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by James Perrin on 29th October 2013
If you’re looking for a platform to help facilitate your own content marketing efforts, there’s one that’s been sat under our noses for a long time – LinkedIn. Not only is it great for content promotion, but also research and outreach too. Here’s why.
I have to admit, I’ve never really considered LinkedIn as a complete content marketing solution before, but recently I’ve found myself using it a great deal more. In fact, not many of us actually use LinkedIn for what it was originally set up to do – it now gets 6 times more engagement through content than it does through job searches; it’s the professional’s social network – which is music to any B2B content marketer’s ears.
As such, I’ve found myself using LinkedIn more and more from a content marketing perspective and would like to share some top tips I’ve discovered.
Whatever content you create, it has to have a purpose, a reason, an objective and a goal. There’s no point in plucking something out of thin air, if a topic is trending, or you discover a gap in the discussion, look to create content where possible. To get a flavour of the things people in your sector are discussing, check out relevant individuals and groups.
LinkedIn clearly has many benefits when it comes to outreach. At your fingertips is a huge resource of relevant contacts sharing relevant industry related content; so it makes perfect sense to use it to help facilitate your outreach efforts. However, let’s not throw caution to the wind; before you go spamming every user under the sun, there are a few things to consider.
Remember, outreach is much more about building relationships and offering something to that user – it’s not a one-way benefit. With this in mind, it’s worth considering the following:
Whether you’re sharing content as a company or as an individual, and whether this is to your own newsfeed, to groups or individuals, it’s important that you get the balance right. Cue the 4-1-1 rule.
Popularized by Trippingpoint Labs and Joe Pulizzi, founder of the Content Marketing Institute [See: The 4-1-1 rule of marketing] the 4-1-1 rule was applied to sharing tweets on Twitter:
“For every one self-serving tweet, you should re-tweet one relevant tweet and most importantly share four pieces of relevant content written by others.”
In the same breath, when sharing content on LinkedIn, you really don’t want to be hammering your own content home like a spammer. Instead, be sure to interact and engage with others by also sharing their content.
This is where LinkedIn has real value. You can really concentrate your efforts by ensuring both you and your content is seen by those who you want to see it. Within LinkedIn are a plethora of industry-relevant groups all engaging, sharing tips, ideas and talking about relevant news and content. This is where the action is, and where you need to get involved.
However, just like with the outreach process, don’t act like a bull in a china shop. You wouldn’t rock up to a networking event and start spouting on about your own products and services without a bit of engagement first – well the same applies to online networking too.
The first port of call for any business using LinkedIn is to have their own business page. Not only will this help with your own social media efforts and help to build a community around your brand [See: Is Community Building More Important Than SEO?], but it’ll help from an SEO perspective as well; a well optimised profile page will work well when brand name searches are conducted.
Yet, the biggest benefit will be when it comes to content marketing. It’s a great place to share company news, as well as updates and events, but also B2B content, designed to help increase inbound traffic, and further create lead generation opportunities.
This is daily news tailored to your professional social network, allowing you to discover what fellow professionals in your area are reading, sharing and tweeting. In effect, it’s another way of promoting your content on this platform, and growing your social influence at the same time.
What you’ll notice on LinkedIn Today is that some of the articles are posted from within LinkedIn and others are pulled from a variety of external sites and blogs. What LinkedIn Today does is pull in the most popular articles that have been shared, liked and commented on by fellow members. If your post has been shared by a broad base of members, your article will receive higher preference in the hope of being featured. With this in mind, there are ways to optimise your content to maximise its chances of being featured.
This gives businesses that added exposure – but at a price. Sponsored updates will appear in the newsfeed of the user you wish to target.
In modern consumerism, the balance of power between marketers and consumers has very much shifted. With consumers holding a great deal more power when it comes to making purchasing decisions, this has created a fantastic opportunity for content marketing; especially on LinkedIn.
With a number of stages of decision making, using LinkedIn to narrow down who you specifically want to target, and at what stage of the buying cycle is something that other social networks will look on with envy. However, sponsored updates come at a cost, and whilst some companies may have the budget, others simply don’t.
Whether you’re researching, outreaching, networking or promoting, LinkedIn is clearly a valuable content marketing platform that’s begging to be utilised a great deal more. In my experience it’s best used for B2B content marketing, and to generate those all-important leads. To succeed on this platform it primarily boils down to one thing – engagement. Get involved and your efforts will be rewarded.
I’d love to know how successful you’ve found LinkedIn, whether you use it for content marketing in a different way, and what tips you may have to share? So get involved and add your comments below.
Content Marketing Manager, James Perrin is a regular contributor to the Koozai blog. Well experienced in sales and marketing, James also has a passion for journalism and media, especially new media. From the latest industry related new stories to copywriting advice, James will provide you with plenty of digital marketing information.