How to Build a LinkedIn Marketing Strategy
You don’t need me to tell you how popular LinkedIn has become over the last 18 months.
With 250 million active monthly users, it’s likely your ideal customers are waiting to be found.
In this in-depth guide, you’ll learn how to create the perfect LinkedIn marketing strategy. Positioning your brand as an authority, creating killer content and getting your teams on-board — it’s all here.
Let’s get stuck in.
Step 1: Defining Your Strategy & Setting Goals
You can’t execute on a strategy until you’ve defined it. And you won’t know where you’re going until you’ve set clear goals.
Which is why this is the first and most crucial step of this process.
Without setting clear goals, you’ll end up trying a whole host of tricks without any clue what you’re shooting for.
According to LinkedIn themselves, 80% of B2B leads come from LinkedIn:
Furthermore, 94% of B2B marketers use LinkedIn to distribute content. Even more reason to ensure your LinkedIn marketing strategy is locked-in tight.
As a growth, marketing or salesperson, what are you trying to accomplish? Is it:
- Increase lead generation?
- Get more eyeballs to your content?
- Drive more traffic to your website or landing pages?
- Build brand awareness?
- Attract and recruit the best talent?
Whatever it is, start with that metric, as it will ultimately drive your strategy.
And don’t worry, every step of this guide will include examples that contribute to each of these goals.
Now it’s time for the maths. Let’s say your goal is to generate 100 leads from LinkedIn next quarter. You need to reverse engineer the process that will get you there. Let’s say 50% is 100 new leads next quarter and your current metrics are as follows:
- 1,400 blog visits from LinkedIn a month
- 5.2% conversion rate from reader to newsletter subscriber (73 subscribers)
- 19.5% nurture rate from subscriber to MQL (15 leads)
Which means you’re generating 45 leads each quarter on average. Therefore, you’d need to generate an extra 55 leads next quarter to reach your goal.
Which brings us to the next set of questions:
- Which content performs better than others?
- Which LinkedIn marketing activity brings in the majority of those leads?
- What new activity can you test to generate leads (with a positive ROI)?
The rest of this guide will aim to answer these questions. Each step will show you how to fill your strategy with the activities that will help you to reach your goals.
If you don’t yet have a defined content strategy, or are yet to truly tap into the power of LinkedIn, then there’s even more opportunity for you.
Step 2: Setup & Optimize Your Company Page
Many of the tactics and approaches taught in this guide are best practices.
Optimizing your company page is one of them.
Your company page will be looked upon by potential clients and recruits alike. It’s a chance to showcase your values, content and culture to those who are interested in working with you.
Here’s how you make your company profile as appealing to those people as possible.
Use Killer Imagery
Your profile picture and banner are the first two elements that visitors to your company page will see. Therefore, it’s important to have these as polished as possible.
Here are the dimensions and specs you should use for both:
- Profile picture: 300 x 300 in .PNG format
- Banner image: 1536 x 768 pixels in .PNG format
Both images should not exceed 8 MB.
For example, Drift use a simple yet high-quality version of their logo as their profile picture. They also use their banner space as an opportunity to promote their Hypergrowth conference:
Twitter, on the other hand, use their banner space to highlight their work space and celebrate their culture:
Finally, ServiceNow put their people first while making sure their signature brand colors are prominent where possible:
Your banner image is the perfect spot to put your end-goal forward. Use this space to generate leads or include a call-to-action for an eBook or other collateral.
Is recruitment your goal? Use this space to celebrate your culture and give potential hires a peek at day-to-day life at your organization.
Write an Engaging “About us”
Once you’ve hooked people in with your image, it’s time to share your story.
Your “About us” section should put your values, culture and most important value proposition front-and-center.
Here, Drift use their About section as a way to simply say who they are, how they help and a few social proof points (e.g. “venture-backed company”):
In this next example, HubSpot drop as many social proof points as possible – including the number of customers they serve and offices they have located around the world:
Here are some elements to consider including in your About us section:
- Number of customers/clients you serve
- Name of big companies you work with
- Your core value proposition
- How you help your clients solve their challenges
- The services you specialize in
- Any awards (including any workplace-related awards)
Including a compelling call-to-action (CTA) can compel visitors to take the next step. Looking again at HubSpot, they use a simple CTA to drive potential customers to their website. Then, they offer a secondary CTA for any potential recruits.
You can also link to a free eBook download, webinar or events. It all depends on what your end goals are.
Create a Robust Profile
There are many areas of your company profile to fill out. These include:
- Year founded
- Specialties (an opportunity to be found for keywords in LinkedIn search)
- Featured Groups
As well as these things, you can also expand your company profile with the “Life” tab. This is the perfect opportunity to lift up the hood on what goes on in your company.
