Is LinkedIn the Missing Piece of Your Marketing Puzzle?

linkedin engagementAre you using LinkedIn? Why not? Even if you’re working in the consumer space, LinkedIn might be the missing piece of your marketing puzzle.

LinkedIn marketing opportunity

QuickSprout does a good job presenting the importance of LinkedIn as part of your marketing strategy (see infographic below). To prove my point, here are a few stats from the infographic:

  • LinkedIn, the smallest of the major social networks, still boasts over 2.5 million members and growth of nearly 200,000 new users per day.
  • More importantly as a marketing opportunity, LinkedIn is sticky with over 200 conversations  and nearly 8000 searches per minute.
  • Best of all, firms find 3X greater visitor to lead conversion on LinkedIn compared with its bigger cousins — Twitter and Facebook.

Increasing engagement on LinkedIn

LinkedIn is a large, engaged network, but are you getting your share of eyeballs?

Is LinkedIn sending enough traffic to your site?

Are you converting the traffic LinkedIn brings you?

If you need some tips to help increase you ROI from LinkedIn, check out this post about using LinkedIn for lead generation.

But, LinkedIn is a business site so, if you’re a consumer products company or work for a B2B company, driving traffic from LinkedIn doesn’t really make sense. So, maybe you’re not on LinkedIn. While it’s true you won’t use LinkedIn for lead generation, you should still have an active profile and build engagement on LinkedIn. Here’s why:

90+% of job search is on LinkedIn

Whether you’re a company who might hire new employees or an employee who might need a job someday, LinkedIn is your central hub. And, don’t wait until you need to hire or need a new job to join — engagement takes time.

Start now and begin building your community. Join groups. Upload content from your website. Be active by commenting in groups and on content posted by others.

LinkedIn as a learning tool

LinkedIn is very different from other social networks. Users have little patience with folks who upload cat videos and they quickly disconnect from folks who send annoying sales spam. LinkedIn recently experienced an uptick in spam that present fraudulent opportunities (offers to lend money, notifications that you’ve received money, etc) like those that plague email. I think the trend is declining as LinkedIn does a good job of eliminating these accounts.

While you won’t find LinkedIn as much fun as Facebook, you’ll learn a lot and have the opportunity to establish yourself as an influencer.

Pulse, a new feature of LinkedIn, is a one stop shop for professional news and updates. Here’s what LinkedIn had to say when they launched Pulse in Nov. 2013:

Pulse and LinkedIn technology have been fully integrated to offer a more relevant news experience with content tailored to your professional interests both on the Pulse app and on LinkedIn.com. This is just the first step of many we will be taking to ensure you’re getting a consistent and seamless content experience that is tailored to you. Starting today, LinkedIn Pulse will become the main vehicle for our social news experience across mobile and desktop and will replace LinkedIn Today.

Of course, LinkedIn added Pulse as a way to make LinkedIn stickier, and it’s working. Now, average Joes can publish long-form content (just like a WordPress blog) and it gets folded into Pulse, making it a great tool for users wishing to gain a reputation as an influencer in a particular field.

Connect for real world networking

When I travel for business, I hate eating alone and love to meet new people. I use LinkedIn to let my network know where I’ll be and invite them to meet me in person for coffee, a meal, or just to chat. I’ve met some really great people this way and built a loyal network from folks I’ve met in person.

  • Loyal network members become brand advocates; sharing my content across multiple social networks and driving their followers to my website.
  • Folks I’ve met through LinkedIn have recommended me for speaking gigs or introduced me to potential clients.
  • Interactions with my LinkedIn connections generates lively discussions that often turn into content marketing ideas.

Your turn

Let me know how you’re using LinkedIn as a business professional — either for your brand or to market yourself.

Need help?

We welcome the opportunity to show you how we can make your marketing SIZZLE with our data-driven, results-oriented marketing strategies.  Sign up for our FREE newsletter, get the 1st chapter of our book – FREE, or contact us for more information on hiring us.

