LinkedIn Marketing works, make no mistake about that.
How do I know that?
Well, i’ve single handedly grown my businesses using LinkedIn marketing alone, without a single cent spent on advertising.
That’s 6 figures of revenue, without spending a single dime on selling to people.
If you’re in the business of selling your products or services to other businesses, otherwise known as Business to Business selling, then you’ll want to keep an eye out for LinkedIn as a marketing platform.
But here’s the irony: most people I speak to have no clue how to use this platform, besides “dumping their resume” on their profile (which is the last thing you should do, really).
But in this post, things are about to change from the basics.
In this article, you will learn the basics of LinkedIn Marketing, as well as the different terms most commonly used on LinkedIn.
- Have a strong insight into how LinkedIn Marketing works and how it will benefit you.
- Understand the foundations and important fundamentals of Marketing on LinkedIn.
- Know the entire process of LinkedIn marketing, from attracting your target customer, to closing the deal.
Note: This post is part of a series where I talk about the fundamentals of LinkedIn marketing.
Some Facts About LinkedIn
There are 467 million professionals on LinkedIn, and this figure is set to rise to LinkedIn’s ultimate goal of 3 billion (Source).
Ready Contacts recently made a great summary of all the facts about LinkedIn as a platform and a ready market to be sold to, but for easy reference, here are some select facts:
- 467 million – Total Number of Linkedin Users
- 106 million – Total Number of Monthly Active Linkedin Users
- 133 million – Total Number of Linkedin Users from the USA
- 1.5 Million – The total number of Linkedin Groups.
- 40% of users use Linkedin Daily
- 2 members – Number of New Linkedin New Members per Second
- As of the third quarter of 2016, LinkedIn had an average of 106.46 million unique visiting members.
- As of the second quarter of 2016, LinkedIn had an average of 63 million unique visiting members via mobile. These accounted for 59 percent of all unique visiting members.
- As of the third quarter of 2016, 60% of unique visiting members accessed the online recruiting network via mobile device.
- As of March 2016, 79 % of LinkedIn members were using the free basic account.
- 200 countries and territories – Geographical reach of LinkedIn
- 70% – Percentage of LinkedIn users outside the USA
- LinkedIn profiles with professional headshots get 14 times more profile views.
- Profiles with photos get 21 times more profile views
- Profile photos get 36 times more messages.
- 3 million LinkedIn users that share content on it weekly
- Hottest skill on LinkedIn in 2014 that got people hired: Statistical Analysis and Data Mining
- 13x Increase in profile views for LinkedIn members that list skills on their profiles
- Total number of LinkedIn endorsements: 10 billion
- 79% of B2B marketers view LinkedIn as an effective source for generating leads
- 92% of B2B marketers leverage LinkedIn over all other social platforms
- 80% of B2B leads come from LinkedIn
- 94% of B2B marketers use LinkedIn to distribute content
- 70% of Linkedin users are from Outside of USA.
- 40 million students and recent college graduates on LinkedIn.
- There are 57% of male users and 44% female users on Linkedin.
- After US, India, Brazil, Great Britain and Canada has the highest number of Linkedin users.
- 13% of Millennials (15-34 Years old) use Linkedin.
- 28% of All Internet male users use Linkedin, whereas 27% of All Internet Female users use Linkedin.
- 44% of Linked users earn more than $75,000 in a year.
- There are over 39 million students and recent grads on Linkedin.
- Microsoft paid $26.2 billion to buy LinkedIn.
- Linkedin’s Q2 2015 revenue is $712 million with $128 million generated from premium account subscriptions.
- Linkedin’s Q3 2016 revenue is $960 million with 17% generated ($162 million) generated from premium account subscriptions; 18%($175 million) from marketing solutions, and staggering 65% ($623 million) from talent solutions.
- 41% of millionaires use LinkedIn.
- LinkedIn now has 3 million active job listings on the platform.
- 1 million professionals have published a post on LinkedIn.
- An average user spends 17 minutes monthly on Linkedin.
- 53 % of LinkedIn users only spend zero to two hours on the site per week.
- Statistical Analysis and Data Mining are Top skills on Linkedin.
- 59% of Linkedin members have never worked at a company with more than 200 employees.
- There are 5.5 million accountants on LinkedIn.
- The average CEO has 930 connections.
- The most overused profile word continues to be “Motivated” – which also topped 2014 and 2015.
- The use of LinkedIn company pages grew from 24% to 57% YOY.
- 71% of professionals feel that LinkedIn is a credible source for professional content.
- As of March 2016, 27 % of LinkedIn users have between 500 and 999 first degree connections.
Are You Like Sheep In The LinkedIn Herd?
Chances are you’re looking at the list i’ve put out above and thinking: “hey…I can get a chunk of the LinkedIn pie too!”
But if you’re ‘marketing’ yourself like everyone out there, you can probably forget about it.
You see, most LinkedIn users use LinkedIn the wrong way.
They’d probably create a profile, polish it up with some general information, plug some keywords into your bio and summary, then sit back and cross your fingers hoping that someone will come along and drop you a big fat cheque.
