As of July 2015, LinkedIn had 380 million users spread out all over the world. The website adds two new members every second, and only 107 million of those users live in the United States.
That makes LinkedIn as global as any other social media platform, and an ideal place for you to market your business.
While LinkedIn is a great resource for business professionals, it remains an unknown factor to the Facebook and Twitter crowds. This is despite the fact that a large percentage of LinkedIn users are also on Twitter and Facebook.
But to the average person who does not have an interest in advancing their professional career, LinkedIn is a stuffed-shirt website where only boring people hang out.
Believe it or not, you should be using that perception in your social media marketing strategy to create a more engaging marketing approach. Your LinkedIn audience has a particular set of expectations and you’ll be most successful you meet them head on.
Understanding Your LinkedIn Audience
Your LinkedIn strategy will be a lot more successful when you understand who you are marketing to.
Why is LinkedIn considered stuffed-shirt by a large number of Facebook and Twitter users?
Because those users are not looking for the latest financial news to help them develop their investment banking careers. If you aren’t looking for stuffed-shirt stuff, then you are going to be repelled by it when you do find it.
That means that the most effective LinkedIn marketing strategy is one that offers the kind of information only LinkedIn users would want. Your latest white paper on the financial crisis in Europe would probably get lost among the Facebook conversations about the Monday Night Football game and what the Kardashians are up to now.
But it you put that article on LinkedIn, it will get traction. That is the simplest way to explain the difference between LinkedIn and every other social media platform available.
Quality Over Quantity
LinkedIn estimates that the top marketing brands on its platform post new content 112 times per month.
That comes down to a little under four pieces a day, which is a lot of content even if you’re doing effectively curation.
With most social media marketing strategies, quality and quantity go hand-in-hand. But with LinkedIn marketing, your strategy needs to be different.
The numbers are in your favor if you post more often, but only if you are getting an engaged audience to read and interact with your content.
You could post 200 times a day and it will not gain you an audience if your content does not have value to your readers. The idea of creating value for your LinkedIn readers is an especially important part of your LinkedIn strategy.
Targeting the Right Audience on LinkedIn
Before you can create value with your LinkedIn marketing, you have to know who makes up your audience. It is difficult to write a speech (at least not a good one) when you have no idea who you are going to be speaking to.
The good news is that LinkedIn can tell you exactly who your audience is by giving you a very powerful set of analytical tools you can use to see the exact demographics of the people visiting your company’s profile.
Disclaimer: in order to utilize the LinkedIn analytical tools, you must sign up for a premium account. But considering the return you will get on this investment, you’ll almost certainly recap that cost very quickly.
Once you have signed up for your account, you can use the LinkedIn analytical tools to show:
- Who has visited your profile (it is important that you create a complete and accurate profile so you can attract the right audience
- How often your traffic is interacting with your page
- Which people from within your industry have viewed your profile
- Which people from other industries have viewed your profile
- The titles and jobs of every person who has viewed your account
It is one thing to see that 200 people looked at your LinkedIn account yesterday. It is quite another thing to be able to see the names, company names, titles, and complete profiles of every person who has ever shown interest in your company.
That is analytical data you can use to develop a target audience profile.
Giving Your LinkedIn Audience Real Value
A pretty interesting statistic from the Buffer Social website shows us that LinkedIn referrals make up around 64% of the traffic a website gets, provided that website engages in LinkedIn marketing.
Facebook and Twitter together only bring in 31 percent, which shows how much value you can get when you have a well-honed LinkedIn strategy that differentiates your LinkedIn message from what you’re presenting on other social channels.
Now that we have established why you want to offer your target audience value, it is important to discuss how you offer value.
Around 60 percent of all people who use LinkedIn are looking for content that offers new insights into their industries.
The professionals on LinkedIn are interested in content that will make them more successful and give them the upper hand in their chosen field. This is much different than social media marketing for Twitter or Facebook, where you are trying to engage customers on an emotional level to get their attention.
The value your audience is looking for is information that will help them to be more successful in their careers.
On LinkedIn, your company needs to become an information resource for your audience, and give your audience members the tools they need to succeed.
What Not To Do With Your LinkedIn Strategy
The differences between LinkedIn and other social media platforms cannot be overstated, because those differences are critical to establishing a successful social media marketing program.
On most other social media platforms, while you should still focus on providing value, you can also leverage an emotional connection with your audience. But with LinkedIn, it’s all about offering professional value to the people who read your content.
Since we are dealing with a different type of marketing animal in LinkedIn, we need to understand what LinkedIn users do not want to see when it comes to content. Some of the things you do not want to do on LinkedIn include:
- Using click bait titles that do not accurately reflect the content of the article
- Posting content that was not well-researched or not told from a first person point of view (LinkedIn readers love to read information that was written in the form of a personal first-person story)
- Posting content that is not current (unless your audience is expecting historical information)
An article that offers some fun facts about Boston, MA would go over big on Facebook, but your LinkedIn users would have no use for it.
With other social media marketing plans, you can try a variety of content topics and find success with more than one. But on LinkedIn, your audience is looking to advance their careers with your valuable information, and you need to deliver or you will lose out on your LinkedIn marketing effectiveness.
Connect With Everyone
After we just spent all of that time talking about your target audience, now we are going to tell you to connect with everyone.
But there are good reasons why you should connect with people who look at your profile, send you an invite to connect with them, or show up as a recommended connection from LinkedIn.
Expand Your Audience
While you want to focus on reaching your target audience, you never know in what ways that audience can expand over time. For example, if your company manufacturers radio-controlled drones, you would expect your primary audience to be hobbyists and people looking for new information on the drone industry.
But as you look at who is checking out your profile, you notice that bloggers and media outlets are showing an interest in what you do as well. These are people who are putting cameras on your drones and getting spectacular air shots for their publications, and you never even thought of marketing to them.
As you expand your audience, you will expand your influence and bring more customers to your website.
Make Your LinkedIn Marketing Strategy Work For You & Your Audience
The people who are serious about their careers, your industry and your company spend hours a day on LinkedIn. They are looking for the latest industry information, and your insight into industry trends as they unfold.
The members of LinkedIn are aggressive about getting valuable information that will give them an edge in the corporate world.
If you can deliver what the people on LinkedIn want with your social media marketing strategy, then you will see the results in your increased web traffic and bigger revenues.