Believe it or not, LinkedIn turned twenty years old in May 2023. While Meta, X, and TikTok may receive daily media and consumer attention, LinkedIn has quietly become one of the oldest and most used social media platforms on the planet. There are over 900 million users worldwide. In fact, we can argue that LinkedIn has evolved into more than just a social media channel.
Social media platforms are designed to enhance social interactions, information sharing, and content distribution. They have become integral to modern communication (more than letters, phone calls, and even email). They are used for personal and social purposes as well as professional and business purposes.
LinkedIn is considered a social media platform because it shares several core functionalities with other social networking websites, like information sharing and content distribution. However, it also provides a space for individuals and businesses to search, connect, share, and engage in a professional context. This could mean sales, marketing, recruiting, training, and more. In reality, LinkedIn has become a powerful B2B search engine.
For sales and marketing professionals, LinkedIn offers a unique set of tools and features tailored to the needs of B2B marketing. It allows for precise targeting in both search and advertising, networking, content sharing, lead generation, and much more. When leveraged strategically, LinkedIn is a platform for building brand awareness, generating leads, and establishing your company's presence in the industrial or manufacturing sector.
Smart B2B marketers agree. In the 13th Annual Content Marketing Survey from the Content Marketing Institute and Marketing Profs (July 2022), 96% of B2B content marketers reported using LinkedIn in the last 12 months. 39% said it was very effective, and 21% found it extremely effective as a sales and marketing channel. But to really be successful, you need to build your own presence on LinkedIn first.
LinkedIn has emerged as a powerhouse, providing a dynamic platform for B2B marketing professionals to connect, engage, and drive meaningful results. Whether you're a seasoned marketer looking to harness the full potential of LinkedIn or a newcomer eager to explore the opportunities it offers, this blog will highlight some simple tips and tricks to unlock the full potential of LinkedIn for becoming a successful marketing professional in the industrial sector. Let’s start with personal brand building.
Personal Brand Building
Establishing a strong personal brand on LinkedIn lends credibility to your professional identity and to your company’s reputation. It demonstrates your expertise and competence in your field, which is crucial in B2B marketing, where trust is a significant factor in decision-making. When your personal brand is associated with experience and trustworthiness, generating leads is easier. Prospects are more likely to engage with you and express interest in your products or services. In a competitive B2B landscape, a compelling personal brand can set you apart from competitors. It helps to create a unique identity that resonates with your target audience.
Because LinkedIn is all about connecting, your professional profile is the digital front door to your company. Businesses often prefer to work with individuals rather than faceless companies. A well-established personal brand can attract potential clients and partners who want to collaborate with a recognized industry expert. Therefore, a well-crafted LinkedIn profile is essential.
Building a Professional Profile
An optimized LinkedIn profile is carefully curated and tailored to effectively represent your personal brand, highlight your professional experiences, and make you and your company more discoverable and appealing to potential business partners. Optimizing your LinkedIn profile involves several vital elements. They are:
- Professional Photo: Use a high-quality, professional headshot as your profile photo. It should be clear, well-lit, and appropriate for a professional setting.
- Engaging Headline: Your headline below your name should convey your current role, key skills, and value proposition. Remember that your headline is one of the first things people see on your profile, so make it memorable.
- Summary Section: Write a compelling summary that provides a snapshot of your professional journey, including your expertise, achievements, and goals. Use relevant keywords to enhance discoverability through search.
- Customized URL: Edit your LinkedIn profile's URL to include your name or a professional keyword. This not only looks cleaner but also helps with SEO.
- Professional Experience: List your work experience in reverse chronological order, highlighting key responsibilities, accomplishments, measurable results, and the impact you've made in each role. Use bullet points for clarity.
- Keyword Optimization: Use industry-specific keywords in your summary and experience sections to improve your profile's visibility in LinkedIn search results and search engines.
- Recommendations and Endorsements: Encourage colleagues, mentors, or clients to write recommendations for your profile. These endorsements add credibility to your skills and work history.
- Skills and Expertise: List your key skills and encourage connections to endorse these skills. This helps validate your abilities and can improve your profile's search ranking.
- Education and Certifications: Include your educational background and any relevant certifications, licenses, or additional training that showcases your qualifications.
