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The Quick Guide to LinkedIn Marketing Strategy: 9 Best Practices

Jul 21, 2015 10 min readGuides & Courses
Photo of Alfred Lua
Alfred Lua

Product Marketing @ Buffer

With its new features and updates, LinkedIn is becoming a social media platform that you shouldn’t overlook, especially if you are a B2B marketer.

Just take a look at this infographic by LinkedIn:

Why use LinkedIn: LinkedIn by the numbers

LinkedIn is now a promising channel to drive traffic, generate quality leads, build your thought leadership, and more.

Here’s a rundown of the best LinkedIn marketing strategies we’ve found — everything from figuring out what, when, and how often to post on LinkedIn to learning about your performance, audience, and competitors.

LinkedIn Marketing for Businesses: 9 Best Practices

LinkedIn Marketing: Best Practices

  1. Post industry trends, how-tos, and thought-leadership content
  2. Make use of the analytics
  3. Use images and videos
  4. Use data to find your best time to post
  5. Schedule 1 post per weekday
  6. Study other Company Pages
  7. Optimize your Company Page for search
  8. Help your colleagues help you
  9. Explore LinkedIn ads
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1. Post industry trends, how-tos, and thought-leadership content

One of the first questions in your mind when it comes to LinkedIn marketing might be: What should I post on LinkedIn?

Like any social network, it’s great to customize your message for your specific audience because what works on other platforms will not always work on LinkedIn. On LinkedIn in particular, there is some great advice on what types of content do well:

BuzzSumo analyzed the headlines of 10 million articles shared on LinkedIn to find out the topics that resonate with people on LinkedIn. They looked at the top phrases used in the headline of the most shared articles, and two types of content stood out: Industry trends and how-to articles.

  • Industry trends and news: “the future of”, “in the world”, and “of the year”
  • How-to articles: “X ways to”, “how to get”, and “how to make”
BuzzSumo LinkedIn study on top topics

This suggests that people on LinkedIn are generally interested in informative and educational content, which seems fitting for a professional social network.

Thought-leadership content

Let’s take a look at what LinkedIn themselves recommend.

In their guide to using LinkedIn for marketing, they recommend being helpful…

Because people invest time on LinkedIn, a proven approach is to help your audience perform their jobs better, answer questions, and help address pain points.

… and avoid being salesy.

While it can be tempting to sell your audience on the benefits of your product or service, “salesy” content doesn’t generally perform well on LinkedIn.

They also shared that “publishing thought leadership content on your Company Page is one of the most powerful ways to grow your LinkedIn audience“. Here are the three types of thought leadership that LinkedIn suggests:

  • Industry thought leadership: Your perspective on news and trends
  • Organizational thought leadership: Embodied in the vision and ethos of your company
  • Product thought leadership: Centered on being the best solution for your customers

2. Make use of the analytics

Besides measuring your LinkedIn marketing performance, your Company Page analytics is a great tool for understanding what content your followers like. Here are two ways to make good use of the analytics:

Understand what content does well on your Company Page

In the “Updates” section of your analytics, you get a wealth of information about your recent LinkedIn posts (or “updates”). Besides providing data such as the impressions, clicks, and social actions, it also calculates each post’s clickthrough rate (CTR) and engagement rate. Amazing!

LinkedIn analytics: Updates

To find out what content your followers like, go through the table and look for posts with an above-average CTR or engagement rate. Then, experiment with similar types of content and see if they perform just as well.

Learn about your followers and visitors

This tip works great if you have had your Company Page around for a while and have gained a sizeable following.

Under the “Followers” section of your analytics, you get information about the demographics of your followers. For example, here are the top five job functions of our followers:

LinkedIn analytics: Follower demographics

Using this information, we can tailor our posts to their interests by sharing content that is relevant to their job functions. This could include content on marketing (which we write a lot about), startups, and technology.

Besides the top job functions, you can also see the industries your followers are in, their seniority, their locations, and more.

LinkedIn analytics: Follower demographics options

You also get similar information about the people who visit your Company Page but aren’t following you yet, under the “Visitors” section of your analytics.

