Making meaningful connections for business success
LinkedIn has become the world’s largest and go-to professional networking platform, with more than 660-million users worldwide, and 7-million users in SA. It’s the platform of choice for Fortune 500 companies, with B2B businesses generating as much as 80% of their leads via the channel. In addition to attracting new talent, the platform should also be considered an essential element of any modern marketing strategy. Here are five best-practice tips to get the most out of the platform.
- Refined and complete business profiles are a must
You only get one chance to make a first impression – particularly on your business LinkedIn profile. Profiles and pages with complete information garner 30% more weekly views, greatly improving ranking on both LinkedIn and Google search results.
A business profile must be complete, engaging and up to date to improve its contact rate and to optimise it for search. Profiles must make use of logos; keywords; a business overview with relevant terms and phrases that describe the business’s mission and purpose; information about the website URL, location and industry type; and a call-to-action button that will allow the business to track visitor analytics on LinkedIn’s admin dashboard.
- Social selling rather than the hard pitch
People dislike being bombarded with sales pitches in person, so why would they feel any different on social media? Businesses should instead look to creating meaningful and relevant connections and engage with insights to build strong relationships.
This is referred to as “social selling”, and LinkedIn Business Solutions estimates that those who take this approach enjoy 45% more sales opportunities per quarter. HubSpot adds that it costs 75% less to generate leads on social media than via any other medium, and sales reps who responded quickly to social media inquiries saw a 9.5% increase in annual revenue. Further, sales reps who use social selling as part of their repertoire are 51% more likely to reach quota than those who don’t.
- Drive engagement through quality content and conversations
More than half of decision-makers use LinkedIn content to vet a business, says Influencer Marketing Hub. This means that businesses must utilise the platform as a content publishing hub to drive social engagement and conversation.
Businesses should aim to post quality content that is clickable, audience-specific and visually appealing, and that piques interest and provides value to other users. Consider the audience that the business is hoping to target. Businesses should not only post their own content, but interact with and share engaging content created by others to build meaningful connections.
- Increase visibility by abiding by the algorithm
With thousands of posts created every second, LinkedIn’s machine-learning algorithm has been engineered to reduce instances of spam or inappropriate content being circulated. It sorts and ranks content as either spam, or low or high quality, all of which determines the content’s reach and audience. Businesses need to optimise their content and ensure that it ranks as high quality by being well-written and grammatically correct, that it doesn’t include too many links, and does not make use of hashtags such as “follow”, “comment” or “like”. Ideally, content should be niche and make use of strong keywords that will encourage engagement.
This also means that businesses need to choose the right time to post. SocialChamp claims that the best times to post are 7am to 8am and 5pm to 6pm, with the most clicks and shares coming in on a Tuesday between 11am and noon.
- Take advantage of paid media
Besides being cost-effective, paid media advertising on LinkedIn leads to higher metrics and offers more than 200 targeting characteristics. It’s fast becoming the go-to means of targeted social media advertising. LinkedIn’s Campaign Manager function allows businesses to set a budget, select goals such as clicks versus impressions, and have control over a campaign’s timeline.
Damigio Esbach is a community manager at Eclipse Communications.
The big take-out:
Businesses should aim to post quality content that is clickable, audience-specific and visually appealing, and that piques interest and provides value to other users.
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