A powerful LinkedIn content strategy is critical for business growth simply because LinkedIn is like the ultimate virtual database to build business relationships worldwide. With over 700 million members it isn’t the largest social media network, but it is very focused on business and so provides the opportunities to get business done.
Publishing directly on LinkedIn increases your reach and allows you to connect directly with your future and existing customers.
Here are a few more reasons to include a LinkedIn content strategy as part of your overall business growth plans and content strategy.
- According to LinkedIn’s Sophisticated Marketer’s Guide to LinkedIn, 94% of B2B marketers use LinkedIn as a content distribution channel compared to other social media networks
- More than half of all social traffic to B2B sites comes from LinkedIn
- 92% of B2B marketers include LinkedIn in their digital marketing mix
- 91% of marketing executives list LinkedIn as the top place to find quality content.
- About 45% of LinkedIn article readers are in upper-level positions (managers, VPs, Directors, C-level).
To craft a powerful LinkedIn Content Strategy for business growth, you need to ensure that the following 11 aspects of the platform and your strategy (like the ones below) are covered.
1. Define Your Goals
Before you create your LinkedIn Content Strategy, you need to know your business-related content marketing goals. For example, it could be to:
- Generate leads.
- Increase brand awareness.
- Connect with your ideal customers and clients.
- Build a community around your cause or brand.
- Drive sales for your products or services
2. Understand Your Audience
If you know your goals, the next step in crafting a powerful LinkedIn Content Strategy for business growth is to identify your audience. With close to 700 million users on the platform, you need to decide which segments you would like to target.
Let’s say your goal is to sell an eBook on podcasting for B2B brands. Your target audience may be business professionals with job titles such as CMO, Head of Content and CRO.
To get in front of them is not just a matter of putting your sales offer in front of as many of these people but to connect with them on an emotional level. After all, people make decisions based on emotion and then justify it with logic. This requires a deep understanding of your existing audience and their needs, challenges, and dreams.
You can use the analytics section on your website to learn more about your followers and page visitors. This would provide a good starting point for meaningful insights about your audience and the type of content they prefer. It will also help you tailor your LinkedIn marketing strategy to cater to the needs of your audience.
3. Create a Brand Worth Advocating for
To be a leading brand that is worth advocating for in your industry, your brand will need to exemplify traits that motivate customers to become loyal. Such brands are:
To stand out in the marketplace, businesses have to leverage these traits to delight their customers. How can that be done?
- Create value by collaborating with your employees and clients. If people take an active role in a project, they become invested in its overall success.
- Give employees ownership over their work as when they are invested in what they create or provide they organically become an advocate for your brand.
- Show your progress as it can be a great motivator not just at work but for customers and future customers too.
- Make your message clear and easy to share. If your customers and staff feel good about your brand, they will want to be an advocate.
- Be part of something bigger. Most people want to be part of something bigger that makes a difference in the world—think of Steve Jobs and Apple.
- Be honest, transparent and consistent. Your audience will align with your mission and root for you to succeed as they know what to expect from you and because you are authentic.
- Ask people to provide reviews or testimonials. This is critical to gaining the social proof that you need on an ongoing basis. But when asking, ensure you make it easy for people to provide what you want.
- Get to know them better. Take the time to talk to customers and employees to discover where your company values intersect with their individual values.
- Be a “Go-Giver.” In his best-selling “The Go-Giver” book series, author Bob Burg encourages readers to go-give as opposed to go-get. Who wouldn’t advocate for a brand that gives first without expectation of receiving anything back; then giving more than you receive?
- Share Your Personality. Part of having an authentic brand is the unique voice that they relate to and that aligns with your mission and vision. So, ensure that your brand voice is consistent both internally and externally.
- Educate Them. No one will naturally want to advocate for a brand they don’t believe in. How do you convince them? By educating them and proving your brand’s worthiness.
- Provide top-notch satisfaction. Having a great brand worth advocating is also about supporting customers and ensuring they are happy.
- Be remarkable. If an aspect of your brand isn’t remarkable, you’ll find it difficult to attract people to serve as advocates.
