Serious Business: LinkedIn Marketing Tips from the Pros

LinkedIn has truly come of age in recent years. With the recent launch of Influencers, Pulse and a deeper integration with SlideShare, LinkedIn has become the definitive professional publishing platform. Here at Spredfast, we’re excited about the content opportunities for marketers on LinkedIn—and we wanted to know more.

That’s why Spredfast recently co-hosted a webinar with LinkedIn titled “Grow your Business on LinkedIn for Free.” The channel’s Selin Tyler broke down truly useful best practices and inside scoop, including this eye-opening stat: On LinkedIn, content sees seven times more engagement than job postings do. Spredfast’s VP of Services, Carolyn Pawelek, outlined tips and tactics from our experience. Our special guests from Highmark Health and Level 3 Communications shared expertise, insights, and real-world examples, too.

It was definitely an information-packed hour, but here are three perspectives that stood out for us:

1. The LinkedIn audience is different than that of any other channel

People don’t come to LinkedIn looking to have product pushed on them. Instead, LinkedIn members are looking to build their expertise, stay abreast of industry trends, and make professional connections.

Here’s proof: When US professionals were asked why they follow companies on LinkedIn:

  • 76% said they are looking to stay informed on the industry
  • 63% want to stay up-to-date on the latest news from the company
  • 58% are interested in working for the company (and 49% used to work there)

It’s not that they aren’t interested in what brands have to offer. In LinkedIn’s study mentioned above, 49% of those surveyed did want to learn more about the company’s products and/or services. It’s just that the overriding mindset of the LinkedIn member is professional and career-focused.

Clearly, the LinkedIn member has a very different profile than someone visiting a company’s Facebook page or Twitter handle. Because members make their professional experience, job history, and other details public, marketers have access to rich information about those who follow their Company Pages. For example, Highmark Health’s Trish Imbrogno shared that most of the company’s LinkedIn followers are in the hospital and healthcare industry. (Not surprising, as HIghMark health is the third largest integrated healthcare delivery and financing system in the U.S.) LinkedIn data yielded the deeper discovery that most of Highmark Health’s followers hold management positions in the industry. Trish’s team uses this insight to tailor a portion of their LinkedIn content for maximum relevance to senior healthcare leaders.

Technology like Spredfast Conversations can help marketers gain even richer context and deeper understanding of the LinkedIn audience: our dashboards enable marketers to understand the LinkedIn audience at different points in time, across multiple pages—and in comparison to fans and followers on other social channels.

2. Match your tone to the unique context of LinkedIn.

As Highmark’s Trish Imbrogno put it, “How would you talk to a coworker you don’t know that well? How do you talk in a meeting? That’s the style you’re aiming for on LinkedIn, and it’s quite different than the way we engage on other channels.”

Imbrogno shared two great examples. On Facebook, Highmark Health is very warm and personal:

While on LinkedIn, the brand’s tone is much more direct, factual, and professional:

Level 3’s Stacey Sayer agrees with this approach. She explains, “People are on LinkedIn to build their careers. That’s a different context than on Facebook or Pinterest, where our posts are mixed in with recipes and grandma’s selfies with her dog. We really look to marry our content, tone and voice to the context of LinkedIn.

Level 3 shares multiple types of content on LinkedIn, from blog posts, case studies, and infographics to social event promotions and even maps of the network’s coverage area. In fact, Sayer notes that coverage maps are far and away the brand’s most popular posts.

The trick, of course, is maintaining the professional tone expected on LinkedIn while also keeping your brand identity. It’s a little like staying true to yourself, while acting appropriately within a business environment.

(Note: It’s still okay be funny on LinkedIn.)

3. Recognize that great LinkedIn performance might not look like you expect

We’ve already established that the LinkedIn audience is pretty buttoned-up in both tone and behavior. With that in mind, it makes sense that your engagement levels on LinkedIn may be different than on Facebook and Twitter. For example, 5 shares and 13 comments on LinkedIn is really high for Highmark Health. Still, with a clear, data-driven strategy, Highmark Health has increased its LinkedIn followers by almost 125% this year, and engagement is up 400%.

Remember that LinkedIn can be a very strong broadcast channel. You can train people to check your Company Page first for exclusive news and information. And when people do engage, their activity is shared automatically in their news feed, which spreads your best content even further.

For Level 3, anything more than 1% engagement on organic posts is outstanding—but the quality of engagement is much more valuable. Level 3 receives significantly higher quality leads from its LinkedIn efforts than with any other channel. As an example, Sayer said, “I can get 1,000 leads from Twitter and maybe half of those from LinkedIn, but the leads from LinkedIn are much more likely to continue through the sales process with us.” Sayer chalks that up to the unique LinkedIn context and mindset — LinkedIn users are looking to do business.

If you’d like to check out the full webinar, you can view the on-demand webcast or check out the SlideShare.

Austin Lytle's picture

Austin Lytle

Austin Lytle is a Senior Product Marketing Manager at Spredfast where he works with customers and the Spredfast product team to make sure we are delivering the world's best social software platform. Austin spent three years running political campaigns in Texas and Louisiana. A New Orleans native, he is avid cyclist and lover of music and wine.