With the Life tab, you can showcase elements such as:
- Company photos
- Company leaders
- Culture insights
- Custom modules
Drift have executed this tab perfectly. Each section highlights exactly what it’s like to work with and at their company, attracting new hires and investors alike:
Use this section to highlight your core values. Show prospects and new hires alike what you’re up to and the new, innovative solutions you’re working on.
Step 3: Getting Employees On Board
The term “pod” has been thrown about recently. These are groups of professionals with similar audiences who share each other’s content on LinkedIn to mutually extend their reach.
Your current employees are your greatest advocates on LinkedIn.
The problem is that many don’t see how it benefits both the company and themselves.
So, how do you enable your teams to create and distribute your content or messaging? Just follow this process.
Promote it Internally
Encouraging your teams to get involved is a continuous job. Which is why it’s important to appoint someone to lead the charge.
Ideally, this should be someone from your marketing team who believes in the importance of LinkedIn as a marketing channel.
This might even be you!
Then, find some internal advocates who are enthusiastic about getting involved. Again, these might be in your marketing department. But look outside to your sales or even customer support teams.
And don’t forget to search through your company LinkedIn page for those already active on the platform!
Share Your Vision & Benefits
Now you have people on board. It’s time to share why you’re doing what you’re doing.
This is where having a documented strategy comes in handy. But the other important factor is sharing what’s in it for them.
Why should they adopt your LinkedIn marketing strategy? Why should they care?
There are two possible ways to do this:
- Tie company benefits to employee outcome, e.g. more customers equals more profit, which leads to bigger employee bonuses.
- Educate them on how this may benefit their careers. By positioning themselves as a reliable figure in their field, they’re more likely to get attention from upper management within the organization.
Of course, your employees will get attention from outside the organization as well. But this validation will just serve as proof that the process works.
Don’t choke their potential for fear they’ll jump ship.
Employee & Sales Enablement
With your employees all on the same page, it’s time to get them to work.
Of course, not everything outlined in this guide will apply to every employee within your organization. So here’s a checklist of basic activities you can encourage your teams to take on a daily, weekly and monthly basis:
- Optimize Profiles: Show employees how to create rock solid positioning through their LinkedIn profile. Our guide to social selling will show you how to do this step-by-step.
- Claim their URL: A shorter “vanity” URL will make it easier for them to share their profile.
- Link Current Position: This will expand the network of the entire company and increase the company’s page rank.
- Update contact information: Especially important for sales executives.
Endorsements are a huge social proof point and authority booster on LinkedIn. Encouraging staff to endorse each other will help everyone exponentially increase their credibility on the platform:
Furthermore, encourage team members to recommend each other. These act as “professional testimonials that shows other team members vouch for them:
Employees should also expand their own network by connecting with their teammates and peers in other organizations and industries. When the time comes to share content, this will expand its reach.
Speaking of which, keep your teams in the loop whenever new content is published. Show them how to share company posts. Encourage them to create their own posts by repurposing blog posts (see our social selling guidefor more on how to do this).
Step 4: Building Your Audience
You now have a strong foundation for your LinkedIn marketing strategy.
It’s time to expand your audience.
Here, you’ll learn how to give your audience something worth following and how to attract them in the first place.
Give Them Something to Follow
On LinkedIn, creating great content is key.
When building an audience, you need to give them content that’s worth following. At time of writing, there are two forms of content that perform best on LinkedIn:
- Native posts
- LinkedIn video
Let’s look at examples of each and dissect them. First, here’s an example of a “native” LinkedIn post created by Josh Fechter:
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Here, he recounts a conversation he had with the founder of a German startup. As you can see, he includes takeaways on this discussion to add as much value to his audience as possible.
There are dozens of other ways to structure this kind of content, including:
- Lessons from your own experiences (both wins and failures)
- Lessons learned from mentors
- Stories from your day-to-day life (and how they apply to your business)
- Lessons learned from other brands you’ve observed
Here, Aaron Orendorff talks about a recent failure and what he learned from it:
This post ended up generating over 400 engagements, extending the reach of his content and expanding his audience in the process.
Then there’s video content. This is doing extremely well on LinkedIn right now. We’re visual creatures, and video helps build a more personal connection with your audience.
