The Benefits, and Power, of Social Media
The power of social media cannot be overstated. From overthrowing repressive governments to exposing environmental risks, to helping locate people in crisis, social media has the ability to shine a light on the world.
Given social media’s strength, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that it can even help nurture and develop leads in the business-to-business sales process. Eighty percent of leads in the B2B world come from LinkedIn.
Yet, despite the success of social media, and LinkedIn in particular, many businesses and professionals are hesitant to dip their toes in the water. Why? That’s hard to say. But, what we do know is that the more you put into LinkedIn, the more you will get out.
With that in mind, we recommend a few ways to leverage LinkedIn:
Set up a Company Page
Create a company page and populate it with relevant information.
• Claim a unique company-specific URL, instead of the default garbled letter-number combination LinkedIn provides.
• Write a business description. Keep in mind this is a social media platform and not a formal RFP document. Informal or casual language is often appropriate. Keep in mind viewers are not only prospects, but also potential investors, prospective employees, and other business partners.
• Use the company’s logo as the profile picture, and the header photo should align with the brand. It can be a professional shot of your people or work environment to display your culture. Or, it can brand imagery that showcases your brand identity. LinkedIn recently changed the dimensions of these header photos; we recommend reviewing and updating your image if needed.
Content is Still the King
LinkedIn is a thought leadership platform, perfect for content distribution. On average, prospects read 10 pieces of content before making the decision to buy. If you’re writing content (blogs, case studies, whitepapers, articles, etc.), you’re in good shape. If you’re not, you might want to consider it.
• Leverage visual content. Be sure to post images every now and then—you’ll see the difference in views, likes and shares in the analytics from other posts. And, make sure every link you have has an image preview attached to entice viewers.
• Engage employees to build a following. When you’re just getting started on LinkedIn, your employees may have more connections than your company has followers. Their “liking and sharing” of your company posts helps gain traction and attract new followers to the brand.
• Have a personality. Don’t just post a link to an article. Add one to two sentences of commentary in conjunction with whatever news article or piece of content you are posting. The link should speak for itself, but you want to give your quick insights to demonstrate engagement and interest in the subject matter.
Give it a Boost
Nothing in life is free, including social media platforms. Getting a base of followers can be challenging. Advertising, or as LinkedIn calls it, sponsoring, can help your company page, and brand, be more visible, but awareness is just a piece of the pie. There are several types of ads on LinkedIn, including text ads, sidebar ads, and job ads. We often recommend the following for B2B brands:
• Sponsored content forces your posts into news feeds of non-followers. If you want more eyes on a new white paper or a blog entry, spend a few dollars to push it with a sponsorship.
• Lead generation is a new feature on LinkedIn; instead of posting a link and paying for it to be more widely seen, you can post an image with commentary enticing people to download, register or request the content from your post. LinkedIn users can fill out a form right on LinkedIn, eliminating the extra step of sending them out of the platform to your landing page.
Brands can target very precise segments of their desired audiences to reach on LinkedIn. Categories include job title, location, employer, age, gender, and many others.
LinkedIn has countless groups of people based on their mutual interests. Many professional associations also create their own groups on LinkedIn for their members to interact. Brands are encouraged to join and participate in these groups.
As with any communications tool for your businesses, you’ll need to be sure to use LinkedIn wisely. But please, do use it.