How’s your LinkedIn page looking these days?
In addition to their corporate website, most B2B companies have a company specific LinkedIn page as well as profiles for their key employees. This is a start, but it’s becoming clear that LinkedIn will play a central role as a networking, marketing and authority-building tool for B2B firms over the next three to five years. Principals and marketers who fail to harness its power do so at their own peril.
A Growing Share of Traffic and Leads
According to a recent study from Webbiquity, B2B websites draw half of all their social media traffic from LinkedIn. Even more impressively, LinkedIn’s lead-to-conversion rate roughly triples that of Facebook and Twitter. Eighty percent of small-to-medium-sized B2B companies use LinkedIn to reach prospects in some fashion, and 85 percent of respondents in a large-scale marketing survey of B2B tech firms identified the platform as the “most effective” social media marketing tool. Crucially, LinkedIn rises to the top of many business specific Google searches, and its effectiveness is likely to improve even further in the future. It’s not prudent to ignore such a powerful B2B platform.
Reaching Critical Mass
A recent eMarketer report details LinkedIn’s rebirth as a “business-to-business content marketing platform.” In addition to in-feed ads a la Facebook and email marketing through its internal InMail service, LinkedIn offers high-level content marketing opportunities with its LinkedIn Influencers network, industry-specific content channels and other platforms. These additional marketing channels are lucrative: The company’s ad revenue increased 46 percent this year and looks poised to repeat this performance in 2014.
This robust range of options allows companies to tailor a brand visibility campaign in a high-value space. While professional networks and trade organizations will always exist in some form, LinkedIn looks poised to become a clearinghouse for B2B marketers who need a more efficient way to simultaneously build authority in their industries and reach new prospects. With a little work, your company’s LinkedIn presence can become a powerful vertical that boosts brand visibility, quality and authority among those who matter.
Beyond Connections: Content, Influence and the Way Forward
LinkedIn got its start as a way for professionals to network with colleagues and reach out to potential employers, but this “core” function is increasingly beside the point. By linking robust company and employee profiles, LinkedIn allows firms to source contributions, ideas and influence from a virtual talent pool. Employees who interact in industry-specific groups and create or curate valuable content can serve as ambassadors for their companies and build authority – and lead-generating networks – outside of centrally controlled marketing operations. You’d be foolish to under-utilize your firm’s flesh-and-blood assets, so why wouldn’t you harness the full potential of its virtual assets as well?
It’s already clear that LinkedIn is far more than “Facebook for businesses.” It’s a rapidly growing, increasingly diverse platform through which users can leverage high-level content and authority-building connections to draw leads, close sales and attract talent. Aside from your corporate URL, there’s nowhere more important to establish a reliable Web presence.