LinkedIn has been the business social network of choice for many and its nearly 10 years old, but younger upstarts have such a mass that its time to look at what LinkedIn can offer to social media marketing, especially for b2b marketing.

There is value in personally knowing your connection

When LinkedIn first launched it was not much more than a way to list your work history and connect with business colleagues. It was even important that you had the email address of someone before you could add them – which meant at least you had their business card as people wouldn’t accept requests to connect if they couldn’t remember how they met you.

Over time, some things have loosened up at LinkedIn – but the little space to add your own personal message as well as choosing how you know each is still important to the ‘friend’ process.

Now LinkedIn is becoming a hub for b2b marketing

Fast forward and LinkedIn 2010 is still used for work connections and helping with the job hunt. But there is so much more you can do.

The professional user of LinkedIn understands that their profile is a powerful SEO keyword magnet and will manicure and maintain their profile. Updating your personal LinkedIn profile is very important.

Using social networks for b2b marketing means its just as important to keep your profile updated along side the company profile. Google indexes your personal profile and some good keyword targeting will help. Along with some chances to add inbound links from LinkedIn to your site.

Some changes this year to investigate include:

  • Company Profiles
  • Company Products
  • LinkedIn Groups
  • LinkedIn Answers
  • Embed Slideshare or Google Docs presentations

Company Profiles

Until recently, a company profile was automatically created by LinkedIn. Now things like RSS feeds, blogs and SEO keywords can be added.

Checkout White T-Shirt Digital company profile on LinkedIn.

Company Products

Launched in October 2010, LinkedIn allows companys to add information about its key products

LinkedIn Groups – are good for generating leads

However active participation in my experience does not lead to qualified leads – in fact it’s the reverse, you spend more time qualifying each other after you swapped a few messages. This is because the lead did not come to you – you were the fish that swallowed the bait. Hook, line and sinker.

Even worse, brands create groups with such wicked intent as capturing your details for their leads and sales programmes and watch out for fake personas created by the 3rd party company managing such commercial groups.

LinkedIn Groups anyone can create a group on LinkedIn

But don’t believe that you can start a group and have amazing insights from day 1. It takes time and a clear goals for a marketing campaign to make this work. Just like creating a fan page on other networks, when you create a LinkedIn group, you need to get people to come join the group.

If there is any truth to the social networking / active users statistic, then you can expect only 1 in 10 members to participate in a LinkedIn group. Which means you need a group of 1000 for 100 active users.

LinkedIn Groups are great for seeding

If you have a product announcement, event or anything else interesting then LinkedIn Groups are a great way to post this news. Most members of LinkedIn Groups also receive a weekly or daily digest just like forums and bulletin boards.

If you publish your news to your own blog or website, then you only need to copy n paste the URL of the article and LinkedIn figures out the rest.

LinkedIn Answers is like a Badge you want to wear

If you do have time in your busy work diary then take a look at LinkedIn Answers. You may find some juicy opportunities to talk answer a question and show off your brand or yourself. Lucky people will get awarded a badge which shows on their profile as ‘Best Answer in the Category of xyz’.

LinkedIn Applications

Free way to promote your companies content from Slideshare or Google Docs – this means you can embed that company overview and new product presentation.

Spamming, Fishing, Leads and Crowdsourcing

LinkedIn is best social network for b2b marketing

The best social media strategy for b2b marketing has to include a spending some time each week on LinkedIn –

  • seed your own news and fish for leads
  • share upcoming events
  • publish other important documents
  • reply to comments on groups which might be leads
  • check that the company profile is up to date.

In actual fact, much of this has to be done by an employee of your company. You wouldn’t want a fake personality being your spokesperson. Would you?

Tags: b2b marketing, LinkedIn

Read more from my blog for an introduction and quick tips on developing in Hugo or UCTD.

Meet the author

Photo for Damien Saunders
Damien Saunders
An experienced management consultant and business leader interested in digital transformation, product centred design and scaled agile. If I'm not writing about living with UCTD (an autoimmune disease), I'm probably listening to music, reading a book or learning more about wine.