Hausman and Associates, the publisher of Hausman Marketing Letter, is a full service marketing agency operating at the intersection of marketing and social media.

 

linkedin engagement

 

You might also like:

“May the Force (of LinkedIn) Be With You” : How to Become a LinkedIn Jedi

When George Lucas first launched the epic Star Wars trilogy back in the seventies, I remember the extremely long lines (giving away my age) associated with viewing this futuristic, science fiction adventure. “May the force be with you” become a popular catchphrase way back when and now it has been revamped with the more current release of the prequels to this now classic and popular tale.

The scholarly force behind the success of these intergalactic missions was found within the Jedi master who shared wisdom with his bright, young pupil, Luke Skywalker. The aged Yoda guided his eager student to follow his path of enlightenment through this training.

The infographic below will show us how to be a Jedi master of LinkedIn success by utilizing the powerful presence of this social media platform available to us in the vast universe of online marketing. We cannot simply close our eyes and let the force guide us through the challenging world-wide web. Listen, look and learn from the Jedi masters.

LIGHT SPEED AND GLOBAL RECOGNITION

LinkedIn has seemingly universal recognition, available in 200 different countries and translates across 20 languages. While the Millenium Falcon could travel across countless galaxies in a mere seconds, LinkedIn can navigate our entire globe in the same amount of time.

ENGAGEMENT ON A PLANETARY LEVEL

Luke Skywalker seemed completely lost in the uber popular cantina scene from the original introduction of Episode IV on his home planet of Tatooine. Alongside Obi Wan Kenobi, backed by the robotic support of R2-D2 and C3-PO, they managed to meet up with their wingman, Han Solo in this epic meet and greet moment.

LinkedIn offers this same type of engagement where you can discover new opportunities and cultivate professional relationships. Just as Han Solo wasn’t necessarily seeking a job as a pilot, the majority of LinkedIn professionals aren’t necessarily looking to add to their workforce, but still 60% of them would be open to the opportunity if it were presented to them.

HELP ME OBI WAN KENOBI

Obi Wan may have been the only hope for Princess Leia, but there is plenty of assistance available for you on building relationships at LinkedIn. After you have posted your professional profile, you can start building your network. Here are a few ways you can engage with potential connections:

Follow LinkedIn Influencers – comment on their posts and reach out to other commenters.

Use their award-winning Pulse application to consume all the latest news and industry related trends available on your mobile device(s).

Join in with groups that also relate to your business and industry.

Use their Trending Content tool to find worthy and popular articles.

BE VISUAL

Luke may have thought the Millenium Falcon was “a hunk of junk” when he first laid eyes on it in Docking Bay 94, but it still transported them all the way to the Death Star and back to the royal award ceremony on Yavin 4. Visuals are extremely important in the sharing of content aboard LinkedIn, especially videos which are viewed by 85% of all online users.

LinkedIn also owns Slideshare, a popular web based hosting site for Powerpoint presentations, PDF files, Keynote, Open Document and other visuals. Post these along with infographics and other impressive statistics in a visual format to gain more recognition on LinkedIn.

MAY LINKEDIN BE WITH YOU

Examine all your opportunities available for self-promotion on LinkedIn for the best opportunities available on our own planet.

Hilary SmithHilary Smith

Hilary is an online journalist who publishes on multiple sites. You can connect with her on Twitter.

 

Need help?

We welcome the opportunity to show you how we can make your marketing SIZZLE.  Sign up for our FREE newsletter, get the 1st chapter of our book – FREE, or contact us for more information on hiring us.

Hausman and Associates, the publisher of Hausman Marketing Letter, is a full service marketing firm operating at the intersection of marketing and social media

Check out Hilary’s infographic for even more stellar advice.

linkedin

You might also like:

6 Rules to Rock LinkedIn For Lead Generation

linkedin for lead generation
Top 5% of LinkedIn

Mark Lerner, from Octopost, sent me this infographic a few weeks ago and I promised to share it with you because I live the value of LinkedIn for lead generation.

And, I guess I’m not doing so badly — looking at the message I got from LinkedIn recently.

