 78 percent of businesses engaging in social selling outsell their counterparts who aren't.
Further, a whopping 63 percent of millennials say social selling is an integral part of their business.
So, where does LinkedIn fit in all this?
For starters, data indicates that LinkedIn accounts for more than 80 percent of all B2B leads generated through social media.
Well, that's quite impressive.
The point is,
LinkedIn, unlike other social media platforms, is "business-oriented." In other words, most users here are seeking meaningful business or work connection.
Do you know what this means?
It implies that you have access to millions of potential clients eager to learn more about your product or service.
The beauty of it is that 40 million of these prospects are decision-makers – they don't have to seek a second opinion to work with you. It means you can convert them quickly, and that's good news for a startup trying to gain traction on LinkedIn.
There's a catch, though.
Most people on LinkedIn are knowledgeable and savvy.
You must give potential customers solid reasons to work with you. You must have a well-thought-out plan to gain and develop valuable connections with prospects.
How can you make the most of LinkedIn for business? How do you generate leads on the platform? How will you use the numbers on LinkedIn to scale your business?
Ways to Tap into the Power of LinkedIn for Startups
What follows is an in-depth overview of how to extend your reach and nurture prospective buyers with LinkedIn.
#1 Create a Company Profile
Creating a LinkedIn Company Page is a pretty much straightforward process. You can read all about it here.
The secret is to use your Company Page as a lead generation tool.
You must be strategic with your profile. You want to attract prospects. And that's not going to happen if all you have on your page is your business's basic facts.
Your profile should be a gateway to your site.
How Do You Increase Click-through Rate to Your Site Using LinkedIn and Win Clients?
Flesh-out your Profile
Your page is your sales pitch, so you should use images that generate attention.
You're better off with a header that drives interest and, most notably, makes your prospects want to find out more about your business.
Next, create a compelling and persuasive pitch in our description.
This is where most startups fail when trying to perfect the art of social selling. No one wants to read about how many employees you have or the number of open offices.
Your company details should take your potential clients through the value journey and lead them to conversion.
The first line of your description is crucial. It has to grab your target customer's attention and invite them to "see more."
Here's an example of a compelling LinkedIn company profile by Unilever
As you can see, the description doesn't include office location, Forbes listing, etc. Instead, the brand highlights its relationship with consumers and inspiring stories from their different products. And guess what? Unilever has over 2 million followers on LinkedIn!
Make your Recent Updates Section Clickable.
The plan is to ensure your prospects get updates even if they don't click through to your site. That way, you'll keep them engaged and are likely going to convert them in the future.
#2 Extend your Presence with a Showcase Page
One of the most effective ways to promote your brand on LinkedIn is to create a Showcase Page.
More specifically, Showcase Pages allow you to segment your inbound LinkedIn traffic. These pages come in handy when you have a business directly connected to a particular audience.
When LinkedIn developed Showcase Pages, the idea was to help B2B marketers generate better leads.
As stated, a Showcase Page works best if you use it to target more than one business persona by providing helpful information.
Your Showcase Page is different from your Company Page in a couple of ways. For starters, it has a bigger header image, more above-the-folder update post, and a link to your website.
Here's Cisco Data and Cloud Showcase Page
Cisco, a top SaaS brand, has one of the most notable LinkedIn Showcase Pages. The company displays different products and services with Cisco Data Center and Cloud leading the pack with the highest number of followers and regular updates.
Salesforce is another example of a company that has perfected the art of making a brilliant Showcase Page.
The company has three Showcase Pages
- Salesforce Partners - a partner model for enterprises,
- AppExchange - the enterprise app marketplace
- Dreamforce - for annual conferences.
While each of these pages carries the brand feel of Salesforce, they offer diverse, segmented content.
You can make your Showcase Page powerful and attention-grabbing by;
- Using a name, a phrase your prospects and relate to and understand.
- Using a short, easy-to-remember company name that'll fit in a display sidebar.
- Optimizing the page for conversion
As a startup, you can use Showcase Pages to build your LinkedIn community and, by extension, attract more customers.
Moreover, Showcase Page comes with a built-in analytics program that you can use to track your brand's performance, identify and correct weaknesses, and map out a marketing strategy for your business.
#3 Post Long-form Actionable Content
LinkedIn is an effective content publishing platform.
When using LinkedIn for business development, you'll want to share high-quality content. That way, you can stop relying on ads to draw your prospect's attention and build an inbound strategy where you can get users interested in your product or service.
Don't just publish anything. You want people to consume your content and take action.
Here are tips to help you get the most out of your long-form content on LinkedIn
Go for Topics that Drive Engagement
You can get prospects to interact with your posts by staying on top of industry trends. Share with your audience the information they care about most. Some of the topics that generate the most engagement include;
- Latest news
- Tips/best practices
- Industry events
- Product or service information
Still, it makes perfect sense to focus your articles on areas related to your business or trade.
Include Relevant References and Stats
Some of the best-performing articles on LinkedIn come with facts, figures, and research. As a network of professionals, users are always looking for info they can use to help improve their business and jobs.
