Three ways to use LinkedIn in your marketing
Business-to-business marketing, including research, connection and communication
When your business is about selling complex technology products to business buyers, some people are sceptical about the relevance of social media. But there are huge differences between the social media platforms and who uses them. LinkedIn is unashamedly a business to business platform, optimised for people who want to build business relationships.
My clients are almost all software, engineering and tech businesses and for some of them, LinkedIn is an important and effective part of their marketing strategy:
1. Connecting directly to new customers
A staggering proportion of business decision makers in the UK use LinkedIn (some more than others, of-course). With an upgrade to the LinkedIn sales tools you can effectively seek out the organisations and people in your target market and start building sales relationships with them. Think direct marketing but far, far improved.
As with all marketing, the better you understand your target market the easier and more effective this is. For the best results, think carefully about who you want to sell to, their characteristics and demographics. Take a little time and apply some thought to who you connect to on LinkedIn and how you start the conversation.
Unlike email marketing, the people you can reach out to on LinkedIn have all consented to being contacted (so there are no immediate e-privacy or GDPR issues). What’s more, the LinkedIn developers are very skilled at nudging all but the most resistant people to respond to connection requests and messages.
2. Keeping your name out there
Twenty years ago, it made sense to send regular press releases to the kinds of publications that your target customers were likely to read. Now, your customers are more likely to look at their email or phone to learn about their industry or profession.
LinkedIn isn’t the kind of platform where posts disappear into the noise if you don’t get out there every single day; the key is to post updates that your contacts will notice and respect. People still want to know what their peers are doing – from project updates and case studies, to celebrations of qualifications or awards. We are happy to see companies supporting good causes and we like to see evidence of success and growth in our sector.
The key thing is to leverage your network so that your posts are shown to as many people as possible, by being shared or liked. So, email your closest contacts: colleagues, partners, etc. and ask them to like or leave a comment on your post.
In this way your brand, your values and your customer successes will be seen by an ever-greater proportion of your target audience and you will have more opportunities to start sales conversations.
3. Checking out the competition
Chances are, your customers know more about your competitors then you do. And that’s a problem when you are planning what to develop next, which markets to expand into or how to position your marketing messages.
By following companies and key individuals on LinkedIn, you can start to build up a picture (albeit incomplete and biased) about the new products and services they have in the pipeline; the value-add they claim to deliver for customers; where they are exhibiting or giving talks and who they are partnering with.
As a social network, LinkedIn is about two-way communication. If you look at someone’s profile, chances are they will be notified and may well look at yours. So, start by checking that your company page and the profiles of your key staff are all up to date and do justice to your products and services.
In time you are going to need a proper plan of action, but for now, just give it a go. Start in a small way. Look and listen before jumping in with both feet. And above all be professional and considerate, remembering that behind every profile is a potential partner or customer.