How to use LinkedIn to drive sales
and grow your business

The Definitive 2019 Guide to LinkedIn Best Practices

Social media has re-written the playbook for marketing communication – even in B2B selling.  Those who don’t embrace this modern form of relationships will fall behind. The tools to reach and engage people with your message are more accessible than ever. Today, anyone has the power to become a thought leader in their industry.

Can LinkedIn help you grow faster? Yes, when it’s used strategically as a part of a healthy marketing mix that aligns with sales.

For most business-to-business companies, LinkedIn provides unparalleled access to both prospects and customers. The following simple tips and best practices will make your efforts most effective.

What you need to know about using LinkedIn effectively.

Here are the topics covered in this guide. If you want to skip the basics, just click on any topic in this list to jump to that section.

What to post and how to post it on LinkedIn.

LinkedIn posts are designed to share text, photos or video. Basically, almost any content you find online can be posted on LinkedIn. But what kind of content should you post? Ask yourself what areas you’re an expert in and what you’re curious to learn about. Share your knowledge and the things you discover. Most importantly, use your expertise to serve your community and network.

As Zig Ziglar famously pointed out, “You will get all you want in life, if you help enough other people get what they want.” Serve, don’t sell.

When posting a piece of content created by someone else or a publication, add your own brief description of what you found valuable or an insight your followers will find interesting.  Make it personal. Put your own spin on why you’re posting this content.

Download our bonus guide:

“4 steps to using social media to grow your business. The beginners guide to social media for B2B companies.”

It’s full of insights and best practices for establishing and optimizing your social media marketing.

How to post on LinkedIn.

Once you know what interesting piece of content you want to share, here’s how to post it:

⟶ Step One: At the top of LinkedIn’s homepage (also known as your newsfeed) is the area where you share a post. Type your description where it says, “Share an article, photo, video or idea.”

⟶ Step Two: If you are sharing a blog post, article or a website, include the link in your description.

⟶ Step Three: If you are adding an image, click the image button and then select the image from your computer – or your phone if you’re on mobile. (Note that you cannot share both an image and video in the same LinkedIn post.)

⟶ Step Four: If you are adding a video, click the video button and then select the video from your computer (or your phone if you’re on mobile.) If you want to post a video that is on YouTube, Vimeo or another video hosting platform, just include the link to the video with the text of your description.

We discuss what LinkedIn metrics tell you if your content is working below. →

The benefits of publishing your own articles on LinkedIn.

While posts are designed for sharing content created by others and your own short descriptions, LinkedIn also offers the ability to publish articles that you write yourself. Publishing your own article on LinkedIn offers several benefits.

Not only does publishing an article effectively reach your network, there is also a powerful multiplier effect when someone interacts with your article. Your network can share your LinkedIn article, exposing your content to a new and larger audience. Every time one of your connections likes, comments or shares your article, it becomes visible to their connections. So, when someone interacts with your content, it signals to their network that what you wrote is worth paying attention to.

Publishing articles also positions you as an authority in your industry. This is especially impactful since 45% of people who read LinkedIn article hold upper-level positions.

Consistently posting interesting and valuable content creates status and trust within your network and fosters your reputation as an expert. And people with strong professional reputations tend to earn more and win more business.  Sound worth it? You bet!

Don’t miss our bonus guide:

“4 steps to using social media to grow your business. The beginners guide to social media for B2B companies.”

It’s full of insights and best practices for establishing and optimizing your social media marketing.

How to publish an article on LinkedIn.

⟶ Step One: At the top of LinkedIn’s homepage and directly below where it says, “Share an article, photo, video or idea”, you will see a button that says, “Write an article”. You guessed it, click that button.

⟶ Step Two: A new page will open. Click on each section to add a photo, headline and the body of your article.

⟶ Step Three: To add a cover photo, click the plus sign with the icon of two photos. Choose a beautiful image that piques curiosity, tells a story, or conveys an emotion. Do not use salesy or overly branded images, remember thought leadership is not selling.

⟶ Step Four: Click where it says “Headline” to add your headline. Yes, it’s that simple, but be sure to write a provocative title that grabs attention. Consider a teaser or “how to” angle. Think of the titles you see on the covers of magazines – what works on you will also work on your audience.

⟶ Step Five: Add the text of your article where it says, “write here.” We recommend writing your article in a word document, google doc or another platform where you can comfortably revise your work, proofread for grammar mistakes and typos, and spellcheck. Be sure to send your article with a call to action i.e. something you want your audience to do after reading. Once you are satisfied with the quality of your writing, copy and paste it into this page.
 

⟶ Step Six: Be sure to double check the spacing and formatting of your text. (Previous formatting is often lost when you copy and paste text.) You can adjust the formatting of your article by highlighting the text with your cursor and then using the dashboard at the top of the page.

⟶ Step Seven: You can add a hyperlink (i.e. turn a word or phrase in your article into a link to another site) by highlighting the text and clicking the icon that looks like two links of a chain. This is a great option to include in your call to action.

