LinkedIn is a great social media platform that is often not given the prominence it deserves. This is probably because it is business-focused, however, LinkedIn is a powerful platform for social interaction and business development. Perhaps the biggest difference which counts for LinkedIn when comparing it with other social media platforms is its effectiveness for business-to-business marketing.
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What is B2B Marketing
B2B marketing is an acronym for business-to-business marketing. It’s one of the two major categories of marketing, and differs significantly from the other major category, B2C marketing which stands for business-to-consumer marketing. B2B marketing can also be understood within the context of industrial marketing which is marketing to companies and businesses who do not buy primarily for personal or household consumption. However, the key factor in B2B is not the intended use but the category of the user.. B2B focuses on businesses while B2C is on consumer marketing.
So, you should understand B2B marketing as the practice of marketing to reach other businesses. Because businesses rely on each other for growth and use the tools and advantages provided by other businesses to succeed, mastering B2B marketing can provide some leverage for business growth and profitability.
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Why LinkedIn is Good for B2B Marketing
Here are key factors favoring the use of LinkedIn for B2B marketing:
1. Brand Awareness
Like most social media platforms which connect people all over the world together, LinkedIn Social media was built to connect businesses to each other. This offers a lot of opportunities including growing your brand awareness. Most negative perceptions about a brand have been corrected to restore and improve the reputation of brands using social media platforms like LinkedIn.
With other social media networks, the friends with whom you connect may be uninterested in your business offers and therefore could get offended and unfriend you but with LinkedIn, your followers understand that it is a business community and are not likely to be offended by business related posts like articles, discount offerings, price slashes and other offers.
Because LinkedIn is about business relationships, it allows you to promote your brand and that way, you can build brand awareness and possibly connect your brand with a product or service. You are able to build an identity for your brand by consistently promoting the products and services offered by your business.
LinkedIn also has developed tools that can help you grow your brand awareness. By joining relevant groups and actively participating in activities and making contributions, you are able to stay at the top of group activities and get your brand to be prominent in the group. LinkedIn also allows you to create your own business group, offering tips to other business owners, who also happen to be your target audience.
1.1 LinkedIn Business Tools for Brand Awareness
LinkedIn Sales Navigator
If you have the desire to use LinkedIn to boost sales, the sales navigator tool is a great place to start. Offered by the social media marketing platform itself, its goal is to connect buyers and sellers in a unique way.
There are many features of LinkedIn Sales Navigator, with the most important as follows:
- The use of an advanced algorithm to find the prospects best aligned with what you have to offer.
- Sales insights from the sales navigator to ensure that you have the best information as a decision maker.
- Relationship building tools, allowing you (as a lead builder) to continually move closer to the final goal of making a sale.
Are you interested in adding LinkedIn functionality to your website? This is where LinkedIn Plugins come into play.
Many people don’t look at these as a direct way to impact sales and social selling, but they are missing out on a big opportunity. Here is a list of the plugins that you can use:
- Follow Company
- Company Profile
- Member Profile
- Alumni Tool
- Company Insider
- LinkedIn AutoFill
- Jobs and Job Titles You Might Be Interested In.
LinkedIn Small Business
Here’s how LinkedIn describes its approach to small business:
“LinkedIn is much more than a social site. It’s a community of professionals – in a business mindset – that’s waiting to hear from you.”
Through the use of this tool and its three-step approach to social selling and being a great lead builder, your small business will find itself on track to boost sales, build trust, and reach a variety of related goals. The three steps include:
- Establish your brand presence
- Connect with your target audience
- Engage them with content marketing
2. Lead Generation
LinkedIn provides the right channel for targeted traffic. It is a generally acceptable platform for generating leads that are of high quality and can turn beneficial. Additionally, you can narrow down potential connections based on their title, location, industry, and even the company they work for. LinkedIn had been found to be a very effective tool to find small businesses.
