The Rebirth Of LinkedIn
As you know, LinkedIn is massively on the rise since Microsoft took over in 2016. At the end of 2018, the social media platform had 590 million users, a two-year growth of +123 million. [Source: hootsuite.com]
It has become a platform where many business owners are seeing the real benefits, whereas pre-Microsoft ownership it wasn’t so hot. Now, 80% of B2B leads generated on social media come from LinkedIn. 80%! When you consider that 45% of LinkedIn users are in upper management, it makes for compellig stuff.
We manage over a dozen LinkedIn accounts for B2B businesses at the moment and it is definitely a more fruitful place in which to network and build your brand and positioning.
LinkedIn is growing
LinkedIn’s revenue is growing alongside its number of users. Q1 revenue is up 33% year-on-year. [Source: businessofapps.com] Microsoft paid $26.2billion for LinkedIn and naturally want to make their money back and more! They are a business like any other.
That said, there is still lots to be maximized within the free version and that’s what I’m going to be talking about here.
Ultimately, business owners and decision-makers want to connect with useful and/or relevant people and showcase the benefits they offer. It is the professional online network, we’d say (don’t shoot us, Twitterati!) If you gave us the choice of LinkedIn or Twitter, it’d be LinkedIn all the way. The fact that the optimal frequency for posting on LinkedIn is once a day compared to Twitter’s 15 is enough for us…. [Source: coschedule.com]
It’s worth noting, however, that some LinkedIn die-hards are complaining that it is becoming more like Facebook, full of pictures of food and cats, etc. But, hey, we’re all people at the end of the day and that’s what any social media is about. When you forget that, you won’t see the wood for the trees. Strike a good balance, we say.
But the fact that you can connect with professionals from specific industries with specific job titles… is something you can’t do elsewhere without paying or going through a lot of effort. Not that we’re lazy, you understand…! We’re simply aware that any potential time barriers, no matter how small, will put busy people off. That’s something that Micorsoft understands, for sure.
Benefits of LinkedIn for business
Again, LinkedIn allows you to target potential customers and suppliers effectively. Maybe you do want to target by industry and job title, but it could also be company size and location. Their search function is really cool but so many people aren’t taking advantage of it. I don’t think it will be long till LinkedIn monetizes this part.
Want to connect with restaurant owners in London, with whom you have at least one mutual connection? No problem. You’ll get a nice long list of people to connect with.
Of course, LinkedIn also allows you to join groups and share your expertise with (and learn from) others. It presents you the opportunity to build relationships with like-minded people. Like any organic social media channel, it isn’t about touting for work. You probably know a few people who do that on LinkedIn lots… and badly!
On top of that, LinkedIn features an algorithm that isn’t as revenue-focused as Facebook’s. This means if you post an article that shares insightful advice, a higher percentage of your connections (and their connections) will see it. Facebook’s organic reach is no more than 4%-5%, depending on your industry. [Source: social@ogilvy]
Personal vs Business
We recommend conducting most of your LinkedIn activity via a personal account rather than a company page, unless you’re a big national or international corporation. Basically, if there’s a face or faces to your business, put them front and centre.
A company page doesn’t allow you to be as proactive with network-building, for starters. It’s much harder to get people to follow you (business) than connect with you (personal). Just like back in the day, some businesses set up a personal profile on Facebook rather than a business page, and easily gather friends over working hard to get likes.
Plus, many people at the SME level would prefer to deal with a human than a faceless logo. There are huge advantages in building a personal brand alongside your business one. It is you who wants to be seen as the expert in your field. If people buy into you, they will buy into your company, not the other way around. Richard Branson is a good example of this, so it can work on the corporate level too! His personal LinkedIn account is a great one to follow.
Ideally, you’d also be connected to your employees on LinkedIn and they would help like, share and comment on your posts. This is an easy way of boosting the reach and engagement of your content.
It won’t break the bank…
As I alluded to earlier, LinkedIn does want you to upgrade to paid-for membership. Perhaps you want to snoop around other people’s profiles without them being able to tell, for example. But if your main goal is to connect with influential individuals and raise awareness of what you do and how you help, a standard free account is enough.
Perhaps you want to try LinkedIn Advertising. That can work well, as long as a £20 a day test for a month fits in with your budgets. But, at the mo, we’d get a bigger bang for our buck spending that £20 a day with Facebook, as you can target people by job title too, plus a whole lot more.
So, LinkedIn is a brilliant B2B tool if used correctly and the unwritten rules of etiquette are followed. If you post once a month, don’t expect miracles. If you spam people with sales content, expect people to disconnect or take a screenshot and moan about you publicly. Make sure your profile is complete and up-to-date. Oh, and have a nice profile pic. If you’re looking unhappy or out of focus, you’ve fallen at the first hurdle.
As ever, feel free to book a consultation if you’d like to find out more. Use the form below or go old school and call 01743 491356.
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