LinkedIn is the world’s largest professional network with over 900 million members in more than 200 countries and territories. It’s not only a platform for job seekers, but it’s also a powerful tool for businesses to connect with potential clients, partners, and employees. LinkedIn offers a range of features and tools that make it a valuable resource for B2Bs, but many businesses struggle to fully leverage the platform’s potential.
When it comes to B2B marketing, it’s all about expertise.
You want to demonstrate to your target audience that your company is the leader in your field, the go-to resource for industry wisdom and experience—one could even say, the expert. And sure, you can accomplish this through strategic marketing tactics of your company itself, but positioning your business as an expert is a lot easier (and wiser) when you can point to the expertise of each of your employees as individuals, as well.
What it boils down to is this: Your company’s employees each need personal brands.
The combined strength of each of their brands will augment your company’s identity and cement your position as an industry leader much more quickly than simply marketing the company alone. The key is to let the company brand flavor each individual’s personal brand, so they integrate harmoniously.
Luckily, it doesn’t have to be complicated to create a harmonious brand. In fact, you and your team probably already have the beginnings of one in place—try looking at your LinkedIn profiles.
But to create personal brands and market your B2B business, you’ll need to do more than just post your resumes there. Here is Zen Media’s complete LinkedIn marketing guide to make the most of your profile and show off your industry expertise.
B2B LinkedIn Startup Guide
Setting Up Your LinkedIn Profile
First things first, every team member should have the basics of their resume on their LinkedIn profile—work history, education, skills, etc., but that’s only the beginning. LinkedIn offers many different ways for individuals to set themselves apart from the crowd.
Your LinkedIn profile is the first impression potential clients, partners, and employees will have of you and your business. Setting up a strong profile is essential to building credibility and establishing a professional presence on the platform. Here are some key steps to take when setting up your LinkedIn profile:
Related Reading: 7 Ways to Make Your LinkedIn Profile Stand Out
1. Choose the right profile picture.
The standard protocol is to go with a professional headshot. That’s usually the right choice if it fits your company culture and showcases the image you want to convey. But what if your company culture is more laid back, fun, or even wacky? In that case, a bunch of employees with professional headshots can be very misleading. Try more casual snapshots or professional photos with team members laughing.
The one non-negotiable rule? Make sure the photo focuses on their face. A shot of someone dancing may be fun, but it won’t show their face clearly enough to know who they are. Looking at someone’s face creates a kind of connection that a full-body shot from further away just can’t.
2. Write a compelling headline.
Sometimes, that short, concise description of your current position under your name on LinkedIn is all a person will see—it’s important to get it right. What is the best title for each member of your team? Are you all partners? Evangelists? Technicians? Experts? Specialists? Connoisseurs? What fits your brand best while still creating a unique identity for each individual?
You’ll want to consider LinkedIn’s search engine here, as well. In our industry, for example, if someone is searching for an expert in “B2B content marketing,” you don’t want your writers to use the phrase “content writing” in their title. No one will find them, meaning no one will find your company.
3. Include a summary that showcases your best qualities.
You know, the summary at the top of your resume that usually holds one or two cheesy sentences about how you are looking to put your skills to good use in a company that will allow you to grow, yada, yada, yada? Yeah, definitely not that summary.
In proper B2B LinkedIn fashion, your summary should be a rich, detailed description of your personal brand. Who are you? What defines you? What experience and expertise do you have?
What are your passions? What makes you unique? How do you contribute to the company? Why should people trust you?
Consider the search engine again, and include phrases and terms your target audience will search for.
It can be several paragraphs long, but here’s the key: make it readable. Make it interesting! No one will read dry summaries of a person’s work history or, even worse, lists of skills. Tell your personal story, and get people excited to work with you. If each team member has an inviting summary at the top of their profile, people will actually read them, which means they’ll be drawn into their personal brands and, ultimately, into your company brand.
4. Create and share engaging content:
Once your profile itself is beefed up, you can start focusing on the best part of the LinkedIn marketing guide: building relationships. On your LI homepage, share posts from your company blog with your connections or the general public and share links to other content that meshes with your brand. If you engage with your connections’ posts by commenting or liking them, they will likely return the favor.
Even better than sharing content is publishing your own content directly on LinkedIn. LI now offers users a blogging platform on their homepages where they can create content to share with the wider LI community. Write blog posts specifically targeting your company’s audience, and ensure they all reflect you and your company’s brand. Share your expertise in each one in your unique voice. If every team member regularly shares their own expertise, can you imagine the power the posts will have?