⟶ Step Eight: To add images, videos, slides or links within the body of your article, click the rectangular icon with the little plus sign, located on the left side. A box will slide open displaying several icons. Click on the type of content you want to insert. Be sure to choose a high-quality image that grabs attention.

⟶ Step Nine: When you’re done, click publish. (You will still have the option to go back and edit your article later if you need to.) A dialog box will open prompting you to share your article with your network.

⟶ Step Ten: Add a brief description of your article where it says “Tell your network what your article is about. Use #tags to help others find it.” (If you are not familiar with hashtags, read this.) Don’t just summarize, tease. Give people a reason to read it. What make your article interesting? What will they learn? Why did you write it? Does it tie into a trend or current event?

⟶ Step Eleven: Click publish. Congratulations!

⟶ BONUS: Click the buttons to share your article on Facebook and Twitter to further extend your reach and build your reputation. (Don’t have a Facebook or Twitter account? Ask us why you should.)

Increase your influence with our bonus guide:

“4 steps to using social media to grow your business. The beginners guide to social media for B2B companies.”

It’s full of insights and best practices for establishing and optimizing your social media marketing.

How to engage and respond to your audience.

After your article is published and assuming it is interesting and valuable, some of your connections will like, comment on or share your article. This is called engagement – and it is the measurable goal of publishing your own content.

When someone takes the time to comment on your article, it is courteous – and good business – to respond. This doesn’t mean you have to reply to every question with a long, thoughtful answer. And don’t enter into a debate back and forth with someone who disagrees. A simple “thank you” or short phrase goes a long way.

A few sample responses are listed below but be sure to respond in your own voice.

✔   Thanks for reading.
✔   Thank you for your thoughtful comment.
✔   Always good to connect with industry peers.
✔   
Hadn’t considered that point. Thank you for sharing.
✔   
It’s clear we share a passion for this topic.
✔   
I appreciate that you’re so engaged with the topics shaping our industry.
✔   
Considering new insights is always valuable.
✔   
Sharing what we learn is how our industry grows.
✔   
Interesting. You should also check out this: [insert a link to an article/post/site/etc.]

How to track metrics on LinkedIn.

LinkedIn Analytics focuses on three main areas to track metrics; company updates, followers and visitors.

In your company updates section, you’ll see exactly what content is getting the most impressions, engagement and clicks.

Here’s a breakdown of all the information this section displays:

⟶ Preview: Here you’ll see the title of the LinkedIn post as well as the option to view it in real-time. If you hover over the title, you’ll see a preview of the live post.

⟶ Date: The date the post was published.

⟶ Audience: This indicates whether the post was sent to all your followers or a targeted group.

⟶ Sponsored: This shows whether or not you paid to promote a post. If it was just an organic post, you can click on the “Sponsor” link to start a paid campaign to promote it.

⟶ Impressions: The number of times the post was shown to LinkedIn members.

⟶ Clicks: The number of times your company name, content or logo have been clicked.

⟶ Interactions: The number of engagements (likes, comments or shares) on your post.

⟶ Followers Acquired: The number of new followers you gained from a sponsored update. If your post is organic (non-paid) this will be empty.

⟶ Engagement: The number of interactions divided by impressions.

Scroll down within this section and you’ll see data on reach and engagement of your content. Reach is distilled by impressions and unique views. Impressions are the total number of times a piece of content was seen, while unique views only count the number of unique users that saw your content. For example, if someone looks at a post twice it counts as two impressions and one unique view.

The engagement section lists the types of interactions your content has received during the previous six months. You can see how many clicks, likes, comments and shares your content has received. You’ll also see your engagement percentage and how many followers you gained from sponsored posts. 

Followers: reaching the right people.

The follower section provides insight into your audience. Here you’ll see the number of followers you have, audience demographics and follower growth. you can view your audience by:

⟶ Seniority: These demographics let you know if you’re attracting the appropriate audience among lower, mid or high-level employees.

⟶ Industry: This data will show you if you are appealing to your key audience and can also give you ideas on new industries to target.

⟶ Company Size: This data breaks down your audience by how many employees the companies have. Very useful if want to target smaller businesses or large enterprises.

⟶ Function: Knowing what job responsibilities your audience has will help you share content that is relevant and engaging.

⟶ Employee vs Non-Employee: If the majority of your followers work for your company, your efforts are being wasted. 

LinkedIn Analytics will also compare your follower count to competitors in your industry, so you can set goals for growth.

Visitors: people seeking you out.

The visitor section of LinkedIn Analytics relates to your company page, not the content you post. This data includes:

⟶ Page Views: Total number of times your company page was viewed within a specified date range. (Also includes your career page if applicable.)

⟶Unique Views: Total number of unique users that have viewed your company page. (Note that this number excludes multiple visits from the same person.)

⟶ Visitor Demographics: Information on who is viewing your company page.

Want tips for creating more interesting and valuable content? Download our bonus guide:

“4 steps to using social media to grow your business. The beginners guide to social media for B2B companies.”

It’s full of insights and best practices for establishing and optimizing your social media marketing.

If you’re ready to take your social media content to the next level, Blender can elevate your content marketing to align your sales and business development goals.

Schedule a call with one of our strategists to find out how.