How to Build A Successful LinkedIn Marketing Strategy

Hand holding phone featuring LinkedIn login page
Hand holding phone featuring LinkedIn login page

With a user base of over 700 million people in 200+ countries, LinkedIn isn’t a social media platform to be overlooked. This is a fact that B2B businesses have known for years, which is why so many companies have been investing time and effort into perfecting their LinkedIn marketing strategy. Now, B2C businesses are starting to pay more attention to the social networking platform as it begins to adopt features, like hashtags and stories, found on other platforms.

So, whether you’re a small business, working in B2C or working in B2B, LinkedIn has a place in all marketing strategies. Not only can brands reach highly targeted audiences when using LinkedIn for business but doing so also has a positive impact on recruitment, brand credibility and positioning.

If you’re yet to create a LinkedIn marketing plan, or you’re wondering how to use LinkedIn for business, you’ve come to the right place. During this post, we’ll offer a step by step guide to getting an effective LinkedIn marketing strategy off the ground, plus a few tips to help with daily LinkedIn management!

A Step-By-Step Guide to Creating a LinkedIn Marketing Strategy

Set up a LinkedIn business page

A business profile establishes your public image on a global scale and helps your organization seem more reputable and trustworthy. The first step towards creating a LinkedIn marketing strategy is setting up a LinkedIn company page. When building a LinkedIn company page, page admins have access to a number of features including:

  • Having the option to list any open positions at your business
  • Having the ability to create specific pages for products, services, and events known as ‘LinkedIn Showcase pages’
  • Being able to create a career page, which assists marketing teams with telling their company’s story and engaging with prospects, customers and talent
  • Having the option to run targeted LinkedIn ads that support wider sponsored content advertising campaigns from your business profile

Not sure how to go about setting up a LinkedIn company page? You can find out here.

LinkedIn business page

Once the marketing team has created the business page, next they need to optimize it by adding all the relevant company information and media. LinkedIn states that a company page with a complete profile gets 30% more weekly views, so it’s important not to overlook any fields if you want to increase the chances of getting in front of your prospects, customers and prospective employees.

Take a look at this resource which offers tips to help you get the most out of your company page, including crafting a strong company description and how to use the right keywords to make your LinkedIn profile SEO friendly. We’ve also detailed the correct image sizes for media uploaded to the network below.

Think about your LinkedIn marketing goals and objectives

What are you setting out to achieve with your LinkedIn marketing strategy? If you, as a marketer, don’t have clear strategic goals in mind, it can be easy for you to focus on the wrong things. Typical LinkedIn marketing goals include brand awareness, website visits, job application infills, engagement and lead generation. Once you know what your strategic goals are, you can put the right objectives and tactics in place and ensure you stay on track.

Create a LinkedIn content marketing strategy

Following on from the above, your profile goals and objectives will also influence the messaging of your content marketing strategy. When the time comes to start to post on your profile, it’s important not to jump straight in without understanding the type of content that works on this specific channel. Like all social media networks, messages should be made relevant to that network’s user intent, LinkedIn’s algorithm, the platform’s image dimensions etc. With this in mind, consider the following when building your content marketing strategy and let this guide your status updates.

Let user intent guide your messaging

Unlike Instagram, LinkedIn isn’t the place for memes or sharing pictures of your freshly baked banana bread, it’s also not the place for giving a running commentary of your favorite Netflix show like most do on Twitter. Instead, user intent, regardless of whether it’s inside or outside of business hours, comes from a professional place and your messages need to reflect this.

This channel is where most Fortune 500 decision-makers and c-level executives like to spend their spare time, which makes it a perfect channel for B2B marketing pros. It’s also where people develop (professional) social relationships, collaborate with like-minded people, represent their company, or seek new business opportunities. Taking this into consideration, content that tends to work well on the platform include:

  • Behind the scenes clips of a standard day in the life of your team
  • Marketing event/ webinar wrap-ups
  • Original long-form content, like articles
  • Industry news
  • Research and reports findings
  • Insights on the latest trends and predictions
  • Tips, tricks, how-to’s and lessons learned
  • Marketing presentations
  • Job postings
  • Case studies

Consider the best time to post and optimum post frequency

Pages that post weekly see a 2x lift in engagement, but for the best results, LinkedIn advises posting daily to establish a connection with your audience.