Related Reading: LinkedIn Is All In On Newsletters—Are You?
LinkedIn Company Pages
Make sure that each and every one of your team members has your company name on their profiles correctly so that it links them to your company’s LinkedIn page. That way, they’ll all show up on that page, and anyone looking to work with any one of them will go straight to your company page—win-win. On that page, you should again focus on your company’s brand, conveying it through the cover image, the company description, and even the posts you share. But don’t stop at sharing your own company’s content—promote your team member’s LinkedIn posts, as well, to further the association.
Creating a LinkedIn Company Page
A LinkedIn Company Page is a must-have for B2B businesses. It’s an essential tool for showcasing your brand, building a following, and engaging with your audience. Here are the steps to take when creating a Company Page:
- Click the “Work” icon in the top right-hand corner of the LinkedIn homepage and select “Create a Company Page.”
- Choose the type of page that best suits your business: Small business or medium to large enterprise.
- Add your company details: Name, URL, description, and industry.
- Add a logo and cover image: Choose images that represent your brand and are visually appealing.
- Add your company specialties: These are keywords that describe your business and will help your page appear in LinkedIn search results.
Optimizing your Company Page for search
Optimizing your Company Page for search is critical to increasing visibility and attracting the right audience. Here are some tips to help you optimize your Company Page:
- Use relevant keywords: Use keywords in your company description, specialties, and updates to help your page appear in LinkedIn search results.
- Engage with your audience: Engage with your followers by responding to comments, liking and sharing their content, and sharing your own content.
- Add a LinkedIn Follow button: Add a LinkedIn Follow button to your website, email signature, and other marketing materials to encourage people to follow your page.
Setting up a LinkedIn Showcase Page
LinkedIn Showcase Pages can be extremely valuable for B2B companies. They allow businesses to highlight specific products, services, or initiatives to a targeted audience and can help build brand awareness and drive engagement.
Showcase Pages are essentially extensions of a company’s main LinkedIn page, but they focus on specific areas of the business. This allows businesses to tailor their content and messaging to a specific audience and create a more personalized experience for their followers.
For B2Bs, Showcase Pages can be particularly useful for highlighting niche products or services that may not be a core part of the company’s overall brand message. They can also be used to promote thought leadership content, industry-specific events or webinars, and other initiatives that may interest a targeted audience.
One of the key benefits of Showcase Pages is that they allow businesses to track engagement and measure the effectiveness of their content. This can help companies understand what types of content and messaging resonates with their target audience, and make adjustments accordingly.
Here are the steps to take to set up a Showcase Page:
- Go to your Company Page’s Super admin view and click “Admin Tools.”
- Click “Create a Showcase Page.”
- Choose a name for your Showcase Page.
- Add a description that summarizes your product or service.
- Add a logo and cover image that are visually appealing and representative of your brand.
- Promote your Showcase Page by sharing updates and adding a Follow button to your website and marketing materials.
Now comes the fun part! This is where the B2B LinkedIn marketing strategy becomes truly interactive. In order for your team members to start reaching out to the LinkedIn community to create relationships for the benefit of your company, they’ll all need to start participating in the conversations happening in LinkedIn Groups. Here’s how:
1. Find the right groups to join.
Search for Groups related to your industry, but not ones that will be full of nothing but fellow industry businesspeople. You’ll want to find a place where you can share your expertise with potential clients, not competitors.
You and your team members should look for Groups with two criteria: a large number of members and a good amount of discussion. Some Groups can seem promising but end up being full of nothing but spam or stay dormant without any discussions for weeks at a time. Others may be very active but only have very few members. Be strategic in your choices, and be careful not to spread yourself too thin. Choose two to three Groups to join, tops. Otherwise, you’ll be overwhelmed.
2. Join in the right conversations.
When you and your team members first join a Group, don’t start asking questions and initiating discussions right out the gate. Instead, get a feel for the group’s dynamics first. Start slowly, so it doesn’t look like you joined the Group just to shout your own message from the hilltops. Read through several ongoing discussions, and like or comment on them wherever you feel you can contribute something valuable.
3. Start the right conversations.
Once you’ve taken the Group’s pulse, you can strategically begin your own discussions. Try to ensure they never sound salesy—this is not the place to pitch your company’s products or services. Instead, you and your team members should share your expertise freely and ask authentic questions to start thoughtful discussions.
