LinkedIn & its importance for Marketing and Sales!
March 22, 2022
In both Belgium and the Netherlands, LinkedIn has been extremely popular for many years. With a clear boost since the current corona pandemic. In the blog below, I share tips from practice and clarify the importance of LinkedIn for both Marketing and Sales.
By Corona As a commercial employee, it is not always easy to make new business contacts. Partly because of this, new users are still finding their way to LinkedIn every day. At the end of 2021, LinkedIn was even the most used social media channel in Belgium after Facebook and Messenger. This is evident from research conducted by NapoleonCat. At the time, LinkedIn had about 25,000 more users than Instagram:
The power of LinkedIn
Unlike Facebook, LinkedIn focuses on the business network of its users. The American company that owned by Microsoft since 2016 owes its popularity to the fact that - given some knowledge - you can also reach people outside your own network relatively easily. For the degree of connectedness, LinkedIn works with some typical terms:
First-degree connections: All contacts to which you are directly connected.
Second-degree connections: these are individuals with whom you are not directly connected, but who have a connection to someone within your first-degree connections.
Third-degree connections: among these individuals, even within your own network, no one is connected.
Why deploy on LinkedIn?
Why is it important for both your company and your employees to be active on LinkedIn? For me, the importance of LinkedIn lies in 3 pillars:
Below I describe each pillar in detail with a real-life example in each case:
1. Company Branding
I start what for many readers may be the "dullest" posts on LinkedIn: Company Branding. What products and/or services does your company have to offer? If you start posting this in a classic way you will indeed get boring posts.
Below I provide some inspiration to make your posts in the context of company branding a little more appealing:
Create videos: Instead of describing a product dryly, it would be better to make an attractive video. You don't convince me to switch to an iPhone by telling me how much storage capacity it has. Possibly by some cool feature shown during a product launch.
Get customers talking: reference cases are also a good example of "Company Branding. Let your customers testify how good your service or product is. With a healthy mix of written and video content.
Don't use stock photos: "People buy from people. So don't use impersonal stock photos in your communications. Ask colleagues for permission to take professional photos.
Share your knowledge: Sharing an occasional blog (from your website or via LinkedIn) is a great way to showcase your knowledge. Showcase your knowledge and demonstrate that your company is the industry specialist.
One company that clearly understood this message is the Colruyt Group. Instead of dryly posting products from their range, there is a focus on the local company behind the product:
2. Employer Branding
Another important reason for a company to be active on LinkedIn is Employer Branding. Every organization needs good personnel. In most sectors these people are hard to find. Here are some tips to make your company more attractive to future colleagues:
Dare to share photos: Unlike Dutch companies, in Belgium there is a notion of "don't put too many photos online." While that every team building, sports activity, staff meeting or lunch with colleagues is worth sharing. Why? You give your followers a look behind the scenes and insight into the company culture.
Get colleagues talking: Are you looking for a Marketer? Then simply share the job posting or you can get a colleague to speak explaining why reinforcements are urgently needed. Add some humor here and there and you're bound to get entertaining content.
Finally, LinkedIn is also an ideal platform to raise your profile in your field (= Personal Branding). Most organizations can make the most progress here. Below I give tips to get your employees on the LinkedIn train with you:
Give your entire organization social media training 1-2 times a year
Immerse new employees (separately) in the world of LinkedIn
Have marketing provide ready-made content that employees can work with
Why invest in Personal Branding?
Why is 'Personal Branding' so important? What is the benefit for yourself and for your business?
Here are some arguments:
You profile yourself as an expert within a certain field, which automatically makes you but also your company interesting for certain people to follow
Do you have a sales position? Then rest assured that your profile will be screened before or after an initial introduction.
Your profile is shown in relevant searches. More and more companies are using LinkedIn to search specifically for certain areas of expertise. And not just to fill their open positions.
The Power of 'LinkedIn Ambassadors'
When you read the above arguments, you no doubt understand the importance of LinkedIn. You are never going to get all your employees active on LinkedIn. However, a few "LinkedIn Ambassadors" can give your company's online visibility a big boost.
Even if your company page has many followers, the most potential is in the network of your employees. Because again, "People buy from people. Or in other words, we are more likely to give a like to a person, than to a company.
A real-life example: Despite the fact that the business page I manage has 5x more followers, my post on the same topic had more likes and 4x more views:
So what should I post on LinkedIn?
When I present the above points, usually the next question is, "Ok, I want to become more active on LinkedIn. But what should I post?". Of course, I will give some tips in a moment, but you will have to experience for yourself what content your network finds interesting.
Below is an analysis of my own posts on LinkedIn. As you can infer, posts where I used photos I took myself had the most success in 2021. Posts with a link did a lot less well. And posts sharing produced barely any results, if any.
You can subsequently translate these kinds of insights into content. In my role and for my network, that means, for example, sharing a photo during an event. I know from experience that this kind of content is often popular on LinkedIn.
Closing note: Tips & Tricks
To conclude this article, I like to share some tips & tricks to become more successful on LinkedIn as a business:
1. Provide colleagues with ready-made content.
Within LinkedIn, as a page administrator, you have the ability to provide colleagues with content that they can then share with one click:
As administrator, go to 'Content'
Click through to 'Recommend to employees'
Here you can create posts to then share with colleagues afterwards:
As an entrepreneur, it is tempting to "skip" posts on social media during a busy period. After which you suddenly realize you haven't posted anything for weeks. To avoid this and to gain more insight into the results (views, clicks, shares, ...) I recommend working with a social media planning tool. Well-known examples are: Buffer, Later and Hootsuite.
4. LinkedIn Social Selling Index
If you or your employees would like additional tips, I recommend the LinkedIn Social Selling Index to. A free tool that gives you tips to improve your presence on LinkedIn. Moreover, you can compare your score with your network and with industry peers.
It may be clear: LinkedIn is a particularly powerful and interesting medium for both Marketing and Sales. And not cited before: LinkedIn is completely free to use! Even though a paid account (LinkedIn Premium) also has its advantages.