LinkedIn Tips for the Social Marketer In recent years, LinkedIn has grown exponentially. Added features and capabilities have drawn in new audiences from almost every industry, allowing businesses and individuals alike to connect with a wider audience than ever before. The platform has expanded beyond a mere hiring/networking site, to include company pages, targeted advertising and publishing. In the wake of these additions, LinkIn has become the social media for business. The following tips will help you build your online brand presence with this social network, by focusing on the most important details of getting started. Company Profile Page This is where users land when searching for your company or after clicking your logo on a user?s profile. Any brand can create a LinkedIn profile page for free. As this will be a user?s first impression of your company, it?s important that you carefully plan the content. Use images and messages that clearly define your company and represent you in a favourable light. Logo: Ideally, this will be the same, or at least similar, to your actual business logo and will rarely change. As a result, a lot of time and care should be put into this representation, as it should with a business logo or any image representative of your company. About: This can be found under your logo and header image at the top of the page. This is where you will share details about your company with visitors to your page. Remember, this needs to sell your company to other users, so don?t treat it as an informal howdy do. This section will include date founded, whether your company is private or public, the number of personnel employed, and a brief but detailed description of the organization, products and mission. Header Image: This is a company?s opportunity to be creative. Be sure to have a strategy in place for LinkedIn so that you know what you are trying to achieve. This will dictate how you use the header space. Company profiles are afforded more header space than individual profiles, and may change the header image frequently. Posting Posting on LinkedIn is a useful method for building followers and maximising return on paid advertising. The ability to share posts allows companies to gain the attention of their audience, using text, images, slide decks, links and video. LinkedIn is a business orientated network, catering to professional needs. As such, the tone and complexity of content needs to match that criteria if you want to meet the needs of your audience. That requires professional content which is informative and engaging. Educational posts tend to be the most effective. Showcase Page This is used to highlight specific products or services, particularly items that appeal to a certain subset of their overall target market. For example, PayPal might have a showcase page for their merchant service, to differentiate it from the consumer focused tool. These segments allow fans to follow the sectors of your business which apply to them and allows you to narrow your marketing focus. Company Career Page This is a paid page which sits behind the company profile page. It offers marketers, HR, and recruiting an area in which to run talent-scouting events. The page can be used to share your company?s personality, corporate culture and ideals. Messages on this page should be created with potential employees and followers in mind. Like the profile, this page has a number of available customizations. Posts: Your posts will auto-populate from the profile page, but you can choose to post separately on each. Posts on this page should focus on roles you need to fill, team-building activities, employee testimonials and company perks etc. Roles: Open roles will appear on the right side bar when you use LinkIn Talent solutions. Ensure that the roles advertised are up-to-date. Career Page Header: The Career Page can have a separate header to the profile page, which allows another opportunity to show personality and company culture. The image should relate specifically to employees and hiring efforts. You should aim to capture the interest and imagination of prospective employees. LinkedIn Advertising & Optimization Once you have set up your page and begun producing content, you can begin monetizing your LinkedIn presence. Create advertisements to reach your audience more broadly. Advertising through LinkIn allows you to maximize the reach of your post in a targeted and measurable way. Ad Content Fresh Content - Update, or at least rotate, adverts regularly. Unique content is as invaluable in ads as it is for your website/blog. Vary your Approach - Formulaic adverts are as bad as stale adverts. Change the layout, format, etc to keep things interesting. Subject Line - Use short, concise subject lines which ask a question or pique curiosity. Limit Posts - One or two posts a day is more than enough. Don?t over-saturate your audience, paid or unpaid. Images - Images should be eye-catching but appropriate. Interesting images receive higher click-through rates. Ad Types There are two main routes for marketers to engage with their ads on LinkedIn: through a self-serve platform or as a LinkedIn Advertising Partner. Self-Service Ads: Display and Text Ads - Appear in various places, usually along the bottom or side of a homepage. An image may be included or video with limited copy. Sponsored updates - For a price, these posts will appear in users? news streams, which typically makes them feel less like an ad and leads to higher engagement. Dark Posts - Used to support campaigns marketers don?t want to be visible on their homepage. This may be used to reach a new audience without alienating the current followers, or can be used to carry out A/B testing without posting the message multiple times on your page. LinkedIn Advertising Partner Solutions: Premium Display - Allows more flexibility in how they are served and the size. This includes textlinks that appear on the home profile, company, group and message pages, footer banners and larger side navigation banners. Sponsored InMail - Appear in a user?s inbox, allowing for targeted, personal contact with specific users. Follow Company Ads - Useful for growing brands and followings. They appear on a user?s page encouraging them to follow particular brand. Join-Group Ads - These include a group description and a call to action. Targeting LinkedIn allows for extremely targeted marketing. You can search by firmographic and demographic criteria, including company, industry, job title, experience, geography and more. It also allows for exclusion of competition, based on company and job roles. Optimization LinkedIn ads work on a pay-per-click basis so the advertiser who bids the most gets the highest share of impressions. Keep this in mind as you set your bids. There are a number of thing you can do to ensure that your next advertising campaign is effective. Tailor your campaign - Run multiple campaigns, targeting specific demographics rather than broader, more general messages. A/B Test - Experiment with images, subject lines, ad text etc. This will help understand and adapt to your audience?s tastes. Experiment - Use a variety of ad types, formats and styles. Also trying mixing offers, such as providing gated and ungated content. Cultivating a Readership LinkedIn, like any social platform, requires an audience to be effective. Publishing on LinkedIn Pulse Thought-leadership is one of the best ways to show off expertise in your field and gain a following. Educational posts are the most effective content type on the platform, so it makes sense that people are interested in the leading thinkers. LinkedIn Pulse, allows any user to publish their work. Gaining a sizable readership though personal distribution channels and networks will encourage LinkedIn to increase the visibility of the post across the social media network. This makes thought leaders more important than ever to a brand. Pulse articles increase your inbound links and gain a stronger following across social platforms. Groups LinkedIn groups are not so different from groups on other social networks. They act as small communities formed around topics of interest, such as industry, title, brand etc. Depending on the permissions granted by the group creator, members may be able to publish articles, post jobs, have discussions and share advice. Groups can be a strategically effective way of providing the right support to the right people. You may establish support focused groups, user groups, invitation-only advocacy groups, or groups which separate customers into relevant conversations. Before starting a group, identify your goals and decide which group structure will work best and which permissions should be given, or refused. Make sure these settings match the needs of the group and your own objectives. Dive In With this knowledge under your belt, you now have all you need to dive straight in and make the most of this social platform. Like any new venture, it will take some experimentation to learn what works for you and what doesn?t. Every industry, company and brand is different. Having the basics will make it that much easier.