This article is based on a lecture given by Lisa Moore as part of our course on ‘Digital Writing, Editing and Curating Content’.
For many companies, LinkedIn has turned into an essential networking tool. It allows them to set their brand apart from the competition and communicate with current as well as potential employees, customers and business partners.
LinkedIn began as a site to help business professionals connect with each other.1 The site set itself apart from social media sites such as Facebook by providing a platform where people could post and share their CVs and network with current and former colleagues, as well as recruiters. In recent years, LinkedIn has moved beyond being a networking site for individuals to a site that also supports business development. Today, brands can use the LinkedIn platform to generate leads and establish thought leadership in their area of focus.2
Establish your expertise with posts
When LinkedIn opened its publishing platform to all members in 2014, it gave individuals and businesses the ability to generate long-form posts.3
On most social media channels, brevity is usually the key to success. However, when it comes to positioning your company as a thought leader, a few short sentences may not be enough.4
Posts enable employees and experts to go beyond the standard company news and share their thoughts and expertise with the wider LinkedIn community. Good pieces of content lead to positive opinions regarding your organisation, with ‘Likes’ and ‘Comments’ helping your posts circulate beyond your immediate network and giving you an insight into the interests of your audience. Over time, your company can build a community of engaged readers, new and existing clients and subject matter experts.
As an added bonus, posts are prominently displayed on the LinkedIn profiles of their authors. Their contacts can, therefore, immediately see their areas of expertise. Why is that so important?
Because LinkedIn is a personal online business card. LinkedIn profiles are usually displayed at the top of search results for named individuals, so posts can help boost your employees’ reputations, as well as enhance your brand image.
Let’s explore how you can get the most from your LinkedIn posts.
Set your objectives
Before you establish (or expand) your company’s presence on LinkedIn, you need to engage with your key stakeholders to help identify how best to use the platform to meet your business objectives. LinkedIn provides a set of features that can facilitate conversations about your products and services, generate sales leads and recruit new employees. You may want to focus on one of those or a combination.
Having a conversation with key stakeholders in advance will help you identify where to focus your B2B content marketing resources and budget, as well as provide you with those all-important metrics against which you can measure your content’s success.
Establish key roles
Next, you need to define the expertise and responsibilities for your LinkedIn page. Someone (maybe you!) needs to be responsible for the planning, creation, maintenance and monitoring of your company’s LinkedIn presence.
Plus, with your core business objectives in mind, you can establish clear guidelines that show how everyone in your company should interact on the platform.
Know your audience
In order to gain trust and generate reach, you should always define a unique persona. You should keep this persona in mind whenever you create content you will share on LinkedIn, whether that’s a post or a comment in a ‘group’ discussion. And, since the content on LinkedIn is much more professional than on other social media channels, you should use language that mirrors your target audience as precisely as possible.
Create a plan
What holds true for other networks and marketing activities is just as important here: Planning is everything. Therefore, it is vital to establish an editorial plan or calendar that takes into account particular topic areas, core concepts of your company and seasonal references.
Timing is an essential aspect, as well. You need to find out when your target group is primarily on LinkedIn in order to find the perfect time span for your postings.
Write engaging headlines
With so much information flooding our inboxes and newsfeeds today, it has become increasingly difficult to read everything. This is especially true in the business world, where people have little time to read and absorb information before moving on to the next message or meeting. As a result, when people share a post or a link, they often do so based solely on a headline. That means you must ensure every headline you write is engaging and will attract the attention of your target audience.
Make your posts easy to read
The people in your target audience who make it past your post’s headline will expect content that is easy to skim and scan. These types of readers attach great importance to structure. That means you need to pay special attention to the way in which you format your posts. You should ensure you have a headline and subheads, and you should make judicious use of bulleted lists, graphics and links.
However, you’ll soon realise that LinkedIn does not allow for organic formatting (as of this writing). Therefore, you’ll need to get creative. The following tips will help you create content that facilitates skimming and stands out from the competition:
- Structure your text: Use blank lines to set your text blocks apart – that way you can divide your post into a headline, copy and call-to-action.
- Add symbols to stand out: Copy/paste some of these supported symbols into your company’s profile page and posts.
- Create lists: You can find symbols in the link above to use as bullet points. Alternatively, you can create an ordered list by appointing numbers by hand.
- Use imagery and video: People who skim and scan your posts will pay more attention to your post if you include images, infographics and videos. But, never forget: LinkedIn is a platform where professional expertise is presented and shared. Your LinkedIn content should, therefore, set itself apart from posts on other social media sites and always be professional. LinkedIn is no place for silly memes or puppy videos!
- Close with a call-to-action: A call-to-action in your post in the form of a link allows you to direct your clients or business partners to additional organisational content and increases the likelihood of conversions. However, links on LinkedIn can be tricky, so always place an “http://” in front of any URL – then your link will display correctly.
With an eye on your objectives, a detailed content publishing plan and a target audience in mind, you can produce posts that people want to read and share. Combined with a high-quality LinkedIn company profile, your relevant, timely and well-structured posts will position your employees as thought leaders and build a strong community around your brand.
Photo Credit: Nick Youngson
- Lee, Ellen (2009). LinkedIn’s startup story: Connecting the business world. In CNN Money, http://money.cnn.com/2009/06/02/smallbusiness/linkedin_startup_story.smb/. ↩
Bolsinger, Kristy et al. (n.d.). Beginners Guide to Social Media: LinkedIn.
In MOZ, https://moz.com/beginners-guide-to-social-media/linkedin. ↩
Perez, Sarah (2014). LinkedIn Opens Its Publishing Platform To All Members.
In techcrunch, https://techcrunch.com/2014/02/19/linkedin-opens-its-publishing-platform-to-all-members/. ↩
- LinkedIn (2017). Tips for Writing Articles on LinkedIn. In https://www.linkedin.com/help/linkedin/answer/47537/tips-for-writing-long-form-posts-on-linkedin?lang=en. ↩
- Tillmann, Brynne (2014). Symbols to spice up your LinkedIn profile. In LinkedIn, https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/20140423001152-22901019-symbols-to-spice-up-your-linkedin-profile. ↩
- LinkedIn (2017). Text formatieren oder Links hinzufügen. In https://www.linkedin.com/help/linkedin/answer/4262/text-formatieren-oder-links-hinzufugen?lang=de. ↩