When it comes to the best time to post, that really depends on when your audience is active, as such, the time varies from company to company. There are of course moments in the week that are hotspots for driving engagement, like lunch hours and while commuting to and from work. As HubSpot explains, even though there isn't a one-size-fits-all for the best time to post, marketers have found success on LinkedIn by posting Tuesday through Thursday, typically between the hours of 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Use this as your foundation and A/B test different times throughout the week. Make sure to document your engagement so you can identify the pockets throughout your audience’s day where they’re most active.

Follow LinkedIn image dimensions

You can spend months crafting a well-structured strategy, but as soon as you post an image that isn’t optimized for the network’s image sizing, you’ll look like an amateur. To help save you any embarrassment, we’ve curated key LinkedIn image dimensions to use when posting. If you’re interested in sizing for other channels, check out our Full Guide to Social Media Image Sizes for 2020 blog.

LinkedIn Profile Photo:

This image will appear right next to your company or brand name on your LinkedIn homepage. This image also appears in the “Companies you may want to follow” section, so the more enticing and high quality this image is, the better to attract your target audience to your company page.

  • Size: 300x300 pixels
  • The maximum file size is 4MB
  • Personal image types are limited to JPG, GIF or PNG
linkedin profile image showcasing company logo

Cover photo:

Cover photos take up the entire top space of the company page. The cover, or header image, will appear larger than the personal dimensions, which gives companies a bit more space to showcase themselves.

  • Size: 1,536x768 pixels
  • The maximum file size is 4MB
  • Cover photo image types are limited to JPG, PNG or GIF

Hero Image:

This photo is where you can provide a more in-depth look at the day-to-day experiences of your company’s staff. The hero photo also sits as a banner at the top of your company page and is usually larger than other LinkedIn photos.

  • Size: 1,128x376 pixels
  • The maximum file size is 2MB
  • Image file types are limited to PNG, JPG or GIF.

This is the company or brand image that appears when you are being searched, and because it is a smaller size, you want to make sure that the photo you use is still recognizable and eye-catching to your target audience or potential job candidates.

  • Size: 60x60 pixels
  • The maximum file size is 2MB
  • Image file types are limited to PNG, JPG or GIF

This image resolution works for LinkedIn posts that share a photo or contain a link to a blog post or news article that has a photo.

  • Size:1,200x627 pixels
  • Shared image or link phototypes are limited to PNG, JPG or GIF
linkedin profile image showcasing company logo

These types of images are more prominent to use because they appear whenever a user visits your company page. With this image located on your homepage, it is a great way to engage with your user, who has most likely been actively searching for you.

  • 646x220 pixels
  • The maximum file size is 2MB
  • Usually set to a landscape layout. Image file types are limited to PNG, JPG or GIF

Tip: Remind your marketing team that creating great content is a journey and not the destination. You should constantly be striving to improve and become more relevant while increasing engagement. Looking at your LinkedIn company page analytics and adjusting content based on insights will significantly help here.

Tips for boosting followers

Large and cool brands tend to have the luxury of a big following, but if you’re a small business, you’ll likely need to work harder to build your follower base – here are our tips to do just that!

Get to grips with the algorithm

Like most social networks, LinkedIn has an algorithm in place that sifts through hundreds of thousands of posts shared on the network each day with the idea of serving users with content that’s more relevant to them. While you can’t ‘hack’ the algorithm as such (it updates on a regular basis, just like Google), the social media giant has nodded to actions that are favored by the algorithm. In particular, they live by the mantra “people you know talking about things you care about.”

‘People you know, talking about things you care about’
Engaging with your connection’s content is vital for boosting your profile’s visibility via the ‘people you know’ priority. In addition to this, the more people you engage with from the same company, the better, as this signifies a genuine relationship.