- Listen and adapt to their needs. When your employees and customers feel that they are being heard they will become eager advocates. So, listen to them, include them in decisions and recognize and appreciate their accomplishments
- Create Buy-In Early. Getting the buy-in of your employees and customers before the launch of a new product or initiative is critical to its success. After all, bringing employees and consumers into the process early will make them feel invested in what you’re trying to accomplish and encourage them to become stronger brand advocates.
4. Harness Employee Advocacy To Increase Your Reach and Brand Awareness
LinkedIn is an advocate of employee advocacy.
This is because:
- People trust the recommendations of friends and family over brand messages. LinkedIn found that employee posts result in double the click-through-rate achieved by brand posts.
- Employees provide a lot more organic reach that can be leveraged. LinkedIn says that the average employee has 10 times more 1st-degree connections than their company has followers.
- Employees that share valuable content on behalf of your business are really establishing themselves as thought leaders. They can join discussions and engage with others on a personal level thus extending your brand through their connections. Thought leadership has also been shown to impact sales directly.
- According to LinkedIn, companies with successful employee advocacy programs are 58% more likely to attract and 20% more likely to retain top talent.
As part of your employee advocacy programs, you can encourage users to fill out their LinkedIn profiles and provide a few relevant resources such as banners, videos, content, links to your company page and or showcase page that your employees could use to enhance their own profiles on LinkedIn while also advocating for your brand.
This will help your brand gain visibility in their networks. This, in turn, will boost brand awareness and help make your LinkedIn marketing strategy more successful.
5. Optimize Your Profile
Joe Apfelbaum, LinkedIn trainer and expert, says your profile is more important than your website because when people search on Google, your profile will show up on top of your website, typically, and that’s where people will go.
On LinkedIn, you can see who came to your profile if you have a LinkedIn premium account, which is very powerful. So, optimize your profile and you’ll get more visibility. You’ll have more people searching for you on LinkedIn. You must have the right keywords. Because again, you come up on Google, you want to make sure you have the right keywords on your profile.
Joe says most people don’t really understand what they need to do on their profile.
To improve your LinkedIn profile, focus on these three areas: identity, summary and history.
(Shay Rowbottom’s profile is a good example.)
Identity answers questions like:
- Who are you?
- What is your name?
- What is your title?
- What message do you want to send people based on who your identity is?
If you have conflicting identities like you work full time at one place and are a coach on the side, you must figure out who your identity is and streamline what you put in your profile.
Your profile has an area at the top that is particularly important. It’s called a headline. Some people use it as a title, but that’s not what your title is. Your title goes under your experience, not under your identity.
Under your identity, you can tell a story covering details like:
- Whom do you work with?
- How do you help them?
- What do you do?
- Who are you?
Every time you leave a comment on LinkedIn, your headline shows up after your name and your image. So, you really want to focus on that headline and run split tests on different headlines. Change it around to see what works best and keep optimizing it. Because that is literally what gets the most visibility after your name. If somebody sees your name and they don’t know who you are, they will forget your name in a second. But chances are they won’t forget your magnetic headline.
Joe’s headline has his primary keyword in it. B2B marketing. Many people reach out to him because they see the words B2B marketing and they’re a B2B business. He says he gets leads all the time, just because he has those two words inside the headline. That and the fact he helps entrepreneurs go from frustration to motivation. People that are entrepreneurs relate to that as they do to the fact that he is also a CEO and runs his own business.
If you look at people that have a successful headline, you’ll see that they’re telling a story inside their headline.
Daniel Alfon, another LinkedIn expert, shares similar points of view on using LinkedIn for powerful business marketing results. He also says that one of the most overlooked aspects of LinkedIn profile optimization is the banner on the profile.
Probably 90% of LinkedIn users have never changed the bluish solar system that exists by default on a person’s profile page. So, any banner, any decent banner would already look more interesting. And if we think about the single term or the single sentence that would make our ideal reader tick, the banner would be the very first thing, or at least one of the very first things, to consider.
