Small business? Here’s your free out-of-the-box Linkedin strategy
Remember when LinkedIn was just a space for boring company updates and creating an online CV?
Well, times have changed. Now Linkedin is where you tell your company’s story, build your network, and bring in leads.
The main draw? It’s cheap, targeted & actually pretty easy.
So here’s our guide to making the most of the 260 million + active users & supercharging your social media marketing efforts. We’d recommend that you favourite this page now so you can come back to it later.
The year is 2019 and Linkedin is booming, yes, booming. The introduction of video content last year has brought a groundswell of activity, while their article platform allows you to pin articles to your personal page.
But when it comes to using Linkedin as a brand, it’s not all black and white. There are a few tips and tricks that will help you improve brand awareness, generate leads and build loads of engagement (that’s likes and shares to me and you).
So here we go, how to use LinkedIn as a business...
1. Be Personal
Do you have a Company Page? Your first step is to set one up right now.
If you’ve already got a Company Page, wonderful. But don’t expect too much engagement when you post company news and announcements .
Linkedin is all about the people that build the brands, so it’s more effective to share content from the LinkedIn page of your CEO or other members of the team.
Now let’s make a quick diversion from the Company page, while you make sure your headshot isn’t one that you’ve cropped from a festival, and that your profile is 100% complete, according to Linkedin.
2. Post more, get more
With all posts you should aim to reveal something about who you are, what drives you, and why what you have to say matters to your customers & prospects. It’s therefore important to be authentic, personable, & ask questions that involve the community.
Here’s an example of Alan, a friend of ours, doing this right for his own company. You’ll notice:
- Relevant people are tagged and thanked
- Relevant companies are tagged
- A question is asked
- A story is told
- The reader will follow the link to the website
- Engaging photograph captures the eye
- Spaced-out paragraphs
- Informal, approachable tone of voice
And although the page has only been liked by 11 people, Alan let me know that almost 1,000 people saw this post in their Linkedin feed via other people’s activity.
For example, they’ll see in the feed that ‘Malcolm liked this post’. (More on how to get the best from analytics later.)
In the meantime, try to post as much as you can, while following these golden rules:
- Only post when you have something worthwhile to say
- Only post things that people outside of your company will care about
- Only post something from each account once. Don’t dilute those likes!
3. Build an Engagement Group
Here’s a second example of where a post has gone well, after being posted from a company page.
“But I thought you said posts from a company page will get relatively little engagement?”
This is a little different. In this scenario, Alan has reached out to his contacts in a Whatsapp Group & asked them to ‘like’ the content if they did in fact like it.
This dedicated Whatsapp Group gives a direct channel that drives engaged traffic to the post behind the scenes, so you don’t have to depend on Linkedin’s algorithm completely.
Those likes, particularly early on in the post’s lifetime, give an engagement boost which tells Linkedin to show more people the post in their newsfeed.
Again, this simple step is the difference between the post receiving fewer than 100 views on the newsfeed & 1,000+.
You’ll also notice that Alan’s added hashtags to drive people who aren’t connections but do follow those specific hashtags to the post.
4. Don’t use LinkedIn Pulse (and other content no no-s)
LinkedIn Pulse is LinkedIn’s very own content publishing platform. In other words, you can blog from within Linkedin using their Pulse publisher tools.
This used to be pretty good, and Pulse articles used to feature regularly in the newsfeed, but Linkedin’s algorithm seems to put far less weight on this content now.
Now the best format to share content on Linkedin is a straight-up post.
So, from the home screen, don’t forget to click ‘Start a post’ rather than ‘Write an article’.
Don’t choose to add an image, add a video, or add a document via the icons either, because this tends to drive less engagement.
Instead, start the post, then add an image, video, or link to any other content from within the post.
This way the ‘teaser blurb’ that introduces the video in the post, for example, is the thing that catches the reader’s attention first, before they then go on to watch the video itself.
Contradictory Note: Although I’ve rubbished Linkedin Pulse, it is a good way to showcase really great content, because it’s automatically pinned to your personal profile, like below.
5. Get involved with ONE Linkedin Group
Just like on Facebook, Linkedin Groups are experiencing a big boost in popularity. Just like on Facebook, there are far too many for you to spend all your time across.
That’s why I would recommend searching for the most active group that’s relevant to what you do & commit.
Groups certainly aren’t a good place to promote your company, however, some might let you share something really useful with a brand or a link to your website.
And by really useful, I don’t mean a blog post with some tips, or even a helpful strategy guide like this, I mean something that you won’t be able to get anywhere else without paying for it.
- A calculator to help predict retail customer churn
- An engagement survey to help understand how your staff are doing
- A directory of all companies in your space, what they do, and how much their product costs
LinkedIn groups are filled with enthusiastic professionals looking to debate and discuss industry specific news and topics.
So, really the best thing you can do is listen and learn. Answer questions, offer support, and ask some questions of your own.
You’ll soon see who in the group would be most relevant to work with, and then you can send them a quick message outside of the group.
I searched for groups with the term ‘social media’ in Linkedin, and 12,782 results popped up.
6. Ride the Algorithm Rodeo
I can tell this is your first rodeo. You’ve only got one like, and it’s from your co-founder.
Before you start posting, let’s learn a bit more about how Linkedin’s mechanical bull works.
So without further ado, here’s a simple-but-not-at-first-glance visualisation of the algorithm Linkedin’s engineers put together. The LinkedIn algorithm (Source: LinkedIn Engineers Blog)
All you need to know at this stage is that there are two hurdles.
- As soon as you post, Linkedin will decide whether your post is spam, low quality, or ‘clear’ (clear is best, of course).
This is based on how the post is presented. So, if you’ve shared a post without any explanation, for example, Linkedin will see that you’ve shared as an afterthought & aren’t adding much value.
- Based on how people respond to the post, the post continues to display near the top of the feed, or is demoted to nowhere.
You’re aiming for likes & other reactions, but especially comments. Comments show that you’ve sparked conversation, which is where Linkedin’s value shows best.
7. Bring order to your analytics
LinkedIn’s analytics are easy to access and easy to interpret. Just hit ‘Show Stats’ at the bottom of any Linkedin post and this box will reveal itself…
- Impressions means the number of times the post has appeared in peoples’ news feed
- Reactions includes likes, applause, and thinking face emoji
- Engagement rate is calculated as the number of total reactions divided by the number of impressions, multiplied by 100.
Linkedin also has company page-level metrics on visitors, followers, and updates, but these are at a macro level, and when you export to csv, they don’t tell you much. If your Linkedin Analytics are Lassie barking at you that someone’s fallen down the well, Shield Analytics is like giving Lassie a human voicebox.
You’re able to look at the performance of each post, rather than overall performance by date, which helps you know what’s working and what isn’t working.
(This is a completely non-affiliated plug, but Shield Analytics - if you’re listening - you can pay us if you want!)
8. Get the wallet out
Once you’ve got a feel for how to post, have seen which posts are doing best with analytics, you might want to put some spend behind them.
These are the main types of ad:
- Sponsored Content (like a post, but with bigger reach)
- Sponsored InMail (ads within Linkedin messenger)
- Text Ads (ads below the search bar)
Because LinkedIn holds so much information about people and their specific job roles, interests, and professional history, it’s incredibly easy to create LinkedIn ads that’ll go directly to your target market.
You can be 100% certain that your ads will be hitting the relevant audience every time. Why pass that up?
Use ContentCal to plan & auto-publish your Linkedin content.
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