Last updated on January 22nd, 2015 at 10:31 am
The social media platform LinkedIn is more than another social media outlet; it is a way for B2B companies to uniquely engage with other businesses in their industry in a professional setting, making it easier to make connections that lead to increased web traffic, leads and quality relationships.
What can you learn from inspiring examples of B2B firms using LinkedIn to their business advantage?
Build a Strong Company Profile
Before crafting your company profile, have a strategy and a series of goals in mind. Is your intention to recruit employees? Promote a product? Educate others in your industry on your company? While all of these can work in conjunction with one another, try to narrow your goals to make your company profile stronger in the areas of your focus.
For example, be clear about who you are as a company and know who you want to build relationships with, including specific information in your company profile such as: “industry sector, company, job title of relevant decision maker, and geographic location.”
LinkedIn can give a face to your business, humanizing your company in a way that attracts visitors and makes you more approachable. A well-designed profile page on LinkedIn allows B2B companies to “easily showcase their products and services; highlight their team expertise, share customer feedback, recommendations and more,” improving the visibility and credibility of the company. The profile page on LinkedIn is the first impression to viewers, so to create high performing pages, include essential information like company information, location, URL of the company website, etc. as well as more personal touches like the company story and employees, along with pictures and links to employee pages. Visitors to the profile page can get a true “feel” for what the company is about, engaging on a more personal level and building the company’s reputation within their network and/or industry.
Health Catalyst, a healthcare organization specializing in healthcare data warehousing and analytics, builds their smaller “up and coming” brand with an emphasis on education via content marketing. Apart from the free webinars, ebooks and weekly blog postings on their website, Health Catalyst uses sites like LinkedIn to create buzz within their own industry by educating visitors on their story as a company within their profile page, and by sharing news of their growth and content related to their field. In their company description, there is basic information but also why they started their company, their unique approach to their position within their industry, and their missions and goals as a company. They use their profile to tell their story, and give a face to their company, but also to include the specific and essential information visitors need to know.
In addition to the information provided in their profile, this company keeps visitors updated on their current status. For example, one of their most recent postings is a link to an article on Forbes highlighting their upcoming partnership with Allina Health. In this way, Health Catalyst finds success with their use of LinkedIn, keeping visitors current on their status as a company while educating them on their company’s goals, services and values through their profile page.
Post Creative Content
A major advantage to using LinkedIn is the ability to drive traffic to your company’s website. To do so, you must first build relationships with visitors and those within your network and then encourage them to “follow” your company on LinkedIn. After following your company’s profile, they are more likely to visit your website as they will now receive updates and information on a regular basis…but only if you keep them interested. But how do you build these relationships and garner traffic using LinkedIn? In a nutshell, creative content.
The cliché phrase “content is king” may be overused, especially in the SEO arena, but it’s the truth and LinkedIn proves this point. For B2B companies, LinkedIn can be used to educate others within your industry and keep them informed on your status as a thought leader (as seen above with Health Catalyst). But it can also be used to offer useful content that is relevant to those in your network.
The goal here is to create or share content (though creating your own content will drive traffic back to your website) that will catch the eye of your target reader. For example, consider the social media platform company HootSuite Media, Inc. HootSuite one of the world’s most widely used social relationship platforms, uses their LinkedIn profile to direct readers back to their blog/website through useful articles such as “Do Images Increase Facebook Engagement?” and “Everything You Need to Know about Social Media Search.”
Creative and quality content is an excellent way to drive traffic to your website and create a buzz on LinkedIn to keep readers coming back and building your network of followers.
We would also recommend checking out how to take advantage of Pulse, an app/publishing platform LinkedIn bought several years ago. Read our tips here on how to best use Pulse to your content advantage.
Generate Quality Leads
Most B2B companies use social media in some way as part of integrated marketing campaigns, but not all social media platforms are created equally. Each has its own pros and cons, but as a whole, LinkedIn is the most effective social media platform for businesses because of the ability to put your company in front of a network aligned with others in the same industry. It is also more professional, used by more C-suite decision-makers, and directly created for business connections, not just chatting and sharing. It is truly an all-in-one platform for B2B companies looking to generate leads.
According to a study cited in Hub Spot, of the over 5,000 businesses studied, traffic from LinkedIn generated the highest visitor-to-lead conversion rate at 2.74 percent, which is almost three times higher than both Twitter and Facebook. In addition, LinkedIn beat out all other social media when it comes to conversion rates: “Of all the traffic that came to these business’ websites via social media, .98% of that traffic converted into leads, compared to LinkedIn’s 2.74%,” the study wrote. LinkedIn is an ideal marketing tool for B2B companies because it is an inexpensive and highly effective approach, but should be integrated with other strategies for the best results.
Take the Internet marketing agency, Fuze SEO, a B2B company that helps clients to thrive through search engine optimization, content marketing, social media and integrated analytics. In an interview with CEO Jon Clark, Clark explains how his company uses LinkedIn to generate leads: “LinkedIn is an integral part of our business. We use it in many ways – to keep our ear to the ground with the latest happenings in the industry, generate leads and perhaps most creatively, we look at who has been looking at our staff’s profiles. We’ve had incredible success getting new clients by acknowledging when they’ve been interacting with our personal profiles. It’s amazing how effective a quick ‘Hello’ can be.”
It’s not just about being on LinkedIn, it’s about being an active participant. Every connection you make on LinkedIn is one more way to drive visitors to your website, so the message is to get connected. You can join discussions, groups, and associations to easily find others within your industry or you can start your own group to attract others who may want to buy from you, as explained in an article in Small Business Trends. It’s also a good idea to think of generating sales as a “secondary goal” with making connections as your primary goal. And that’s really the major lesson learned: focus on getting involved and building your LinkedIn presence and you might be able to reel in a higher amount of sales and leads.
Physician’s Group Management, an integrated physician billing, practice management and electronic medical record service, provides physicians with innovative solutions to help practices to run more efficiently. In an interview with Vice President of Business Development, Chris Saviano, this B2B company finds LinkedIn to be a “fundamental business tool that helps us target, reach and maintain our national customer base. Both our public relations and marketing strategy heavily rely on LinkedIn as well as its networking features to grow and support our business.” PGM uses LinkedIn’s ad services platform that “is uniquely positioned to allow us to deliver highly targeted messages based on customer profiles and demographics.” Through this service, companies can offer sponsored updates that raise brand awareness, build relationships, and drive quality leads.
In a featured case study, AppSense, a global technology company offering “a full range of support and technical services, including consulting, education, training, premium support services and more so you can get the most out of your investment,” features their “Follower Campaign” where they were able to increase followers on LinkedIn by 66 percent in less than a year. They found a quarter of all hires within the last year via LinkedIn Talent Solutions and 20 percent of all employees arriving in the last year introduced to the company through LinkedIn’s Career Page.
So, how did they do it and how are they winning on LinkedIn in the field of recruiting? First, they created a personalized Careers Page as part of their employer brand strategy, educating potential employees on their company’s culture. Next, they used LinkedIn’s Talent Brand Index to assess its performance against other companies in their field. Finally, AppSense did something that all B2B companies should bookmark: using their employees as “brand ambassadors,” encouraging them to engage and connect as well.
B2B companies should consider LinkedIn as an essential part of their integrated marketing campaign. Other social media sites have their strengths, but LinkedIn is designed for businesses and can be a highly effective tool to increase sales and spread company awareness.
Flickr photo via Creative Commons