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.
- Start to follow relevant followers and groups
- Look at the types of content that get the most shares and comments
- If it resonates, look to add value, follow-up or find a different angle
- Don’t be shy, get involved with the discussion
- Tell your followers or those within a group about your content intentions (this is part of the outreach/promotion process)
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:
- Use LinkedIn to discover the right people to outreach to
- Understand the type of content they are interested in and share
- Like, comment and share content they have created or shared
- Find an angle, opposing view, or add additional information to something they have shared or commented on
- Start to share relevant content and ask for their thoughts
- Ask for writing opportunities on a relevant point of discussion
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.
- Share on your profile, to groups and to individuals (sparingly)
- Like and comment on others’ shares
- For every self-serving share, be sure to share four pieces of relevant content from others
- Look to increase your number of followers and build your own community
- Look for key influencers and build relationships through engagement
- Share content individually to key influencers
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.
- Add yourself to as many relevant groups as possible
- Interact and engage with fellow users within a group; so be sure to like and comment on updates as often as you can
- Consider the 4-1-1 rule, share others’ content more often that you promote your own stuff
- Be sure to add a description and call-to-action with any update – to help drive engagement
- Updates with images and videos receive a 98% higher engagement rate, and a 75% higher share rate respectively [Source: Ragan]
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.
- Engage with your audience as a company – like and comment on your audience’s content
- Join relevant community groups – like, comment and engage with this audience
- Create your own community groups
- Build your own number of followers by getting employees using LinkedIn more and adding company links on their profiles
- Add a LinkedIn button on your own website to help build more followers
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.
- Add the LinkedIn share button to your blog posts
- Use this button when sharing on your profile, to groups and to individuals
- Create something new, relevant and compelling enough to be shared by fellow professionals
- Join a variety of relevant groups and engage with other users (comment and like their articles and discussions for example)
- LinkedIn also suggest reaching out to email@example.com, but it’s unclear as to how effective this is given that LinkedIn Today features popular/trending content
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.
What do you think?
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.