Guest post by Ann Smarty
Think about the best social platforms for promoting your content. What came to mind? Facebook? Twitter? Pinterest? Maybe StumbleUpon, for those hipsters among you. All of those are good answers. But the list is missing one very important component you may not have thought about in the past: LinkedIn.
Promoted (and used) as a professional networking tool, it is usually seen as a means of direct communication with others within your industry. You have a conference to go to, and a quick search will bring up others who have been posting about going. So you can set up meetings before you ever hit the trade floor, or find people you met at events so you can nurture those connections.
While that might be one of the primary reasons for having a LinkedIn profile, it isn’t the only one. A commonly ignored use for the platform is content marketing, and the social network can be easily integrated into any content marketing strategy you may have in place.
Here are some tips to get you started.
Make Sure People Know You’re An Expert
Quality is important for any platform, and for any piece of content you release. But nowhere is it more important than on LinkedIn. Because you are not preaching to the layman, you are exposing yourself to the harsh criticisms of leaders in your industry.
You don’t want to come off as a small fish in a tank of sharks. You want to show that you have the knowledge, the experience and the guts to put yourself out there and share what you have to offer. That takes careful image cultivation, content of professional quality, and a certain confidence that shows others that you mean business. A great example of a professional Linkedin profile is Maria Elena Duron:
When you write content, keep this in mind and try to inject it into your work. You are speaking to your peers, and in some cases your superiors. It isn’t the same tactic you will take with a regular blog, or even with other social accounts.
You aren’t marketing your content, you are marketing yourself with your content.
Use Groups… But The Right Way
Linkedin groups are a great place to find readers, and to engage with a closed and often comfortable community of like minded individuals. Unfortunately, a couple of bad eggs will generally ruin it for everyone. That is where spammers have come in and thrown a damper on the party, causing rather strict rules on what constitutes as spam to be put in place.
But that is also a good thing. It keeps a certain level of control over what is shared and how often. It also presents you with some guidelines about how to behave to best appeal to those in the community.
When you share a piece of content in a group, ask yourself if it really belongs there. Is it perfectly fitting with the topic of the group? Did someone say something related that shows they could benefit from the content? If so, go ahead and post it.
Make sure you say something insightful and engaging that shows you are speaking to them, not at them. Ask questions in your post to spark a conversation, and then respond to any replies. Don’t just paste the link and ditch the discussion. You have to stick around and be a part of it.
Zero In On The Most Popular Topics
One of my favorite tools is BuzzSumo. If you put in topics, you can see how they rank on different platforms, including LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Google+, based on shares. So you can see what categories and subject keywords are really ranking on your different profiles.
Having that information will let you plan out content that will be best shared with a LinkedIn audience. Â So you can actually tailor-make a content strategy that perfectly integrates with your social strategy.
It will also keep your audiences separate, which is helpful.
Appeal To A More Targeted (And Quality) Audience
Back when LinkedIn first started, it was very elitist. It was a social network that aimed to attract CEO’s and upper management, not everyone in the professional field. Nowadays it is open to anyone, but the hierarchy is still pretty clearly biased towards the higher ups.
That actually works in your favor. You are going for an audience that has the most influence on your industry. Not only are they there, but many of them are posting their own content, and engaging with the community on a one-on-one level.
You can promote your own content to these people, and potentially form important connections that could have a real impact on you and your brand or individual career.
Use “Long Posts”
Linkedin is a great content publishing platform. I’ve had much more success with posting long-form posts there than I had with Medium or Quora. The reason why Linkedin is so effective for long-form updates is because you are able to utilize the power of your connections you’ve been building through the years there.
One of the most frequent question when it comes to long-form social media updates is “Can I use my blog content to post there?“
I’ve seen very smart people do that: I wouldn’t do that myself though because I always try to publish my article only once online. I don’t like duplicate content in any form.
Linkedin is a great place for publishing re-packaged version of your main site content (with a short description). I also like the idea of publishing huge lists on your own site while using Linkedin for a shorter one-tip-at-a-time articles. Gary Dek of StartABlog123.com is a great example of doing that well!
Linkedin long-form posts allows basic rich formatting (bold, subheadings, links and images) which I highly recommend make the most of.
Use Calls To Action… They Are More Effective Here
What happens when you put a CTA on a blog post? You may get a handful of comments, some social media shares. If you are especially high traffic you could even go viral.
What happens when you put a CTA on a piece of LinkedIn posted content? You get a lot more engagement, for one thing. You attract industry leaders and participants. You get reshared quite a lot, which then moves you through your professional community and gains you visibility with people who could be potential collaborators or leads later on.
Never forget your CTAs here.
LinkedIn might not be the most obvious platform for content marketing. But if you are trying to reach a certain audience, it is definitely one of the best.
Have you integrated LinkedIn in your content marketing strategy? What strategies and tactics are you successfully using?