3. Use images and videos

Once you know what to post on LinkedIn, here’s a tip to help you drive engagement to your LinkedIn posts.

According to LinkedIn, one of the best practices for running a LinkedIn Company Page is to use rich media like images and videos. They found that images lead to a 98 percent higher comment rate while links to YouTube videos can result in a 75 percent higher share rate.

Increase in comment rate for post with image

If you are looking for the ideal image sizes for sharing to LinkedIn, we have them here for you.

Now that you can upload videos onto LinkedIn directly, I would recommend doing that, instead of posting a link to your YouTube video. When quintly studied over six million Facebook posts, they discovered that videos uploaded onto Facebook have, on average, a 110 percent higher interaction rate and a 478 percent higher share rate than YouTube videos on Facebook. It’s likely that LinkedIn, like Facebook, would prioritize LinkedIn videos over YouTube videos on the feed.

4. Use data to find your best time to post

So now you know what to post, how about the best time to post?

LinkedIn has found that “[u]pdates posted in the morning usually earn the highest engagement, with a slight bump occurring again after business hours” but also added that you should “[e]xperiment to see what works best for your company.”

At Buffer, we now believe that there isn’t a universal best time to post on social media. With LinkedIn’s algorithmic feed, the concept of “a universal best posting time” is now less relevant. Instead, it’s better to focus on your brand’s best time to post. Here are two methods of finding your brand’s best time to post:

Using LinkedIn analytics

Here’s how to find your best time to post to LinkedIn, with LinkedIn analytics:

  1. Experiment with different posting times and record those times
  2. Go to the “Updates” section of your LinkedIn Company Page analytics
  3. Identify the few top posts with the highest CTR or engagement rate, depending on your goals
  4. Compare those posts with their posting times

Is there a trend? If you could identify certain times that do better than the rest, you could continue to post at those times. Otherwise, experiment with a few new posting times.

As LinkedIn doesn’t provide the published time of each post, you might find this method is a little tedious. If you are using Buffer for Business, this becomes slightly easier.

Using Buffer

Here’s how to find your best time to post to LinkedIn, with Buffer:

  1. Visit Buffer’s analytics section for your LinkedIn profile
  2. Click on the Posts tab
  3. Click on “Most Popular” to sort your LinkedIn posts according to the total engagement (comments, Likes, and clicks)
Buffer analytics: Top posts

You can sort your posts by the most popular, most Likes, and more comments. You can also select a custom timeframe or choose from the list of presets.

Once you have sorted your posts according to your preference, do you notice any trends? Just like the LinkedIn method, are there times that performed better the rest?

5. Schedule 1 post per weekday

When you know what to post and when to post, you might want to know how often to post.

LinkedIn has found that 20 posts per month can help you reach 60 percent of your unique audience.

Audience reach for one LinkedIn post

More posts will naturally lead to a larger percentage of reach, but there will come a point of diminishing returns. A certain percentage of your audience will always be impossible to reach—because they never log on—so you’re really looking to hit those who log on and scroll their top updates.

Start with 20 quality posts per month and scale up if you see that a fuller schedule comes with more benefits. As it turns out, if you post once a day for four weeks and skip the weekends, you’ll hit 20 posts on the dot — perfect.

Buffer for Business can help you post consistently to LinkedIn and measure your LinkedIn marketing efforts. We would love for you to give it a try and see the difference.

6. Study other Company Pages

Facebook Pages to Watch is one of our favorite Facebook marketing tools, which has helped us improve our Facebook marketing. Just like Facebook, LinkedIn has a feature called Companies to track. I believe it’s as useful in helping you with your LinkedIn marketing.

You can find this table at the bottom of the “Followers” section of your analytics.

LinkedIn analytics: Companies to track

Here, LinkedIn shows you the companies that are similar to yours and a few key metrics, such as total followers, follower growth, and social engagement. Using this information, you could benchmark your LinkedIn Company Page performance with theirs. For example, here are some of the analyses you could do:

  • Is my Company Page growing as fast as other Company Pages that have roughly the same number of followers?
  • How do my number of updates and social engagement compare with similar Company Pages?
  • What types of content are doing well for them? (You can click on their name to visit their Company Page.)