Today, I thought I’d share some strategies I find work best when using LinkedIn for lead generation.

LinkedIn for lead generation

LinkedIn suffers because it’s just not as sexy as Facebook or Twitter — you don’t sit on it all day sharing angry cat memes or trashing celebrities and athletes. No, LinkedIn is decidedly stodgy by comparison; resulting in far fewer users than other social networks.

Overlooking LinkedIn is a major mistake; however. That’s because LinkedIn is where business happens online. Recruiters love the job search tools on LinkedIn that allow them to track candidates and find talent, according to Bloomberg. Job listings account for some $138 Million of 2012 revenue for LinkedIn.

LinkedIn’s major strength is its ability to help generate and cultivate leads.

In preparing this post, as I always do, I searched published posts and news articles related to using LinkedIn for lead generation. What I found was particularly thin, compared to the vast array of articles available on using Facebook and Twitter. I did find interesting lists of LinkedIN actions on Social Media Examiner, Small Biz Trends, and Hubspot.

Here’s my strategy for using Linked for lead generation:

Profile:

Obviously, you need a profile, but you need a profile supporting your lead generation efforts, not just any profile.

  1. make sure you complete the entire profile — yes I know this is a lot more time-consuming than on other social networks. You can import your resume (on vitae, in my case) to reduce the time necessary.
  2. ensure you make good use of the section below your name by using keywords. Notice mine doesn’t tout my position (which has its own place), but is loaded with keywords and my services. If you’re searching for someone to do social media analytics, you’re more likely to find me this way than if I listed my agency name, Hausman & Associates, here. My employment is now listed as current and previous.
  3. fill out your summary and employment sections using active words (and keywords) and highlighting accomplishments, not positions. Remember, online users are very visual, so include powerpoint presentations, videos, and other elements to create visual interest.
  4. Connect to Box or other cloud storage app to automatically bring in white papers or presentations loaded there.
  5. Unless you’re a major business leader, I recommend keeping your LinkedIn profile pretty open. Remember, you’re using LinkedIn for lead generation, so the more folks who can connect with you, the better.

linkedin for lead generation

Join groups

Notice on the infographic below, groups convert at higher rates than other places on LinkedIn. But, that’s not the only reason for joining groups.

  • Groups give you opportunities to connect with leaders and potential customers in your industry
  • Groups provide discussions that keep you up-to-date on what’s happening in your industry and allow you to emerge as a leader
  • Many groups are now open which means they can turn up in a Google search
  • You can form your own group and invite leaders and prospects to join in a discussion about your industry
  • Groups enhance your online networking. If you can’t connect with someone directly, likely someone in your group can get you an introduction

Post content

Content is the key to any social media strategy and LinkedIn is no exception. And, just like other social networks, refrain from being salesy in the content posted.

Instead, post content your prospects find valuable — how to’s, news, trends, research. Creating posts that ask questions then sharing the results is a great tool for engaging folks on LinkedIn.

Connect your blog to automatically update on LinkedIn each time you post.

Build your social network

Building your social network is critical for success in using LinkedIn for lead generation. No one “hears” you unless they’re connected (or search for your keywords).

A word of warning, however. Don’t accept LinkedIn’s default invitation. Use hand-crafted LinkedIn invitations that remind the invitee of how you’re connected. For instance,

It was really great meeting you last night at the XYZ meetup. I found you’re insights valuable. Please join my LinkedIn network so we can continue our conversations.

  • The first step in building your social network is to invite your email contacts to join your network.
  • Next, spend some time going through LinkedIn’s suggestions for appropriate connections. I usually spend a few minutes each day working to expand my LinkedIn network.
  • When someone joins your network, you get a list of their connections in the confirmation. I use my connections to further build my network as many are in the same industry and need my services.
  • As you meet folks at events, ask them to join your LinkedIn network.
  • Ask folks you meet in group discussions to join you.
  • Sign up for LinkedIn premium. Premium allows you to send invitations to users you’re not already connected with — either through offline networking, group membership, or existing connections. My admin goes through a list of folks based on desired keywords, positions, location, and company size and sends invitation requests.

