More than 59 million companies use LinkedIn Pages to connect with the platform’s 875 million members. A well-thought-out LinkedIn marketing strategy is the best way for you to stand out in that crowd.
LinkedIn is a very different beast from the other social platforms. Building an effective strategy will require some planning and perseverance. But once your LinkedIn efforts are running like clockwork, the results can benefit multiple areas of your business.
Read on to find out how to build a LinkedIn strategy that will help you build an engaged community and effectively promote your business on the platform.
Bonus: Download a free guide that shows the 11 tactics Hootsuite’s social media team used to grow their LinkedIn audience from 0 to 278,000 followers.
What is a LinkedIn marketing strategy?
A LinkedIn marketing strategy is a plan for using LinkedIn to reach specific marketing goals. LinkedIn marketing can include everything from recruiting top talent to building your brand.
LinkedIn is a unique network. On most platforms, brands take a back seat to personal connections. But on LinkedIn, business networking is the name of the game. That means businesses of all types are expected to be more visible and engaged in the overall conversation.
LinkedIn is well known as the social network of choice for B2B marketers. But B2C brands can also find success on LinkedIn. All you need is a solid strategy based on well-planned LinkedIn goals that fit into your larger social marketing plan.
General LinkedIn marketing tips
So, where do you start? Here are some key steps for any brand interested in building an effective LinkedIn marketing strategy.
1. Set clear goals
The first step to any marketing plan is figuring out what you want to achieve. Put some thought into how LinkedIn fits into your overall marketing strategy. What specific goals do you want to achieve on this business-forward platform?
The ways in which people use LinkedIn differ significantly from the ways in which they use other social networks:
- Keeping up to date with news and current events: 29.2%
- Following or researching brands and products: 26.9%
- Posting or sharing photos or videos: 17.7%
- Messaging friends and family: 14.6%
- Looking for funny or entertaining content: 13.8%
And, of course, LinkedIn is also the social network most commonly used for recruiting, as well as the top platform for B2B lead generation.
This is important information to consider when planning your LinkedIn strategy goals. But it’s also important to think about how your style of organization fits into the LinkedIn ecosystem.
As mentioned, for B2B companies, LinkedIn can be a goldmine of lead development and relationship building. For B2C companies, LinkedIn might serve primarily as a recruiting platform. Only you and your team can decide what makes the most sense for you.
Don’t know where to start? Check out our blog post on how to set goals for social media marketing.
2. Make the most of your LinkedIn Page
No matter what goals you’re working towards, make sure you have a complete LinkedIn Page that takes advantage of all relevant tabs and sections. LinkedIn data shows that complete Pages get 30% more weekly views.
Check out all the tabs on Microsoft’s LinkedIn Page. You can find as much or as little detail as you want about life at the company by exploring the different tabs.
Source: Microsoft on LinkedIn
For larger organizations, Showcase Pages can help keep your content marketing focused on the right audience. Try setting them up for different initiatives or programs within your company.
And don’t let your main Page content get stale: LinkedIn recommends updating your cover image at least twice a year.
3. Understand your audience
LinkedIn user demographics differ from those of the other social platforms. Users skew older and tend to have a higher income.
But that’s just a starting point. It’s important to understand who your specific audience is and what kind of information they’re looking for from your LinkedIn Page.
LinkedIn analytics are a good way to find the demographics specific to your audience. Hootsuite’s Audience Discovery tool for LinkedIn can provide even more insights about your LinkedIn audience and how they interact with your content.
4. Track and refine your performance
As you start to understand your audience better, you’ll also get a better sense of the kind of content that most resonates with them. Tracking the results of your LinkedIn content gives you important insights. Apply these over time to refine your LinkedIn marketing strategy.
Again, LinkedIn analytics provide critical strategic information. The native LinkedIn Analytics tool provides a good overview of your LInkedIn Page and post performance.
Hootsuite’s LinkedIn analytics can provide additional details. They also evaluate your LinkedIn marketing efforts in the context of your other social channels.
The best way to highlight the results of your LinkedIn marketing is to share your results. Regular LinkedIn marketing reports are a great vehicle. These allow you to see patterns emerge and refine your strategy over time. They also create broader opportunities for brainstorming strategic improvements.
