LinkedIn: How to Build Your B2B Presence to Improve Your Bottom Line
Did you know that LinkedIn is the number one social media channel for life science business-to-business marketing? As we discussed in our last blog Social Media For B2B Companies there are many different social media platforms to use for B2B marketing. The Content Marketing Institute’s 2014 B2B Content Marketing Report puts LinkedIn at the top of that list, ranking in at 91%.
So why is LinkedIn the best channel for B2B markets? LinkedIn is best suited for B2B because it’s specifically designed for professionals and businesses – offering several ways to connect professionals and businesses. After all, at the heart of every B2B sale is the relationship you build with your potential client.
LinkedIn’s Tools to Connect
LinkedIn gives you ways to build relationships, “connect” with, and even become a thought leader within your industry’s community. The tools it gives you are:
- Personal Profile
- LinkedIn Company Pages
- LinkedIn Showcase Pages
- LinkedIn Groups
Many people believe that they only need to use LinkedIn when looking for jobs. They simply post a copy of their resume as their profile and call it a day. Admittedly, LinkedIn is a good place to connect with people for job searches – but it is much more powerful.
You should use your profile to expand on your experience. It’s also a great way to see the background of a potential client. Instead of just making a cold call, you can use LinkedIn to learn a little bit about the person you are trying to reach. Now I certainly don’t condone cyber-stalking, but it’s a great way to learn a little about your prospects and connect with them online before a cold emailing or calling.
LinkedIn Company Pages
The Company Page is crucial to establishing your brand presence on LinkedIn. You can add updates about your company, its activities and services. This allows followers of your company to comment and share these updates. You can also use these updates to promote and connect your other social media channels, your website, and your blog.
Company pages also give you access to the profiles of a company’s employees. Are you looking to connect with a certain company? Seeing your target company’s employee profiles can help steer you towards the correct decision-makers.
Company Showcase Pages
LinkedIn just recently (in early 2014) replaced the Company Product and Service Pages with “Showcase Pages.” These pages allow companies to create individual sub-pages that “showcase” a specific product or service for your company. Your customer or prospects can choose to follow the Showcase Pages they are interested in, along with your Company Page.
There are about 2 million groups on LinkedIn, many of which are in your industry. Each of these groups is owned by someone and has a moderator to enforce rules, which keep discussions on track. Use LinkedIn groups to become a thought leader in your industry by leading or participating in discussions. You can comment and share the posts made by other members in the group. Note that companies cannot belong to groups – only individual profiles can. So if you choose to participate in group discussions, please remember not only are you representing yourself, you’re representing your company as well.
By contributing to these group discussions, your insights and ideas will be read by people in your industry you may not be connected to. The more you contribute, the more your name and profile will be visible., Not only do your contributions to group discussions provide you with a larger potential client base, they also establish you as a thought-leader within the industry community.
If the key to success in B2B sales is networking than why aren’t more people “connecting” on LinkedIn and why aren’t they using all it has to offer? The answer to this question is usually time. You won’t really see a lot of results if you are not actively participating. Once you get your profile optimized, (for help with that click here you will have to invest time and energy into LinkedIn Groups. But once you get into the habit of participating, you’ll find it gets easier and easier to make new connections and improve your ROI.
Are you using LinkedIn to its fullest potential?