LinkedIn Marketing What’s Working Now

LinkedIn Marketing: What’s Working Now
LinkedIn continues to be a hotspot for B2B engagement and lead generation for good reason. The benefits are clear for larger organizations. 97% of the Fortune 500 use LinkedIn and engage with it as clients. But while the top of the industry food chain is a lucrative place to be, that’s not where the majority of LinkedIn users exist. That doesn’t mean the platform isn’t worth using, far from it.

Small to medium-sized businesses don’t just exist on LinkedIn - -they exist in a space of huge untapped potential. The e-commerce boom of 2020 has introduced new players into the field, many of them entrepreneurs and startups looking to get a foothold in their sectors.

There are currently 55 million companies registered on LinkedIn, compared to 740 million members worldwide. On a more broadcast-based platform like Facebook, that ratio would be overwhelming. However LinkedIn doesn’t function like most social media, and only using it as such is why so many haven’t maximized their impact on the platform yet.

Thankfully, every year brings us more techniques to optimize our time on LinkedIn. There are enough tools on the platform to satisfy business leaders, marketers, and anyone interested in generating high-quality leads consistently. Even better, these tools can be split up into the two focus areas every marketing professional on LinkedIn needs to understand:
  • Content
  • Networking

We’ll break down both focus areas as well as the relationship between them. We want to get to the heart of effective lead generation strategies on LinkedIn in 2021. Let’s start with the one that forms the foundation of the other two: content.

Content Marketing On LinkedIn

At the end of the day, lead generation is about appealing to the needs of the right person. In other words, you need to align your product or service directly with the problems of the strangers you want to convert into leads.

Without content, this is impossible to do. More importantly, the content you upload should convey one or more of the following:
  • Expertise (show you understand your field)
  • Authority (prove that you have valuable information on your niche)
  • Trustworthiness (external validation from audience or peers – see: networking)

These three qualities form what Google calls E-A-T, and they inform its Search Quality Evaluator Guidelines. While Google technicians use these guidelines to manually review content, E-A-T bleeds into Google’s search algorithm and machine learning habits. So where does this align with LinkedIn?

Both LinkedIn and the Google search engine recommend content based on relevance and quality. In fact, this general trend is why almost every social media site has moved away from displaying posts chronologically (although upload times are still a factor). Just take a look at your LinkedIn feed.

So how can you utilize E-A-T principles to organically boost your engagement on LinkedIn?

E-A-T Begins In Your Niche

Lead generation through content marketing can work whether you’re looking for B2B or B2C leads. But in both cases, you need to start by honing in on your specialist areas. Generalized content creates the illusion of expansive reach, but it can only offer surface-level engagement. Specialized content is an attractor because it’s content that answers your audience’s questions.

Remember, questions are how people search for experts, to begin with. High-quality lead generation here means:
  • Building your content around your ideal customer’s most pressing questions (expertise)
  • Presenting your product as a viable solution (authority)
  • Offering free value by answering the questions within the content (trust)

Don’t tease answers and hide them behind a transaction. Whatever answer you can give within a blog post, give it. If you aren’t being helpful for free, potential leads can always find a competitor who is.

Pay Attention To Your Headlines

Did you know that certain headlines are optimized for LinkedIn? These headlines aren’t just attractive to the platform’s general audience, LinkedIn actively uses them when deciding how highly to rank certain content.

That phenomenon comes down to a term software enthusiasts will know well: a machine learning feedback loop. Simply put, certain headlines naturally create engagement because they convey the information readers are attracted to. This data accumulates over time, and an algorithm interprets the results. Those results may be included in the next update cycle, creating an informed bias that favors certain keywords.

That’s a lesson for algorithms in general: the more effective something is, the more an algorithm will attempt to recreate it (so long as it continues to produce the desired results).

When it comes to writing the perfect headline, here are some insights B2B lead generation companies use to get ahead:
  • Listicles continue to be a popular article style (e.g. 8 Ways to Boost B2B sales on LinkedIn)
  • Thought leadership content that includes keywords like leaders ranks well on average
  • Headlines with the keywords habits, mistakes or successful tend to rank well

The most impactful keywords will change over time as the discussions around your core audience change. When that happens, it helps to think like a customer. Follow the discourse and pay attention to the different ways your ideal customers are getting their needs met.

Have A Content Schedule – And Stick To It

If you want to build trust, you need to be more than an expert or an authority. You need to be a consistent source of valuable information. A high-quality lead will rarely be hooked by one piece of content.

Having a content schedule is how you protect the trust you build with your audience through that content. You may be more familiar with how content schedules are presented on, say, YouTube (e.g. “Thanks for watching this video. I upload content every Tuesday and Thursday, so tune in next week when…”)

If someone likes your content enough to read all of it, you don’t want to leave them wondering when the next upload will come. A content schedule goes one step further by generating excitement, especially if you can tease what your future content will focus on.

Forging a connection through quality content and reliability may not seem like a direct way of moving leads through the buyer’s journey, but as sales guru, David Sandler, puts it:
“People buy emotionally, and they justify their decisions intellectually.”

Networking

“Advertising brings in customers, but word-of-mouth brings in the best customers.” – Jonah Berger, author and marketing professor

So, your LinkedIn profile is populated with high-value content that continues to get engagement. But the people liking, commenting, and sharing your posts are only doing that – none of them are turning into leads. Now what?

Well, there are two possible solutions, and they work best in tandem. Ultimately, marketing is the exercise of creating, developing and sustaining relationships with your audience. Relationships in business are about networking and direct support.

B2B tends to lean more on networks, or groups of like-minded professionals who are in a position to help each other in some way. B2C is more effective at building relationships through brand awareness and customer support. In both cases, you’re still attracting attention through E-A-T principles.

Generate Leads In Your Comments Section

Content is the attractor, but your ability to drive conversation is what seals the deal once your audience is in the room. Ending a blog post with a question is a great way to get leads responding in your comments section. Not only does this boost your overall engagement, but it establishes contact in a space where your core knowledge is still the main focus.

Remember, when responding to comments you’re speaking directly to one person but also broadcasting to anyone following along. So engage from a position of helpful authority and warm up those leads.

Join A LinkedIn Group

Or better yet, create one if your audience is big enough to spark a few conversations a week. LinkedIn groups organize themselves by interest, meaning the best thing to do is find one that aligns with your content, company and goals.

There are two types of LinkedIn groups: listed and unlisted.

A listed group is publicly visible. You can find it through the search tab, similar to public Facebook groups. Depending on the privacy settings of the group, you may only be able to see posts once you’re accepted. Unlisted groups are exclusive spaces that you can only access via an invitation from an authorized member, making networking that much more important on LinkedIn.

Some of the best groups on LinkedIn include:

So, when marketing on LinkedIn, here are some tips to keep in mind:
  • No one likes a sales pitch – offer value and cultivate relationships.
  • Populate your profile fully, so you can link back to it.
  • Collaborate via guest posts to cross-promote audiences with peers you respect.
  • Being an expert attracts people, being helpful and reliable keeps them around.
  • Create content that answers pressing questions.

AUTHOR_NAMEAbout the Author:
Michael is a writer & content strategist. His main areas of expertise are business growth & sales. He loves traveling, delicious food and cars.
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