5. Be human
LinkedIn research shows employee networks have an average of 10 times more connections than a company has followers. And content gets twice as many click-throughs when posted by an employee rather than on the company’s business page.
On the recruiting front, employees are likely to have LinkedIn connections in their areas of expertise. When they share job opportunities, they reach a much more targeted audience than your LinkedIn company page.
That’s one of the many reasons why it’s important to include personal profiles in your LinkedIn marketing strategy. That might mean training your C-suite on how to use LinkedIn effectively for thought leadership content. Or it might mean encouraging your employees to share their work life on LinkedIn.
Remember that users can choose to follow personal profiles. This way, they see content from people they want to learn from but don’t know well enough to send a connection request. That further extends the reach of everyone who works for your company, from entry-level employees to the CEO.
Make it easy for employees to share content on their LinkedIn profiles with an employee advocacy program. Hootsuite Amplify helps you manage and share approved content. You can also use this social media advocacy and marketing tool to measure results and drive higher employee engagement in your advocacy program.
6. Focus on leads, not sales
LinkedIn is more about social selling than social commerce. As mentioned earlier, it’s the top brand for B2B lead generation. It’s a perfect platform for building relationships and connections that will lead to sales over time.
It’s less effective as a platform for spur-of-the-moment purchases. It’s just not the place people go when they’re looking for the latest trending items to buy.
So, rather than trying to sell directly on LinkedIn, focus on building relationships and credibility. Reach out when you see an opportunity, but offer expert advice rather than a hard sell. You’ll be front of mind when the time is right for a buyer to make the purchasing call.
That said, using LinkedIn to drive online sales is not impossible. If you want to take this approach, be sure to position your product or service in a business-appropriate context. It might be helpful to work with an appropriate influencer, as Days did in this LinkedIn post about their alcohol-free beer.
7. Build your employer brand
Building your employer brand is about more than just job postings. It’s all about showcasing what it’s like to work at your company so candidates feel motivated to join your team.
A strong employer brand makes life much easier for everyone working in your recruiting department. After all, no matter how great a particular role might sound, no one wants to work at a company that gives them doubts or seems like a poor cultural fit.
One of the best ways to show off your culture is to harness the enthusiasm of your existing employees. For example, at Hootsuite, employee advocacy accounts for 94% of organic employer brand content impressions. An employee advocacy tool makes it easy for employees to share approved brand content with their networks.
And a chorus of ringing endorsements of the corporate culture from people who really work there provides exceptional social proof for potential new recruits.
Businesses can also add a Trending Employee Content galley to their LinkedIn Page. It’s based on associated hashtags, like this example from Google.
Source: Google on LinkedIn
8. Participate in the community
LinkedIn is all about participation. Remember, you’re building a reputation that will lead to sales over time. Responding to comments and joining the conversation is an important part of building that reputation.
Look for opportunities to contribute. Congratulate your colleagues and connections on their achievements and career moves. Show support for those who may be newly looking for work.
Most importantly, be sure to monitor the comments on your own LinkedIn content, and reply to let users know you hear them and appreciate them. Remember, their engagement with your content exponentially extends its reach.
Hootsuite Inbox makes sure you never miss a chance to engage with followers. You can respond to comments directly, or assign them to an appropriate team member. You can also integrate your CRM into Hootsuite to see a full picture of your buyers at every point of contact.
Be community-minded in your content sharing too. For every piece of content you share about your organization, LinkedIn recommends sharing an update from an outside source plus four pieces of content from others. Resharing content in which you’re tagged can be a good place to start.
LinkedIn content strategy tips
9. Write long posts (sometimes)
Try repurposing long-form content as thought leadership articles to post natively on LinkedIn.
LinkedIn accounts for only 0.33% of web traffic referrals from social media. (Compare that to Facebook’s 71.64%.) Rather than focusing on driving traffic away from the site, provide value within your LInkedIn articles themselves.
But don’t go too long too often. LinkedIn recommends articles be around 500 to 1,000 words. That said, Paul Shapiro of Search Wilderness found that articles in the range of 1,900 to 2,000 words performed best. So, you’ll need to do some testing to find out what works best for your audience.
LinkedIn is adding SEO titles, descriptions, and tags for LinkedIn articles. This will help other users find your original content. If you regularly post long-form content. Consider creating a LinkedIn Newsletter.
