LinkedIn Marketing: A Helpful How-To Guide to Get You Started

These tips may help you use LinkedIn marketing to grow your brand and reach new and existing customers.
President and Founder, Clarion Enterprises Ltd.
June 15, 2016

Are you looking for ideas on how to market your business? If so, LinkedIn marketing may be a tool you could consider adding to your toolkit. LinkedIn has approximately 433 million members worldwide, with more than 128 million in the U.S. Professional membership is growing at a rate of more than two new members per second. As one of the world's largest professional networks on the Internet, it may be time to consider LinkedIn as part of your overall marketing strategy.

If you're interested in giving LinkedIn marketing a try, these nine suggestions may help you get started:

Create a Company Page for Your Business

Over 9 million companies have company pages on LinkedIn. There could be many benefits of having a company page. For example, a company page on LinkedIn may give you a ready-made platform for telling your company story. You can list your products and services, your specialties, as well as company events.  

A company page may help you attract followers who are interested in buying your products and services. And, it may give you the opportunity to engage with your followers. You can also ask your customers to post recommendations or positive reviews of your products or services, which could help in influencing prospective customers. What's more, you can share jobs and other career opportunities that may help you attract talent.

If you're not sure how to set up your company page, LinkedIn has a step-by-step guide.

Make Your Company Page Sing

There are many things you can do to make your company page stand out. For example, rather than just listing your products and services, you can showcase your company through video, which could help increase engagement. You can choose an attractive banner that's in line with your company brand. You can also add images of your products to make your page visually engaging.

As one of the world's largest professional networks on the Internet, it may be time to consider LinkedIn as part of your overall marketing strategy.

Consider using the company updates feature to share rich content that helps your customers. This could encourage them to come back for more. The range of content you can share is wide, including product releases, articles, how-to-guides, e-books, promotions, white papers, case studies, infographics, surveys, requests for feedback and webinars. You can also ask your followers questions to generate engagement.

Add Keywords to Your Company Page

LinkedIn has a search feature that allows members to search for specific products, services or skills sets. Adding relevant keywords to your company page may help members find your business. You might want to start by using the search feature to test certain keywords to see what results you get. Consider experimenting with several keywords to help you find the right keywords for your business. You may want to ask yourself, "What keywords would potential customers use to look for my type of services or products?" If you need help in this regard, consider using Google's Keyword Planner to give you keyword ideas.

Set Up a Showcase Page

A Showcase Page is an extension of your Company Page. It's used for spotlighting any part of your business that you see fit. This could be a brand, a particular unit or department in your company, a program or an initiative. It's basically a dedicated page to specific aspects of your business with messages targeted to specific audiences for that segment of your business. It can help you generate engagement and strengthen relationships with LinkedIn members.

Participate in LinkedIn Groups

LinkedIn allows members to join up to 50 LinkedIn groups out of the nearly 2 million groups available. Consider choosing a few where your target market is most likely to be and participating in them. As a business owner, you probably don't have the time to participate in 50 groups; you may want to consider assigning different team members to be responsible for engaging with a number of relevant groups.

While LinkedIn groups can be an excellent marketing tool, it's important to observe some of the etiquette so that you don't end up being viewed as a spammer.

  • Post only valuable, relevant content that is helpful to the membership.
  • Engage with the group and help them get to know you and your company.
  • Build your credibility by providing helpful articles and reports from sources other than your own.
  • Ask relevant questions, and monitor and respond to answers and comments.
  • Don't hijack another member's posting. That is, when you see a thread of comments on a posting, don't comment by going off-topic and unintentionally starting your own thread within the discussion. As well, don't post your own article in the thread. Simply starting another conversation would be more appropriate.
  • Take the time to support others' posting by pressing "like" if you like a post, and by answering members' questions or commenting on posts. You can also reply to a posting privately if you want to provide more in-depth answers or connect with the member.

You can build relationships with members of a group by sending an invitation to connect. As the group members get to know and trust you, they may be more willing to explore your company page and your offerings if it's what they're looking for.

Start Your Own LinkedIn Group

You can also set up your own LinkedIn group and promote it by inviting people to join. A group can help more members see your content and learn about what your company offers. From the group discussions, you can get insights about what's important to your existing and prospective customers. By putting the link to your website in the group's homepage, you can also drive traffic to your site.

One important thing to remember is that, unlike your company page, where visitors expect you to promote your company, your LinkedIn group needs to be geared to providing education, information or inspiration. In other words, it's not just about selling yourself—it's about helping the people who join your group. As the group's owner, you're selling yourself by building your credibility as a company that genuinely wants to add value.

Consider Sponsored Updates

Consider taking your LinkedIn marketing updates to the next level by giving LinkedIn’s Sponsored Updates a try. Sponsored updates allow you to share targeted content and promote your company to the feed of any LinkedIn member, not just your followers. This means that your messages could be aimed at the right people, which could also help you grow your followers.

There are four main aspects to creating a sponsored update:

  1. Post your update on your company page.
  2. Select "Sponsor an Update."
  3. Choose a name for your campaign.
  4. Select your target audience (locations, company, job titles, gender, age, etc.).

Check Out Sponsored InMail

Another LinkedIn marketing option is its Sponsored InMail feature. This feature allows you to send targeted messages to potential customers’ LinkedIn Inboxes. This can be a direct, personalized way to market your products and services. You may also benefit from real-time delivery because your messages are only delivered when LinkedIn members are active on the site.

Have a Look at Display Ads

You may have noticed display ads on your LinkedIn homepage. They usually appear on the side of the homepage, under "Ads you may be interested in." They also appear as text link advertisements at the top of the homepage.

It’s another form of LinkedIn marketing that you may want to consider for your business. You have two ways of controlling your advertising costs, if you use display ads:

  1. Setting a budget for the maximum total amount per day.
  2. Setting bids, which is the maximum amount you want to spend for each click (or every 1,000 impressions).

If you're interested in giving ads a try, you can get started here. For self-service text ads, go here.

There's a lot more to learn about LinkedIn marketing, and other social media marketing for that matter. But these are some starting points. Consider keeping an eye on LinkedIn marketing insights that you come across and do your own research. You might find that it's time well spent.

Today, ignoring social media marketing may no longer be an option. If you're still not sure, you may want to follow some of the competitors in your niche market and see what they're up to in terms of social media marketing. It may help you decide whether or not LinkedIn marketing is right for you.

 

For more tips on using social media for your business, access our exclusive guide, The Right Content, Right Now: Navigating Social Media for Business.

 

Read more articles on social media strategy.

Photo: iStock
President and Founder, Clarion Enterprises Ltd.