Your prospects aren't on LinkedIn to kill time – they're looking for ways to excel professionally. People will pay attention to your posts if they're;
- Informative or educational
- Helping with skill development
Craft Attention-Grabbing Headlines
Your LinkedIn posts need to have compelling headlines to lure your target in. Some of the things to keep in mind when crafting your headlines include;
- Reader benefit
- Icons and influencers
Why Long-form Posts?
You're a startup. You want to create awareness about your brand to prospects as soon as possible. Long-form LinkedIn posts allow you to get what you want.
For instance, a 1,500-word article provides a better chance to get more online visibility than a 200-word piece. Plus, you can include more material to prove your knowledge on a topic.
Pro Tip – LinkedIn's research indicates that posts tend to attract the most engagement in the morning, followed by the content uploaded after business hours.
So, plan your publishing schedule to make sure that your posts reach as many as possible, based on your target audience's time zone.
#4 Leverage LinkedIn Groups
LinkedIn Groups offer an excellent opportunity for a startup to network. The best way to benefit from Groups is to start one for your company where you’re the admin.
Here's how to use Groups to Boost your Lead Generation Efforts.
Hangout in Appropriate Groups to Gain Authority and Leadership
Take part in discussions to help grow your brand's reach. Still, you have to join relevant groups.
If you join one with employees, you'll have a hard time trying to sell them management software, for instance. Be sure to check a group's statistics to determine if it is the right one for your company before joining.
Target your LinkedIn Ads
LinkedIn ads are super-efficient. But, you can optimize yours by using a well-planned targeting strategy.
Again, analyze the group's stats before spending your money on ads. That way, you can mine valuable data and stretch your budget.
Create Optimized Target LinkedIn Product Pages
Did you know that you can use your LinkedIn Company Products Page to segment and target specific audiences?
A nifty feature called Group Statistics can provide valuable data to help you figure out how to best segment your Products Page on LinkedIn.
Let's say you're eying a group of 100,000 members, 25 percent of whom are owners, and another 25 percent hold managerial positions.
You're likely to generate more leads if you tweak the copy on your Product Page to suit the needs of these two audiences.
It also makes sense to include different offers in line with these audiences' distinct needs on each of your targeted pages. Why? Well, because an owner and manager have varying needs.
#5 Connect with as Many Prospects as Possible
One of the reasons for using LinkedIn for business is to develop a vast network of connections.
The more connections your brand has, the more likely it will be discovered by the LinkedIn search algorithm.
The platform's algorithm evaluates first, second, and group level connections for search results.
On top of that, when you have many LinkedIn connections;
- Your company's views increase, giving your brand a chance to feature as one of the "most viewed connections."
- You get more endorsements, including badges of honor.
- Your posts attract more engagement – more comments, likes, and shares.
- Your published posts skyrocket in popularity.
- You attract more followers. And you can leverage followers to promote your content and, by extension, increase your company's reach.
- You'll get connections on other social media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook.
- You enjoy traffic spikes on your website as people continue to engage with your content.
Whatever your strategy, make sure that you're only making high-quality and meaningful connections.
The last thing that you want when trying to increase your brand's presence on LinkedIn is spam (read people trying to sell you junk).
Besides, LinkedIn cuts you off at 30,000 connections. Review your network from time to time to make sure that it remains healthy.
#6 Use InMail
Any serious startup should use InMail as part of its LinkedIn growth strategy.
Sure, you'll have to pay for InMail, but the benefits surpass the $79 monthly fee.
According to Mailchimp, Sponsored InMail has an impressive 52 percent open rate, on average. Now, that's more than two times the open rate of regular email campaigns.
But that's not the only reason you should use InMail for business.
Sponsored InMail works a little like a sponsored update campaign. When activated, you can directly contact anyone on the platform.
LinkedIn says InMail allows you to send personalized messages to people who matter most for your business.
In essence, this means you can share and target content straight into your prospect's inbox. And the beauty of it is that recipients get notified, increasing the chances of getting a response.
The other benefit of using LinkedIn InMail to reach out to your potential clients is to send bulk messages. More specifically, you can send as many notes as you wish, allowing you to reach everyone in your network.
Note – LinkedIn will only send sponsored InMail when the recipient is online. Now, that's 100 percent deliverability, something you won't get with a regular InMail.
A study on Sponsored InMails found that they're great for lead generation when used to promote eBooks and webinars.
What else do you need to know about sponsored InMail?
Well, the strategy is incredibly efficient, with a 3x more response rate than traditional email.
Imagine how many leads you'd generate if your email response rate increased by 30 percent!
Add the integrated analytics to help you customize your messages, and what you get is a powerful tool to reach out to potential customers and influencers in your network.
The Bottom Line
There's every reason to use LinkedIn to grow your business.
When used correctly, the platform can be an excellent way to establish your brand, gain recognition, and attract new customers.
With what LinkedIn can do for your business, it makes sense to learn to leverage the social network and all it has to offer.
Familiarize yourself with the platform and its features. It starts with knowing what to do once you've created a Company Page and how to do it in a way that helps grow your business.
Of course, you have to dedicate some time and effort every day to expand your network, make valuable connections, and drive leads.
Above all, keep in mind that LinkedIn is a network of professionals. Always aim to build your brand's credibility. Acquire insider expertise from experienced experts in your niche.
Tuesday, May 26, 2020