Social media. Everyone’s using it, but how is it helping them achieve their goals? If you’re in the B2C space, or have an e-store, it’s easy to use social media to run effective campaigns. But how do you utilize social media in a B2B setting?
Well, for the most part, you’ll be able to increase content sharing, improve SEO, and hopefully brand awareness, through the typical platforms (Facebook and Twitter), but when it comes to growing a business and thought leadership, LinkedIn is a better platform.
I have found great success in growing a brand and, more importantly, getting prospects to see that brand and its sales and leadership team as thought leaders in a particular category.
Here is how you can use LinkedIn to grow thought leadership.
- First, make sure you update your company page frequently. You can grow the follower base by placing very specific ads to your target demographic on LinkedIn.
- Once that’s underway, setting up specific groups will help you establish and grow thought leadership.
The main difference between how I managed our LinkedIn company page and our LinkedIn group page was the kind of content that was shared, as well as how it was shared.
On our company page, it’s perfectly appropriate to talk about events we attended, new product releases, et cetera. However, when it came to a thought leadership group, that’s where the tone and content changed. For roughly the first year, if not more, we did not mention our company name once. The only way a reader might know that it was a company-run group was by seeing the identity of the group moderator — typically a vertical market manager responsible for a specific market.
The main things discussed in the thought leadership group included:
- Industry news
- Market-specific topics
- Advances in that market
This made the group a place where like-minded individuals, typically business owners, presidents of a company, purchasing managers, et cetera, came to chat about those kinds of topics. Our following grew, as well as our number of comments and individual contributions.
When it seemed appropriate, after about a year, we introduced some topics that talked about how we helped with a specific project and how our products helped a certain customer. At that point, it didn’t seem like we were pushing our products on anyone, but rather that we were sharing insight. This was the result of building trust and relationships over time.
In a B2B setting, it’s often hard to do the two things I just mentioned via channels other than LinkedIn. It absolutely can be done, but it’s a lengthy process. That’s not to say that Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube shouldn’t be used, but the decision-makers a B2B company is trying to reach can be found more easily on LinkedIn.
Now, the new LinkedIn Pulse opens up an even bigger opportunity for all brands, but also B2B organizations, to get in front of the people they want to get noticed by. A lot more people can be reached by creating some SEO-rich and specific content in a place like LinkedIn that will help build a brand, other people’s awareness of it, as well as potentially grow future sales… which truly, is the end goal.