Maybe you have a general idea of the businesses you want to be targeting with your product or service. Perhaps you post on Facebook here and there, Tweet whenever it’s relevant. Maybe you’ve even created a LinkedIn profile.
But if you’re like many B2B businesses, that LinkedIn profile has been slowly decaying in the digital ether. Because who has time to learn and maintain yet another social profile page?
We feel your pain. But if your LinkedIn is lacking, you’re likely missing out on endless opportunities — especially as a B2B business.
Here’s how you can leverage your LinkedIn profile to help grow your business clientele — and why you need to.)
Why is LinkedIn Important for B2B Marketing?
So maybe Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter seem to be the platforms you hear about most in your day-to-day interactions.
But are they as relevant to your B2B marketing plan as LinkedIn? Spoiler alert: probably not.
LinkedIn is a hub of B2B opportunities. It provides a way to not only directly connect with the businesses you’re targeting, but to show off all the knowledge and useful services you can provide.
Not quite sold? Let the numbers talk: In a recent Hubspot study, LinkedIn was found to be a whopping 277% more effective for B2B lead generation than both Facebook and Twitter.
The most obvious reason for this is LinkedIn is the only business-focused social media platform. This in and of itself can help you eliminate the obstacles in finding and connecting with other businesses on other social platforms.
Not only is LinkedIn business-focused, but Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram are algorithmically targeted toward individuals for personal use.
To prevent their users from being spammed, these other platforms reprioritize anything that seems gimmicky or sales-driven — which is a challenge if you’re looking to drive conversions.
If your energy is being drained fighting against the algorithms, it’s time for a change of plan. And that change of plan is likely heavily focused on developing your LinkedIn marketing strategy.
LinkedIn was specifically created to cater to B2B and B2C audiences. That means the algorithms are much more sales and networking-friendly.
It’s been so successful in fostering business relationships, that millions of B2B businesses have started to use it as their main platform and B2B marketing tool.
Perhaps that’s because around 80% of online B2B leads happen on LinkedIn.
Many of these leads are likely because LinkedIn hosts the leaders of many businesses. Over 90 million LinkedIn users are decision-makers for their companies on the platform solely to network and find opportunities.
Desperately searching for dead-end leads is a thing of the past.
With a LinkedIn strategy, you can begin targeting businesses that are ready to network right off the bat, saving you quite a few headaches.
How to Leverage LinkedIn to Find B2B Clients
Finding clients on LinkedIn goes far beyond following a few pages and asking to connect or liking a couple of posts. In order to stand out amongst a flood of B2B businesses seeking new clients, you need to adhere to your brand’s unique mission.
You do this by telling the story of your brand through your profile and content.
You also need to have a firm grasp on who you’re speaking to, meaning your target audience personas. Ensuring you’re targeting your audience only and communicating what sets you apart from competitors helps ensure your focus is quality over quantity.
Let’s explore a few ways to forge your own path on LinkedIn and connect with the businesses that need your product or service.
Make the Most of Your Company Page
Your company page, or profile, on LinkedIn can make or break your leads.
A generic page — or one that lacks information — can quickly turn away potential clients.
You want a company page that will demonstrate how thorough, informative, and personable your brand can be. Be sure you’ve checked each of these boxes off your list when creating or editing your LinkedIn profile:
Professional Profile Image
- A professional profile image that shows off the unique features of your brand. Logos as profiles are a common choice.
- If you decide to go for a logo, make sure it’s high resolution and fits within the thumbnail.
High-Quality Cover Photo
- Your cover photo should also be high resolution. Sizing for your LinkedIn cover photo should be 1584 pixels wide and 396 pixels tall.
- Make it different than your logo — this is a great opportunity to showcase people, whether from your company or otherwise, and help create a human-to-human connection.
Thorough Company Summary
- When filling out the company summary section, keep it clear, catchy, and concise.
- If you’d like to simplify things and keep them consistent with your website, use this section to share your company’s mission statement.
- Be sure to include key items like your industry, your location, and your website to help people find you via search as well as have a better general understanding of your company.
Personal About Us Section
- Create an opportunity for personal connection in your “about us” section.
- Share some of the history of your company, the purpose behind it, and more about the emotional drive behind your brand.
- Be sure to also use search keywords, as LinkedIn’s search engines do take this into account.
Map the Customer Journey
To develop effective content for LinkedIn, you’ll need to have a good idea of the path people take to find your content, and where they should be led from there.
You can achieve this by creating a LinkedIn customer journey map. This handy exercise-turned-tool helps you better determine which part of your customer’s journey you should be creating and sharing content for.