Most People Forget That Positions Are Replaceable
Think about it. How do you expect anyone to drop by your profile, when you are competing with tens of thousands of people out there who are just like you?
The truth is, it is not enough anymore to set up a profile with just your resume and hope that opportunity will come your way.
The key is to market your profile, your unique selling proposition, and why you’re different from the next guy.
If you are genuinely interested in learning how to use the power of LinkedIn Marketing to elevate your voice above the crowd—if you actually want to be heard in this noisy digital world—then you are in the right place.
Let’s take my own LinkedIn Profile for example.
I’m in the business of content marketing, and I’d probably want to attract people who are searching for content marketing.
My target audience would probably do a search like the above to find some relevant results. Next, i’d probably click on People.
You see what I mean? Optimising your profile just according to keywords is just not a long term solution – everyone knows how to do it.
So how do we stand out from the competition?
In Other Words,
You Need A Selling Edge
If the simple exercise above has taught us anything, it’s that LinkedIn marketing is NOT about keywords; it’s about having a unique edge and brand appeal that sets you apart from the competition.
Continuing from my example above, let’s say I want to rank myself as a content marketer, but I know that BESIDES being good at writing content, I am good at:
- Writing stories
- Understanding the entire digital marketing funnel; not just content writing
- Crafting an emotional response from my audience through my content
- I won an award from LinkedIn themselves – the prestigious LinkedIn Power Profile of 2017
When I combine these advantages that make me different from the next content marketer, I can instantly create a selling proposition that looks like this:
Notice how I front-loaded my unique advantage at the beginning – the award by LinkedIn on LinkedIn – that’s instant credibility.
Then, I used as a simple separator to go directly into my Unique Selling Proposition:
I Craft Stories That Search Engines And Humans Love
Note that this tagline is essentially describing what a content marketer does, but it’s crafted in such a way that is instantly catchy, and captures the attention of the reader.
In other words, the emotion that we’re trying to elicit from our searchers isn’t:
Oh you’re a content marketer. We have a job opening for you. Please apply via this link.
Nah. That’s boring. Instead, we want excited readers like this:
Exercise: Question Your Selling Advantage
Now that i’ve shown you how i’ve crafted my simple selling advantage, I want you to do the same for yourself:
Ask yourself these questions:
- What makes me different from the next guy?
- How can I describe what I do in a way that is catchy?
- How do I condense my selling point in a way that is short, to the point, and even fun?
Before We Proceed…
If you’re sharp enough, you’re probably asking the following question now:
If I don’t place keywords in my profile, isn’t there a chance I don’t rank?
Yes – and no. Because most people depend on the search function to be found on LinkedIn, placing your keywords there is actually not going to do much for your visibility anyways.
The important thing is to handle marketing yourself (which we’ll cover in future posts).
Trust me. It works.
Why Go Through All This Fuss To Do LinkedIn Marketing?
You know, the first question that most people still ask me to this day is:
“Why do I need to do this “marketing thing” on LinkedIn, John? I’m already getting leads through word of mouth!”
Hmm. Don’t make the same mistake that I did.
Reason #1: The Way People Receive And Consume Information Has Changed
You see, perhaps word of mouth, and giving out pamphlets, and sending out resumes might work for you, but it won’t last in the near future.
I can guarantee you that.
A few decades ago, we definitely received and consumed information about almost everything through traditional media, like newspapers, enveloped sent resumes, and the TV.
All that changed, however, when our prospects started to be really involved online.
Before long, even kids found out that they could use the power of the Web to find alternatives for every type of product or service out there.
The inter connectedness of the Web and everything in it was a game changer, because it technically meant that those who could create the best quality to educate, excite and engage prospects would be the clear winner in that particular industry online.
In short, if you are not marketing where your prospects are, then be prepared to lose out.
Reason #2: Your Audience Shuns Away From Adverts
Of course, as more and more people started hanging out online, prospects became increasingly intolerant of adverts online as saturation began to take place.
This meant that there was a need for a total shift in the marketing and advertising mindset.
For a moment, advertisers and marketers were confused. How can we reach out to these people, when they are so adverse to what we have to offer?
Reason #3: The Shift Towards An Educational Driven Environment
This is where content marketing comes in.
Content marketing is a progressional marketing method that aims to educate, inform and engage the people who are already seeking for this information, instead of approaching complete random strangers, talking about the different portions of the topic, and generating excitement and interest in their product or service.
Reason #4: Content Driven Selling Is The Future
The challenge right now is set to create the best quality content out there in the market.
Regardless of the channel that you are operating in, be it LinkedIn or Facebook, understand that true prospects and customers are looking for quality content that can make them feel like they are listened to.
They don’t need more information – they need the right information.
Unless you are selling cat nibbles or something along those lines, detailed, high quality work will always outdo sloppy content.
That is the future of online marketing.
Don’t take it from me. Digital marketing powerhouses swear by content marketing, and it has built multi million dollar businesses from scratch.
The 3 Main Marketing Methods On LinkedIn
Now that you (hopefully) see the point of marketing your business and brand on LinkedIn, let’s talk about the different tools at disposal to get the world out.
