How to Benefit from the Steady Growth of LinkedIn

Lance Concannon Lance Concannon, Marketing Director, Europe

Many businesses focus their social media efforts on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. While these are all great platforms for reaching your audience, you should also keep LinkedIn in mind, especially if you’re involved in B2B marketing. eMarketer recently projected that U.S. monthly users will top 60 million by 2020 and that growth will continue through 2023. If we consider worldwide users, of course, the number is much bigger.

Why LinkedIn Can’t be Overlooked
Compared to the other major social media sites, LinkedIn gets less attention. The reason for this is, ironically, what makes LinkedIn so important for businesses. Because it was designed as a B2B platform, LinkedIn isn’t seen as glamorous as, say, Instagram and Facebook. We’re always hearing about the latest tweets and Instagram photos of popular actors, musicians and athletes. Topics such as celebrities, sports and human-interest stories that the media love so much are hardly discussed on LinkedIn.

Keep in mind that most high-profile social media content has little to do with the realities of business. This doesn’t mean you can’t benefit from advertising on Facebook or tweeting about your business. However, your audience is often diverted by the socializing and pop-culture focus of these sites. On LinkedIn, the majority of users are there to learn more about their industry and connect with their peers. This platform has a unique space in the social media landscape, which is why it’s been growing slowly but steadily over the last few years. Now let’s look at some of the most effective ways to leverage LinkedIn that are working today.

Grow Your Connections
As with most marketing strategies, your efforts on LinkedIn will increase over time. One way to see steady benefits is to consistently connect with more users.

  • Send out invites to contacts suggested by LinkedIn.
  • Join and participate in groups. This is an organic way to connect with more users. You’re allowed to send contact requests to people in your groups, even if they are 3rd level connections or further removed from you.
  • Place your LinkedIn info on your website, in your emails, on your business cards and in any communications you send out. Starting your own LinkedIn group can be an effective strategy for building your brand and attracting more contacts.

Engage With Your Contacts
Since LinkedIn has a different purpose from Facebook or Instagram, you need to plan your content strategy accordingly.

  • Understand that on LinkedIn, text beats images. While Facebook and Instagram have become largely image-centered, research indicates that text-only posts do best on LinkedIn. You can still post images and videos to support your text but don’t try to entertain your audience with cute or funny photos and memes.
  • Promote your LinkedIn posts and articles. While you’ll get some organic reach on LinkedIn itself, you still need to promote your content for more exposure. Cross-promote on other platforms, especially Twitter. You can also invest in sponsored content on LinkedIn.
  • Warm-up your contacts before sending messages. Many LinkedIn users try to initiate contact by sending InMails with pitches. While this can work, it’s often seen as too aggressive or even spammy. It’s better to get to know people by engaging with their posts and articles. Spend a few minutes every day reacting to posts, especially those written by people with whom you’d like to engage. Then if you want to reach out to them with a message, you’ll be continuing an existing conversation rather than sending out an unsolicited offer.

Post Native Videos
One of the best ways to connect with LinkedIn members is to post your own videos. However, to really stand out and get maximum reach, you should post LinkedIn native videos rather than embedding videos from YouTube or elsewhere. Just as Facebook gives preference to native videos over others, so does LinkedIn. While LinkedIn introduced native videos in 2017, they are still not widely used by members, giving you a chance to really stand out when you create your own videos. LinkedIn videos should be short, under 10 minutes. In fact, the platform doesn’t support longer videos at this time. Aside from posting native videos, you might consider investing in video ads.

Consider Upgrading to a Premium LinkedIn Account
If you want to stick to a free LinkedIn account, you can still reap many benefits. However, if you want to step up your marketing, you can get even more out of a premium account. First of all, choose the plan that works best for you. There are four premium plans.

  • Premium Career: $29.99/month. Although designed mainly for job-seekers, business owners and social media managers can also benefit from some of the features. You can send five Inmail messages per month and see how many users have viewed your profile.
  • Premium Business: $59.99/month. Send 15 InMail messages per month, see who’s viewed your profile and get access to business insights.
  • Sales Navigator: $79.99/month. Send 20 InMail messages per month. Another powerful feature of this level is that LinkedIn sends you lead recommendations.
  • Hiring/Recruiter Lite: $119.95/month. Designed for hiring managers, this plan lets you see unlimited profiles and send 30 InMail messages per month.

Having a premium account doesn’t necessarily mean rethinking your entire strategy. These plans make it possible to get more out of everything you’re already doing. Premium memberships give you access to more comprehensive searches and let you send more InMail messages. As noted earlier, however, it’s often best to connect with prospects on their timelines or in a group before sending messages. You’ll get more out of a premium account if your profile is optimized and you have a LinkedIn content strategy in place. That way, when you contact people, they’ll be able to easily find out more about you when they check out your profile and content.

Make LinkedIn an Integral Part of Your B2B Marketing
LinkedIn is poised to play a major role in B2B marketing in the coming years. If you haven’t been doing much on this site lately, this is a good time to get more active. If you’re trying to reach people who are serious about business, there’s no better place to find them than LinkedIn.