Tricks of the marketing trade

The marketing sector can be a complicated place as new marketing tools and techniques are launched, almost on a weekly basis. Powered by The Drum Network, this regular column invites The Drum Network's members to demystify the marketing trade and offer expert insight and opinion on what is happening in the marketing industry today that can help your business tomorrow.

How to unlock LinkedIn's full potential

This week was Social Media Week in London and I was fortunate enough to attend a blitz course on unlocking LinkedIn’s full potential. The speaker was none other than Mark White – widely regarded as the UK’s number one provider of training and consulting on LinkedIn. Like most marketers I brought a healthy dose of scepticism and didn’t know what to expect. Would I actually learn something I didn’t know?

Ten minutes into the presentation and my ears were wide awake. The epiphany I had: most of us use LinkedIn, but a fraction of us use it properly. Here are a couple of takeaways to unlock the power of LinkedIn for your personal and company profile.   

Share vs. Likes

The ‘like’ button is extremely underutilised compared to ‘share’ on LinkedIn. Most people assume sharing something has more reach on LinkedIn but that’s not necessarily true. It all boils down to strategy. When you ‘like’ content on LinkedIn it immediately forwards that to all of your 1st level connections as an update on their homepage stream. There is no extra effort to share the content and therefore more people are inclined to click on it.

Whereas when you ‘share’ content on LinkedIn, you are consciously segmenting your audience and may potentially annoy your network. What do I mean? Say for example your colleagues ‘like’ a certain post. If someone has already viewed the message, they will not be bombarded by duplicate content, they’ll simply see names added to the bottom of that post.        

It Starts With You

Conventional wisdom would have us believe that our individual profiles don’t affect the company we work for. After all, they are ‘our profiles.’ However this couldn’t be further from the truth. Companies have to start advocating that their employees tidy up their LinkedIn profiles and provide a coherent narrative about their roles and titles. Chances are, your future prospects will first look at the company employees before heading anywhere else. Therefore the first impression does not start with the company, it starts with the employee.

This is a tough sell because of privacy issues; however, it’s essential for everyone to come to a consensus. And please have your employees connect their profiles correctly to your company page. Most people type in the company they are part of without doing a proper search. This results in a static text with no logo.    

Rethink your Company Profile

Visit your colleague’s profile and hover over the company logo. A small blurb should pop up and ninety per cent of the time the summary starts with a mantra that’s hard to digest. By the time you read the aspirational intro, you can only view a button that states ‘More.’ Most prospects won’t hit ‘More’ during their initial search phase, leaving with an incomplete understanding of what your company offers.

Suggestion? Make the company profile more industry and service focused so that a prospect can quickly digest what your company is about. Leave the mantra fluff towards the end and focus on the USPs at the beginning.  

Main Content: 

Revisit your Banner

Revisit your Banner

Mark had a compelling case for spending more time on banners. Primarily for branding, visibility and messaging. For example, HP’s current banner subtly promotes an industry trade show that will take place in Barcelona. Other competitors may have events of their own but it is more likely that they will feature banners with aspirational messages.   

Showcase Pages

If you use ‘Showcase Pages’ good for you. If you don’t here’s why you should. ‘Showcase Pages’ are a great place to segment your services and position yourself in the industry. Adobe for example has a separate page to showcase their ‘Adobe Creative Cloud,’ ‘Adobe Marketing Cloud,’ and ‘Adobe Digital Publishing Suite.’ It’s a great way to push news out to your followers and strategically target your content. It’s like a mini Google+ inside LinkedIn, but one that will actually grow with time.    

Bypass the LinkedIn Gatekeeper

In case you’re in sales and were searching for LinkedIn prospects, there’s a good chance you may have come across the shortened name syndrome. LinkedIn automatically blocks off the last names of profiles with a 3rd-degree connection. Solution? Scroll down to ‘People Also Viewed’ section and click on another user. There’s an eighty percent chance that the person you were originally looking for is now featured on the right hand corner with his or her full name.

As you can see, unlocking the power of LinkedIn is not so much about hacking the system, as it is about using it properly. And in the spirit of Social Media Week in London, I encourage you to like, share or comment with your thoughts! 

Michael Ash is senior marketing manager at Digital Annexe.

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