There is no doubt LinkedIn has changed a lot within the last few years.
LinkedIn used to be simply a social media platform for professionals where you posted your work profile and logged in maybe once or twice a week (if at all). It was also known to be more for job seekers and recruiters.
Today, with more than 610 million users in 200 countries, LinkedIn has become one of the fastest growing and most content-driven social media marketing platforms. In fact, according to LinkedIn’s Content Marketing Institute, 97% of marketers said they use LinkedIn to distribute content.
What LinkedIn has become is beyond social media – it is now considered a content platform. To put it in perspective, there are more than 9 billion content impressions on LinkedIn feeds every single week.
People are using LinkedIn to publish their own articles, videos, photos and status updates. They are also using it more to read and share trending “news and views” of the day, engage in groups with common interests, and use it as a digital alternative to a business card.
Image Source: Foundationinc.co
What Do People Look for on LinkedIn?
Let’s start with this: people may spend a lot of time on other social media channels, but they actually invest time on LinkedIn.
Understanding the value people want to gain from LinkedIn is key in increasing your presence and network on the popular platform.
In essence, there are two main forms of value people seek: information and entertainment. People either want to learn about a topic or get entertained. Sure, many follow influencers to get inspired or motivated but the underlying goal is they seek some sort of beneficial value. This is pretty much true with all content (and social media) platforms in general.
Unfortunately, most people tend to post content that benefits only them and is in their own self-interest. What they forget is doing this may get people’s attention and “likes”, but it will likely not gain their loyalty or sustained interest.
Of course, once in a while it’s okay to share a post about an award you won or a promotion you got at work. After all, that’s one of the main functions of LinkedIn, to showcase your work experience and establish your credibility within your network.
But if you really want to grow your audience and build a sustainable relationship with them on LinkedIn, you must actively provide your followers with value.
Here are some strategic tactics we have gathered for you to leverage LinkedIn as a powerful content marketing tool to build an audience and generate leads:
10 Strategies to Grow Your B2B Audience on LinkedIn (for free)
1. Make Comments on Relevant Hashtags – Think of LinkedIn as an online networking event or a forum where you can engage with other professionals about relevant topics of interest. Search for “What People are Talking About Now” or find a common hashtag word that is relevant to you, your audience, or your industry.
Start by writing intelligent, meaningful comments that people will notice and find useful. Sharing your point of view like this will not only let you promote your name and brand, but will eventually help you build a community of followers. Remember, most people on LinkedIn are there for the same reason you are: to engage with and form professional connections.
2. Consistency is Key – Everyone starts at zero followers. If you are patient and keep posting and engaging every single day (at least one post on your page and engaging 20 – 30 times on other posts), people will start to notice.
Eventually and surely, you will build a personal brand. Make sure what you are putting out creates some kind of value to your audience, whether in the form of light entertainment, inspiration or sharing a useful tip. You do not have to be super creative every single day, but the more you do it, the better you will get at it.
3. Post Videos! – You may have noticed, some of the most followed and successful LinkedIn members are constantly posting self-made videos on their profiles.
Thru videos they share advice on something they do well or simple experiences of their day. It’s no coincidence they are so successful on LinkedIn because they are taking advantage of the most powerful tool to engage with an audience: video!
And it just so happens that LinkedIn’s algorithm gives videos much higher reach than any other types of posts!
Remember, you don’t have to hire a production crew or even know how to edit the video yourself to post a video. Just take your smart phone, make sure you have good lighting, and start talking to the camera. It may take a few videos for you to practice and feel more comfortable, but once you see the amount of views and engagement you will get from videos, you won’t be able to stop.
One person who does this well is Ruby Lee (shown below) who has successfully built her empire and personal brand around “Own Your Hustle” on LinkedIn using videos. With more than 25,000 followers, she shares everything from her side-hustle business tips to pondering moments with her followers.
Image Source: LinkedIn.com
4. Publish Articles – Becoming a publisher on the world’s largest professional network is an incredible opportunity to reach your target market and generate new leads. It is also great for building your personal brand.
