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While some social networking sites can seem downright hostile to B2B marketing, LinkedIn has made content marketing a core part of their service offerings.

As the director of marketing solutions for Australasia publicly stated:

“Content marketing is at the heart of LinkedIn’s marketing solutions strategy”

LinkedIn has many unique features that are not found on competing social networks. Understanding how to best use these features will allow you to create a highly effective content marketing strategy.

To help you get started here you will find the complete guide to content marketing on LinkedIn. Learn about the strategies and tools you can use to get the most out of your content.

Company Pages

A company page is a great place to establish a thought leadership position in your industry. By having a company page you will be able to deliver news to followers of your page. Some of the topics that you can create updates for include

  • Emerging trends in your industry
  • Company news
  • Strategic business advice
  • Job tips for your company

Setting Up Your Company Page

The first step is to setup your company page, which you can do here. Once you have created your page add a description of your company. You can then begin to add content for your company news feed.

Creating A Content Plan For Your News Feed

When creating content for your company page you should think about what kind of content would be useful for your followers. If your focus is to attract the latest up and coming rock star employees then you may want to give job tips and information about the culture at your company.

In order to deliver the updates in an efficiently you will want to create a content plan. Designate what type of content you want to distribute and when you plan to release it. Most people visit LinkedIn during the morning so it is best to set the timing for your release then.

Segmenting Your News Feed

One of the best things about the LinkedIn news feed is the ability to laser target who receives your updates. You can choose who receives your updates based on their location, job description or seniority.

For example you could select that only CTOs in San Francisco will receive your latest update. Segmenting your news feed means that only people who benefit from your update will receive it. Those who aren’t likely to be interested avoid getting their inbox spammed. You can learn more about targeted status updates here.

Another useful feature of status updates is the ability to gain insights into your followers. Using the dashboard function you can check demographic information, interaction with status updates and growth rates.

How To Gain A Wider Audience For Your Updates

When you release a new update it will only be shared with people who are already following your company. To reach a wider audience they must choose to share it with their own personal network.

One way to increase your update is to share it with groups that you belong to and your own personal network. You may also want to encourage employees of your company to follow your page and share the content with their own network. If a post is popular enough it may feature on the trending posts section of LinkedIn.

Posting an update should only be the beginning of a conversation you have with your followers. When someone comments on your content be sure to reply back. You will only be able to reply to these comments using your own personal profile.

Sponsored News Feeds

Another way to broaden your reach is to use sponsored feeds. This is a paid option which allows you to reach people who are not already following your company. Sponsored posts appear across a range of devices including desktops, tablets and smart phones.

Linkedin uses a self serve platform which allows you to sponsor updates to advertise your company’s products or services. Sponsored updates can be purchased using either a CPC or a CPM model with a bid style auction. One of the best features of this service is it allows you to reach specific users depending on their job description, seniority and locality.

The benefit of distributing your content through sponsored updates goes beyond the immediate audience that reads it. It can also be an effective way to gain new followers for your company. Readers may also choose to comment and share the sponsored story with their own network creating an even broader reach.

Case Study: Australia’s largest telecommunication company Telstra participated in the pilot study for sponsored updates and found that they were able to attract 12% more followers by using sponsored updates. They have now attracted 50,000 followers which make them the third most followed company in Australia.

Joining A Group

Joining one of the many LinkedIn groups is one of the easiest ways to share content. However not all groups are worth devoting your time to. You can join up to 50 groups but typically you will find that only 3 / 5 will actually produce significant results.

Start by setting a goal of joining 5 groups a day for one week. Monitor and evaluate the quality of these groups and narrow your focus on those that seem to be on target and have active participation.

Choosing The Right Group

To help select the right groups look at the amount of interaction that is taking place. Navigate to the group page and click on the group statistics box which is on the right hand side of the screen.

This will show you the groups demographic information, growth and activity. Make sure that the groups demographic closely aligns with the one which you want to market to.

You should also look at the amount of posts that have been made in the last week, and more importantly the average number of comments that they receive. The number of comments is a good indication of the actual interactivity in the group.

Contributing Your Own Content

Before you start to contribute content you should check that you understand the rules of that group. These can be found in the top right hand corner of the page. Not following these rules risks upsetting people who you may wish to do business with in the future. Not smart!

Next make sure that you are posting content which is relevant to the group. One mistake many people make is to contribute their latest blog post whether it is relevant or not. The point of marketing on LinkedIn is to use your content to start a conversation. Unfortunately too many people are using the groups simply to talk at rather than with the other members.

Use conversations on your content to build your personal network. If someone is commenting and engaging with your content, reach out to people and ask them to connect.

A Little Known Hack

Groups can also be an effective way to reach people who aren’t in your personal network. If you want to direct message someone who is not in your network you normally have to pay for the privilege. One little known hack is to join a group that they already belong to. As a member of that group you will be able to message its other members.

For the same reason it can also be a good idea to join some of the larger groups so that you are able to reach a much wider group of people than your personal network. For example you may only have a passing interest in SAP software, but with nearly one hundred thousand members you may want access to this group. You can find a list of the top 150 groups divided by categories here.

Starting A Group

Joining a group can be an effective way of sharing your content but starting your own group can provide you with an even greater degree of control. Groups are a low pressure way to draw people into your network. While somebody might be reluctant to give up their contact information to a business, they are usually happy to join a group.

Once you have created your own LinkedIn group you should take every possible opportunity to invite new people. Include a description of your group on your main website and encourage people to join. When a new member does join your group, you may also want to invite them to connect with you personally. This is a great way to build your own personal network.

Establish Yourself As A Thought Leader

When creating content for your group you should be thinking thought leadership. This means creating content that will start a conversation that will be of interest to your group members. Do not use your group as a platform to try and sell your businesses products and services.

Turn Your Group Members Into Co-Creators

Another way to build even more engagement with the group is to share the stories of group members. This might involve interviewing them for a podcast or a blog post. By involving group members in the content they are more likely to share it with their own personal network.

Case Study: Citibank has gone beyond starting its own group and chose to partner with LinkedIn to produce its Connect Professional Women’s Network. This is a branded community board where members can post and comment on content relevant to the network. However it is also a means by which Citibank can use content marketing for this key demographic. Women are a particularly important group for Citibank as it is estimated that in 80% of households they are the key financial decision maker.

LinkedIn As A Source Of Content Marketing Inspiration

Finally LinkedIn is not only a great place to distribute content, it is also an excellent source of content marketing ideas. LinkedIn provides you with the ability to determine what topics people would like relevant content on right now

Join groups whose members are the audience you would like to create content for. Watch carefully which content is receiving the most engagement in terms of comments. This will give you valuable insight into topics people are actually interested in right now.

Another source of information for content marketing ideas is the news feed. LinkedIn provides a number of useful filters which allows you to segment out which updates you receive. This includes content which has been shared in groups, and content from specific companies and individuals.

LinkedIn offer content marketers not only an excellent platform to distribute their content but also a great source of new ideas. LinkedIn’s own desire to display the most relevant and timely content is a boon to marketers looking for inspiration.