For all business peeps and especially B2B marketers like myself, LinkedIn can be a highly effective social media channel. Frankly speaking, we all have a hard time finding the right people at the right time – which does not get easier with GDPR in place. But just think about it for a second – almost every single one of your ideal customer is on LinkedIn. Assuming – you have a job at the company and are looking to find new employees. LinkedIn could usefully be the most effective tool to find the potential employee amongst the tight knit community.
Don’t get me wrong; LinkedIn has a lot of potential in the B2B space. There’s a finite amount of people on the platform, in the long-term, which means the more you build up your profile, the more marketing opportunity it provides. Unfortunately, in the beginning, the competition is fierce indeed. Especially for a beginner – it’s hard to raise your notional profile to top levels on the list of top performing companies.
Case Example 1: The post-doctoral researcher on LinkedIn who has just completed his research on the book of business strategies at an academic publishing house, has a combined B2B LinkedIn profile of 7700 connections. (All of his connections are been within the UK)
In this case, the researcher has already built enough social traction in the B2B space to warrant a higher LinkedIn profile rank than many others he is competing with. A quick look at the top-rated company profile page would suggest this company to have at least 1000 LinkedIn connections. The fact that the researcher has been publishing articles on academia in the past (high profile connect), also suggests that he has some credibility with that group.
Case Example 2: The profile on LinkedIn of Prof. in Materials Science & Engineering at Imperial College London, with a Bachelors degree in Materials Research, and a Masters degree in Materials Science & Engineering. His LinkedIn profile currently has 4299 connections – all within the UK. (Assuming some of those connections will convert to full-time roles)
Prof. Peter von Mattens is a virtual marketing expert and has interviewed B2B marketers at some of the top-rated marketing conferences for the past few years. He’s also part of the UK team of marketing experts at Pivotal, the world’s largest B2B marketing platform. Peter has interviewed thousands of B2B marketers from companies like AirBnB, Groupon, Lufax, Novo Nordisk, Pulse, Expedia and the Philippines. He’s been on the listening team for bigger marketing events like London Interactive Week and remains closely associated with both Large companies within the B2B space. He’s recently published The Complete Guide to B2B Marketing Strategy, which has topped bestseller lists and is sought-after by many readers worldwide.
You know what that means Pete? It means he’s a complete marketing genius!
Wouldn’t you like to know that someone else is on LinkedIn, has a great B2B marketing strategy and is a marketing expert too?
Case Example 3: The LinkedIn profile for a top marketing professional in the B2B space, with a Bachelors degrees in several fields and a Masters degree in Business Management. This professional is currently in business with eight other clients in the B2B space. It’s his first time joining LinkedIn.
Congratulations, he’s a nice guy! He’s clearly engaged with LinkedIn and has some great knowledge on the platform. He’s already built some connections on LinkedIn, now what does he need to do to top it in one year? Well, first he’ll need to figure out how to build those top-notch B2B connections he’s had, it’s a tough thing to do when you have so many competitors. Then a bit of a chat about how he manages his LinkedIn profile and what you think would be useful for his profile.
How can you beat LinkedIn in 2020?
Make use of LinkedIn’s unique nature.
First and foremost, you have to be conscious of your LinkedIn profile. This is commonly referred to as Social Proof. LinkedIn users generally grumble that they don’t know what a good LinkedIn profile looks like. Harsh but true. Having a very attractive, professionally-made and well-written profile is important. You owe it to yourself and your company’s success. You have to have a good looking LinkedIn profile so your marketing strategy is easy to learn, easy to communicate, easy to understand and attractive.
Second – be creative. LinkedIn is a very “no-nonsense” platform. In fact, it’s so logical that it doesn’t even allow for creativity if you want to align yourself with something on the platform. So you have quite a bit of space in your LinkedIn profile and you have to fill it faster than others. Your profile is your selling machine, so you have to talk to the potential employer and convince him that you have the right skillset and the experience needed and that he should hire you.
The last, but essential piece of advice is to create the “slack-space”. LinkedIn is fast; it’s not conducive to time management. If you want to bring in new business and pass on your expertise, you need to establish some channels for your expertise and information to be easily available to your LinkedIn users. Do you use Slack? Do you use a private blog/website? Those are all great options.
Don’t be surprised if a user knocks up your profile on LinkedIn and feels like he/she needs a little bit of help. This is normal and intentional. They’re showing appreciation for the time you’ve spent on their behalf (“You spent some time on our behalf!”). It’s often hard to build a good LinkedIn profile so they’re feeling a push/pull to convince themselves of your expertise and knowledge. The more time you spend on their behalf, the more it gives you confidence in your knowledge and in turn, they are more likely to hire you.