Every LinkedIn account holder can publish an article so take advantage and use it to share your knowledge and insights on a topic you know well and will attract your target audience. You can use your past blogs from your website to publish it on LinkedIn.
Make sure to use quality content, videos and/or photos, and ask questions from your audience to make it more interactive. The great thing about it all is not only do readers have the ability to share your article on other sites like Twitter and Facebook (which further promotes your brand), but LinkedIn also provides analytics for your article’s performance without paying a penny.
5. Be Authentic, Be Relevant. Be selective about what you post but also don’t forget to be yourself. It’s one thing to provide quality content, it’s another to be authentic while doing it. Be mindful that it’s a “professional platform” but don’t forget to let your personality shine.
Authenticity builds trust, develops your personal brand, and builds a community. Giving advice or tips on things that you do well can be a stepping stone in reaching new people who are not yet on your network. The more you do this, the faster you will develop a reputation as a thought leader in your industry.
6. Add LinkedIn Profile to Email and More – By adding your LinkedIn handle to your email signature, business cards or other social media sites, it allows people to find you easier, learn more about you and your professional skill sets and overall have your content be seen by a wider and more diverse audience.
For example, if you are emailing someone you met at an event for the first time, having your LinkedIn link on your signature will be super helpful in giving them direct access to your professional profile without you having to remind them of who you are and filling up your email with your capabilities. Let them look you up!
7. Use LinkedIn as a Digital Business Card – In case you didn’t know, LinkedIn now gives you a QR code to make it easier to make connections without the need of carrying around business cards. From the LinkedIn mobile app, simply tap the button inside the “search” box at the top right hand corner, and you will see an option to scan a code or provide your own. This is a more effective way to form immediate and guaranteed connections at events while networking without ever having to search for you business cards in your purse or wallet.
8. Do Not Spam – Nobody likes spam. This is even more true on LinkedIn because it is a site for professionals. It is okay to reach out to someone once in a while and then perhaps send a follow-up message within a few weeks. But consistently messaging people in their inbox when they are not replying back does not help you or what you want to accomplish.
Also, be wary of your tone. It’s easy to tell whether or not a message was copied and pasted. Instead of filling up their inbox with unwanted messages, the best way to reach people is to engage or produce content that gives value to the public.
9. Repurpose Content – It’s tough to come up with fresh content from scratch every single day. That’s where you repurpose your content by changing it in a way that serves a different purpose. You can repurpose old blogs, press releases, videos, photos, articles and links to events to share your brand story with a new perspective each time. Use common hashtags like #tbt to reflect on a past event or use a snippet of a video to emphasize on key takeaways from that specific project or event.
10. Host an offline event – Our last tip if you really want to go a step further and establish your personal brand on LinkedIn is to organize an in-person event about a specific topic of interest and use LinkedIn to promote it. This can be a lunch session or after-work event. We recommend this step once you have already built a decent amount of followers who often engage with your content on LinkedIn.
A Northern Virginia Technology Council (NVTC) Marketing Committee meeting that was promoted on LinkedIn and sponsored by TriVision.
By hosting a small event with attendees who resemble your future clients, it will help you reach those clients you eventually would like to have.
LinkedIn’s organic reach is an excellent place to reach many of those attendees because most users are on there with the same goal in mind: to make valuable connections with other professionals. It only takes one person to take charge and actually organize an event to bring everyone together.
Make sure to take lots of photos and videos to document this event. Posting some of them on your social channels in real-time may even be more effective. Just the post-event promotion for this on social media will create substantial engagement for you and help you form many new connections.
Without a doubt, the growth rate of LinkedIn as a content marketing platform has been phenomenal.
Just think, if you are not taking advantage of LinkedIn as a powerful (and free) marketing tool to generate organic leads for your business, you are missing out on about 303 million active monthly users.
Be part of this incredible digital transformation and watch out for LinkedIn in 2019 and beyond!
by Tabasum Lutfi
Lead Digital Strategist at TriVision