How to Build a LinkedIn Marketing Plan that Delivers Ongoing Results

social media how toAre you happy with how you are using LinkedIn?

LinkedIn offers companies multiple marketing opportunities, but which ones are right for your business?

In this article I’ll show you five different ways to use LinkedIn to market your business.

How do you do start?

You’ll want to develop a comprehensive and consistent LinkedIn marketing plan for your business to achieve long-term, sustainable success.

It doesn’t matter if you’re a large corporate brand or a small business, you can build a comprehensive LinkedIn marketing strategy on a scale that suits your needs and objectives.

social media examiner business page

Social Media Examiner strategy on LinkedIn includes updating the business page regularly.

In order to have success with LinkedIn, you’ll need to make a long-term commitment to your plan. A strategy that delivers results requires ongoing management, monitoring, analysis, and adjustments.

Remember to assess your resources first and determine what you’re willing to commit with regard to people, time and dollars. An ongoing commitment to your strategy ensures you stay on track toward achieving your company goals.

Here are 5 LinkedIn marketing ideas your business can integrate into your comprehensive marketing program.

#1: Build a Robust Company Page on LinkedIn

To create a business presence on LinkedIn and gain access to additional features that enhance your visibility, you must build a LinkedIn company page.

Think of your LinkedIn company page as an extension of your business website within LinkedIn and use it to display compelling graphics, add products and services, even include job opportunities.

Invite existing employees, clients or customers, vendors and partners to follow your page, and showcase it to relevant LinkedIn members and encourage them to follow by using LinkedIn’s paid targeted advertising.

If it’s appropriate and/or allowable, ask key clients or customers to recommend your products and services on your LinkedIn company page. These recommendations show up on your page for everyone to see, and serve as powerful testimonials for your business.

Filling your LinkedIn company page with compelling and interesting status updates about your industry or business requires ongoing management, but it’s the most effective way to grow followers for your page and increase your company’s visibility. As you grow your following, remember to segment your members and target them with more relevant updates.

HubSpot, a marketing software company for medium-sized businesses, has amassed a company page following of over 40,000 people on LinkedIn as well as 272 product recommendations from members. Those are some powerful stats.

Each time HubSpot shares an update on its LinkedIn company page, it has the potential to engage over 40,000 people who further amplify the company’s visibility on LinkedIn!

hubspot linkedin company page

HubSpot has built a powerful and active LinkedIn company page.

For further reading on LinkedIn company pages, check out these articles:

As you launch and grow your visibility, LinkedIn company page stats provide you with valuable insights about your followers, engagement, clicks and more!

engagement insights

An example of LinkedIn company page engagement insights.

It doesn’t matter if you have a small business or you represent a large corporate brand, a LinkedIn company page is a critical digital asset for your business and serves as the anchor of your LinkedIn foundation.

#2: Launch a LinkedIn Group Based on Your Company or Industry

LinkedIn groups are still going strong and are another component of a comprehensive strategy that helps position your company as an industry thought leader.

The most successful groups focus on gaining relevant members with common goals, and they are managed very well. To implement a successful LinkedIn group strategy, assign the role of primary group manager/moderator to someone who pre-approves discussion posts, asks great questions and determines which members get accepted into the group.

social media examiner linkendin group

Social Media Examiner created a dynamic community on LinkedIn with the Social Media Marketing Networking Club.

When you launch your LinkedIn group, be sure to get the word out organically to employees, clients and customers, vendors, partners and influencers in your industry. Identify top influencers and have them serve as group ambassadors to help recruit members and to lead interesting discussions to keep your group active.

Self-service ads are also available from LinkedIn as a paid strategy for increasing visibility of your group and growing your membership numbers.

With a LinkedIn group, you have the ability to message your members once a week. These messages go directly to their email inboxes and are a great way to deliver special promotions or campaigns to them.

To position yourself as an industry thought leader to your members, foster a healthy community within your LinkedIn group through engaging discussions and add value by offering up compelling content your company creates.

A company that has done a fantastic job with their LinkedIn group (launched in partnership with LinkedIn) is Citi. They’ve successfully launched a Professional Women’s Network Group on LinkedIn. Although they do have a marketing partnership with LinkedIn, it doesn’t mean you’ll need to play at this level, but you can certainly model your group after Citi’s or any of the other LinkedIn corporate-sponsored groups.

Watch this video to learn more about Citi’s experience with LinkedIn groups and how the community is thriving.

Examples of other corporate LinkedIn groups include: Intuit (small business group), Staples (small business network) and Capital One (business traveler network).

To help you keep track of member demographics, growth and activity, stats are available for all public LinkedIn groups.

group stats overview

An example of the LinkedIn group stats overview.