There are several different ways to go about LinkedIn video. Allen Gannett, CEO of TrackMaven and author of The Creative Curve, simply shoots on his iPhone when in the company of interesting people to share nugget of wisdom:
<iframe src=”https://www.linkedin.com/embed/feed/update/urn:li:activity:6426066123866804224″ height=”688″ width=”504″ frameborder=”0″ allowfullscreen=””></iframe>
Or, you could go a similar route to Neil Patel. He follows a similar direct-to-camera format, but does so with high-quality production:
<iframe src=”https://www.linkedin.com/embed/feed/update/urn:li:activity:6427620364632801280″ height=”668″ width=”504″ frameborder=”0″ allowfullscreen=””></iframe>
Is there a wrong or right way? Absolutely not. It all depends on your budget and personal style.
If you’re just starting out, it doesn’t hurt to use a simple iPhone set up. It works well for Allen — his videos generate between 300 and 1,500 engagements!
The lesson here: it’s all about the content.
Finding Your Audience
Now you’ve got something to offer your ideal audience.
It’s time to find them and build connections.
First, it’s important to understand who you’re aiming to attract. This all depends on your goals.
For example, if you’re aiming to generate new customers, users or clients, it’s important to connect with your ideal buyer personas.
If, however, you want to expand the reach of your content, you can be a little more liberal with your targeting. Again, it all depends on your goals.
There are several ways to build your audience — both manual and automatic. For example, you can use LinkedIn’s search function to find those with certain job titles in specific locations and find those you want to connect with:
Then there are Boolean search strings, which gives you more flexibility on your targeting. These look a little something like this:
How do they work? Here’s a quick-start guide to using Boolean logic in your LinkedIn searches:
- Quoted searches: You can use quotation marks if you want to find someone with a multi-word title or exact phrases. For example: “senior product manager.”
- NOT searches: If you want to exclude a particular term, you can use an uppercase NOT immediately before the term. For example: programmer NOT manager.
- OR searches: To see results that include one or more terms, separate the terms with an uppercase OR. For example: ceo OR “chief executive officer” OR founder OR cofounder.
- AND searches: To get results that include two or more terms in a list, you can use the uppercase word AND as a separator. For example: manager AND director.
- Parenthetical searches: To do a complex search, you can combine terms using parentheses. For example, if you want to find people who have “VP” in their profiles, but you want to exclude “assistant to VP” or SVPs, you can type: VP NOT(assistant OR SVP).
Check out our full guide to Boolean searches in our Medium article here.
Finally, there are automated solutions (like our very own Orca platform). Using the same principles above, you can hyper-target your audience without having to manually connect with them one at a time:
It also allows you to automate the connection process. Simply write a personalized connection request (we recommend creating new searches for specific job roles/geos) and away you go.
Building a Relationship
Automating the LinkedIn marketing process is great. But LinkedIn is all about building relationships.
So, how do you go about building these relationships effectively?
While automation technology will give you a platform to scale, the most important missing piece is what you say and how you reach out.
Here are a handful of tips to help you execute effective LinkedIn outreach:
- Do your research: Be on the pulse of the pains, challenges and desires of your target audience. For high-volume outreach, focus on job titles. However, if you’re looking to build connections with potential clients (ABM style), it’s important to personalize it to the individual.
- State your purpose: LinkedIn is getting noisier, so it’s important to ease skeptical minds. Why are you connecting with them? Whatever the reason, it should always be to give value upfront in some way.
- Don’t start cold: You don’t have to start with strangers you don’t know yet. Why not test your messaging on your existing connections? This way, you can validate whether or not your message will resonate.
- Target second-degree connections: It’s easier to find common ground with second-degree connections than third-degree connections. Focus on the things you have in common — both the people you’re connected to and brands/events you’re affiliated with.
- Third-degree outreach: Yes, this is a little tougher. But the potential rewards are still high. Focus on personalization through the challenges and desires of the persona.
From here, you’ll have a content and audience-building sequence.
As you and your team generates more connections, the more eyeballs there are on your content. And the more content you create the deeper the relationship you build.
Not to mention: the more connections you generate, the further the reach of your content. As people engage and share with your content, their connections will see that content, too.
You may even find you get an influx of connection requests as a result.
Step 5: Tapping Into LinkedIn Groups
LinkedIn Groups has got a bad rep in recent years.
But they’re making a comeback – and for good reason.
By creating and engaging with Groups on LinkedIn, you’re tapping into an audience of marketers interested in the topics and solutions you have to offer.
This step will be segmented into two sections:
- Creating your own LinkedIn Group
- Engaging with existing Groups
Let’s get stuck in.
How to Create an Awesome LinkedIn Group
First, let’s address the obvious question:
Why bother creating a LinkedIn Group at all?
There are several benefits, including:
- Credibility boosting: Build authority among your peers by sharing your thoughts, opinions and expertise on relevant topics.
