When businesses begin using social media for marketing purposes, they typically start with Facebook and Instagram. And for good reason: These are two of the most popular social media platforms out there, with billions of monthly active users. If you want to attract customers, you should go to where the customers are.
But digital marketing has become more nuanced, and businesses see that targeted efforts on social media are more effective than simply maxing out their marketing budget on Facebook ads. A prime example of this shift in how businesses use social media is how businesses market themselves on LinkedIn.
Early on, many people thought of LinkedIn as something of a glorified networking event—suitable for posting your resume and job hunting. Now, the site has over 250 million active monthly users and has evolved into a professional social network where companies, industry experts, and content creators can interact.
And while it’s clear that businesses now need to optimize their LinkedIn, it shouldn’t just become another social media site for businesses to spend blindly on. Depending on the model and the short-term goals of your business, a LinkedIn marketing campaign may make more or less sense for you than for other companies.
Here’s a breakdown of whether or not your business should use LinkedIn as a digital marketing tool:
If your business primarily sells to other businesses, you need to be marketing on LinkedIn. If you’re not already, you’re behind: According to the network, 92% of B2B marketers use LinkedIn above all others, and 80% of marketing leads from social media are through LinkedIn.
If you’re the owner of a B2B business looking to expand your network and potentially find new customers, LinkedIn is where you go.
There are a few important reasons behind this thinking:
Lead Gen Forms
One of the biggest issues B2B businesses face is having to parse through unqualified leads to find the most promising possibilities. According to LinkedIn, they’ve helped solve this problem with their Lead Gen Forms, which they say reduces the cost per lead for 90% of customers.
Lead Gen Forms are pre-filled with accurate data pulled from a user’s Linkedin profile, so you can easily receive their information in just a couple of clicks. Incomplete or inaccurate forms add useless emails to your newsletter mailing list and lead to a loss of possible business due to a poor user experience.
You can also use LinkedIn’s dashboard to track the ROI of your lead generation campaigns, send automated content or offers to leads as a follow-up, and pull your leads off the site for use on other marketing automation platforms.
In 2018, LinkedIn revamped their Company Pages—also called just Pages—with an eye on using them to foster conversations and connect businesses with customers. LinkedIn added tools like Content Suggestions and Showcase Pages allow businesses to curate better content and promote new campaigns or projects.
If your preferred audience is other businesses seeking the kind of content that your newly targeted efforts and Showcase pages are providing, it’s now easier than ever for them to find you and your work.
Business Content Lives Here
If you have content specifically related to trends in your industry such as leadership, strategy, or productivity, LinkedIn is a great place to target a business-savvy audience. From videos to infographics to eBooks and presentations, other businesses know that LinkedIn is typically home to more sophisticated content that can give them actionable advice on how to succeed and grow.
Businesses Looking to Recruit
Whether you’re a B2B or B2C company, LinkedIn is an excellent place to start building your employee brand, which plays a major role in recruitment. Whether you like it or not, your LinkedIn page is usually a factor in whether potential hires consider your offers.
The war for talent is on, and making a good first impression with your LinkedIn page—with a detailed profile, branded imagery, and high-quality content—is crucial.
Here are some best practices for businesses looking to appeal to new candidates on LinkedIn:
- Brand your page and your content: Your logo, colors, and company name should be all over your company page, to give it a slick and professional look.
- Highlight the voices of your employees: Re-share content and posts that your employees are sharing on their own pages to give people a sense of who works for your company and how they feel about the brand.
- Don’t be afraid to engage: Give your company a voice on LinkedIn by sharing, commenting, tagging, and otherwise engaging with other content creators and brands on the site. This humanizes and personalizes your recruitment initiatives, plus creates more opportunities to expand your network. And if your business doesn’t have a large network of its own, how can you tap into the networks of others?
Recruiting and filling open positions is often an expensive and time-consuming task. By building an engaging and intriguing brand, you’ll drastically reduce overall costs while landing on the radar of influencers and industry leaders.
B2C Businesses Looking for Customers
If you’re a B2C company looking to expand your audience and find more customers, LinkedIn isn’t quite as urgent a need for you. You’re still more likely to get more bang for your buck on channels like Facebook and Instagram.
That being said, any serious business that doesn’t keep their LinkedIn page up-to-date and optimized is simply throwing away possible business. Incomplete profiles can sow seeds of doubt for new potential customers. A profile without search-friendly keywords reduces your visibility on Google. And failing to use LinkedIn at all means missing out on possible networking events, conferences, and other opportunities to find new partners and customers.
B2C companies may not get as much out of LinkedIn from a marketing perspective as B2B companies, but all channels in this day and age should be used to their maximum potential, and this one is no exception.
Entrepreneurs and Sole Proprietors
Finally, whether you’re a serial entrepreneur or a sole proprietor who isn’t sure that LinkedIn can do much for your bottom line, think again.
There is simply no better social network for business networking. By continuing to engage and optimize your page, you increase your chances of attracting venture capital attention, connecting with future partners, and finding projects that you can meaningfully contribute to.
So, should you market your business more with LinkedIn going forward? For the most part, the answer is a resounding yes. Expect the platform to continue tweaking its algorithm and encouraging conversation and content production from brands and creators the world over, resulting in an even greater treasure trove of engagement opportunities.
Additionally, as a small business, your goals can change at any time. You might pivot and begin offering a different kind of service, or enter growth mode and want to start recruiting more heavily. By always being ready with an optimized and high-quality LinkedIn page, you’ll be a few clicks away from a more marketable business.
Eric Goldschein is a staff writer at Fundera, a marketplace for small business financial solutions. He covers entrepreneurship, small business trends, finance, and marketing.