- Contact Information: Ensure your contact information is up-to-date and easy to find. This includes an email address and, if relevant, links to your personal website or portfolio.
- Engagement and Activity: Regularly engage with content by liking, commenting, and sharing posts from your network. Active profiles tend to perform better in search results.
LinkedIn offers robust tools for you to build and enhance your personal brand through your personal profile. But that is just the first step. By sharing valuable content, networking, and engaging with your connections, you can establish yourself as an industry expert and create opportunities for career advancement, professional growth, business partnerships, and sales.
Networking and Connections
LinkedIn provides a platform for marketing leaders in the industrial sector to connect with other businesses, suppliers, clients, prospects, and partners. These opportunities facilitate personal networking and business relationship-building. It’s possible for one new LinkedIn contact to turn into a multi-million dollar client.
It takes some forethought and strategy to be successful in networking on LinkedIn. First and foremost, make sure you understand who your target audience is and what their pain points, questions, concerns, and interests may be. This will help you focus your networking on your personal and company goals. Here are some other tips for connecting and networking on LinkedIn.
Connect with Purpose:
Start networking by sending personalized connection requests to people in your target audience, explaining why you want to connect. Mention a common interest, acquaintance, or how you can provide value to them. Once you connect with someone, don't let the connection go stagnant. Regularly like and comment on posts you find interesting and insightful by your connections. Interact with anyone who likes and comments on your posts. Be genuinely interested in helping others. Offer your assistance or insights without expecting anything in return.
Share Valuable Content:
It is essential to consistently post unique content that showcases your expertise. You should also share and repost content from other influencers in your sector. Content could include relevant industry news, articles, and insights on current industry and community topics. Engage with and comment on posts from your network often. The more you engage, the more visible your profile and content will be on the platform.
Join LinkedIn Groups:
LinkedIn groups and communities are a great way to engage with a targeted audience. You can join or create groups related to your industry and participate in discussions, share personal knowledge and expertise, establish your company's area of influence, and connect with like-minded professionals.
Attend and Host Webinars:
Attend or host webinars on LinkedIn Live to learn new ideas and concepts, share your knowledge, and connect with a larger audience. Webinars are an excellent way to find thought leaders and influencers in a sector to follow and learn from.
Building strong B2B relationships on LinkedIn takes time. Don't rush the process or expect immediate results. Good networking is not just about quantity but also the quality of connections and interactions. Remember that you are building genuine, long-lasting relationships that can benefit both parties (and your company) in the long run. That long-term focus can also lead to a strong reputation as a thought leader or expert in your chosen sector.
According to the Edelman 2022 Thought Leadership Impact Report, "Thought leadership is one of the most effective tools an organization can use to demonstrate value to customers…even more so than traditional advertising or product marketing.” Business leaders are looking for high-quality and evidence-based points of view that show them how to enhance their business. That is the power of thought leadership. Becoming a thought leader in your industry has the potential to unlock new opportunities that might not have been accessible otherwise.
Being a thought leader requires showcasing your expertise and engaging with others in your industry. Regularly sharing valuable content or insights will enhance your credibility and visibility on LinkedIn. But you must do more than just share content. Credible thought leaders share their opinions on current industry or global topics and back them up with research and data.
Becoming a thought leader is more than a one-and-done goal; you build thought leadership over time. It takes more than one blog post, social media post, or networking event to position yourself as a trusted figure in any industry. Once you get there, you must work to stay respected and trusted. It's a continuous process of staying up-to-date on trends, innovations, and industry activities and nurturing your audience by offering them valuable insights and information, even when people disagree with you.
Authenticity is crucial for building trust as a thought leader. Share both your successes and challenges and be open about what you learn and discover along the way. Transparency, relevance, and genuine engagement with your network are essential. By consistently sharing valuable insights and demonstrating your expertise, you can establish yourself as a thought leader in your industry and your company as an industry leader, by extension.
Stay Tuned for Next Steps
LinkedIn is an extremely powerful sales and marketing tool. When used strategically, it can set you and your company apart from your competition. But this is just the beginning of your journey. The next step will be to build a company presence on LinkedIn. Stay tuned for part two of this series for tips and tricks on how best to accomplish that.
If you're wasting time and money on a LinkedIn profile that isn’t achieving your professional goals, reach out today. Whether you have specific questions or don't know what to do next, we have answers.