If you’re in the business of marketing, you understand the importance of creating great content. But no matter how great, your content is only effective if you share it effectively. Social media allows you to quickly share your website or blog content with your followers, their followers, and millions of more individuals across the platform. What separates LinkedIn most from other networks is that it’s intended to be professional. It’s ok to be conversational but the content you share on your company page and your personal profile should depict yourself and your organization in a professional light. This is especially important for Business to Business (B2B) organizations.
What is the best type of content to post on LinkedIn?
Instagram might be a great place to share photos of the massive ice cream sundae that you had during the weekend, but unless it pertains to your business, industry, or marketing strategy, it may not be the best type of content for LinkedIn.
LinkedIn is more of a thought leadership platform. Most of the content on your LinkedIn page should be news about your organization or your industry. The Content Marketing Institute discusses the 80/20 rule: 80% of your content should be about your customers and promotional material should be limited to 20%. Most of your posts should be designed to provide your customers with useful information or help them solve a problem. Blogs, videos and case studies are great ways your business can produce useful content.
This is a great opportunity for B2B organizations because by providing high-quality content about your organization or sharing industry knowledge, you are demonstrating thought leadership.
For a B2B organization on LinkedIn, here is what one might consider as part of the 20% promotional category:
- Awards and recognitions
- New business acquisitions or partnerships
- Upcoming or recent speaking engagements
- Trade shows or events that your business will be attending
- Press Releases
Post a mix of content about your organization and content that is not about the company. Social media is about sharing content and networking. If you see material from a credible source that pertains to your industry or client-base, share with your followers. I often share content about SEO trends, email marketing, or marketing-related stories that catch my attention.
This content is also fitting for your personal profile, along with personal accolades and the like.
Using Hashtags on LinkedIn
Hashtags are like your keywords. You want to include the relevant terms in your post, but you don’t want to go overboard. Think of it like SEO; keyword stuffing causes posts to look spammy and unprofessional. The same may be said about hashtags. The Social media management platform, Hootsuite suggests a maximum of five per post. Try to work one or two hashtags into the copy of your post and put the rest at the end. If you can’t fit them, it’s ok to put them all in the end. Don’t cram in a hashtag if it doesn’t fit. Remember: Avoid keyword stuffing.
Once you have hashtags in mind, search those hashtags on LinkedIn and confirm they are existing hashtags that hold your intended meaning. An acronym in your business or industry could also be used by another type of organization and have a completely different meaning. Pay attention to the type of content that is trending with that hashtag. If it doesn’t match your type of content, choose something more relevant.
The goal is to use a hashtag that is popular or has an established following to increase visibility of your post, but there is no rule against creating your own if you want to start a trend. If you are holding a large event, such as a conference and you’re expecting several posts regarding the event, consider a tag with the conference name and year and include it in posts regarding the event. If other businesses are taking part in the event, ask them to use the hashtag in their posts. Keep an eye on this hashtag to see what followers and attendees have to say.
When do I post on LinkedIn?
You have great content that you want to promote, such as an upcoming webcast. It’s ok to promote your webcast with multiple posts. Craft a series of posts with relevant hashtags and custom images to promote the webcast (Remember to include the registration link). To avoid looking too self-promoting, I would suggest you promote your webcast once every week. One strategy I’ve used in the past when promoting a campaign is posting on different days of the week and different times of the day to capture different audiences. Spreading posts out also allows you to mix in other content so visitors to your page will not see a string of posts promoting the same event.
There is a lot of research on the best times to post to LinkedIn. One school of thought was that because it was a business-related platform, post during business hours. However, a LinkedIn blog suggests that “there’s no hard and fast rule on timing that applies to every campaign and every piece of content.” LinkedIn suggests Tuesday and Thursday, early in the morning, lunchtime or early evening; with Tuesday between 10:00 a.m. and 11:00 a.m. being the sweet spot. Although, the social media platform found that several clients had success reaching senior C-suite decision-makers around 8:00 p.m.
Targeting Your Audience
According to a recent Hootsuite Blog, there are 675 million monthly users on LinkedIn, but only 27% are American. If your company only serves American businesses, you may want to consider targeting the posts on your business page to only those in the U.S. LinkedIn targeting allows you to reach specific audiences and filter out those who you don’t. If you produce content in English and Spanish, you can target each piece separately to users based on their preferred language.
There are many more targeting options if you want to reach organizations based on size, industry, or an individual based on job function. I work at BankBound, a digital marketing agency that works solely with banks, so I may want to target my posts for those in the financial industry.
One caveat to targeting is that it is a filter and applying to too many can narrow your audience more than intended. My practice has been to choose between industry and job function rather than selecting categories in both – unless your content is very specific.
If your organization is large and works with a variety of different types of businesses, has multiple lines of business, or a separately branded division, you may want to consider creating LinkedIn Showcase pages for those segments. This allows users to follow the pages and content most relevant to them. For example, BankBound is part of a company called PrintMail Solutions. Both serve the banking industry but have different core competencies. Some content may be perfect for both pages, but some may be more specific to each brand.
If you decide to set up Showcase pages for product lines or business segments, you won’t necessarily need to target these pages because they already have a specialized audience.
Employees Should be Social Media Marketers
Having employees linked to your profile establishes credibility for your business. Encourage your employees to join LinkedIn and list your company as their current employer if they have not already done so. Help your employees get started by hosting a LinkedIn lunch and learn. Trust me, if you provide free food, they will attend! Make sure they know the basics of LinkedIn and how important they are to your LinkedIn Marketing Strategy by encouraging them to engage with your posts.
A recent LinkedIn blog suggested that only 3% of employees share company content, but they generate 30% of all content engagement for a typical business. When employees share your content, it is visible to their network, and if their network engages the content, it can potentially reach their connection’s networks.
Give your employees something to share other than research. Humanize your organization. In my experience, posts that showcase pictures of the people in the organization get more likes than articles. If your company has team building or charitable event, share pictures with your followers. Your employees might be more likely to share images that they can relate to.
Photos of your company and your employees making a difference in the world can increase the sentiment of companies that do business with your organization. People want to see that your organization is human and that you care about more than profits.
LinkedIn is a valuable online business tool for B2B marketers. Utilize LinkedIn best practices, develop your own connections with your profile and share and target content with your company’s page. Connect with employees and let them be your advocates. Remember that like SEO, social media best practices change over time so be sure to keep up with the latest trends to keep your LinkedIn marketing strategy up to date.