Starting genuine conversations will get your name and picture in front of a large group of people, strengthening your personal brand and, thereby, your company’s brand. Whenever someone in that Group decides they need whatever it is you sell, they’ll think back to that helpful expert who explained something in the LinkedIn group. They’ll remember how helpful and friendly you were—not pushy or salesy at all––and they’ll look up the company you’re with to do business.
By strengthening your profiles, sharing the right content, syncing up with the company page, and participating in Groups, you and your team members can develop strong, unique personal brands that contribute positively to your company’s brand. And when your B2B company is known for having a slew of helpful, friendly experts on its staff, you’ll already be on the right track to being known as the industry leader—the company to do business with if you want the very best. That’s how B2B LinkedIn marketing works.
Related Reading: The Critical Brand Statistic No One’s Paying Attention To
Figuring Out Who to Follow
Once you have set up your LinkedIn profile and company page and joined some groups, it’s time to start building your network. But with millions of users on the platform, it can be challenging to know where to start.
Identifying Potential Customers and Business Partners
One of the most significant advantages of LinkedIn for B2Bs is the ability to identify and connect with potential customers and business partners. One way to do this is to search for companies in your industry or related fields. Follow the pages of these companies and engage with their content. This will not only help you stay up-to-date on industry news and trends but can also help you establish relationships with these businesses.
Another way to identify potential customers is to search for people with job titles that are relevant to your industry or those who work for companies in your target market. When you find someone, review their profile and check to see if they post content related to your business. If they do, follow them, and engage with their posts. This can help you get on their radar and establish a relationship.
Searching for Relevant Industry Leaders and Influencers
Another way to build your network on LinkedIn is to follow industry leaders and influencers. These individuals have a significant presence on the platform and can help you stay informed on the latest trends and best practices in your industry. To find these individuals, search for keywords related to your industry or job function. For example, if you are in the marketing industry, search for terms like “marketing expert” or “marketing influencer.”
When you find a person who is relevant, review their profile and check to see if they post content related to your industry. If they do, follow them and engage with their posts. You can also share their content with your network, which can help you establish a relationship and position yourself as an industry expert.
By following these tips, you can build a strong network on LinkedIn that includes potential customers, business partners, and industry leaders.
Creating a Posting Strategy
Posting on LinkedIn can be an effective way to increase brand awareness, generate leads, and establish yourself as a thought leader in your industry. But to get the most out of your efforts, you need a well-defined posting strategy.
Determining the Optimal Posting Cadence
One of the first things you should consider when creating your posting strategy is how often to post. Posting too frequently can overwhelm your audience, while posting too infrequently can cause you to be forgotten. The optimal posting cadence varies depending on your industry, your target audience, and your resources. A good starting point is to post once or twice a week, and then monitor engagement to determine if you need to adjust the frequency.
Hashtag Use and Tagging Best Practices
Hashtags and tagging can help increase the visibility of your posts on LinkedIn. When using hashtags, make sure they are relevant to the content of your post and the interests of your target audience. Avoid using too many hashtags. This can make your post look spammy.
When tagging people or companies in your posts, make sure that they are relevant to the content of the post. Tagging people or companies that are not related to your content can come across as spammy and may damage your reputation. When you tag people or companies, you can increase the visibility of your post in their network, which can help increase engagement.
Choosing the Best Times to Post for Your Audience
The time of day that you post on LinkedIn can have a significant impact on the visibility and engagement of your content. To determine the best times to post for your audience, consider their time zone, job function, and work schedule. For example, if you are targeting executives, it may be best to post before or after typical work hours. If you are targeting a global audience, you may need to adjust your posting schedule to accommodate different time zones.
You can also use LinkedIn’s analytics tool to determine when your audience is most active on the platform. By analyzing your post engagement and reach, you can determine which times and days are the most effective for your posting strategy.
Related Reading: The Ultimate Guide to Content Marketing for B2B
Community engagement is incredibly valuable for B2Bs on LinkedIn. It can help businesses build strong relationships with their followers, establish themselves as thought leaders in their industry, and drive engagement and growth.
Joining and Participating in LinkedIn Community Groups
LinkedIn Community Groups are a great way to connect with like-minded individuals and share insights and knowledge within your industry. By joining and participating in these groups, you can establish yourself as a thought leader and build relationships with potential customers and partners. When joining a group, make sure it is relevant to your industry, and participate in discussions by sharing insights and asking questions.
