Why should we talk about LinkedIn and B2B ? What are the useful implications for a business?
The B2B market is changing and in particular the buyer journey of the purchasing managers of companies. Personal meetings with the commercial department of possible suppliers are becoming more and more a marginal part (or relegated to the decision-making part) of the company purchasing process, therefore, even for those who work in the Business2Business, to implement a digital marketing strategy is becoming more and more necessary.
LinkedIn, the most professional social network used in the world, if managed in an intelligent and structured way can bring enormous benefits to a company or professional offering products and services for businesses.
LinkedIn is therefore a very useful channel to use in your digital marketing strategy in B2B markets.
Let's start from this assumption and in this article I will outline the different reasons and aspects to take care of on LinkedIn to grow your B2B business.
B2B Buyer Journey
The first aspect to be analyzed, before entering the specific use of LinkedIn, are the changes in progress mentioned in the introduction, which concern the purchasing process (or buyer journey) in B2B markets.
The B2B Buyer Journey is evolving rapidly. Benchmarks and strategies that only worked a few years ago may not have the same impact today.
In addition to incremental changes, such as moving to mobile devices, B2B marketing professionals also have to contend with a rapidly changing workplace and online world.
B2B buyers have access to more data and information than ever, and this is not always a good thing, in fact they can get lost in this overload of information and options they find online.
These are not empty sentences, the numbers tell us, in fact, from a recent survey by Gartner, we are shown that 27% of shoppers' time is dedicated to doing independent research online, while only 17% of the time is spent meeting with suppliers.
Here the complete data.
So what does this mean for B2B marketers?
That you must necessarily implement and measure new modalities to get in touch with potential customers, study your buyer personas thoroughly and create a sales funnel that respects the renewed needs of buyers while maintaining the classic scheme also valid for B2C, creating content that is valid at every stage of the purchase pricess:
- ToFU (Top of Funnel);
- MoFU (Middle of Funnel);
- BoFU (Bottom of Funnel).
LinkedIn and B2B: the reasons for optimizing this channel
In the wide range of possibilities of channels that can be used for content marketing for B2B, LinkedIn, if used with the right strategy and criteria, can be an excellent solution.
LinkedIn exceeds 670 million users (number in constant growth), within this social network, 6 out of 10 users actively seek industry insights, 280 billion updates are displayed every year feeds (what we call posts in general), and it accounts for over 50% of all social traffic to B2B websites and blogs.
If you use LinkedIn well you are in good company: 92% of B2B marketers include LinkedIn in their digital marketing mix and 65% of the B2B company has acquired at least one customer through LinkedIn.
The reasons are different, the most important, of course, is that LinkedIn is a social network, but kitten videos and poor taste memes are not welcome on this social network. Here, companies and professionals interact to build a network, find real solutions to their management problems and the desire to waste time is small.
So, to offer quality content in line with its target within LinkedIn is a solution that meets the renewed buyer journey of the new normal post-pandemic and with these tips you can set up a solid and productive presence.
LinkedIn for business: here's what to watch out for
Here is a series of basic tips to start using LinkedIn in a professional way, because, let's dispel a myth, on LinkedIn there are not only students looking for the first opportunity of work, but LinkedIn is a real connection with the productive world. Take advantage of it!
1) Optimize your personal profile
Let's start with the difference between personal profile and company page on LinkedIn.
LinkedIn Pages represent collective organizations, while Personal Pages (profiles) represent individuals. Your personal profile has connections. Your LinkedIn Page has followers.
You can only post ads on LinkedIn via a Page. You must have a personal profile in order to set up a Page. Your personal profile includes sections such as Activities, Experience, Skills and approvals, Recommendations and Interests. A LinkedIn Page includes sections such as Overview, Information, Jobs and People.
Let's focus on the personal profile, which for founders, manager and professionist, in most cases, represents itself as a company.
If a goal is visiting your LinkedIn profile, they should have no problem knowing what kind of business they are doing. What kind of products or services you offer, how long have you been in business, and how to find out more about your company.
In short: takes care of the user experience of those who visit your profile!
Yes, as with a website, you have to make life easy for end users, so you need to fill in each section and make sure you always keep the bio updated so as not to risk giving an obsolete or inaccurate representation of yourself, but, at the same time, avoid overloading the profile with boring details that are not very useful for the purpose: generate leads.