Note: Your regular LinkedIn updates can be much shorter, with an ideal length of just 25 words.
10. Experiment with different content types
You can use the various tabs on your LinkedIn Page to showcase just about anything happening at your company. Company news, corporate culture, and upcoming product details are just a few examples.
There are lots of different content formats to experiment with, too. Consider these important LinkedIn content statistics when planning out what to test:
- Images get a 2 times higher comment rate, and image collages can work even better
- Videos get 5 times more engagement, and live video gets a whopping 24 times more engagement
Once again, though, this is all a starting point. Experimentation is the name of the game when finding out what works for your brand on LinkedIn. Implement an effective testing strategy and keep an eye on your analytics to learn which content formats work best based on your goals.
11. Include a hook above “the fold”
Remember newspapers? As in real physical newspapers that were sold at newsstands? In order to grab your attention, they put the biggest story on the top half of the front page. That half, of course, is above the fold. You see it as soon as you glance at the paper, without having to pick it up, and it intrigues you enough to buy the paper to read more.
There may not be a literal fold on your screen, but there is a metaphorical one. In this case, “above the fold” refers to the content visible without scrolling or clicking “more.” It’s the content seen without making the effort to pick the metaphorical paper up and turn it over.
Make the value proposition for your content clear in this prime real estate. Why should someone read on? What do you have to say that’s worth scrolling for?
LinkedIn posting strategy tips
12. Understand the best time to post
Hootsuite research shows the best time to post on LinkedIn is 9 a.m. on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. When you’re first getting started with the platform, that’s a good place to start.
But the best time to post for your particular brand depends on your particular audience. Specifically, when they’re most likely to be online and ready to engage.
Hootsuite’s Best Time to Post feature gives you a heat map that shows when your content is most likely to make an impression. You can also find custom posting time recommendations for the best times to post on your LinkedIn Page. These are based on whether you want to build brand awareness, increase engagement, or drive traffic.
13. Schedule your posts in advance
Of course, the best time to post for your audience might not be the best time to post for you. That’s one reason why it’s a good idea to create your posts in advance and schedule them to post automatically at the best time.
Another reason is that creating your posts in advance allows you to dedicate regular chunks of time to creating LinkedIn content. This is easier and more effective than trying to post on the fly. Especially when you’re creating longer form content, it’s a good idea to block off time on your schedule and really get your brain engaged.
Creating content in advance also allows you to get more of the team involved, from senior leaders contributing their thought leadership to editors going over your work with a fine-tooth comb.
Finally, planning and scheduling your content in advance allows you to see how your Linkedin posts fit into your larger social media calendar.
14. Set up a regular posting schedule
Once you’ve determined the best times to post, post consistently at those times. Your audience will come to expect fresh content from you on your schedule, and they’ll be primed to read it and respond.
LinkedIn DM strategy tips
15. Send personalized messages
Bulk direct messages may save time, but they do not get the best results. LinkedIn data shows that InMails sent individually get 15% more responses than messages sent in bulk.
For maximum effect, mention a detail in the email that shows you actually read the prospect’s profile. Did they mention a skill that’s critical to the role? Have a particularly great LinkedIn bio? Highlight something that tells them why you’re interested, and that they’re not just a potential cog in the machine.
16. Send shorter messages
If you’re sending InMail to a potential connection, collaborator, or candidate, you might be tempted to pack the message with details about the potential opportunity. But LinkedIn research recently found that shorter InMails actually see a much higher response.
Messages up to 800 characters receive an above average response, with messages under 400 characters performing best of all.
However, 90% of those recruiting on LinkedIn send messages longer than 400 characters. So sending a shorter message can really help you stand out from the crowd.
17. Don’t send on Friday or Saturday
It makes sense that weekends would be slower-response days for sending messages on LinkedIn. But, oddly enough, messages sent on Sundays significantly outperform those sent on Fridays.
Other than avoiding Fridays and Saturdays, it doesn’t seem to matter much which day of the week you send InMails. Remember, though, that this is different from the best times to post content to your LinkedIn Page.
Easily manage your LinkedIn Page and all your other social channels using Hootsuite. From a single dashboard, you can schedule and share content (including video), reply to comments and engage your network. Try it free today.
Easily create, analyze, promote and schedule LinkedIn posts alongside your other social networks with Hootsuite. Get more followers and save time.