For the ‘talking about things you care about’ part, LinkedIn explains, “there’s a lot of sophistication that goes into understanding a good conversation. As a rule of thumb, better conversations are authentic and have a constructive back and forth.” Taking this on board, we’d recommend you avoid generic comments like “great idea,” “nice,” etc., and instead asking questions or sharing an opinion when you engage with your community’s post.

LinkedIn reccomendations

Use mix media

Any successful marketer will tell you the more you mix it up with still images, video, links etc – the better! Videos in particular tend to stand out better in the feed, helping your brand get noticed. In fact, video content is 5 times more likely to start a conversation than any other content type, and posts with images get twice as many comments as text posts. To help ensure a healthy mix of media types, use a content calendar. Most social media management tools come with built-in content calendars, but if you’d prefer to create one from scratch, you can learn how to create a social media content calendar in 7 steps here!

Respond to comments

It goes without saying, if someone takes the time to comment on your company page, it’s only polite that the brand replies. Obviously, this can be difficult for large brands with high engagement, and not every comment warrants a reply, but your marketing team should aim to reply to every thoughtful question, contribution, and complaint. Not only does this help drive higher feed visibility, but members are also more likely to follow a company page that actively engages its community. If you keep ignoring your audience, eventually, they’ll start ignoring you back.

Include tags

The algorithm rewards engagement — especially posts that inspire conversations. And the faster your post starts raking in the interactions, the more likely LinkedIn is to include it in the feeds of others. So ask questions, tag companies/ prospects/ customers, use keywords strategically, and include relevant hashtags!

Use LinkedIn advertising

LinkedIn advertising helps businesses of any size achieve their goals. Whether your goal is lead generation, brand awareness, or event registrations, LinkedIn ads can help.

Screenshot of linkedin platform showing different goals you can set with campaigns

LinkedIn advertising is extremely useful for B2B MarCom pros running account-based marketing campaigns since the network holds a vast amount of information about audience’s working lives. For example, you can target LinkedIn ads based on job title, function, industry and more to ensure you reach the people who matter most to your business. Not only this, but 4 out of 5 members drive business decisions, which makes LinkedIn ads even more attractive to those working in the B2B space compared to, say, Facebook ads that are more geared towards B2C than B2B.

Below we’ve listed some of the different types of LinkedIn ads you can run to help meet your LinkedIn marketing strategy goals more quickly.

Sponsored content
The platform’s sponsored content feature allows you to run native LinkedIn ads in the feed across desktop and mobile. Sponsored content ads come in different formats including single image sponsored content ads, video ads and carousel ads. Before choosing your ad type, take a look at this sponsored content best practice tip sheet.

Sponsored messaging
This particular ad format allows you to deliver direct, one-on-one-native ads to your target audience's direct message inbox. Lots of marketing pros prefer to use this format due to interactive features like lead gen forms and automated calls-to-actions. Sponsored messaging LinkedIn ads come in two different formats, conversation ads, which let you start quality conversations with your audience through a choose-your-own-path experience, and message ads, that allow you to send direct messages to your audience to spark immediate action.

Text-only advertising
Text ads take an easy, self-service, pay per click (PPC) ad format and take minutes to set up. Once your text ads are live, read this useful guide to optimizing text ads so you can improve your results and expand your marketing and ad campaigns to attract more of the right customers.

Dynamic ad campaign
Dynamic ads are designed to be attention-grabbing through the use of personalization, for example, by featuring each professional’s own LinkedIn profile data, like photo, company name, job title, and more in the creative.

LinkedIn dynamic ad screenshot

One caveat to consider when using LinkedIn ads is that they aren’t cheap. Experienced marketers know that each business has a unique formula for strategy success. It takes time and testing to learn what LinkedIn ad types work, including how to set and manage an advertising budget. With this in mind, we recommend you have a read of this ‘guide to making the most of your budget’ and learning how to set, test, and adjust your budget to maximize your ROI. Once you’ve read that and fancy testing LinkedIn ads yourself, you can get started and create your first campaign here!

Add a ‘follow’ button to your website and other owned media channels

Cross-promoting your LinkedIn company page from your email signature website encourages your visitors to become followers. A simple CTA that explains the value of following you on LinkedIn will help. You can build a LinkedIn company page follow button for your website using their developer resources.