Most people don’t have a call to action, most people don’t have an organized summary with the right bullet points and the right areas they need to have inside their summary.
This covers what you have done in the past. Include reasons you got there or share brief stories that got you to where you are today.
If you focus on those three areas and spend the one or two hours that you need to optimize your profile in 15-minute increments, you can completely revamp your profile.
Neal Schaffer covers additional LinkedIn profile tips and the mistakes you want to avoid in this article.
6. Decide on Content Types
Like most social media platforms, LinkedIn prefers to prioritize content which is published on its platform and doesn’t take users away from the platform. Like most great content, your LinkedIn content should also possess three key characteristics for it to perform well:
- Your audience will love it
- It shows your expertise
- It qualifies your audience
To use native content, you should use all content types, including video, which is being favored at the time of writing.
You can create articles for your personal profile but not on your company page. You can embed rich media like images, videos, SlideShare and other LinkedIn posts. You can also use the articles to link to other content on your website. You can also link to content upgrades and articles on your website or blog.
These can be images, videos, and/or text. With LinkedIn posts, to gain the favor of the platform’s algorithms, avoid putting into your posts links that take people away from the platform. You can, however, add links in the form of a comment. Matthew Pollard, a public speaker, and sales expert, often shares posts like the one below.
This type of content gets a high priority in the news feed. Having said that, not everyone has the time to watch lengthy videos, especially at work, so cater to those who might not listen to audio tracks by including subtitles in the video. Also, include a summary of the video in the description.
Max Pecherskyi, CEO of PromoRepublic, shared this video post to promote a webinar they run.
Use a good mix of content
Your LinkedIn content should have a good mix of topics and themes to maximize engagement. You could, for example, create content around a different theme each month and use different content types each week to address a different aspect of the monthly theme.
Your content can be educational and entertaining, like the post below from Walt Disney’s animation studio.
Topic ideas to explore include:
- How-to content
- Opinion pieces
- Industry news
- Life and business lessons
- Knowledge and skills
- Strategies and tactics
- Soft skills
Use your LinkedIn content to build out your sales funnel
Sharing content on LinkedIn should serve your business goals by increasing LinkedIn connections with your desired audience and helping them take the next step in their journey by moving toward your website or landing pages.
How do you do that?
Include links to upgrades, offers, etc. in your native LinkedIn posts as well as the articles where people have to opt-in to gain access.
Consistency is an essential element of any successful LinkedIn marketing strategy.
Publishing content on a regular basis builds anticipation and expectation in your audience while attracting more of an audience. However, content creation can become overwhelming very quickly. To ensure a smooth flow of content creation, you need to keep your team and/or yourself organized. Everyone needs to know what is expected of them and when.
To maintain consistency, use a content marketing calendar that includes your LinkedIn content marketing strategy. The calendar should include the types of content you will publish and the schedule for publishing it to give it the best chance of capturing your audience’s attention when they are online. Looking through your web analytics and social media analytics can help identify those times.
Tips for managing your content calendar include:
- Assign topics from your content strategy to specific writers.
- Include briefs for each writing project
- Establish deadlines for when content needs to be planned, managed, researched, written, edited, reviewed, approved and published.
8. Create Relevant and Engaging Content
Content is the lynchpin to any successful LinkedIn marketing strategy. It can make or break your LinkedIn marketing strategy. To create relevant and engaging content, you need a thorough understanding of why people spend their time on the platform. You must also understand what they like to read.
Here are a few perspectives to help inform your LinkedIn content strategy:
Alex Pirouz, Managing Director of Linkfluencer, says his top rules for creating engaging content on LinkedIn are:
- Content must be relevant to your audience.
- Use a story format to evoke emotion.
- Content must be actionable so your audience can apply it right away.
- Every post should have a call to action to start a conversation with your audience.
- Content must be valuable, not a sales pitch.
- Use a mixture of personal and educational posts.
- Be real and raw so people get to know you and what you stand for.
