If you have explored paid LinkedIn advertising opportunities for your business, you know that they are expensive (however, they are highly-effectively with the proper budget.) For marketing professionals managing a social media strategy, you most likely handle the messaging and distribution to your company’s LinkedIn page, but without a substantial social media budget, you tip toe around LinkedIn advertising opportunities. And then if you’re a non-marketing professional, well, you probably have a LinkedIn profile and that’s just about it, unless you’re one of the lucky ones that has a marketing resource publishing to your profile as well. This is all a good start, but there are so many more ways to use LinkedIn for business growth.
Whether you’re a marketing professional actively managing a social media strategy or a professional looking to leverage your LinkedIn network, there are a multitude of ways to increase brand awareness, engagement and lead generation for your company using free LinkedIn features. And while I say that they’re all free, there is the cost of your time, but done right, investing your time into LinkedIn can yield measurable results for your business.
Free Ways to Use LinkedIn for Business:
Tactic #1: Publishing to LinkedIn Company Updates AND LinkedIn Profiles
By now most companies with a LinkedIn profile and a social media marketing plan will routinely update their company status understanding that LinkedIn has over 500 million users with 40% of them visiting network each day.1 But what about all of those personal profiles of employees of your company? You know, those profiles that mainly remained untouched until someone is either looking for a new job or the person receives an automated LinkedIn email alerting them that someone has requested a connection or has a work anniversary.
Those untapped personal profiles are of extreme value to ROI of your company’s social media investment. People are more likely to follow a personal profile than a brand and they also prefer to engage with other people, not companies. The lesson here is that while you may be publishing company updates, publishing updates to LinkedIn profiles is a huge opportunity for you to extend the reach of your updates because:
- Your connections are notified each time you publish an update on LinkedIn; and
- Your network can increase the reach of your post by sharing it with their own networks (when your connections like, comment or share your post, it becomes visible to your connections’ first-degree connections.)
With CEOs on LinkedIn having on average 930 connections2, I would say it’s worth having the discussion with your company’s key constituents on whether they are comfortable with making their personal profiles part of the larger social media marketing strategy. You can also consider incorporating your company’s thought leaders, sales team and executive management into the conversation to maximize the variances among their different audience networks.
Tactic #2: Use LinkedIn Publisher to Post Articles
Frequent, informative LinkedIn posts are first steps in establishing a LinkedIn marketing strategy, but the downside to posts is that a very limited number of people actually see them. Visibility of your posts all depends on how many followers your company and colleagues have, how engaged they are with your posts and how LinkedIn’s algorithm works.
To boost the visibility of the content you are already publishing and promoting, you can use LinkedIn Publisher to post articles to personal profiles. Good reminder – LinkedIn articles can be published by people to their own profiles, they cannot be published to company pages. The benefits of using the LinkedIn Publisher feature include:
- LinkedIn Publisher articles are indexed on Google and show up in organic search results.
- LinkedIn Publisher articles are easily shared and when people do share your article, they are sharing and promoting your brand and business.
- Articles are easier to find on your profile since you’ll most likely create fewer articles than posts. Posts eventually get buried, because of the volume and frequency, but articles have a longer more prominent shelf life.
- Articles help to establish your authority on a specific subject of interest to your connections who may be researching you or your company’s products or services.
Take for example a recent blog post on your company website. In addition to publishing a message to your company profile page and hopefully some of your key constituents’ personal profiles, you can choose to also repurpose the content as an article on one of those profiles. Choose which profile makes the most sense based on the article content and whose network would most likely benefit from the information, as those will be the connections most likely to engage with the content.
Worried about duplicate content penalties? You need not worry about this with LinkedIn Publisher articles , but to be on the extra safe side, you can tweak the article headline to help you rank for another key search term. You’ll also limit your risk of duplicate content if you publish just a portion of the original content and then link over to the original, full version. You can also add a disclaimer at the beginning or end of the article that says something along the lines of, “This article was previously published by [business name] on their blog at [URL].”
This is a great article that dives further into the do’s and don’ts of re-publishing content on LinkedIn.
For step by step instructions on how to start using LinkedIn Publisher, click here.
Tactic #3: Join and Publish to LinkedIn Groups
I get very excited when talking about LinkedIn groups! So. Much. Value. And I will go out on a limb and say that I bet most of you reading this article or not using them to your benefit.
LinkedIn hosts thousands and thousands of specialized groups. You can literally find a group for nearly any interest. These groups are typically led and administered by industry professionals who wanted to create an online forum for other like-minded professionals to connect, contribute content and engage in conversation. Not only are these groups an easy way to connect with people in your professional niche, they provide another opportunity on LinkedIn to establish your credibility as an industry leader.
If you have posted something on your personal profile, and it qualifies as informative or educational content, select a LinkedIn group that could benefit from the content and start with publishing there. From my experience with clients, content engagement within groups far exceeds the engagement seen on standard profile posts. But poster beware, groups are not very tolerant of sales pitches and self-promotional content, so keep that type of content confined to your profile and out of the group conversations.
Groups are also a unique opportunity to connect with other people in your niche. By belonging to a group, you now have access to request connections with every other member within the group.
And last but not least, my favorite – You can set up and manage your own LinkedIn group. Establishing a group can help your target audience find and engage with you, as well as demonstrate your leadership within the market. This doesn’t necessarily mean your group has to target prospective customers; it could exist to support customers, user groups or industry peers. It’s your group, so the options abound.
Tactic #4: Use Hashtags with Your LinkedIn Posts
Hashtags aren’t just for Twitter and Instagram; LinkedIn supports the use of hashtags too. Hashtags on LinkedIn are actually searchable and by incorporating them in your messages you can significantly increase the visibility of your posts. Really the only rule is to make sure that the hashtags you use are relevant to your content, company and industry. I try to stick to 2 or 3 hashtags on LinkedIn posts, as I find when I see more than that, I get distracted away from the content and focus on the hashtags, especially if they are clever. But, you should feel free to use up to 5 or 6 hashtags per post, that’s completely acceptable.
How are You Using LinkedIn for Business?
The bottomline is that LinkedIn is a social network and whether you’re a marketer or business professional, to see a result from your LinkedIn activity, you have to be ‘social’. Hopefully you are already boosting your own engagement by liking, commenting and sharing other posts within your network and publishing your own updates consistently (LinkedIn’s feed algorithm promotes those who post frequently.) With those basics underway, there are numerous other ways to avoid the expense of LinkedIn advertising while taking advantage of all that LinkedIn for business has to offer. The results are up to you and the time you put in to making LinkedIn work for you.
Need help driving a return on investment from your social media strategy? Our social media strategists and inbound marketing specialists can help.
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