LinkedIn: How to network professionally in your industry, Part 2

In the concluding part of this article on networking on LinkedIn, we’ll show you how to create the right content for your audience and how to reach them even if you are a first-time publisher.

Last week, we had you reach out to people for connections.

Here’s some other ways to become visible on LinkedIn.

Engage the Groups

By now, you should have joined groups in your industry, now is the time to contribute. Being a member of the industry, you’re bound to have an opinion on industry matters, feel free to share them with others. Look for topics with a lot of comments and have your say.

You can also respond to other people’s comments if you feel your response can add value to the conversation.

If you are consistent with commenting and sharing, the LinkedIn platform places you on a leader board of sorts, ‘recognizing’ you as one of the Top influencers on a weekly basis. This ‘social proof’ can help sway group members’ perception of you as a thought leader.
Note that if your posting frequency declines, so does your ‘standing.’ Remember the leader board is updated weekly, if your posting frequency falls off, so do you.

To avoid this, focus on building a dedicated following and funnel them into your other marketing channels.

One way to do this right is through content marketing. On LinkedIn, just any content won’t do. First off, you can’t bamboozle other industry pros, plus posting crappy content will quickly get you the SWAM ban.

To attract people to your network, you have to show you have some value to add. A little preparation in the form of research into topics that have resonated, garnered the most comments and shares will let you gauge what the groups are passionate about. Knowing this will help when you start your creating content and sparking discussions.

Content Creation

Attracting the ideal audience is down to the quality of content you create. Remember folks on LinkedIn are a clued-in and industry-savvy bunch; they spend time here to find content that’s useful to them and can help them grow their business. The Senior Content Marketing Manager at LinkedIn, Jason Miller, said “…members are thinking about how to further their careers, so are receptive to advertising if that can help them become more knowledgable and successful…”

With that in mind, aim to create content that fits the following criteria:

  • Educational and helpful to them and others.
  • Interesting and thought-provoking enough to spark a conversation.
  • Outlines practical steps that can help the reader achieve more.
  • Viewable across devices (43% of LinkedIn members access the site on mobile in 2014)

With such ‘stringent’ rules, how do you even start to identify what to write about?

This is where the research into the top discussions and most popular topics in your groups comes in handy. With a broad direction outlined, brainstorm articles that will fit one of these three broad types:

  • How-To Posts
  • Opinion or Editorial posts
  • A data-driven list post

A sample post should pick one element from each set of guidelines and mix-and-match them, e.g. in the artisanal pottery industry, a sample list post that helps readers could be “Top 12 clays to Throwing the best Dinner Plates.”

Writing the right Content

Having come up with a topic that ticks the boxes, start to write. Keeping the guidelines in mind, craft a post that hooks and teaches the reader. Intersperse the text with images; LinkedIn allows up to seven to be used.

If you find your post is running over 1,500 words, don’t worry; just focus on delivering value. Post great content frequently enough and increase your chances of appearing on the Pulse platform.

Sharing on LinkedIn

With your content created, it’s time to spread your message. Using the “Company Updates” option, you can notify followers anytime you have a new post ready. Your updates should include a picture that helps your message stand out. You should also use a short but attractive description to hook readers.

In addition to your company profile page, LinkedIn recently rolled out a feature called Showcase Pages. These act as an extension to your primary company page and can be used to highlight a department or product. This extension can even have its own followers and status updates.

Using Sponsored Updates

For first-time publishers with no followers, LinkedIn’s Sponsored Updates will deliver your company updates to the feeds of users. Sponsored Updates allow you deliver articles, infographics, PDFs and videos to millions of users, depending on your budget.

This can quickly help you drive engagement, build a list of followers and subscribers.

As part of a broader marketing strategy, using LinkedIn is an invaluable piece. Call it advanced blogging, call it social media marketing, just understand the power of this platform to reach an already-interested demographic. Don’t be so wary of it that you never do anything with the info you have.

Let Search & More show your business new ways to use ‘old’ marketing. Contact us for a social media audit, marketing plan or just to talk shop.

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