The customer journey is often compared to a lead funnel, or buyer’s journey. The buyer journey, or buyer funnel, is focused on the process your users go through — starting with an introduction to your brand and ending with buying your product or services. It’s broken down into the awareness, consideration, and decision stages.
But the customer journey map is focused on the specific challenges your audience members are facing. It taps into the customer’s needs a bit earlier than the buyer’s journey. It begins as soon as the customer realizes they have a challenge.
The customer journey map is broken down into 3 other stages that are focused on a potential customer’s needs as they pertain to any business in your industry, not just your company’s specific products and services.
This provides a broader perspective that begins before someone has been introduced to your brand, and extends until after they make a purchase.
The longer timeline of the customer journey map allows you to better address potential customers who might not have come across your brand otherwise. It also helps you build long-term relationships afterward — an opportunity that’s great to have when LinkedIn hosts many of your competitors.
The stages of the customer journey map are:
- Here, people have “informational challenges.”
- They’re seeking reliable tips and tricks that will lead them toward achieving their goals.
- This stage is known as the stage of “people problems.”
- In this stage, potential clients are experiencing a lot of debate over whether to make a purchase.
- Perhaps they have conflicting needs and information. Maybe they’re still not quite confident they know who to trust.
- The late stage is when people are likely to be encountering option issues.
- Here, they’re experiencing a bit of choice overwhelm.
- Now that they’ve defined or declared their need, too many options are being presented to them. Their final step is unclear.
Your company’s customer journey map could have a few more stages, or a different set of challenges for each stage. As you investigate, you’ll get plenty of ideas on what to include.
Your goal in creating a customer journey map for LinkedIn is to see which platforms your customers go to for each stage of the journey, who they seek out, and what content you can provide to cover each stage.
You can determine this path by surveying your ideal customers and using the Google analytics “acquisition” feature. This feature shows you where on your website your LinkedIn users have gone, and offers insight on what they’re seeking (and how you can better address each stage).
For example, if they’re seeking blogs on the latest trends in your industry, take it as an opportunity to post an infographic on the topic to appeal to those in early stages who might not yet clicked into your site.
Try Paid LinkedIn Campaigns
Like other platforms, LinkedIn allows you to run ad campaigns that you can aim at those who already follow you and/or those who have never seen your brand before.
Once you have a company page, you can launch your first campaign in 3 easy steps:
Step 1: Create a Campaign Manager Account
- The LinkedIn campaign manager will be your hub for creating, evaluating, and paying for all your ad campaigns.
Step 2: Determine an Objective
- LinkedIn provides objective-based advertising. This can help you aim the ads toward different stages in the customer journey.
- For example, if you’re looking to introduce your brand to newcomers, you might simply launch a “followers” campaign. Simply choose the “followers” objective when prompted, and the tool will guide you through creating a campaign focused on getting followers for your company page.
- Or if you’re looking for people a bit further along the journey to add to the email list, you can do a lead catch campaign.
Step 3: Decide Where to Show Your Ads
- On LinkedIn there are 3 options for this:
- Sponsored content appears in a user’s LinkedIn feed as they scroll
- Sponsored messaging sends personalized messages to target audiences
- Text ads appear on the side of LinkedIn feeds for desktop users
Targeting for LinkedIn campaigns is categorized in a few different ways:
- Demographics, a broad way to target your general audience.
- Interests, where you can target hobbies, extra skills, fields of study, and more.
- Persona, where you can target certain job roles, groups, and statuses (marketing managers, travel agents, etc.)
- Matched, which targets your current customers or those who have already interacted with your brand.
Once your ad has been released for the desired length of time, you can also evaluate its success on LinkedIn campaign manager.
Depending on the objective, you’ll evaluate different analytics.
For example, if you’re seeking someone in the early stages of the customer journey map, you’ll want to evaluate more broad metrics such as clicks, impressions, and click-through rates.
To measure decision-level activity, you’ll want to evaluate things like conversion rates, leads, and costs per conversion.
How to Utilize UTM Parameters
To make your LinkedIn ad campaigns and content strategy reach their greatest heights, you’ll need to have other ways to evaluate the customer journey than the analytics LinkedIn provides.
That’s where UTM parameters come in.
UTM stands for Urchin Tracking Modules. By attaching UTM tags to the links you share, you have a link-specific way of tracking who's shown interest in the content you’re sharing and advertising.
This can help you tweak ad campaigns, better define your customer journey, and ensure you’re targeting businesses that will convert. Learn more about UTM parameters and how to use them >