4 Proven Ways LinkedIn Will Increase B2B Blog Visits
In my article for CMS Connected last month : “How to Master the “Low Hanging Fruit in Content Marketing” I put forth the opinion that “promotion of an article is just as crucial to an article’s success as the research and writing that went into creating it”. If you want to extend your reach, there’s nothing like the free and oh-so-targeted publicity of social media such as LinkedIn Groups for B2B content marketing. Here are a few tips on how to fully utilize the organic power of LinkedIn.
Make Sure You’re Not Just Scratching the Surface
So you’ve set up your company page and started a LinkedIn group – and you’re making sure to provide these channels with fresh content daily, some curated, some of your own. Hold it right there. You’re not finished yet, in fact I would say that posting on your company page or group is only scratching the surface of what you should be doing on LinkedIn for your social media marketing and content promotion.
Think about it – people following your company, or who have joined your LinkedIn group already know about your brand. It’s likely that they’re also following you on Twitter or Facebook, or getting your emails. It’s quite possible they may have already seen your most recent content.
That’s not to say that these LinkedIn outlets aren’t important – they are necessary for keeping top of mind with your customers. Just keep in mind that posting to your own company pages or groups will always be a finite resource for reaching new audiences. And depending on the amount of followers or size of your group, you’re also limiting the amount of people who will see your content.
Join the Conversation on Competitor LinkedIn Groups
Posting a piece of content on your company page or group is a no brainer. But if you want to reach new people in larger numbers, you need to go outside of your current followers – and the best way to do that is to utilize competitor LinkedIn groups. You want to tread very lightly here though, as the key is they are competitors.
Digital marketing guru Gary Vaynerchuk once said that social media needs to be a marriage not a one night stand, meaning one needs to nurture an audience over the long term, not post to them once and expect results. I utilize that philosophy when I promote content on LinkedIn groups that I am not the manager or owner of. I try to become a respectful member of those communities sharing valuable content (sometimes my own, but mostly others’ content) on a consistent basis. This blog by the email marketing platform GetResponse has even more specifics on how to nurture competitor groups.
I did a very informal survey, in a wide variety of industries, of several active LinkedIn groups with membership in the seven figures. I noticed that about 1 in 15 posts, on a typical day, get a “like”. Some of those 1 in 15 gets lots of likes – most get 1 or 2. Why is this figure important? It means that if you can post great content, you will be a huge help for the group managers who are trying to have as much engagement on these groups as possible. There is a lot of boring or just plain bad content out there, cut through the noise and you’ll be appreciated.
Keep in mind that the response you’ll get from competitor and other relevant LinkedIn groups will vary, some groups might require approvals for your posts, and some may not let you join at all. If you get a negative response when trying to join a group it can’t hurt to reach out and explain your purpose for joining their group. I usually explain that I am interested in learning and sharing relevant content, that I often get a great response from content I post, and that I will never post blatant advertisements.
I wouldn’t want people to post irrelevant stuff on the groups I have managed in the past, however I don’t worry about competitors posting on groups I manage. It is a best practice for content marketers to invite great content no matter who is posting it. In a correct content marketing strategy the customer, not the brand, comes first. However, if you find even with a friendly note a particular group manager doesn’t want you in the group, perhaps because you’re a competitor or perhaps for other reasons, simply move on.
Engagement with relevant communities will improve your content
I can hear the concerns from your marketers now – “I don’t have time for all this extra work!” Staying active at competitor LinkedIn groups is very easy if you add it to your routine. When you scan the news and thought leaders for interesting content to curate on the social sites you manage, simply take the time to share it on relevant LinkedIn groups as well. The owners of those groups will appreciate the good content and engagement it creates – especially because you’re not trying to sell anything or sending people to your own site. I can’t say enough that being engaged with others in your community - keeping track of what people are talking about in popular LinkedIn groups for your industry - is going to not only help promote your content, but eventually it will help you create better content too. The extra time will be “paid back” with better results from your content in the end.
Utilize Influencers On LinkedIn
Another important use of LinkedIn is influencer marketing. When I include thought leaders in posts I write or commission – which is most of them – I always send a nice email to the people involved thanking them and offering them Google Analytics tagged links for themselves or their marketing teams. I usually say something like: ”Please post it on social media if you like –the other thought leaders might appreciate your feedback and ideas.”
I follow this email up with a search on those sites to see if they’ve posted. Although not foolproof, this is fairly easy to do: simply stick the title of the post into Twitter or LinkedIn and see who has shared it (You can also try searching the actual link in Twitter). This gives you the opportunity to say “thank you” with a ReTweet on Twitter or a Like on LinkedIn. If you haven’t noticed a post, especially from someone who you know is fairly active on social media, send them a quick note (if you feel comfortable). Every person and situation is different, and the last thing you want to do is aggravate someone who has taken the time out of their busy week to help you create a great blog post. You may find that people are actually happy to get a reminder. After a post has come together using several thought leaders, often people are really excited to read the finished product, meet other thought leaders and learn new and different opinions and data.
I have seen posts from thought leaders featured in my pieces get exponentially more likes on LinkedIn than posts I have set up. It makes perfect sense, these people are experts in their field, with hundreds of colleagues and followers interested in the topics they discuss.
LinkedIn Pulse: Not a Sure Thing but Be Sure to Use It
LinkedIn Pulse is a great tool for thought leaders to publish without needing a platform like Forbes or WSJ (although often Pulse are reposts of those articles). To be honest, unless you’re an “influencer” you’re really not going to reach much outside your colleagues and their colleagues (if you’re lucky enough to get a like from one of them). However it’s still an important tool. There is always the longshot that somehow you’ll get enough views by your own efforts that LinkedIn’s editors will choose you as a featured article. I try to choose posts that are not too obscure or industry specific gauging what my colleagues might appreciate. LinkedIn Pulse seems to do really well with Google, so it’s another organic way to tease back to your blog and business site.
If You Want to Increase Your Reach – You Have To Expand Your Strategy
The bottom line is that promoting content to your existing audience – such as your own social media sites and your email list needs to be one part of your marketing strategy – not the entire thing. It’s easy to stick with what we know, but easy solutions are not going to grow your audience. Email lists are often large, they’re reliable (you know they’re there) and along with your own social media pages they’re relatively easy to get data from and report on. However think about it this way – if you get an email click, that’s one person who saw your email. If you get a like, a comment or a share on a LinkedIn group or page other than your own you’ve automatically reached a part of that group or person’s network.
Although we don’t have the software to track impression data outside of our own accounts and data may be mostly anecdotal, I can assure you that these tactics are extremely valuable. Late last year Forbes reported on influencer marketing platform MuseFind’s research that “92% of consumers trust an influencer more than an advertisement” in their article “Influencers are the New Brands”. When you utilize LinkedIn to its fullest potential, you will create unofficial brand ambassadors who will share, click and comment on your posts, exposing you in a beneficial light to entirely new networks of B2B consumers.