The business network LinkedIn plays an increasingly important role in social recruiting and employer branding. Through clever content marketing, you can generate new leads via the platform and turn strenuous cold calling into strategic social selling. Today I'll show you how you can profit from LinkedIn , especially in the B2B sector.
What is LinkedIn?
The US platform has been offering exchanges on an international level since 2003 and is now part of Microsoft. Globally, LinkedIn has more than 600 million members: with around 14 million in the DACH region, LinkedIn is hot on the heels of its German competitor XING. Linkedin Marketing therefore plays an important role for many companies in their communication strategy and for employer branding. Despite similar functions to Facebook, members on LinkedIn focus more on specialist topics and discuss news from their industry. Colorful pictures and funny videos tend to remain the exception.
It is therefore advisable to maintain a platform-independent presence. On a company blog, for example, the published content remains permanently intact and is accessible without hurdles. From there, you can easily distribute it to various online platforms.
At LinkedIn , in addition to free basic personal profiles for employees and freelancers, there are also company pages and groups. You can follow personal profiles and company profiles - or, in the case of the personal profile, send a contact request.
Does Linkedin incur costs?
There are four variants of paid premium memberships on the platform:
- Career: Applicants can specifically attract the attention of recruiters in order to find a new job.
- Business: users can expand their network without restrictions and, for example, write to non-contacts. They also get access to business insights and online video courses.
- Sales: With the Sales Navigator, sales specialists keep track of their growing network, generate leads for their social selling more efficiently and find contacts in the target market more easily.
- Recruitment: With the products LinkedIn Recruiter and Recruiter Lite, headhunters can find top candidates faster and contact them directly.
Build a sustainable network with LinkedIn
Particularly in the B2B sector, long-term relationships and expert status can be established with LinkedIn . Instead of randomly collecting contacts, you should show genuine interest in your network on LinkedIn . Many buyers of equipment or high-priced products in B2B use the platform as a source of information. In doing so, they monitor their newsfeed or inquire in expert groups. They don't just get information once, but repeatedly over a longer period of time. In B2B, a major investment is not decided overnight.
The faces behind your company
In general, people today are interested in the faces and stories of companies. Those who establish themselves as specialists on LinkedIn underline their own expertise - and that of their employer. In the process, the professional position merges with the person. Ideally, employees bring with them a certain willingness to open up and reveal personal details.
Part of LinkedIn marketing can be the targeted development of one's own employees into brand ambassadors - and making their personal brand part of the employer brand. This requires a lot of trust on the part of the company and loyalty on the part of the employees. Companies should encourage their employees, but only if they are interested and communicate authentically as a consequence.
If colleagues are interested but unsure, training courses, guidelines and contact persons within the company can be used. In this way, the company can specifically communicate how the employees are allowed to appear. At all times, it should be transparently recognizable that it is not the company itself that is communicating. At the same time, employees must be made aware not to divulge company secrets or violate competition law.
Through your own employees, the company's content can be distributed more broadly. If a colleague shares the company post, the content reaches a whole new target group. In addition, the post is perceived as less promotional when employees recommend it rather than the company. Employees can post industry-relevant content and answer specific questions. If you save them as a source of information, you might also approach them about buying a product.
LinkedIn as a source of information for B2B content
The great art is to provide individually suitable content for all those involved in the buying process and to build trust. The entire range of content formats can be used to convey complex information in a clear manner: from blog articles and infographics to white papers, videos and e-books.
A CEO is interested in the "big picture", while the engineer or IT specialist can use a great deal of expertise and detail. What they all have in common is that they are looking for high-quality, helpful content. Since people have different preferences when it comes to formats, a carefully chosen mix of text, infographics, images and videos is a good idea. Current and relevant topics that are prepared in pleasantly readable and thoroughly researched articles tailored to the target group are particularly popular.
As on many other social media platforms, you'll notice that posts with images attract more interest. Even a well-written and entertaining text is difficult to compete with a video or an infographic that can be grasped at a glance.
LinkedIn in social recruiting
If you create a Linkedin company profile, the employees are visible and approachable as ambassadors of the company. With a meaningful company profile, the employer brand can be strengthened and in active sourcing, especially latent job seekers can be addressed, which is particularly useful for "shortage occupations". First analyse who your target group is. Very young people are less represented on LinkedIn , so your search for trainees on Instagram or Snapchat promises more success.
In addition to customers, LinkedIn is an excellent way to address applicants. In the company profile, the company can present itself, its products and its team - and provide a look behind the scenes.
Two examples: In a short video, an employee shows how logistics work in the company. Or: In a review of the summer party, the company tells how they celebrated together. This way you show competence and the personal face of your company.
Content with added value and a clever sideways glance at competitors
The right format and cleverly chosen hashtags are not always enough to generate lasting interest. Consider in advance exactly who you want to reach with your content. Which topic offers your target group added value and new food for thought? Is your content credible, current and relevant? Without becoming a copycat, it doesn't hurt to take a look left and right. Which content and formats are your competitors successful with and which contributions quickly disappear into oblivion? Learn from your successes and failures - and observe the competition.
If you run a company profile, you can look at important parameters via the analysis data of LinkedIn Analytics. How many times was your post viewed, how high is the click-through rate and how many comments did your post achieve? If you look at this data regularly and thoroughly, you will learn to align your content and the appropriate formats even better to your target group.
When and how to post on LinkedIn ?
The question always arises at what time of day posts achieve the most success and how often should be posted. For LinkedIn , regular posts are a good idea, although a daily rhythm is not mandatory. Two to three good posts a week can be sufficient.
Whether your target group reacts more in the morning or in the afternoon, on Wednesday or on Thursday, you can try out in the sense of "learning by doing". Nevertheless, it has been shown that posts in the morning, evening or during the lunch break meet with slightly more response than publications at 6:00 a.m. or on the weekend.
Look for quality rather than quantity in your articles. You can also build your status as an expert by regularly sharing and curating other people's articles, i.e. content curation. This will make your presence an important source of quality content for your industry and subject matter. Of course, you should not redistribute other people's articles unseen, because you want to offer your network high quality and added value.
You can read more useful tips in OMT magazine's LinkedIn guide.
Advertising on LinkedIn
As a complement to organic posts, you can also run LinkedIn ads with multiple targeting options. These include sponsored content such as native ads as image or video ad, text ads and sponsored InMails. As the name suggests, the first two examples are advertisements, and in the case of InMail, they are direct messages.
The advertising company pays for sponsored InMails if they are delivered successfully. Sponsored content and text ads are offered in the variants cost-per-click or payment per thousand impressions of a previously defined target group.
LinkedIn Marketing - My conclusion
You should focus on LinkedIn marketing for your company. In doing so, you kill two birds with one stone. With suitable content, you establish yourself as an expert and contact person - and by building an employer brand, you support social recruiting.
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