LinkedIn lets you send a message with your connection request. Use this tool to market yourself and your business and open the door for further communication. Another great tool on LinkedIn is the ability to see who is viewing your profile. This is a great time to send an introductory message to see what they’re interested in. If you’re not already connected, it’s a great time to send them a connection request.
Tips for Effective Lead Generation With LinkedIn
These tips have been found quite effective in generating leads on LinkedIn.
Build a Strong LinkedIn Presence
The first step in generating leads through LinkedIn is to be committed by having a strong presence on LinkedIn. Whether you use a company page or your personal page, marketing executives are encouraged to stamp their brand as a reliable source of credible information on LinkedIn. Promote your company along with the profile of employees. People will be able to judge your strength and credibility by the information you supply.
Create a LinkedIn Page
Ensure you have a strong and powerful LinkedIn page. Make sure you are using an impressive page and build a strong profile for your page with the right information. Make sure that your page is active and doing good engagement.
Ensure that Your Posts are Relevant and Up-to-Date
Build your page popularity with relevant content and updates. Check and verify the information contained in your post to ensure its accuracy and usefulness. Also ensure that quality is not compromised by checking quality signals especially for spellings and grammar.
Join Relevant LinkedIn Groups
Connect with customers and other critical stakeholders by joining the relevant LinkedIn groups. It is helpful to join groups that have your clients and customers. That way, you are able to reach your customers through the updates you share.
Reach Customers With Paid Ads
You can further expand your reach with paid advertisements. This will not be recommended for companies with a slim marketing budget. However, it is worth doing as it can bring a lot of benefits.
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3. Networking Opportunities
Networking can be very useful and beneficial especially in the B2B industry and we recommend that marketing professionals should take advantage of it. LinkedIn provides a great networking opportunity providing you with the opportunity to connect customers, clients and prospects. While in-person networking opportunities can be valuable, in many cases, they’re not always realistic because it requires time, money, and motivation to attend numerous networking events. LinkedIn is a platform that deals with that as it is basically free and will require you to only have an internet connection. Additionally, you can understand the profile of those with whom you network and their value for your business.
LinkedIn allows you to network at your own time and convenience and you don’t have to take time out of your busy work schedule or pay thousands of dollars to fly across the country to network.
4. Industry Education
LinkedIn allows you to build your capacity in any industry. There are learning opportunities and you can choose to dedicate some few hours to learning daily. You can also improve your learning by sharing topics on different subjects. In the process of sharing insights with others, you also get to be learning.
5. Community Building
You can build a community around your company with a LinkedIn company page. You may want to advertise your page if you have some few Dollars to spare and grow your community.
With your company page, you can share specific details about your business. It also enables current employees to list you as their employer and you can also list your employees on the company page. With your business page, you can grow your brand awareness, recruit quality employees and increase potentials for B2B customers.
Common LinkedIn B2B Mistakes
LinkedIn is a great tool for B2B marketing. However, its potential can be inhibited if it is not properly designed to be really productive, It’s important to avoid these common mistakes so you can benefit from LinkedIn’s lead generation power.
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Most people will want to connect to your company willingly but they will not want to be pushed into it. You will need to avoid pushing too hard to get people to join your community or connect with you in other ways.
It is better and more rewarding to gain connections through content sharing and the value you offer.
Content is the key thing people are looking for. You need to ensure that your content is useful and should encourage people to engage. Avoid jokes, avoid content that is not relevant or interesting to your connections. The content you share should be useful, engaging, and valuable. Images can increase the likelihood of a click and so it is recommended that you use attractive images in your content,
Remember that quality content can open up the door for communication with other businesses.
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Not Optimizing Your Profile
It is very important that you optimize your profile to provide all the relevant information required. Your LinkedIn profile is often the first thing that connections will interact with. Optimizing your LinkedIn profile is just as important as optimizing your website and your other social media pages. Carefully fill out each section with detailed information.
Be clear about what your business is and who your target customer is. Encourage recommendations from other businesses that you have worked with. This will help to increase your trust factor and can get you additional quality leads.