Launch an employee engagement strategy

Quite surprisingly, company-branded messages see a 561% increase in reach when shared by employees vs. branded channels. Each employee has their own network and when you tally their connections up, you’ll be surprised by how much brand awareness companies can win by leveraging their networks. Some suggest it’s as much as ten times what your brand could earn on its own. If that hasn’t won you over to start boosting employee engagement, maybe the fact that lead generation opportunities found via social selling or employee advocacy are 7X more likely to close will?

Having said that, good things don’t come easy. It’s unlikely your employees will share company LinkedIn posts without having the right processes in place. Start by making sure that all of your employees are properly mapped to your LinkedIn company page by citing it accurately in their work experience section of their personal profiles. That way, every new connection that your colleagues make will be prompted to follow the LinkedIn company page. If you have a company newsletter, showcase key posts for stakeholders to reshare – and include a call to actions (CTA) to do so! There are also specific employee advocacy platforms available on the market like GaggleAMP and LinkedIn Elevate that can be included in your LinkedIn marketing solutions tool kit to help improve the reach of your messages.

We’re all a little competitive in some way or another, so why not create a little healthy competition and encourage employees to track their personal social selling index score? In a nutshell, LinkedIn social selling index measures how effective an employee is at establishing their personal brand, finding the right people, engaging with insights, and building relationships. If staff benchmark their scores against each other, it’s likely to make them want to do better! Curious to know what your LinkedIn SSI score is? You can take a look here!

LinkedIn social selling index score

Check out the competition

Competitive analysis should be included in all marketing strategies. By taking a look at what the key players in your industry are up to, you can glean insights into what’s working and what’s not with their audience. That way you can learn and repeat their successes (with your own personal spin, of course) and avoid their mistakes.

Analyze the best LinkedIn profiles from thought leaders in your industry

We'd advise checking out the best LinkedIn profiles from thought leaders in your industry at the same time as you conduct your competitor review. The best thing to do is use an influencer tool to find the most relevant professionals, but if you don't have access to one then take a look at this list of LinkedIn top voices. There you can find a list of the people most responsible for driving professional conversation on the network. The list of best LinkedIn profiles is broken down into industry and geographic location too, so it's pretty easy to navigate! 

Review LinkedIn analytics

We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again, keeping an eye on your analytics is key if you want to optimize your LinkedIn marketing strategy. Unfortunately, LinkedIn doesn’t allow media intelligence providers to track the platform like other major social media networks, but it does offer LinkedIn business Page Admins pretty decent native analytics and LinkedIn marketing solutions.

By clicking on the analytics tab, you can see all key LinkedIn marketing solutions and metrics in one central view. For example, you can gain a deeper understanding about the demographics and sources of your followers and visitors, evaluate the effectiveness of your updates, and if you've enhanced your page with LinkedIn Career Pages, you'll also have access to Talent Brand analytics.

LinkedIn marketing metrics offered include:

  • Reactions, comments, and shares
  • Impressions
  • Click-through rate
  • Engagement rates
  • Pageviews and unique visitors
  • Follower growth
  • Visitor demographics including job function, location, seniority, industry, and company size
  • Lifetime watch minutes for video
  • Landing page views to leads/ conversion rate
  • Lead InMail response rate

Getting familiar with LinkedIn marketing solutions and monitoring such metrics will help you spot marketing opportunities and grow followers over time. While it’s vital to keep an eye on all analytics offered by the network, have your marketing team pay special attention to advertising metrics since you can quickly waste money as well as time by failing to do so.

So there you have it, a step by step guide to creating a successful LinkedIn marketing plan. The below video does a great job of summarising this blog, be sure to share this blog and the video with your marketing and social teams to ensure you’re aligned and ready to kick things off. Once you’ve implemented the action points above, take your strategy to new heights and watch our on-demand webinar, How To Be A LinkedIn Lead Generation Machine.

We’re always interested in seeing profile inspiration, so if you have a list of the best LinkedIn profiles you’ve come across, don’t be a stranger and tweet us @Meltwater!