- New content ideas: LinkedIn Groups are a treasure trove of insights for your content, sales and marketing messaging.
- Customer insights: Get a broader picture of your target audience. Map pains to job roles/personas by listening to conversations happening within your Group.
- Distribute content: Share your owned content to an already active audience.
On top of all this, LinkedIn recently announced they were investing more time and resources in improving the Group experience.
Which is why now is the time to jump on them.
Start by choosing a topic that your audience cares about. There are thousands of groups already dedicated to high-level topics (e.g. “Social Media Marketing”). So, focus on narrow topics instead.
Using our brand as an example, we might focus on creating a Group on social selling – or better, social selling through LinkedIn.
Don’t create a Group around your product. It’s more likely our audience would be more interested in discussing new social selling techniques rather than their thoughts on the Orca platform.
Here’s a Group dedicated to bringing CRM experts together. It has over 110,000 members:
This is a great example of just how niche you can go.
Once you’ve chosen your topic, it’s time to create the Group itself. To create your group, head here: https://www.linkedin.com/groups/create
You’ll need to complete each field as thoroughly as possible:
- Group title: What’s your group called? Make it relevant to the topic you’ve chosen.
- Group logo: Create something that stands out.
- Description: What’s your group about? What’s your mission? Talk about who the group is for and what you’ll be discussing.
- Group rules: What content and discussion is allowed? Are members allowed to share content? Make them clear to understand.
- Group membership: Do you want to be found or is this a private, unlisted Group?
Here’s the description for the “Inbound Marketers” Group:
It’s simple and to-the-point, but quickly describes what they’re about and who the Group is for.
And here’s a quick look at their Group rules:
As you can see, the expectations on each member is clear.
The next step is to create message templates. These include automated welcome messages your members will see once they’ve been approved to join your Group (if approval is required).
Here’s an example from the Wired Advisor Group:
Once you’ve got everything set up, it’s time to invite members to join. Start with your first-degree connections by sending them a message. Again, you can use automation technology to do this.
You should also promote it through other channels. For example, a short email to your list or a pinned tweet.
Finally, make sure you have some discussions started for your new members. Create two or three discussions and get your teams to chime in. This will ensure your Group appears to be bustling when they investigate and, eventually, join.
How to Engage With LinkedIn Groups
If creating a LinkedIn Group seems like to much work, you can always tap into someone else.
Bear in mind, you lose several benefits (such as getting your own posts into your members’ email inboxes). But it can still work wonders when tapping into a wider audience.
Here’s a process to follow when engaging with other LinkedIn Groups:
- Identify the right Groups: This goes back to your defined strategy. Who are you trying to attract and for what purpose? For sales generation, I’d recommend Groups that bring relevant job roles together. For content distribution and audience building, aim for Groups gathered around specific topics.
- Engage in discussion: Like any online community, start by engaging with the community first. Reply to discussions and comment on content shared by other members. Do this a few times before sharing your own content.
- Follow the rules: Similarly, make sure it’s okay to share content. If it’s not, then focus on creating discussions that attract your target audience.
- Be relevant: Don’t use Groups as a dumping ground for your content. Make sure the discussions and content you share are relevant to the Group.
- Message members: You’re likely to attract the most engaged members over time. Use this as an opportunity to make new connections and get them into your lead nurturing sequence. You can browse members by clicking the “X members” link in the right-hand pane:
LinkedIn Groups can quickly get ruined by members sharing useless content and spamming the group with whitepapers and self-serving calls-to-action.
Don’t be one of these people!
Instead, add value to the group whenever possible. This is how you build credibility and establish intimate relationships.
Step 6: Testing the LinkedIn Ads Platform
As you can see, the organic capabilities of LinkedIn are vast and full of benefits.
But there’s an entire paid media platform waiting to be tapped into.
Using LinkedIn ads, you can get your content and offers in front of your ideal prospects with a thick, profitable ROI.
Here’s a quick beginners guide on how to get started.
Setting Up Your LinkedIn Ad Campaigns
First things first – head to LinkedIn’s “Advertise on LinkedIn” page and click “Create ad:”
Then, create a new account and associate it with your LinkedIn page (where possible). You’ll then be taken to the Campaign Group section:
Click “Create campaign” to begin the wizard. First, select which ad product you want to use. This will depend on your goals. For example, if you’re driving traffic to a landing page or piece of owned content, choose “Text Ads:”
For this example, we’ll choose “Sponsored Content.” This will serve our ad within the LinkedIn newsfeed and is more likely to generate more eyeballs. They’ll look something like this:
Choose what you want to accomplish with this campaign (in this case we’re looking to drive traffic):
Next, you’ll want to select an “Ad format.” These come in three formats:
- Article, image or link
Experiment with different ad creative. Article, image or link formats are easiest to set up, as they require only static images and compelling copy. Start here, and test with video once you start seeing results.
