With an estimated 225 billion users each month, LinkedIn is listed as the third most popular social media site, but it often gets the shaft when businesses start to think about marketing. In Weber Shandwick’s 2015 report Socializing Your CEO: From Marginal to Mainstream, we find 22% of CEO’s are active on LinkedIn vs 10% on Twitter and 0% with a public profile on Facebook.
If you’re looking to connect with CEO’s who might be viable leads or customers for you, you’ll want to start with LinkedIn. Most of us are comfortable with the B2C world of Facebook for marketing, but using LinkedIn still seems a little mysterious to most companies. Companies often ask how to use LinkedIn for marketing without spending hours scouring the site for just the right contact?
Identify an industry or geographical area whose CEO’s you’d like meet or connect.
We’re talking about vertical marketing here. Instead of trying to attract the attention of “anyone” and “everyone”, choose who you want to target. With what industries do you enjoy working? Which industries bring your company the largest ROI? Make a list of no more than 5 to start.
Search for groups targeting those industries.
Most businesses join groups targeted toward their industries instead of joining the industry related groups of their customers. Staying in touch with people in your industry has its benefits, but don’t stop there. Look for groups with over 10,000 members that have an active or very active ranking. This allows you a better opportunity to connect with more people who are actually using the group to find information. Marketing through LinkedIn Groups allows you to connect with a wider group of people than just through your connections alone.
Observe the group.
Make a note of who posts the most articles. Which articles or questions receive the most response? Are your competitors already over-posting in this group? Join 2-3 groups in each of your five targeted industries that don’t already have a lot of your competitors posting updates in their group.
Research the members.
In a group of 50,000 members it’s impossible to research all the members. When you’ve joined 10-15 groups it’s 15x impossible. LinkedIn automatically starts your list with your 1st degree contacts followed by 2nd degree and 3rd degree. Who do you already know in these groups? Who do you know that knows someone in the group? Ask for an introduction from someone who knows the contact you want to know. Click “follow” under the name of people you’d like to know and you’ll receive updates when they post. You can then comment and begin some interaction with them.
Interact but don’t be salesy.
After you’ve observed the group and you have an idea of what kinds of posts get the most response, it’s time to start some interaction. You can start by commenting on or liking a post someone else has written. You can also post a link to one of your blog posts. If you offer a link to one of your blog posts, make sure it answers a question the customer has instead of promoting your service out right. You want to offer ideas and resources not a sales pitch. You also want to be original and engaging.
Review your success
Do some posts or comments foster engagement more than others? Why? Check the analytics of your B2B website. Are you seeing more traffic from LinkedIn? Always analyze the work you’ve done and don’t stop after just a day or two. LinkedIn is just like other social media platforms, it takes sometimes months of building your connections and finding out what your audience needs before you start to see the results in sales and real contacts.
LinkedIn Groups are perfect vertical marketing opportunities. Many of your target markets are already grouped together looking for information relevant to their industry. If your product or service solves a problem they have then you are a perfect fit for their group.
Don’t forget, even though you are on a business site, B2B social media doesn’t have to be boring. Pick up the pace and offer a breath of fresh air with some new social media ideas.