#3: Create an “All Hands on Deck” Ongoing Thought Leadership Program

Although you’ll need to designate specific company employees or partners to help implement and maintain your comprehensive LinkedIn marketing strategy, getting all employees involved and on the same page is critical to success.

Your company’s position on LinkedIn starts at the top and when the business owner(s) or executives buy into the strategy, it sets the example for the entire company.

teamwork sign

The success of your LinkedIn page also depends on how well your employees use LinkedIn's features. Image source: iStockPhoto.

When everyone from your company is involved on LinkedIn, it creates an extended network that amplifies your company’s presence and industry thought leadership.

Get your employees and stakeholders excited about LinkedIn and make the experience meaningful for them by attaching it to their professional goals.

Provide them with training on how to build a robust LinkedIn profile, how to represent your firm on the network and how to utilize LinkedIn to achieve their business goals. Teach them the benefits of expanding their own professional networks.

Then help your employees and stakeholders become active on LinkedIn. Provide them with an ongoing supply of interesting, compelling thought leadership content from your company. Consider allowing your team members to edit the content to suit their personal style when they share it with their respective networks.

Imagine…100 or even 1000 of your employees sharing content produced by your company 2-3 times per week! Talk about massive impact on growing the reach of your business!

#4: Leverage Paid LinkedIn Content Ads and Sponsored Updates

While LinkedIn social ads grow company page followers and group membership, there are additional ads run on LinkedIn that drive clicks to your website, or preferably to a specified landing page.

linkedin options

Be sure to check out the options LinkedIn has to offer you.

LinkedIn does partner with larger brands on sponsored programs, but for most businesses, these programs are beyond the typical marketing budget. If you’d like to run social ad campaigns to increase your company page followers, group members or even drive offsite traffic and lead conversions, you’re most likely better off using the self-service tools LinkedIn makes available to companies on the network.

As you develop and run ad campaigns or sponsored updates on LinkedIn, make sure you test to see which ads are most efficient and effective for your business.

Link to a LinkedIn Ads Post?

You’ve probably noticed numerous banner ads on LinkedIn that are designed to have members click through to company websites. Unfortunately, many times there’s no specific call to action on the landing page the ad leads to, which is a waste of ad dollars!

Make sure the landing page attached to your banner or text ad includes a relevant offer with clear instructions on what people should do to access your offer.

Janus Investments did a great job with this in one of their recent LinkedIn ads. The ad was clear on the benefit they were offering, and upon clicking through and landing on the page, the offer was simple to access.

janus linkedin banner

Janus Investments LinkedIn banner ad.

janus ad landing page

Janus Investments LinkedIn ad landing page.

Paid Company-Sponsored Updates

Company-sponsored updates are only run by company pages, and are designed to boost visibility with your company page followers and others on the network.

Sponsored updates appear in LinkedIn member homepage news feeds and look like any other native update, except they’re marked as “Sponsored.” Although they’re fairly new, they’re showing some promising results.

company sponsored update

Example of a company-sponsored update in the LinkedIn homepage news feed.

Learn more about how to take advantage of LinkedIn sponsored updates for your own company page.

#5: Monitor, Track, Adjust

Before you begin to build out your comprehensive LinkedIn marketing strategy, decide what your business goals are. The success of your comprehensive LinkedIn marketing strategy is measured by whether you achieve your goals.

By implementing the above strategies together, you’ll be able to:

  • Increase your company’s position as a strategic thought leader in your industry
  • Grow company awareness, engagement and reach
  • Generate qualified leads for your business

Beyond these benefits, it’s important to define specific metrics for measurement of your strategy that are consistent with your company goals.

Are you looking to achieve greater brand visibility (impressions) with your target markets, engage with existing and potential customers (likes, comments, shares), increase external website traffic (clicks), convert new leads (opt-ins) or all of the above? Once you get clear on your goals, define and measure the metrics that are consistent with those goals.

While LinkedIn provides insights and statistics for company pages, groups and paid advertising, tracking your efforts through your own website analytics program is essential. The traffic referred to your site from LinkedIn, new leads generated and new clients or customers are the ultimate measure of the impact to your bottom line.

Conclusion

LinkedIn is a very powerful platform for growing the reach of your business and attracting new clients or customers. It also presents a terrific opportunity to stay top of mind with employees, customers, vendors, partners and industry influencers.

The time to launch your LinkedIn company marketing strategy is now, and a comprehensive approach helps you maximize the business benefits. If you’re unable to launch the fully comprehensive approach outlined above, make a plan to implement each strategy in phases.

What do you think? Do you have a successful LinkedIn marketing strategy? Leave your questions and comments in the box below.

Image from iStockPhoto.

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About the Author, Stephanie Sammons

Stephanie Sammons is the founder of Build Online Influence, where she teaches professionals, business owners, and entrepreneurs practical online marketing strategies for growing a business on the social web. Other posts by »




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