Built-in tools that make LinkedIn essential for marketing

21 Apr 2015 | by Ian Blake

How effectively are you using LinkedIn? Learn about the platform's innovative features that can boost your marketing efforts and grow your professional network.

In recent years, LinkedIn has evolved from a simple social media site to an interactive, content-laden platform through which thoughts and new ideas flow freely between users. Industry thought leaders can now use features like Pulse and Influencers to connect directly with user circles; content is circulated and shared within these circles, building engagement in a way other  social platforms can’t match.

As it pertains to marketing, LinkedIn has become an absolute necessity for building brands and connecting with audiences. In this blog, we highlight some of LinkedIn’s most innovative features that can boost your inbound marketing efforts and ultimately grow your business.

Bulking up your LinkedIn presence

To get the most out of your LinkedIn marketing efforts, the first thing you should do is optimize both your personal and company pages (users won’t follow or interact with you if you don’t stand out, after all). Step one in this process is using relevant keywords to improve SEO, and get your pages seen by the right audience. 

In your inbound marketing scheme, how are your ideal costumers (your buyer personas) defined? The keywords you use on LinkedIn should reflect what those users are searching, their industry and their business objectives.

Marketing on LinkedIn would be incomplete without endorsements and professional recommendations. These features, for both personal and company pages, fill in the gaps about who you are and what you do in ways that your page summary cannot: they’re attributed by other users. Endorsements are like free keywords, written by other users in your industry or network, that come with the added benefit of stronger credibility.

While recommendations are essentially testimonial content, they’re important for profile purposes as the amount of recommendations you’ve received is displayed next to your name in search and group listings. Try to have clients provide a recommendation once you’ve finished working together, and ask them to highlight specifics on your services and their results.

Another way to strengthen your profile page is to include work examples (content offers, videos, case studies, etc.) in LinkedIn’s professional gallery feature. With this feature, you can embed your work and past successes within your profile, even for individual jobs or projects. For marketing purposes, the gallery serves as a proof for your keywords and endorsements; it shows that you practice what your connections preach.

Attracting new users

LinkedIn has actually made it very easy to connect with users and grow your professional audience within the platform. One tool everybody should be using is LinkedIn’s How You’re Connected feature, which puts you in direct contact with your connections’ connections; the tool displays not only who in your network is connected with that person, but also how they’re connected. You can use this information to grow your own network and introduce yourself to users interested in your industry and services.

LinkedIn has also made targeted searching a core feature for users, in the form of their advanced people search option. This tool lets users tap into LinkedIn’s growing professional database and connect with users that meet strict criteria. Criteria for advanced searches include things like occupation, industry, location and keywords.

For marketing purposes, LinkedIn has recently introduced the showcase page feature, which allows users to create pages focused on their products and services. These pages can be tailored around targeted personas, and effectively serve as landing pages within LinkedIn.

Additionally, you can use the Who’s Viewed Your Profile feature to get information on people visiting your pages, how you’re connected and the like. These details then make prospecting with new users a much more personal experience. There are basic and premium tiers of this feature; for marketers, the premium feature is almost always worth the upgrade, as it includes user insights and all views in a three month period.

LinkedIn Groups are another valuable networking tool, which puts you in contact with users in industries, circles or professional circles relative to you. When you join a group related to your business, any piece of content you publish to LinkedIn is shared instantaneously with the entire group. This gives LinkedIn the edge over other social platforms when it comes to marketing visibility.

Of course, all of these features mean nothing if the content you distribute via LinkedIn is sub-par. LinkedIn isn’t a platform for selling; it’s a venue for conversation, where industry leaders and their audiences openly discuss ongoing trends and ideas. 

Your content must serve a clear purpose, whether it’s to inform new audiences or spark conversation within a group. Pairing these features with high quality content is what sets effective LinkedIn profiles, for both personal and company purposes, apart from the rest.

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