Ultimately, it’ll be great to study similar Company Pages, learn what’s working well for them, and experiment those ideas on your own Company Page. A good starting point is to look for Company Pages that have a similar follower size as you but a higher follower growth or average engagement (i.e. dividing social engagement by the number of updates).

A well-optimized LinkedIn Company Page allows your target audience to easily find you on and off LinkedIn (e.g. Google). To optimize your Company Page for search, LinkedIn offers these suggestions:

Insert keywords. Be sure to incorporate keywords into the company profile information, clearly representing who you are and what you do. If you’re not sure which keywords to use, think about it this way: What words or phrases would a potential customer use when searching for your product or service?

There are two places on your profile where you can insert keywords: your company description and specialties.

LinkedIn Company Page - keywords

You can find this by navigating to your Company Page > Manage Page > Overview.

Link to your Company Page. Creating links to your Company Page is essential for boosting your ranking in search. An easy win here is to link to your Company Page from your website, blog, and other marketing materials. Another easy win is to make sure the LinkedIn profiles of employees and colleagues are up to date. When they add your company to their work experience, a link is created back to your Company Page.

For example, on this blog, we link to all our social media profiles, including our LinkedIn Company Page.

Link to Company Page
Share relevant content. One of the best ways to improve your rankings and search results is to share relevant content regularly. When you publish updates from your Company Page they also appear on your public page, allowing your content to be indexed by Google. The more frequently you share content your followers engage with, the higher your Company Page will appear in search results.

I haven’t seen too much of this myself but it’s definitely a bonus for sharing relevant content that your followers love.

8. Help your colleagues help you

One of the best groups of people that can help you with your LinkedIn marketing is your colleagues. They can help you boost your posts and increase the visibility of your company on LinkedIn. So help them help you.

Here’s how:

Encourage them to engage with your posts

Engagement on your posts will help spread your posts to more LinkedIn users, and it turns out that your colleagues could be the greatest asset to building this engagement.

LinkedIn previously found that employees are 70 percent more likely to click, share, and comment on an update than a typical LinkedIn user.

You can take advantage of this by making it easy for your colleagues to engage with the content. Send them links every time you post or when particularly important updates go live. Asking for engagement is sometimes all it takes to get your colleagues involved.

Encourage them to fill out their LinkedIn profiles

LinkedIn offers a lovely explanation of how your individual LinkedIn profiles influence your brand:

Your LinkedIn profile – and the profiles of everyone else at the company – are the peaks that come together to form the mountain range that is your brand.

Besides that, it’s just a wonderfully simple way to spread awareness of your brand. If you are in a company of 50 people, that’s 50 profiles with your company’s name with a quick link to your Company Page. And according to LinkedIn, it makes your company more visible in search results both on and off LinkedIn.

If you are looking for a resource you can share with your colleagues, Social Media Today has a great infographic with 27 tips on creating a great LinkedIn profile.

9. Explore LinkedIn ads

Finally, I just want to briefly mention advertising on LinkedIn in case it’s something you want to explore now or once you’re more familiar with LinkedIn.

There are three types of ads you can create on LinkedIn:

  • Sponsored content – ads that appear directly in the LinkedIn feed
  • Sponsored InMail – ads that allow you to deliver personalized, relevant content through LinkedIn Messenger
  • Text ads – pay-per-click (PPC) or cost-per-impression (CPM) ads that appear on the side
LinkedIn ad types

LinkedIn provides a great starter guide to advertising on LinkedIn, which you can find here. It covers the key aspects such as creating an ad, setting your target audience and budget, and measuring your ad campaigns.

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What have you found works best for you on LinkedIn?

Are there any hurdles you’ve found to getting fully involved with your LinkedIn marketing?

It’d be great to hear your experience. We’re experimenting lots with things here at Buffer, too, and we’d love to know what you’ve been working through. Happy to chat through things in the comments!

Image credit: Unsplash, LinkedIn

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