We often have clients ask us which social media networks they should use. It’s an important question. Some people think their company has to be on every social media network, but that’s one of the big, common social media marketing mistakes. Setting up lots of accounts, then neglecting or poorly using them doesn’t do any brand any good.
Successful social media marketing entails picking one to a few sites and using them consistently and well. Some sites are more specialized than others. For example, Pinterest and Instagram are highly visual, best suited to businesses with high-quality original images of visually impressive products or results of service. Restaurants can do very well sharing stunning food pics, but an accountant is unlikely to get much out of these sites.
LinkedIn specializes as the leading social networking site for professionals. It’s heavily used by job hunters and recruiters, but it’s also a powerful online tool for B2B organizations. While no site fits perfectly for every company—and LinkedIn can certainly be effective for B2C companies, too—with few exceptions, we encourage B2B companies to get involved in LinkedIn.
Why? Another good question.
Why B2B Companies Should Use LinkedIn
- Your target audience is there. After Facebook and Twitter, LinkedIn is the third most-used social network by businesses. A recent Salesforce State of Marketing report found that 62% of businesses are on LinkedIn, with an additional 22% intending to start using it within the next year.
- Your target audience is paying attention. LinkedIn is used by many professionals in a highly interactive way as they work to build their reputation and find new opportunities for their organization. Also, there’s less content glut and a slower pace than on Facebook and Twitter. Also, your content visibility isn’t left to the whims of Facebook’s harsh algorithm; posts appear in all your connections’ feeds. And while so many things pull attention in so many directions on other social sites, LinkedIn users are more focused on the professional reasons they’re there.
- LinkedIn is the best site for B2B lead generation. A Hubspot study determined that this site is 277% more effective at lead generation than Facebook or Twitter. In general, traffic originating from LinkedIn is far more likely to convert than traffic from other social sites. Hubspot largely attributes this to what we said in the bullet point above.
- Leads come to you. LinkedIn is one of the few places where people who need what you’re selling actively look for you. If your business and personal profiles are fully filled out and properly optimized for the right keywords, leads find you when they search for companies offering your products or services.
- Reach decision makers directly. We all know there can be a lot of hoops to jump through or levels to climb when selling B2B. LinkedIn cuts through much of that, putting you in full view of leaders and decision makers at other organizations. They’re accessible, and they’re on the lookout for promising new opportunities.
- LinkedIn strengthens professional relationships. The interactions, content sharing, messaging system, and other aspects of the site facilitate dialogue and help keep you fresh in people’s minds. It’s a great way to nurture the relationships you depend on and to solidify your position as a trusted resource for other businesses.
- It’s the leading site for reputation building. LinkedIn’s content distribution channel and networking possibilities are designed to help professionals distinguish themselves as thought leaders in their industry. You don’t just grow brand awareness on the site, you enhance your authority and generate trust.
- Gain valuable insights into your target market. This is a convenient place to learn firsthand what your potential customers are struggling with, what they’re doing about it, what they wish they could do about it, what they like and don’t like about existing solutions, what trends are affecting their business, and so much more. Any attentive B2B company can pick up major insights into how to improve their products, services, and sales pitch.
- It’s the top social site for B2b product launches. Recent polling found that 81% of B2B marketers use LinkedIn for new product launches. That’s 10 percentage points over Twitter, the second-place finisher, and 27 points over Facebook and YouTube, which were tied for third place. Clearly it’s proving effective and providing an ROI.
- This is the site for finding new talent. LinkedIn is where the best and brightest people go to build their reputation, gain exposure to employers, post their resumes and achievements, talk about what they want to accomplish, and find new jobs. And it’s a great place to show off your company culture, opportunities you offer, and the benefits of working with you.