There’s a saying in the marketing world: “Content is king.” In other words, no other strategy can generate leads and grow a business quite like content marketing. And with billions of people plugged into the Internet on a daily basis, it’s hard to argue with that logic.
The question for business leaders is: Are you taking advantage of all the content marketing platforms available to your brand? Many marketers would answer “yes,” and point to their company’s official website and social media accounts. However, if LinkedIn is not part of your content marketing strategy, then your strategy is incomplete — and doubly so if you’re running a B2B company.
Let’s take a deep dive into why content marketing on LinkedIn can be so powerful. First, though, we need to answer another question:
It’s not as massive as Facebook, as visually appealing as Instagram, or as addictive as Twitter. So why prioritize LinkedIn as a platform for your content creation?
The simple answer is: LinkedIn can go places and do things that other social media platforms cannot. Here are just a few examples of what we’re talking about:
LinkedIn’s users. As of March 2020, LinkedIn has 675 million monthly users — up 14% since the end of 2018. While this is less than one-third of Facebook’s monthly user count, it is still a huge number. The key element is not how many users LinkedIn has, but the type of users they are. LinkedIn attracts the professional demographic — exactly the audience that B2B marketers want to target.
Global reach. If your B2B brand has global aspirations, then LinkedIn is the perfect platform on which to expand your reach. While the United States is LinkedIn’s biggest single market, it also boasts well over 200 million users in Europe and over 175 million in Asia Pacific. Moreover, the platform is available in 24 languages, which makes networking across national and linguistic borders that much easier. In fact, an ad on LinkedIn can reach up to 12% of the world’s population.
High engagement. In just a few years, LinkedIn has transcended its existence as a “recruitment platform” to become a multi-faceted, content-oriented professional network. As of early 2020, the platform reports 15 times more content impressions than job postings. They’ve also reported a 50% increase in year-over-year user engagement. Since 4 out of 5 LinkedIn users drive business decisions to some degree, this high level of engagement bodes well for content marketers seeking ways to expand their brand’s reach and generate more leads.
The Power of Content Marketing on LinkedIn
Now that we’ve discussed a few reasons why LinkedIn marketing is so powerful, let’s focus on the impact that a well-designed content strategy can yield for a B2B company. We could delve into countless aspects of this subject, but for this article, let’s talk about 3 big ones: brand awareness, thought leadership, and lead generation.
Increased Brand Awareness
Executives are paying more and more attention to LinkedIn profiles — on both an individual and corporate level. After all, an executive team is the public “face” of a brand. It’s only logical that strong, well-maintained company profiles will feed into the positive perception of an organization. At the same time, expanding the network of individual executives indirectly expands the company’s network as a whole.
Of course, you should never neglect your brand’s content generation and delivery schedule for LinkedIn. It’s important to develop a consistent posting strategy and stick to it. As with other social media platforms (and company blogs), you must walk a fine line between posting too often and not posting often enough.
When you post, be sure that you’re posting as a subject matter expert — someone who can offer actionable insights to your audience. Sure, posts that “resonate” with your audience are great; but if we’re being honest, most of your readers don’t log onto LinkedIn to get a warm, fuzzy feeling inside. Instead, they use the site to educate themselves on how best to grow their business or further their professional career. Bottom line: LinkedIn users love articles that contain actionable tips or suggestions to implement.
Oh, and one more thing with regard to brand awareness: LinkedIn is a great place to really get your employees engaged with your brand. If you encourage your employees to be active on LinkedIn, then you’ll likely end up with a core of “brand ambassadors” spreading the word about your company to all their contacts. More on that later.
Strengthened Thought Leadership Credentials
LinkedIn is an exceptional platform for establishing and building upon thought leadership credentials. For one, LinkedIn is one of the major sources that professionals use to conduct research for new product ideas and marketing techniques. In other words, while your average Facebook user may simply want to browse through their feed to find amusing posts, a large percentage of the LinkedIn audience is proactively seeking out thought leadership pieces.
How impactful will your thought leadership initiative be when you upload content to LinkedIn? Consider these statistics:
89% of B2B decision-makers say that thought leadership pieces have enhanced their perception of a brand.
49% say that thought leadership exerts a pronounced influence over their purchase decisions.
48% of B2B decision-makers spend an hour or more per week engaged with thought leadership content.
Positioning yourself as a thought leader on LinkedIn’s professional network is one of the fastest and most effective ways to boost your brand’s reputation among industry peers.
In this regard, it’s important that you generate thought leadership content around your areas of expertise. Working with a trusted team that shares your depth of industry knowledge can help. For instance, your partner can leverage your unique perspectives on a subject to attract niche demographics. Or they can connect you with other thought leaders in a conversational piece or “discussion panel,” in order to mine their experience (and yours) for insights.