After all, you don’t want to be the one who is shouting “2700 contacts. That’s no bullcrap!”
Case Example 4: The B2B marketing professional on LinkedIn.
This professional has already built a fairly high profile with his B2B marketing strategy, with 4169 connections. That’s a decent number of connections for a B2B marketing professional. He has quite a bit of experience pulling leads online already, but his connections list is quite small. In fact, it’s almost nonexistent.
First and foremost, LinkedIn is a PR and not a marketing channel. If you want people to be reeled in by your profile and your connections, you’ll need to have a good presence on LinkedIn. You generally do that by creating and maintaining a second-hand/all in list.
Second, you need to create content in your profile. You go about it a bit differently from others, which I’ll explain in a moment.
Lastly, don’t underestimate the power of LinkedIn advertising. A large chunk of your B2B connections are probably on LinkedIn and may not necessarily know you personally. They may self-select to join your business page, because it’s associated with your brand and you want to be there. This can be anything from restaurant reviews to charity links to links and bullet points about your company’s leadership and vision. It’s all out there and it helps keep your connection – potential connection – engaged with your company.
Case Example 5: Consider the following.
A successful B2B marketing professional with an average LinkedIn profile (average of 11 connections) and a small but impressive list of industry keywords.
This professional has updated his LinkedIn profile a few months ago and constructed an advanced marketing strategy for his company. Combined with a LinkedIn audience of 1478 connections and a high-quality LinkedIn rating of 4.2 (95th percentile), this professional represents a very active and engaged B2B marketing space. His LinkedIn profile is well-thought through and professionally generated in a team context.
- Use LinkedIn’s analysis feature to get a better sense of which keywords your B2B contacts are using in their conversations or searches.
- You can also try to fit people into a specific business category for your career. In this instance, the B2B marketing professional is in the Software Industry. And it’s quite active in that category.
- Use results. If you know enough about a lot of their connections, you may want to create a strategy for your company that focuses on those categories. In this case, the software category.
- You may want your advertised skills to stand out from more traditional recruiting techniques like posting on LinkedIn; this professional’s tactic is more informative and targeted for the right audience.
- Opting to target a specific category is great, but if you’re trying to target the right network, you need to fine-tune and understand exactly which category your target customer area is in.
Lastly, here’s an example of the deep, thoughtful and effective LinkedIn profile that this marketing professional created.
Best B2B marketing strategies
As much as we love data, it’s very easy to ignore the field of B2B marketing. If you’re not going to utilize data and analytics to your advantage on LinkedIn, you’ll likely be shut out of B2B networking discussions where you can be helpful to your network while helping your company with better B2B marketing strategies. In fact, you can potentially ruin B2B networks by removing yourself from the conversation.
Conversely, if you do a good job on LinkedIn in regards to your B2B marketing strategy, you can avoid wasting time on B2B marketing discussions and you’ll have better networking experience.
The bottom line is, if you’re not willing to get helpful feedback on the effectiveness of your B2B marketing strategy and tactics from your B2B contacts, you might as well leave it.
First of all, check your deliverables. Are you going to your customers? Are you going away? For business marketing, LinkedIn is a great channel to learn more about your business’s characteristics, your process, your timeline, your budget and what drives you to make a decision. It’s all there, so you can find the right set of answers.
Second thing is to know what you’re talking about. It’s not easy to figure out exactly what you’re preaching about, so I hope you’ll spend some time in this area.LinkedIn is great for objectivism, but it’s the perfect channel to have discussions about what people think and how they’re consuming your content. If you’re not marketing effectively to your audience, you won’t be viewed positively or you’ll risk landing more “influencers” than “influential”.
- Know how to present the market by being in one place and being visible for your audience.
If you have followers in general, give them advertisements that are relevant to where they are. Your LinkedIn audience can be in one place like a conference, on your blog or in your company’s website or they can be spread across different places across the Internet (LinkedIn is the one place you need the most visibility).
For example, rather than tell LinkedIn followers you’re a B2B customer successes expert, focus on topics that relate to your B2B customers. If they’re sick of spam – that’s awesome. Better yet, start a discussion about why they’re sick of spam and try to create an accountability in what they’re doing online. If you’re passionate about SEO, get them on-board with creating content to rank their site in the top 10 ranks for that topic.
Lastly, use your profile as a place to showcase your learning and connect to your audience. LinkedIn is an invaluable tool for you – and your customers, for that matter. If you’re in the natural place for your audience and you use LinkedIn well, you have the ability to save them time and effort by allowing them to search through a 50,000+ topic portfolio.
B2B marketing success slide deck
It’s much easier to make or take on a B2B channel if that channel is in place. Valuable, well-thought-out B2B marketing strategy content is both an asset and a commodity for any B2B networking venue.