Next, you’ll need to create your sponsored content. Here’s what you’ll need:
- Name your sponsored content (for internal use)
- A relevant, engaging image (1200 x 627 pixels in size)
- Introductory text
- Landing page URL
- Ad headline
- Ad description
Serving Your Ads to The Right Audience
So, you’ve got your campaign set up. This next step is where the power of LinkedIn’s advertising platform truly comes into play.
Let’s go through each targeting variable step-by-step. First, you have the ability to select a previously created targeting template or create one from scratch:
If this is your first time using the platform, stick with “the audience below.” Next, select the location you wish to target e.g. “San Francisco:”
Then, you can select specific criteria — which is where your targeting starts getting super specific:
For example, let’s say I wanted to target senior marketers within specific industries and had a specific company size. My targeting might look something like this:
Select whether you’d like to include the LinkedIn Audience Network and Audience Expansions, then save your audience as a template for later use.
Finally, set your goals and budget. Website visits is a bare-bones-basic metric to measure effectiveness, while conversions will optimize billing for CPA.
Choose a daily budget by calculating your monthly budget by the number of days you’ll be runnin each ad. For example, if your monthly budget is $500 and you intend to run your ads on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, your daily budget will be $40.
Enter your billing details, and away you go!
Creating Effective LinkedIn Ad Creative
Of course, you’ll want to maximize your results as much as possible.
Whether your job is to promote content or generate more leads, your ad copy and creative is what will make or break success.
To show you what makes great LinkedIn advertising, here are two examples and what they did well for you to takeaway and apply to your own efforts.
For example, this promoted post from IBM Analytics shares stats around hybrid data warehouses in an infographic-style video:
They use value-driven copy to demonstrate what the viewer will learn, and the video itself uses sleek, flat design elements.
This example from Bizible shows you don’t need fancy graphics to get results. In fact, this simple ad generated a 600% ROI for their efforts:
The reason it worked so well? They targeted a super-specific audience of 2,000 LinkedIn users, ensuring they were reaching those who were most likely to need what Bizible had to offer.
Success with LinkedIn ads is similar to Facebook Ads: it’s all about using the right copy, imagery and targeting to get results. Get a perfect storm with all three and you’ll generate a positive ROI with ease.
Step 7: Measuring Effectiveness with LinkedIn Analytics
With all this activity going on, it’s important to measure the effects your LinkedIn marketing strategy is having towards your goals.
Luckily, LinkedIn comes out of the box with some powerful analytics features.
Here’s how to measure your LinkedIn marketing effectiveness.
Let’s start at the top of the funnel with connection and content engagement metrics.
Here are the metrics all LinkedIn marketers should be measuring:
- Number of connections: Make this part of your team-wide LinkedIn marketing programme. Encourage your employees to share their connection growth on a monthly basis.
- Content Engagement: Measure how much engagement your content generates. As a company administrator, you have a top-level view of which posts generate the majority of your engagements:
- Follower Metrics: What is your month-on-month follower growth? How many followers engage with and share your content? Keep an eye on these key metrics to see how well your content is resonating with your audience.
Moving down the funnel, it’s time to see what impact your LinkedIn marketing strategy is having on your goals:
- Referral Traffic: How much traffic is coming from LinkedIn, and from which areas? For example, are you generating more traffic from LinkedIn Group engagement, or organic posts on LinkedIn ads? To segment these data out, use UTM codes.
- Content Engagement: Using the “User Flow” feature in Google Analytics, you can measure how your LinkedIn audience is moving through your customer experience. Furthermore, segment content by channel and monitor engagement metrics such as avg. time on page and bounce rate.
Finally, how is this all contributing to your business-critical metrics?
- Connections to Leads: How many connections turn into real sales opportunities? It’s likely your sales reps will be generating the majority of LinkedIn leads, but ensure you have systems in place to track opportunities coming from all employees.
- Subscriber & Lead Conversions: How many visitors to your website are turning into leads? Are they converting higher up or lower down the funnel? Measure how many LinkedIn visitors are converting into leads at all stages of the cycle.
If you’re looking to generate new B2B leads, setting up a LinkedIn marketing strategy is an absolute most.
Unlike Facebook, your target audience are there looking for content and advice that you have to offer them. Provide them with the information they need, add value wherever possible, and you’re bound to turn LinkedIn connections into loyal customers.
How are you currently using LinkedIn to generate new business? Share with us in the comments below!