If you want to grow your professional network and generate new leads, there’s no better place to be than LinkedIn.
While Facebook may be the place to take your Donald Trump memes and messy-faced toddler photos, LinkedIn is the online hub of business-related activity: It’s the first place to find out about new job openings, industry news, and your contacts’ latest business accomplishments. And that makes it prime territory for finding an ideal audience for your own thought leadership content.
An infographic from Oktopost suggests that 80 percent of B2B social media leads are from LinkedIn. The vast majority (over 75 percent) of C-level executives are active LinkedIn users, and what’s more, they’re reading and engaging with high-quality content within their niche. There’s no better place to reach a targeted business audience, filled with prospects who want your high-value product or service.
While a blog on your own site is valuable for driving traffic to your business and building your organic keyword rankings, you probably won’t generate the reach you want, unless you already have a killer mailing list. To amplify your reach, try syndicating your content on LinkedIn.
(Disclaimer: LinkedIn is a Eucalypt client, but we’ve been advocates for their platform for many years before starting a business relationship.)
Here are the best practices for using it effectively:
Social media is the best place to build leads, so optimize your network to reach the biggest audience. Grow your network by connecting with people you’ve worked with at past jobs, and those you’ve communicated with via social media who are working in similar industries. When you publish a post, it will be shared instantly with everyone in your network—and when they react to it by liking, commenting, or sharing, it will then be shared with contacts in their own networks as well. You’re likely only a single degree away from your next great lead.
When a news story gains prominence, it’s an ideal time to dissect it from an industry angle. If you’re in PR, talk about how they handled their messaging; if you’re in the auto insurance world, you can give an insider’s perspective on how they’re interpreting existing legislation. For instance, look at the commentary from Bill McGowan, CEO of Clarity Media, who often dissects recent media faux pas from his perspective as a communications expert: for instance, why did Jeb Bush have to beg for applause, spelling doom for his presidential campaign? On LinkedIn, armchair commentary is more than welcome, as long as you can speak from an industry expert’s perspective.
While relevance is key, there’s a difference between bringing your own perspective to an issue and newsjacking for the sake of hopping on a trend. Your content creates value when it’s demonstrating your unique insights, based on who you are and your past experiences in work and life. Katie Martell, CMO of Cintrell, hit virality with her post pulling apart Whole Foods’ decision to create separate Millennial-focused shops, coming at it from the perspective of a marketer and a Millennial.
Chris Bolman, Director of Integrated Marketing at Percolate, Inc., says that “Content marketing is advertising that delivers value to its recipient, not just an impression.” Craft your articles around a specific takeaway, actionable advice, or a call-to-action. Your readers should close the article after reading and think, “I should try this.”
A well-placed photo helps to paint a picture and enhances the experience for your readers. Stock photos work fine, but avoid anything too cliche or corporate that might detract from the feel of being genuine. Some great websites that provide high-quality, non-cliche stock photos include Flickr, New Old Stock, and FancyCrave.
Every article that you post on LinkedIn should start a conversation and initiate engagement with your audience. End your article by asking readers to comment with their experiences and speculations. The dialogue doesn’t have to end when your article does—in fact, it’s just beginning. Here’s your chance to grow your network and share ideas with the great minds in your industry.
When you’re wrapping up a juicy post, give your readers a reason to stay connected with you. Encourage them to sign up for your tips newsletter, or download an ebook. By enabling them to opt in to your own marketing channel, you’ll be able to develop an ongoing relationship with them. They’ll see the value in your content, and, ideally, reach out to develop a business relationship in the timeframe that suits them.
In order to make best use of this powerful publishing platform, building a solid strategy is important. Rely on your content marketing team (either internal or an outside agency) to help you polish your prose and maximize your reach and influence on LinkedIn.
Kathryn Hawkins is principal and chief content strategist of Eucalypt Media. She has worked as a freelance journalist for media publications and managed inbound marketing and content strategy for corporate and nonprofit clients for more than a decade.
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