Responding to Comments and Liking Content
Engaging with your LinkedIn community includes responding to comments on your posts and liking content from other thought leaders in your industry. When someone comments on your post, take the time to respond thoughtfully and thank them for their engagement. This will show that you value their opinion and can help establish relationships with potential customers or partners. Similarly, liking and sharing content from other thought leaders in your industry can help increase your visibility and show your support for the industry.
Using Social Listening to Join Conversations
Social listening involves monitoring social media platforms for mentions of your brand, industry, or competitors. By listening to what people are saying, you can gain insights into industry trends and join conversations. Social listening can also help you identify potential customers and partners and engage with them in a meaningful way.
Staff Involvement and Engagement
Encouraging your employees to engage on LinkedIn can help increase your company’s visibility and establish your brand as a thought leader in your industry. Here are some ways to encourage employee involvement and engagement.
Leveraging Employee Profiles to Build Company Credibility
Your employees’ LinkedIn profiles are a valuable asset for building your company’s credibility. Encourage your employees to complete their profiles, including their job descriptions, skills, and experience. This will not only help establish their individual credibility, but it will also reflect positively on your company.
Encouraging Employee Involvement in LinkedIn
Encourage your employees to engage on LinkedIn by sharing your company’s content and thought leadership, participating in industry discussions, and connecting with potential customers and partners. You can also provide training or resources to help your employees build their personal brands and establish themselves as thought leaders in their respective areas of expertise. By doing so, your company will be seen as a leader in the industry, and your employees will feel more engaged and invested in the company’s success.
Related Reading: The Ultimate Guide to Community Management for Marketers
Leverage LinkedIn Features for B2Bs
LinkedIn offers a range of features that B2Bs can leverage to build their brand, engage with their target audience, and drive business results.
Influencer marketing is becoming an increasingly popular strategy for B2Bs on LinkedIn. Influencers can help build brand awareness and credibility with their established audiences. To make the most out of your influencer marketing efforts, identify and partner with influencers who align with your brand’s values and target audience.
Start by identifying potential influencers in your industry. Look for individuals who have a strong following on LinkedIn and regularly post content related to your industry. When evaluating potential influencers, consider factors such as their engagement rates and the relevance of their content to your brand.
Once you’ve identified potential influencers, it’s important to develop a strategy for partnering with them. This might include offering them exclusive content or early access to your products or services. You may also want to consider offering them a commission or other incentive for promoting your brand to their audience.
It’s also important to ensure that your influencer partnerships are transparent and comply with LinkedIn’s advertising policies. Make sure that any sponsored content is clearly labeled as such, and avoid partnering with influencers who have a history of promoting misleading or inappropriate content.
By partnering with the right influencers and developing a thoughtful strategy, you can leverage the power of influencer marketing to build brand awareness and credibility on LinkedIn.
Related Reading: B2B Influencer Marketing: The Ultimate Guide
Paid advertising on LinkedIn is a powerful way for B2Bs to reach their target audience and drive engagement. LinkedIn offers a range of ad formats, including sponsored content, sponsored InMail, and display ads, all of which can be targeted based on factors such as job title, industry, and company size.
To get started with LinkedIn Ads, begin by setting up a company page and creating a LinkedIn Ad account. From there, you can begin creating ads and selecting targeting criteria that align with your target audience.
When creating your ads, it’s important to consider your overall marketing goals and tailor your messaging and creative assets accordingly. A/B testing can be a powerful tool for optimizing your ads and improving their performance over time.
LinkedIn also offers a range of measurement and reporting tools to help you evaluate the success of your ads. Consider tracking metrics such as click-through rates, conversion rates, and cost per click, and use this information to refine your targeting and creative over time.
Finally, it’s important to consider the cost of LinkedIn Ads when evaluating their potential ROI. While LinkedIn Ads can be more expensive than other social media advertising platforms, they also tend to offer a higher level of targeting and a more engaged audience.
By taking the time to set up and optimize your LinkedIn Ads, you can leverage this powerful advertising platform to reach your target audience and drive engagement with your brand.
Related Reading: How Paid Advertising Can Help Your B2B Brand
Establishing thought leadership on LinkedIn can be a powerful way to build your brand, establish your expertise, and drive engagement with your target audience. To get started, begin by identifying your unique areas of expertise and developing a content strategy that aligns with those areas.