 Influencers

Using LinkedIn for lead generation also involves engaging influencers. Just because someone joined your network, doesn’t mean you have the right to spam them, which is a growing problem on LinkedIn. Some users refrain from accepting any invitations coming from someone with “sales” in their profile. As complaints grow, expect LinkedIn to strongly enforce its terms of service that prohibit spam. Act proactively by avoiding spam or your account may be suspended.

When you find good prospects, invite them to connect then share great content with them. If it’s a good fit, they should come to YOU, rather than you having to go to them.

Rule #1: Don’t look stupid

If you decide to approach them, be sure to do your homework. Read about the prospect and his/ her company — what’s their business philosophy? What problems do they face? How can you help them with their problems? It always amazes me when I get an email offering to help with my social media or SEO — really? That’s what I do. Why would I hire YOU?

Rule #2: Provide value

Solve their problem. And, be specific about how you solve their problem.

Rule #3: Include an ask

Be sure to include instructions about the response you expect. Should the prospect call a sales rep? Should they sign up for your newsletter? Should they accept an appointment.

Rule #4: Soft close

I’m a big fan of the soft close, but I think it’s particularly appropriate when contacting someone on LinkedIn. Pushy sales tactics just don’t work on social networks.

Rule #5: Don’t become a pest

Continued emails (inmail in LinkedIn parlance) are annoying. Before you contact a prospect, figure out the strongest approach strategy (see Rule #1). Likely you can only expect 1 ask, so make it count. That may mean spending some time cultivating the relationship before making the approach. A good strategy might involve joining groups the prospect actively uses. Post valuable content to these groups or engage in discussions on the content posted by the prospect rather than continuing to email the prospect.

Rule #6: Flattery gets you everywhere

Maybe this is just a corollary to Rule #5, but everyone loves flattery and few get offended when you praise their efforts. Keep up with what your prospects are doing and send them a congratulations when they have a birthday, get a promotion or new job, or have a work anniversary (LinkedIn actually helps by sending you emails about these events). Go beyond this to read press about your prospects and send a quick email when they do something worthwhile.

Need Help?

Whether you need a complete content marketing strategy or some consulting to help you use LinkedIn for lead generation, we can fill your digital marketing funnel or  developing a content marketing strategy that matches your needs. We can help you do your own social media marketing better or do it for you with our community managers, strategists, and account executives. You can request a FREE introductory meeting or sign up for my email newsletter to learn more about social media marketing.

 

 

You might also like:

Snackable Content Marketing Strategy

content marketing strategyAs a B2B marketer, I LOVE LinkedIN — some of my best friends (and prospects) hang out there. So, when I saw this on Mashable today, I just had to share LinkedIN’s ideas for creating a balanced content marketing strategy.

Obviously, you need a content marketing strategy. If you still don’t believe that, you need to look at the image from Hubspot. Posting less than 1/week you really see a drop in new customers and you see a big gain when you publish more than once a day.

But, before you quickly scroll down to view this awesome infographic, let me share my perspective on creating a snackable content marketing strategy.

Snackability is one of the 3 important elements of a sound content marketing strategy — the others are searchability and sharability.

Snackable content marketing strategy

In creating a snackable content marketing strategy, I think you have to think about your readers — duh, that’s a no-brainer. The content you create should FIT the needs of your readers — providing rich insights and value, while being snackable. That’s because readers often consumer content in short little bites — waiting for an appointment, standing in line at the grocery story, waiting to pick up the kids from soccer, whatever.

Readers don’t want War and Peace, they want something they can snack on and fill the few minutes they have to consume content.

Of course, that doesn’t mean they don’t want really great meals — longer content that fills them up. For instance, a recent study found pages containing over 2400 words were shared more often on Twitter and Facebook.

But, don’t get me wrong. Creating valuable content on a consistent basis is crucial for success in today’s crowded social media marketing world. In fact, content marketing is responsible for significant improvements to your ROI.

