In a recent study by marketing automation firm Pardot, B2B marketers ranked LinkedIn higher than Twitter and other social media networks for its value as a lead generation tool. If you are spending time and resources to develop quality content, distributing your content on social media networks such as LinkedIn is a great strategy. Not only can you share content with your immediate network, but you can expand your reach by posting content within relevant LinkedIn groups. However, there are some dos and don’ts you will want to consider:
Do be thoughtful
Thoughtful interaction and quality content will position you and your company as a market leader and encourage prospects to engage with you in other ways. If you offer compelling content along with a link to your website, visitors will visit your site to read more. At that point they may decide to download a whitepaper or subscribe to your blog. That’s generating a quality B2B sales lead.
Don’t over automate
While it is convenient to send posts out as an automated feed to your LinkedIn status, the real value of LinkedIn comes from posting to relevant groups. Be careful to match the right B2B content with the right B2B audience for the best return. Sometimes I post in foodservice groups, sometimes in construction groups and other times in advertising/marketing groups. Just as in a “real” conversation, your voice shouldn’t dominate. Decide on an appropriate frequency based on the activity of the group and the response you receive. Remember it is as important to give as it is to receive. Share interesting articles from others as well as your own content.
Don’t be too commercial
Certainly if someone is looking for a supplier (it happens more often than you think), throw your hat into the ring. However, the discussions you start shouldn’t be overt sales pitches for your product or service. Lately I have seen group moderators clamp down on overtly commercial messages. Obey the rules of the group and post in the appropriate section. Often there will be specific places to promote events or jobs.
Assuming your content offers educational or entertainment value, don’t hesitate to share. People will respond if your message is on target and your website traffic will often tell you more than LinkedIn likes or comments. What no one wants to see is 60 discussions without any comments. That is not the value of social media.
Do mind your manners
When someone comments or likes your post, I think it is important to acknowledge them. Send a private message and let them know their opinion is valued and that someone is listening. Or reply publicly and keep the conversation going. It is no different than how you would interact face-to-face. The truth of the matter is that while only a small percentage of a group usually comments, many more read. Encourage interaction and comment and “like” other posts in the group. It feels good to know your content is being read and others feel the same.
Do choose groups wisely
It can be time consuming to monitor the activity of the groups, to post and comment regularly. LinkedIn limits the number of groups you can be part of to 50 because they want people to be engaged. Be sure the groups you join includes the types of individuals and companies you are targeting. Size is one measure of a group, but I think quality trumps quantity. I like to look at the number of discussions and in particular the number of comments posted in a given week. LinkedIn Reports this on the overview page for the group. Click on the stats icon and you can find all sorts of demographics. For example, the National Restaurant Association Group has more than 14,000 members. Last week there were 28 discussions and 100 comments among the group members–that is a very active group. If the group is open you can click on members to see exactly is in the group. If the group is closed, ask your direct connections how active the group is, and who the members are.
It’s important to know who you are targeting when identifying groups. There are more than 871,000 groups of all kinds on LinkedIn: vendor groups, alumni groups, professional groups. Of course you may want to target customer groups, but what about groups who are natural referral sources for you. Keep in mind the objective of the group as well as the people who are in it when posting your B2B content. You can even start your own group on LinkedIn.
Do take note of what people are discussing
LinkedIn Groups are a gold mine of content ideas for B2b marketers. As a B2B content writer, I like to see what is generating interest among the groups. Where there are comments, there is usually an idea for a story or blog post. For example, this week among the National Restaurant Association LinkedIn Group the most active discussion was centered around Starbucks adding alcohol to its menu. On Foodservice Equipment & Supplies Magazine Group, people were discussing Revit.
Share your favorite LinkedIn groups with us here.
How to Share Your Posts with LinkedIn Groups
I use the LinkedIn share button that appears at the bottom of each post on our website, and type in the name of the group where I want to post the content to. Unfortunately, the names of the groups don’t all pop up until you start typing, so you need to know the names of the groups. I only post to groups that I believe will have an interest in the content.