Reinforcing your position as a thought leader in these and other ways will enhance your brand’s perception as a trustworthy source of industry-specific information. Ultimately, it will result in tangible business results: namely, more leads.
More (and Higher Quality) Leads
In the final analysis, the purpose of content marketing is to capture traffic and generate leads for your business. LinkedIn marketing is a great way to achieve those goals.
In fact, in a B2B context, LinkedIn outperforms all other social media platforms in terms of lead generation. Research has shown that LinkedIn drives a whopping 80% of B2B social media leads. Why such massive returns? The main reason goes back to LinkedIn’s primary audience: professionals that are looking for actionable, business-driven content. This high intent demographic is a ripe target for lead generation tactics.
Of course, LinkedIn should only be one component of your overall inbound marketing strategy. At the same time, you should never overlook or neglect it. For example, your LinkedIn company page will often appear near the top of Google’s search results when someone searches for your business. If you don’t have a dedicated company page on LinkedIn, or if it is not optimized for SEO purposes, then searchers may miss your profile completely. And for B2B brands, that glaring omission could be the “kiss of death” for any hope of gaining a new client.
LinkedIn has also become a highly versatile lead generation channel over the years. B2B marketers now have the option to generate content in the form of “micro-posts,” short explainer articles, long-form guides or analyses, and even videos. This versatility allows you to tailor your content for each of your buyer personas, no matter where they are in the sales funnel.
Finally, do you remember how we mentioned that your employees can become “brand ambassadors?” By developing your employees into brand advocates and encouraging them to stay active on LinkedIn, you’ll penetrate into an entirely different sector of marketing: word of mouth (“WOM” for short). According to a Nielsen study, 83% of consumers say that they either completely or somewhat trust recommendations from friends, family members, or colleagues about products and services. This figure highlights the powerful impact that WOM advertising can have on your lead generation metrics; and when your employees are actively advocating for your company, their friends, family members, and colleagues will take notice.
Examples of Great Content Marketing on LinkedIn
One old saying goes: “I’d rather see a sermon than hear one any day.” Now that we’ve extolled the virtues of using LinkedIn as a content marketing platform, let’s briefly discuss a few real-world examples of how brands have successfully incorporated LinkedIn into their strategy.
The England-based recruiting agency Hays provides a good example of how to make your content marketing on LinkedIn really “pop.” Their articles contain actionable tips and suggestions, detailed industry research, and thought leadership-driven content. This helps entice newcomers and keep followers coming back for more. However, Hays’ content management team also leverages customized graphics, short videos, podcasts, and long-form articles to grow their consumer base and promote engagement with the company.
Adobe takes the “road less traveled” in its approach to content marketing on LinkedIn. Adobe’s team is not interested in generating “clickbait” that gains a lot of views but offers little real value. Instead, Adobe offers LinkedIn users a wide array of graphical, educational, and motivational content, not all of it strictly “on brand.” In fact, that’s what makes Adobe’s content strategy so unique: they view social media platforms as pathways to promote communication, rather than soapboxes to promote products. If Adobe’s team finds an interesting article that their followers might enjoy, then they’ll share it, regardless of restrictive concepts like “messaging” or “corporate identity.”
As a management consulting firm, Deloitte’s “product” tends to be somewhat nebulous in nature. However, Deloitte has developed an unassailable reputation as a thought leader in the consulting industry — and its LinkedIn content strategy has only reinforced this perception.
Deloitte frequently produces outstanding content in the form of incredibly detailed industry reports, data-driven research and analyses from in-house experts. They also produce charts, diagrams, and other graphic representations of data sets, video interviews of executive team members, and summary articles that report on trends across a range of industries. All of these pieces of content expand upon Deloitte’s core messaging, while also reinforcing the value that its experts can bring to the table.
In summary, LinkedIn is a powerful content marketing platform for B2B companies. Its primary audience of professionals, located all around the globe, makes it the number #1 social media channel for B2B advertising. When leveraged properly, LinkedIn’s impact on your marketing strategy will likely include:
Increased brand awareness
Stronger thought leadership credentials
More high-quality leads
With all these thoughts in mind, the takeaway is clear: Don’t overlook LinkedIn as part of your content marketing strategy. Embrace it! There are few marketing channels that will yield a higher ROI in the B2B sector.
Of course, a tool is only as good as the craftsman. In the same way, LinkedIn as a content marketing platform is only as good as you make it. There are certain “do’s” and “don’ts” that you need to navigate when posting to LinkedIn. If you’d like to learn more about both the advantages and pitfalls of using LinkedIn, be sure to download a free copy of our guide: “How Posting to LinkedIn Can Stunt Your Growth… and 5 Steps to Make Sure It Doesn’t.”