I spend a lot of time on LinkedIn; I’ve been using it since 2010. It’s the best social platform for the B2B small to medium businesses I work with. Unfortunately, LinkedIn can be really cringey. I don’t do click-bait posts, spammy messages or send out 100s of connection requests. My approach is to take the stories from a business and create content around this.
The basics of LinkedIn and why you should be using it have been covered many times before. I’m not going to reinvent this – there are some useful links at the bottom of this blog. But I do want to share how I use LinkedIn and get the most out of it, based on 11 years and a lot of trial and error.
1. Get the basics right
Your LinkedIn presence should have the following elements in place:
- A clear, professional photo and header image
- A keyword-rich headline which isn’t a job title
- An “About” section which tells people what you have to offer
- A complete education and work history
- A well-designed profile image and header
- A keyword-rich and relevant description, and all profile sections filled in
Use language that your customers will relate to and recognise. Being specific will help your profile or company page show up in searches.
The best results I have seen on LinkedIn are from consistent posting over a number of months. It might be every fortnight, every week or twice a week, but the content is consistent, regular and thoughtfully planned. LinkedIn is a long game.
When an investor, a potential employee or a customer is scrolling through a company page, it should be the equivalent of an office tour. They should come away knowing about who you are, what you do, your team and your culture.
When I develop a content calendar, I balance the following elements to give the audience a flavour of the business:
- Company updates
- Useful info for customers
- Celebrating wins
- Service updates, where necessary
- Customer feedback, spotlights and case studies
- Focus on team members
- Insight into company culture
- Behind the scenes fun
3. Avoid overposting
Yes, you can post too much. The reason I cap my packages at three posts per week is to avoid overposting. A post needs a couple of days to run its course. And if it picks up traction, a week.
When a post starts to pick up good engagement, and you post again soon after, the first post drops off and loses momentum. I’ve tested posting every day vs three times a week. Three times a week generated better engagement.
Algorithms aside, followers can get tired of hearing from you every single day. And honestly, it’s not easy thinking of truly unique content ideas for SMEs every single day. Quality wins over quantity here.
There are LinkedIn superusers and big corporations who have 10s of 1000s of connections and followers. Some of these accounts post A LOT. And I still think this is too much for a typical SME – your marketing time would be entirely spent on a single platform.
4. Curate your network
I have picked up many opportunities from my feed: speaking and PR opportunities, new clients and the chance to help others. This is because I curate my feed, and I suggest you do the same.
A LinkedIn feed should read like a personalised newspaper. A mixture of headlines, industry news, interviews, features, appointments, a jobs supplement and party pages. If you accept every single connection request that comes your way, your feed will feel like an MLM party full of strangers. You need to cull and curate.
Your network should include all the key players and organisations in your industry. Your favourite colleagues and ex-colleagues. Suppliers, partners and customers. Don’t be afraid to connect with people you don’t know if you could potentially work with or learn from them. Follow a handful of relevant hashtags – for me this includes #FreelanceMarketing #Marketing # Copywriting.
Regularly go through your connections and make culls. The connection requests that turn out to be sales pitches from over-posters? Remove them. The former colleague who moved industries and you know you will never speak to on LinkedIn ever again? Remove them too. These contacts can clog up your feed causing you to miss the updates you really want. If this feels too harsh, you can hide their updates instead or unfollow.
Another approach for personal profiles is to switch your default connection type from, “Connect” to “Follow”. Essentially switching from a two-way connection to a broadcast.
Company pages have no feed to curate, but you do want to have the right followers, for example, employees, customers, prospects and partners. This will help you to reach the right people and boost your engagement rate. The “Invite connections” option is a useful tool to proactively grow your following.
5. Profiles over pages
I encourage clients to invest in their personal profiles. Personal updates perform better than company updates and you can put so much more personality into them. Company pages have no feed or inbox so it can feel very one-way. When your team gets involved on LinkedIn this amplifies the reach of posts and it shows the people behind your brand.
Some companies feel uncomfortable investing in a personal profile of an individual who might leave in the future. However, I don’t see how this is different to investing in training or other routes to new business.
I discourage straight shares of company posts as they are almost pointless from an engagement perspective. A “like” is enough to get the post on your followers’ feeds. A comment, or a share with some commentary is even better and will generate more engagement and views.
6. Get personal
Authenticity, honesty and personal perspectives always perform well on LinkedIn. I encourage leaders to share important updates via their own profiles, with a personal note, as well as the company page. Personal updates always get more interaction. Stats aside, seeing the faces and stories behind a brand is more relatable compared to a bland corporate statement.
If you don’t want to do this, there’s certainly no pressure but it will limit where you can go with LinkedIn. Consumers are connecting more with purpose-driven companies and this is no different in B2B.
Unless you’re a very big player, you can’t expect engagement on your content unless you engage with others. This goes for both personal and company profiles. Take time to interact with your feed by liking and commenting. Hopefully you’ll do this because it’s genuine (and you have curated your feed) but it’s also your source of industry intel and news. You might even spot new business opportunities. I have picked up several this way.
Engaging with others also acts as an update on your own feed as your followers will see your likes and comments. If you don’t have time to write a post but want to be present on your followers’ feeds, five minutes of engaging will do the trick. This is a handy tool for nurturing potential customers and partners as well.
The search function on LinkedIn is a goldmine. You can search for hashtags and content and find out who does a particular role at a company. I’ve even found clients by searching for companies looking for freelance marketers. I found my accountant on LinkedIn and developed relationships with other freelancers.
LinkedIn is included in my marketing packages and I always include a consultation and recommendations before we start working together. And it’s also the platform of choice for my own business, so why not say hello.
Social media evolves and we are always learning. Right now, these are my favourite resources on LinkedIn: