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The Beginner’s Guide to LinkedIn Marketing

Whether you want to generate leads, elevate your brand, or create a buzzing community, LinkedIn is your go-to platform, especially if you’re in the B2B space. 

But let’s be honest - without a strong LinkedIn marketing strategy, it can often feel like you’re shouting into the void with nobody on the other end. That’s why we’ve created this detailed LinkedIn marketing guide to help you go from zero to hero and build your audience on this platform. 

But first, let’s get the basics out of the way.

What is LinkedIn marketing?

LinkedIn marketing is a strategic effort to build a brand identity, establish meaningful connections, and create business relationships. Both individuals and businesses can leverage LinkedIn marketing to increase awareness about their skills and product/service.

LinkedIn is a go-to platform for professionals and business leaders to create their brands and build professional networks. You can launch organic marketing campaigns by posting content consistently, run a paid marketing campaign with LinkedIn ads, or mix both of these formats based on your goals and needs.

Why build your presence on LinkedIn?

LinkedIn is considered a goldmine for modern professionals and businesses - and for good reason. Here are five main reasons why you need your presence on LinkedIn: 

Create your personal brand and unique identity

LinkedIn is a great place to build your personal brand and advocate for your product or service.

Founders like Siddarth Jain are building brand awareness around their products while sharing their experiences in their industry.

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Build a niche audience aligned with your business

You can reach your industry’s audience and build a community of loyal and active professionals using LinkedIn marketing.

Writers like Jasmin Alić and companies like Semrush are building their audience on LinkedIn with niche content and consistent efforts.

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Earn social proof and establish credibility for your brand

With recommendations, collaborative articles, listing your professional journey, and sharing your experiences, you can demonstrate your skills and expertise in your niche.

LinkedIn gives you space to showcase all these things within your profile; this helps you connect with people from the same background as you and boosts your credibility.

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Warm up your prospects and initiate sales conversations

LinkedIn ads and Sales Navigator are B2B sales tools that help your sales managers, reps, and teams find quality leads and add them to the sales pipeline.

Using cold and warm DMs, you and your sales reps can engage with your prospects in meaningful conversations, driving organic sales.

Create a distribution channel for your marketing campaigns

With a reach of more than 900 million users, LinkedIn is a marketing goldmine. Content like written posts, infographics, newsletters, and contributions to collaborative articles will strengthen your brand image and establish you as an expert in your niche.

LinkedIn marketing for beginners: How to get started and succeed

People are often intimidated by LinkedIn. When you scroll through the app, all you see are people with strong opinions, years of experience, and tons of achievements. This can overwhelm anyone, especially if you’re a beginner. 

Here’s how you can prepare a solid groundwork for your LinkedIn growth when starting from scratch.

Stand out from the crowd with an impactful profile and company page

An optimised profile or company page is the first step towards successful LinkedIn marketing. Optimise your profile or page for SEO; include a trustworthy online image and you’ll see an increase in visibility on the platform. 

On top of that, it’ll help other professionals know your expertise and connect with you.

Here are the things you need to update:

Profile picture and banner

These are two visual elements that catch someone’s attention at first glance.

Here’s the first look at Loom’s LinkedIn page. Notice that the profile picture on the company page is the logo of the company, and the banner clearly states the brand’s key message.

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Also, check out Justin Welsh’s LinkedIn profile. He has a crisp headshot as his profile picture and uses social proof and his product in his banner.

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Your headline should mention your role, social proof, and how you’re helping people.

The best way to discover a headline format that’ll work for you or your company is by observing. Search your competitors and friends on LinkedIn to see how they’ve communicated their message. The key here is to keep it short, to the point and impactful.

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CTA button

What do you want people to do first when they visit your page or profile? Your answer has to be your CTA. Create a 1-3 word CTA for the best results.

For example, your CTA could be “Book a call,” “Try for free,” or “Visit my website”.

Featured posts

This section displays the things that you want to showcase the most. For company pages, it can be social proof and recent product developments.

For example, Loom showcases some of its biggest customers to establish credibility.

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For individual profiles, this can be a link to your product or service, your posts talking about your professional journey, your recent collaborations, or social proof.

Take a look at Justin’s featured section:

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Work experience

If you’re building your individual profile, then work experience will be proof of your professional trajectory. Add your roles, descriptions of each role, and the skills stack you’ve developed in those roles.

These details will also function as LinkedIn SEO, so make sure to add the most relevant ones in this section.

Brittani Hunter has done exactly the same in her experience section.

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Build a meaningful network with your relevant audience

The first thing to consider when you’re building your LinkedIn network is: who is your ideal audience?

  • If you’re creating a company page for a video messaging tool like Loom, your target audience will be anyone who wants to communicate asynchronously.
  • If you’re a freelance writer, your ideal audience will include content managers, marketing heads, and other writers.
  • If you’re a software developer, your ideal audience will be HR managers, founders, CTOs, and fellow software engineers.

You get the point. With a clear idea of your ideal audience, you can selectively add the most relevant people to your network, making sure your efforts aren’t in vain. 

When your audience isn’t engaged, not connected to your messaging, and isn’t concerned about your product or service, your LinkedIn marketing efforts will inevitably get diluted.

So, once you’ve identified who you want to connect with, start sending some connection requests and engaging with creators or companies in your niche.

To streamline this process and ensure you’re connecting with the right people, consider employing a LinkedIn bot that can automate sending connection requests and initial messages to your target audience, based on specific criteria such as job titles and industries.

Create a content marketing strategy

Putting efforts into LinkedIn marketing without a strategy is like trying to find your mobile phone in a pitch-dark room. You wouldn’t know what to do, when to do it, and how to maximise your resources.

To streamline your approach, familiarise yourself with the 3 R's of content marketing: Reduce, Resurrect, and Repurpose; they can guide you in creating effective content.

Here’s a simple 5-step checklist for your LinkedIn content marketing strategy:

1. Research your competitors and friends who are doing really well

This is the first step. Going through other’s profiles will help you reverse engineer their approach to content marketing on LinkedIn.

Look for the type of posts, posting frequency and time, content categories, and how they’re engaging with fellow creators to know what’s working for them.

You can also DM some of these people, engage in meaningful conversations, and ask genuine questions about how they’ve been able to grow on the platform. 

2. Set goals and content pillars

A defined goal and content pillar will guide you like a north star.

Begin by setting up three to five content pillars - these are content categories that you’ll talk about in your posts. It’ll ensure that you position yourself or your company as an expert on some niche topics. This will help you grow faster on LinkedIn. 

See how Alex Cattoni has done it:

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3. Create a content calendar

One of the key elements of a LinkedIn marketing strategy is a social media content calendar. It’s your control centre for deciding when and what to post. Not only that, it’ll take away the anxiety of not knowing what’s coming next in your schedule.

Tools like Google Sheets, Notion, Asana, Trello, and Co-schedule will help you centralise your content calendar. Use the Kanban board method or organise your content in a tabular format to trace the progress of each week’s schedule.

You can grab a free Notion calendar template from Modest Mitkus. A simple content calendar in tabular format looks something like this:

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4. Start creating top-notch content

Now that you’ve prepared all the ingredients for success, it’s time to create content.

Ensure you maintain a consistent voice and messaging across all posts. Also, engage with other professionals in your industry to know their pain points. It’ll help you come up with new content ideas every day.

5. Post consistently and engage with others’ posts

Ask anyone who’s performing great on LinkedIn, and they’ll all have one thing in common: consistency. It’s the key to growing rapidly on the platform. 

But you might ask: consistency at what? 

Here’s the answer:

  1. Fixed posting schedule and sticking to a well-laid-out content plan using automation tools.
  2. Engaging with your fellow creators and other professionals regularly.
  3. Making valuable contributions to collaborative articles, newsletters, and more.