But is there a way to be found more easily on LinkedIn? The SEO-on-page optimization techniques valid for any page on the web can have an influence even within LinkedIn, so be careful to enter the most important keywords relevant to your industry in:
- job position;
- previous work experience;
- location information in which you operate;
- hashtags and post content.
2) Join the discussion
If you're looking to grow your business, then it is a good idea to join LinkedIn groups.
LinkedIn Groups offer a place where professionals from the same industry or with similar interests can share their knowledge and experience, ask for help with specific tasks and make valuable connections.
You can find groups to join by searching at the top of your home page or by viewing the groups you have already joined. You can also create a new group focusing on a specific topic or sector.
Post constantly updates on your feed or in groups, this will allow you to improve self-confidence in a specific area (if your content is valuable).
Another way to join discussions of interest to your industry is to follow the hashtags.
Hashtags on LinkedIn work in the same way as Twitter and Instagram they are used to classify content within the social network and help users to find content related to the specific topic subject of the tag. Here is an interesting hashtag that deals with exactly the same theme as this article: # B2BJourney.
If you add hashtags to your content, they will help other users discover you, including those not connected to you with the goal of making your LinkedIn content available to a wider audience.
Two interesting researches also give us indications on what are the best times to post on LinkedIn, according to Sprout Social, the posts that generate the most engagement are those published:
- at 8:00 and 10:00 on Wednesday
- at 9:00 and 13:00 on Thursdays
- at 9:00 on Friday
HubSpot, on the other hand, indicates that the most engaging times are:
- between 10:00 and 12:00 and between 15:00 and 17:00 on Wednesdays;
- between 8:00 and 10:00 and between 13:00 and 15:00 on Thursdays.
What is sure, is that the absolute best time to post on LinkedIn, but on social media in general, is not valid for all. It can be a good strategy to start from the indications valid at a general level, but then you have to analyze the resulting data and adapt the actions to the numbers that each activity has.
3) Create useful and in-depth content
Yes, but what to post on LinkedIn? Even in this there is no valid answer for any situation, it depends on your business goal.
Do you want to drive traffic to your website? Do you want potential customers to interact with your posts? Everything is related to the final goal.
On LinkedIn you can post:
- blog post
- third party content
- native videos
- text posts
- photos and graphic work
- live video
- original research
- Links to eBooks, case studies, white papers, etc
But regardless of the format, based on the objective, it is necessary to implement an editorial plan that identifies the contents and issues to be addressed in the LinkedIn posts and that are aligned to each stage of the journey in which the specific target of the post is awareness, consideration, decision.
Here are some ideas:
- mini tutorials explaining your knowledge of your industry;
- posts that provide information on how you operate and what drives your actions;
- posts that spell out values and ideas that connect with your target audience, whether it's business or life in general;
- special occasions and events;
Well, it looks like you can post almost anything on LinkedIn, but the advice is definitely to create and share useful and in-depth content.
4) "Give before you get"
LinkedIn's goal is networking and, as with other communication channels, one of the best strategies for creating a network made up of solid relationships is content marketing.
According to the Content Marketing Institute:
a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and delivering valuable, relevant and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly defined audience and ultimately to drive profitable customer action.
Ultimately, therefore, the basic principle for doing lead generation is “give, before you get”. By creating excellent content, you attract your leads.
eBooks, videos, webinars or text posts of value offer benefits to your potential customers and this giving has multiple objectives:
- allows you to build a relationship with current and future customers;
- helps to carry on a conversation with prospects;
- makes it easier to understand their needs more in-depth
- sets you up as authoritative in a niche.
Being generous with constancy over time, can create amazing new relationships and opportunities.
If you really know your ideal client's profile and the problems they are facing, it puts you in the perspective of giving valuable information for them and LinkedIn is the channel you may be looking for.
LinkedIn and Business B2B: from strategy to practice!
In conclusion, use LinkedIn (well) as a great way to expand your network of contacts and position your brand, especially if you operate in the B2B market, because it is the place where companies and professionals interact around specific themes and objectives.
The advice, is to include LinkedIn within a more defined strategy and to always plan every action before moving on to practice in order to define the KPIs of the presence on this social network and establish the necessary investment of time and resources.