Broadly speaking, there are 3 main types of marketing tools available to every LinkedIn marketer.
Slideshare has become immensely popular over the years as a powerpoint sharing application that millions of people use worldwide today.
In a nutshell, Slideshare is like powerpoint in Linkedin.
By uploading your slides to Slideshare, it exposes your content to Slideshare’s 70 million active users, and it is a powerful way for you to get attention for your product or service.
Updates are basically like Tweets or status updates in Linkedin. Your updates can come in the form of a photo, link, or simply text.
These updates are distributed throughout LinkedIn to the news feeds of your followers—basically, connections who are following you and your updates will be able to see them.
Your followers then choose to engage with your updates through liking, commenting, and/or sharing your updates.
Updates are often used to share new posts on Pulse that you have written, or to share your thoughts on Events, News, and Posts that you like.
Updates also help to build top of mind relationships with your followers, and let them know what you are thinking.
Linkedin Pulse is the meat of Linkedin Marketing, and has become, over the years, one of the most popular choice of marketing and thought leadership building for LinkedIn marketers.
Essentially, LinkedIn Pulse works very much like Medium – you post your content on Pulse, and your connections get a notification.
They view the article, and can engage with it in the following ways:
- Leave a comment
- Share the article
- Or like the article
Pulse is one of the most popular modes of marketing on LinkedIn, simply because it offers the chance for more explanation and in-depth writing to take place.
As a bonus, the articles are also closely linked to the LinkedIn profile of the writer, so for readers to connect with your profile is relatively easy and straightforward.
If you think it’s mind-boggling right now, don’t worry.
Nothing worth doing ever starts off easy!
The LinkedIn Marketing Process, Step By Step
While there are many ways of Marketing on Linkedin, as you will see below, the process behind Marketing on LinkedIn is the same.
In a nutshell, when you market yourself on LinkedIn, you are basically generating value for prospects and readers (a.k.a. The users of LinkedIn) by distributing powerful content that solves nagging problems to the right audience, in order to build trust and attention to the brand that you represent.
Over time, you’re hoping that this value and relationship that you have given and built will translate into trust by your readers, to purchase goods and services from you, in order to solve those problems that you specialise in dealing with.
For the purposes of illustration, and to make things clearer for you, I have broadly listed down the process in a nutshell.
Step 1: Understand The Problem That You Are Solving
The first step to solving any problem is recognising that there is one.
That being said, it’s important to define the different problems that your brand or service (even yourself as a professional) solves, so that you can start talking about the solutions later on.
At this stage, you will want to do the following:
- List down the different problems that your target audience has
- Why are they unable to solve this problem? What stands in their way?
Step 2: Create Awareness With Content That Solves The Problem
Now that you have defined the problems, and have a rough idea of the challenges that your prospect faces, it’s time to create content that talks about them, and potential ways that you can solve it for them.
Remember, at this stage, the prospect is still relatively new to you and the services that you provide, so it’s important that they are aware of the problems, and how you can relieve those pains for them.
At this step, it is also important that you talk about your past achievements, and list down case studies, or samples of people whom you have helped before.
Step 3: Distribute Content To Get The Right Eyeballs Behind Your Content
After coming up with that content masterpiece that you have, it’s time to publish it, and more importantly, get it read by the right person.
By practicing some of the fundamentals that we will go through in Chapter 6, you will learn the best ways to reach out to people on LinkedIn with your content, and get them to engage in the conversation.
Step 4: Engage Your Readers And Turn Them Into Leads
Ideally, prospects who read your material will come back to you with some sort of engagement, be it in the form of a like, share, or comment.
Sometimes, they might even drop you a personal note.
The idea behind this is to create content that sparks a conversation between you and your reader.
Step 5: Build Relationship And Rapport, Then Sell
Once you have started a relationship with the prospect, it’s time to slowly nudge them towards the next step of the sales process.
At every point in the way, you’d want to create content, and send them positive vibes that you are a trustworthy character who can solve a specific problem.
Why do we need to go so niche? Because if you create content that is so precise, and so zoomed in, you will normally end up being the only choice when the prospect realises that he or she has to solve the problem that you are so great at.
What I’m Trying To Get At
Content marketing is the way to go in the future of business, much less LinkedIn Marketing. Build solid relationships with your prospects, and trust and loyalty will follow.
You will soon find that you can sell almost anything if you are willing to create great content around the product or service that resonates with the audience.
By now, you should have a clear understanding of:
- The different mediums available to you as a marketer on LinkedIn
- The basic digital funnel of inbound marketing on LinkedIn
- How to define your own unique selling proposition and differentiate yourself from your competition
Start Your LinkedIn Marketing Journey Today
When it comes down to it, the most important thing is to be extremely clear about how your LinkedIn profile stands from the rest of the crowd.
Doing that will ensure that you own your domain, and make it truly unique.
Over to you:
What do you think are some ways that can help your LinkedIn profile stand out? What has helped for you?
Leave a comment down below about your experience with LinkedIn marketing; I want to read it!