If you’re looking to boost engagement on your posts, grow your post impressions, and improve your follower count, you should follow these best practices:

  1. Remain active for 15 to 30 minutes before and after posting your content. This alerts the algorithm that you’re active on the platform and will result in higher impressions and engagement. You can do this by engaging with other people’s posts through reactions and comments.
  2. Comment on other’s posts with valuable insights. You should aim to extend the value of their posts with your own expert knowledge; avoid generic comments like “great post,” “insightful,” etc. This will bring your post to the feeds of people who’ve engaged with their post.
  3. Use visuals with pictures, carousels, and videos in your posts. LinkedIn is pushing for value-packed content with visuals, so this is the best time to incorporate it. Just make sure to remain relevant in terms of it.

Here are some more tips from Luke Matthews, a LinkedIn ghostwriter and marketer with more than 100,000 followers on LinkedIn:

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Connect and chat with prospects via InMail

LinkedIn InMail is a premium messaging feature that allows you to message people outside your network.

With an InMail message, you can:

  1. Skip the step of sending a connection request and waiting for approval.
  2. Personalise your messages for each prospect; this makes a strong first impression.
  3. Monitor the performance of your messages with analytics.

To access this feature, you need a premium account. There are four different LinkedIn subscription options based on your needs and goals: Career, Business, Sales Navigator core, and Recruiter Lite. Each of these plans has different numbers of InMail message bundles per month.

Once you select your paid plan, you can choose from six different templates for InMail messages based on your goals:

  1. Virtual handshake message.
  2. Problem solver message.
  3. Common ground message.
  4. Case study message.
  5. Resurfacing ping.
  6. Final prompt.

If you’re looking to scale your sales efforts, do it by automating your messages and targeting people who are most valuable to your business.

Top tip: A/B test your message templates to find what works best for you and double down on that.

Incorporate a sales pitch message template into your InMail strategy to directly present your product or service’s value proposition, making it an effective tool for converting high-value leads into customers.

LinkedIn InMail, while powerful, does come with its limitations, such as a cap on the number of messages you can send depending on your subscription level. If you find yourself restricted by these limitations and want to expand your outreach capabilities, one viable strategy is to export your LinkedIn contacts. 

Once you have a list of contacts, you can utilise email marketing tools to send automated emails with email automation services. This allows you to reach a larger audience and enables you to integrate your LinkedIn efforts with your broader email marketing strategy.

How to track LinkedIn marketing

Once you start tracking your LinkedIn performance, you begin to discover what’s not working for you and what you should double down on.

There are two main ways to track your LinkedIn marketing efforts:

  1. LinkedIn’s native analytics: Native tools will help you track your post impression, profile impression, and follower growth. A premium subscription gives you access to more advanced analytics tools with better features.
  2. External analytics tools: These are non-native analytics tools to help you draw relevant insights from your LinkedIn strategy and create a powerful sales dashboard. From measuring the performance of your LinkedIn content to lead scoring, these tools have you covered.

Here are the five best non-native LinkedIn analytics tools to manage your account and marketing strategy:

  • Whatagraph: An analytics and reporting tool best suited for marketing needs. You can visualise data in the form of graphs and create reports with them.
  • Socialinsider: Helps you extract data from your social media accounts to analyse competitors, benchmarks, and content.
  • Hootsuite: A total social media solution to help you schedule posts, manage paid and organic content, track performance, and derive real-time insights from your social media account.
  • Sprout Social: Create publishing workflows, connect with different team members for collaboration, and provide insights to help you scale your social media marketing efforts.
  • Shield: Track and compare your growth, analyse the performance of your posts, visualise platform data, and grow organically with this LinkedIn marketing tool.

Over to you: Build a winning brand on LinkedIn

Starting from scratch is never easy, especially when you’re surrounded by more accomplished creators on social media.

But if you’re getting serious about building your audience on LinkedIn and want to create a winning brand for your business, there’s no better time to start than now.

We’ve done the legwork to bring you these actionable tips and examples. The ball’s in your court - start dunking now!

Follow Cognism on LinkedIn

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