Creating a balanced content marketing strategy

I really like the infographic and the way LinkedIN defined elements like Desserts, Grains, Meat, Condiments, etc.

But, I would change some of this.

Desserts

First off, I’d include a LOT more desserts — of course, that’s my strategy for planning my real meals, as well. In fact, now that the kids are grown, I often substitute a dessert for a meal.

My experience tells me the same thing is true for readers — they want lots of desserts. Load up your site with great graphics, video, and other easily digestible and yummy content (then get a great hosting company that can deliver your image-rich site FAST), and visitors will leave happy. Don’t just take my word for it — the link is from Jeff Bullas who shares the case study of ShuttleRock, which increased just about everything (shares, ROI …) by increasing visual content on the site.

Condiments

And just like condiments add flavor and zest to just about everything, use condiments liberally across your entire content marketing strategy — don’t just drop it in occasionally. I think readers really respond to my somewhat folksy style and I certainly get a lot of comments to that effect.

Plus, as an academic, it’s just natural for me to include a bunch of links in my posts. After all, why should you believe anything I have to say? So, I like to back up my statements with facts and link to the original sources of those facts whenever possible.

Meat

Just as dietitians recommend easing up on your meat consumption and researchers show how meat clogs up your digestive system, I think your blog can easily become overloaded with meat.

For instance, it seems I get at least 1 email from Hubspot every week inviting me to download a white paper or ebook. After a while, I begin to question how ANYONE can produce that much VALUABLE long-form content every week. In fact, after downloading many of their ebooks and other resources, I’ve discovered they contain little of value, so I’ve stopped downloading them.

My advice is to provide meat sparingly and make sure it’s of the highest quality. But, don’t overdo it. I’m working with a client right now who has an entire novel he’s willing to share. I suggested we just share the first chapter, then distribute the rest of the book in smaller, snackable content marketing chunks.

Also, meat is expensive, so you should get a little more for sharing yours. I usually distribute meat in 1 of 3 ways:

  1. after subscribing to an email
  2. in exchange for sharing a link to the content to encourage others to read the content
  3. as a premium for becoming a member

Besides, readers think something is more valuable when it’s not just given away.

Veggies and grains

I actually like to create few posts that fall into these categories, so I diverge from LinkedIN’s advice and from that of dietitians everywhere.

You’re content should sparkle. If you don’t have something valuable to share, then don’t post anything. Now, I’m not going to say that every post I create is fabulous, but I don’t post if I don’t think what I say is new and interesting.

I don’t talk just to hear the sound of my own voice.

And, with Google’s new semantics and natural language processing, re-purposing old content can be a little dangerous.

That said, I do like to share great content from other smart folks — like the infographic below. But, as you can see from this post, I only share things that meet 3 criterion:

  1. They create tremendous value
  2. They’re unique
  3. I have something to add to make the content my own — after all, if I’m just sharing someone else’s content, I’ll simply Tweet it out.

Your turn

So, do you think I’ve done a good job with sharing this infographic?

Do you agree with my notion of creating a snackable content marketing strategy or do you prefer LinkedIN’s balanced content marketing strategy?

Need help?

Definitely grab my FREE ebook on content marketing strategy.  That’s some of the meat I’m sharing with you today.

Whether you need a complete analytics strategy, some help with brand marketing, or some consulting to optimize your existing social media marketing, we can fill your digital marketing funnel. We can help you do your own social media marketing better or do it for you with our community managers, strategists, and account executives. You can request a FREE introductory meeting or sign up for my email newsletter to learn more about social media marketing.

You might also like:

Content Marketing is Different: Traditional Media and Social Networking

content marketing versus link building for SEOLast week I posted results from a study of B2B marketers using content marketing in social media. Major findings from the study show lots of firms using content marketing in their social media strategy, but few finding the hoped for results in market performance. Since that post, I’ve read a number of authors posting their take on the study. Some blame poor performance on a failure to develop a cohesive content marketing strategy. Other blame it on unrealistic expectations on the part of marketers.