Based on an extensive BuzzSumo study, two types of content perform well on LinkedIn and can amplify your LinkedIn marketing strategy:
- How-to articles
- Industry trends
This would indicate that LinkedIn users like to be educated and to stay current with the latest in their industry.
Publishing how-to articles and industry trends will, therefore, help you meet the needs of your audience and give your LinkedIn content marketing strategy a boost.
Another point to note is that LinkedIn users include a lot of strategic decision-makers and top-level executives. To get their attention and engagement you need to create original content that meets their thought leadership needs.
The kinds of thought leadership content you could produce include:
- Industry thought leadership: Your take on the latest developments in your industry.
- Organizational thought leadership: A reflection of the vision and ethos of your company.
- Product thought leadership: Positioning yourself as the best solution for your target customers’ problems.
Your Linked content should not be an exercise in self-promotion or else it could negatively affect your LinkedIn marketing strategy.
Besides producing and publishing original content, you could curate content from others in your industry or associated industries. Using rich media like animated images, videos, bullet points, emojis, relevant hashtags (to increase your content visibility) and headlines will help people digest your content easily and give your LinkedIn marketing strategy the best chance of success.
9. How To Make Use of Rich Media and Articles
Maximizing your audience engagement is a key part of your LinkedIn content strategy, and one of the best ways to grab attention is to use rich media besides text-based articles.
In fact, according to LinkedIn, images lead to a 2x higher comment rate, and LinkedIn videos are 5x more likely to start a conversation. Besides images and videos, you can also upload SlideShare presentations and PDFs to make your content more attractive.
LinkedIn now allows you to upload videos directly onto the platform and prioritizes such content. So, using this feature will work better than sending viewers away from the platform to YouTube or some other location.
- Aim for 1-2 minutes and be sure to capture attention in the first few seconds.
- Many users will watch with the sound off, so consider adding titles and graphics to help them follow along.
- Focus on unique and authentic video, not overly produced material.
- Try LinkedIn Live: On average, live video generates 24x more comments than regular video on LinkedIn.
Most of all, you need to ensure that your content, including rich media and articles, is authentic and reflects your brand appropriately.
Despite being easy to implement, many marketers overlook this LinkedIn marketing strategy. If you want to get ahead of your competitors, you need to leverage this strategy.
10. Promote Your Content
Below are a few key ways to promote your content on LinkedIn:
1. Automate your content management
This means you are scheduling posts, which saves you time and is still a genuine marketing and branding move. Just to be clear this does not involve automatically liking or commenting on others’ posts.
2. Use a targeted approach to sharing in LinkedIn groups.
Neal Schaffer suggests using the group search capability combined with the total number of membership information to guide your strategy creation.
Daniel Alfon suggests sharing in smaller groups with less than 10,000 members which cater to specific niches. That way you are more likely to have your post be visible to members of the group and not join groups that are frequented by spammers.
3. Tag people you have mentioned
When crafting your post, you can tag people that are mentioned or associated with it as Matt Wolfe did on a post below.
You can also tag people in the comments to bring certain content to their attention. It makes sense to do this only if you know them personally and their interests.
11. Use LinkedIn Advertising
In developing a LinkedIn strategy for business, Kylie Chown, a LinkedIn expert, has this advice to share:
Once you’ve worked out what works and can see results that get you to your LinkedIn marketing objectives, you should look at scaling your strategy. This usually entails scaling your reach to specific content that you know helps convert your ideal clients.
When you reach this stage, it might make sense to look at LinkedIn advertising. Advertising on the platform is more expensive than on other social media networks, but if you’ve nailed down your target audience and know what content works, it makes sense to invest in LinkedIn advertising to get in front of your target audience at scale—which will ensure a good return on investment.
Track, measure and tweak your LinkedIn content strategy for business growth
As with all forms of marketing, you need to track, measure and tweak your LinkedIn content strategy. You can use analytics on your LinkedIn company page for some insights, but data from your website analytics will inform the kind of conversions and the types of content that convert well for you.
Learn more about how to create an effective LinkedIn marketing strategy in this awesome infographic from Social Insider.