When creating content for LinkedIn, focus on providing value to your audience. This might include sharing insights and best practices, offering unique perspectives on industry trends, or providing educational resources that help your audience better understand your products and services.
In addition to creating original content, consider also curating content from other sources that align with your areas of expertise. This can help position you as a trusted source of information in your industry and drive engagement with your brand.
To maximize the impact of your thought leadership efforts, be sure to engage with your audience by responding to comments and messages, and actively participating in relevant LinkedIn groups and discussions. And consider leveraging the thought leadership of your key executives and other team members. Encouraging them to share their own insights and perspectives on LinkedIn can help build credibility and trust with your audience, while also helping to expand the reach of your brand.
By establishing thought leadership on LinkedIn, you can build your brand, engage your audience, and position your company as a trusted authority in your industry. By creating and sharing valuable content that aligns with your unique areas of expertise, you can drive engagement and establish a strong presence on the platform.
Related Reading: The Ultimate Guide to Thought Leadership
Going Live, Hosting Webinars, and Using InMail
By leveraging these key features of LinkedIn, B2Bs can build their brand, engage with their target audience, and drive business results. Whether through going live and hosting webinars, using LinkedIn Articles and Newsletters, or maximizing the benefits of LinkedIn InMail, there is a range of strategies that can help you get the most out of this powerful platform.
Going live and hosting webinars on LinkedIn can be a highly effective way to connect with your target audience, share insights and expertise, and build brand awareness. To get started, consider topics that may interest your target audience, and develop a plan for promoting your upcoming session through your LinkedIn Company Page, relevant LinkedIn Groups, and other social media channels.
Another way to share your expertise on LinkedIn is through the use of LinkedIn Articles and Newsletters. These features allow you to publish longer-form content that can be highly valuable to your audience, positioning you as a thought leader in your industry. When creating articles or newsletters, focus on topics that are relevant to your target audience, and provide insights that are not readily available elsewhere.
Lastly, LinkedIn InMail can be a highly effective way to connect with potential customers, business partners, and other relevant contacts on the platform. To make the most of this feature, be sure to personalize your messages, keeping in mind the interests and needs of the recipient.
Like all marketing content, consider A/B testing different messaging and subject line strategies to identify what works best for your target audience.
Measuring Success on LinkedIn
After implementing a comprehensive LinkedIn strategy, it’s important to track your progress and measure success. To do this, you need to establish specific goals for your business and then track relevant metrics to gauge the effectiveness of your efforts.
Setting LinkedIn goals for B2Bs
Your goals should align with your overall marketing and business objectives. Examples of LinkedIn goals for B2Bs include increasing website traffic, generating more leads, building brand awareness, and establishing thought leadership.
Metrics to track on LinkedIn
To measure the success of your LinkedIn strategy, track relevant metrics. Here are the basics:
Engagement: This includes likes, comments, shares, and click-through rates on your posts and company page.
Follower growth: Tracking the growth of your LinkedIn following will give you an idea of how well you are reaching your target audience and expanding your brand awareness.
Lead generation: Monitor how many leads you generate through LinkedIn campaigns and other activities.
Website traffic: Use LinkedIn Analytics to track how much traffic you are driving to your website from LinkedIn.
Thought leadership: Measure your success in establishing thought leadership by monitoring metrics such as the number of followers on your personal and company pages, the number of shares and comments on your posts, and the number of speaking engagements or other opportunities you receive as a result of your LinkedIn presence.
How to measure success on LinkedIn
Once you have established your goals and identified the relevant metrics to track, you can use LinkedIn Analytics to measure success. LinkedIn Analytics offers a variety of tools and features to help you track and analyze your LinkedIn activity. You can access LinkedIn Analytics by visiting your company page and clicking on the Analytics tab.
In addition to using LinkedIn Analytics, it’s important to regularly review and analyze your LinkedIn activity to identify areas for improvement. Analyze which types of content perform best, which times of day generate the most engagement, and which LinkedIn groups or influencers are most effective for your business.
By setting goals, tracking metrics, and regularly analyzing your LinkedIn activity, you can effectively measure the success of your B2B business on LinkedIn and make data-driven decisions to improve your strategy.
If you’d like help managing your B2B company’s LinkedIn presence or want more insights into our B2B LinkedIn marketing guide, contact us today.