Personally, having worked with a number of clients from both B2B and B2C marketing firms, I feel the problem is deeper and involves misunderstanding of how content marketing is different in traditional media and social networking. Too many firms think you can just put up advertising and call it content marketing. While traditional media primarily uses this advertising model, content marketing in social media requires a TOTALLY different approach.

Maybe an example will help.

Content marketing in social media

In the old days, a year or so ago, firms used lots of crazy strategies to keep from creating really useful content. They did this because it is a lot cheaper to manipulate SEO by buying links, reciprocal link building, and keyword stuffing. Google fixed that — first with Panda, then Penguin, and, most recently, Hummingbird (they have an obvious preference for exotic animals). Many firms, especially big firms who invested heavily in SEO experts, have resisted the transition. It just didn’t fit their modus operandi.

Plus, they don’t understand how to create content — content visitors will find valuable and addresses their search queries. Coming from traditional media, they just don’t get that creating content in social media requires knowing your target audience and helping them. You’re no longer paying for their programming and subsidizing their magazines and newspapers. You have no currency to trade except your willingness to HELP them. Content marketing is different in traditional media and social networking.

It’s all me; all the time

Sure, they’re willing to create content about how to use their products, which products are best for which needs, and reviews of their products.  They’re not willing to talk about anything except THEM.

And, frankly, most consumers could care LESS about you. They want solutions to their problems.

Discover problems and provide solutions

Instead of a traditional media strategy of talking about yourself, content marketing in social media means you think about providing value to visitors: information (not about you), entertainment, community, etc.

As an example, a firm selling telecommunication systems created a content marketing strategy around sustainability. What did this have to do with their brand? Nothing except it positioned their brand as a good corporate citizen and provided insights visitors could use to enhance the sustainability of their own firms. The sustainability blog even featured posts about how potential clients were acting on delivering sustainable products. Posts caught the eye of potential clients, keeping the telecom firm top of mind and creating a positive image for the firm. This made the sales person’s job so much easier when contracts came up for bid and resulted in gaining new business for the firm.

I face a similar challenge when I discuss a content marketing strategy with new prospective clients. I even had a prospect tell me they’re really not comfortable talking about anything except their brand in their content marketing in social media. This reflects a fundamental disconnect in understanding how content marketing is different in traditional media and social networking.

Content marketing options

Any number of topics are options for content marketing, depending on the particular target market you serve. All these options build traffic to your site, improve brand image, and keep visitors on your site longer.

  1. Social marketing – for instance, Dove builds confidence in teen girls through their campaign for real women. Several brands include issues of bullying in their content marketing strategies. Any topic supporting social responsibility can fit any brand — it just takes a little creativity.
  2. Gamification – creating entertaining games and apps builds engagement and supports your content marketing strategy. For instance, Geico offers it’s app that let’s you diagram and report an accident through your smartphone. They also offer ringtones and games building on the popularity of their Gecko.
  3. Forums – operating forums offering peer advice and support helps many brands. I did a study of the Disney community and found assistance related to Disney parks, but also help for families traveling with special needs individuals, small children, and inexpensive options.
  4. News – LinkedIN, in an effort to keep folks on their sites longer and visit more frequently is creating and curating new content. Mashable, Social Media Today, and other platforms operating in the social media space fill a similar need for their target audiences.
  5. Information – is probably the granddaddy of content marketing strategy. It builds your reputation as an expert while it’s building visits to your site. Many leading social media marketers feature a blog like this one, where they share their expertise to help businesses struggling to understand this new media. Like me, they don’t fill their blogs with reasons for hiring them or about how they’ve helped their clients, or even about speaking engagements. They fill their blogs with information to help others in a selfless effort.

NEED HELP

We’re here for you. Whether you need a complete social media marketing strategy or some consulting to optimize your existing social media marketing, we can fill your digital marketing funnel. We can help you do your own social media marketing better or do it for you with our community managers, strategists, and account executives. You can request a FREE introductory meeting or sign up for my email newsletter to learn more about social media marketing.

 

You might also like: