The ‘Facebook for professionals’, LinkedIn is the oldest of the big social networking sites that’s still going strong – launched in 2003 and still steadily growing today.

In 2020, the B2B platform boasts almost 700 million members in 50 million businesses. This includes more than 11 million users in Australia, where LinkedIn is more popular than Twitter. However, while most companies have a presence on LinkedIn, they don’t do much on the platform outside of networking and recruitment.

While it doesn’t offer the mass reach of Facebook, LinkedIn’s business-minded audience and tools can make it the best platform for B2B marketing. You can build awareness of your brand, grow your reputation and drive more traffic to your website, among other goals.

Try these LinkedIn marketing tips to see how the professional social network can work for your business.

Optimise your profile and pages

Your LinkedIn profile represents your business on the site, so it needs to look professional and up to date. You’ll also want to make sure it shows up in searches when people are looking for a business like yours.

  • Establish your branding by using your company name, logo and a custom URL, rather than the default string of numbers.
  • Add links to your website, other social networks and any content you want to promote.
  • Upload a background photo that represents your brand. Images should be sized 1584 x 396 pixels for the best fit on desktop.
  • Organise your profile sections to prioritise what you want people to see and hide what you don’t.
  • Make sure your profile is set to public so it will be visible and searchable.
  • Create pages to show examples of the different things your company does or appeal to your different audience segments.
  • Use SEO techniques to target the keywords you want your business to rank for.
  • Update your profile and pages regularly with fresh content and recent examples of your work to show you’re still active on the site.

Grow your network

Whether you’ve just signed up to LinkedIn or you want to expand your network, the platform offers plenty of ways to make new connections and build relationships.

  • Import your email contacts and other existing contacts to find their LinkedIn profiles (you can also export LinkedIn connections for use in other campaigns).
  • Check who’s viewed your profile or pages to see who’s interested in your business.
  • Upgrade to a Premium account so you can message users outside of your contacts on the Open Profile network or InMail.
  • Limit access to who can see your connections to hide this information from competitors.

Join and create Groups

LinkedIn Groups are communities centred around industries, locations and other mutual interests. Members of a Group can post and comment on content, view each other’s profiles and send a limited number of private messages to members per month.

Contributing to Groups that are relevant to your business can build your reputation, awareness of your brand and your contact list. For more authority, you can also create your own Group and promote it to your connections.

Share and engage with content

Posting content on LinkedIn lets you share your expertise and company news with your contacts and other users who come across it.

Whether this is a simple status update or insights reposted from your business blog, sharing content has many benefits, including:

  • keeping you in your followers’ feeds
  • promoting your products and services
  • establishing your authority and expertise
  • improving your LinkedIn search ranking

As well as text posts, other types of content perform well on LinkedIn, including:

  • Images – as on other social networks, visual content such as image collages often have more engagement than text.
  • Video – LinkedIn recommends that videos are kept short (ideally 1 to 2 minutes), the exception being live streaming videos that LinkedIn says generate 24 times more comments than standard video.
  • Documents – sharing PDFs, PowerPoint presentations and other files to showcase your business or help fellow businesses to solve a problem.

Your content can be targeted to specific audience segments to make sure it’s relevant to their interests. You can target specific accounts by including @mentions with their username.

As well as posting your own content, it’s also important to take the time to read other people’s contributions that appear in your news feeds. Leaving comments and sharing their content on your own feed will show that you’re engaged and open to networking.

Cross-platform marketing

Since not everyone browses LinkedIn for their content fix, reposting your LinkedIn content to your other social networks – and vice versa – will help you reach more people and improve the returns on your content marketing investment.

  • If your company is on Twitter, you can synchronise LinkedIn status updates across both platforms.
  • Post a link to your latest LinkedIn content on Facebook.
  • Add a LinkedIn Follow button to your website, blog, email signature and other profiles.
  • Link to your LinkedIn pages to improve their search ranking.
  • Promote your business blog in your LinkedIn feed.

Check analytics

Like most platforms, LinkedIn has native analytics tools that show you how well your content is performing. You can check the engagement of individual posts as well as your overall Content Marketing Score, a calculation of various metrics.

Comparing your strengths and weaknesses and seeing what’s trending will give you ideas for how to improve your campaigns and make meaningful connections with more professionals in your industry.

Ads and Sponsored Content

LinkedIn also offers paid advertising options if you want to connect with professionals faster than through an organic campaign. The two approaches are:

  • Sponsored Content – promote your best content to the most receptive audiences using LinkedIn’s precision targeting.
  • Ad campaigns – manage Message Ads, Dynamic Ads and Text Ads through LinkedIn’s Campaign Manager platform.

Setting your budget and campaign goals helps to keep your LinkedIn advertising spend in check, and you can track the success of your sponsored content and ad campaigns in real time to see if the investment is worth it.

Read more social media marketing tips in the Civic Web Media blog.